St Paul in his letter to the Romans 16.6, says, “Remember me also to the congregation that meets in their house.” There are other references to the “domestic church” in the Bible as well.

Each of our homes has the potential to become a “church”. The family is the smallest example of the church that we have. There are parish churches of course, but the church teaches us that most religious activity takes place right where we all live- at home.

Read more:

This idea needs to be considered further. The domestic church is actually the bases of our parish church.

For as long as I can remember, I have always known that all religious vocations-ie-priests, sisters, monks, receive their first call from God in their family homes. Religious vocations come from good Christian families. Family life is the basis of the church. Our spiritual inheritance, our knowledge of God, respect for elders, our parents, our society structures, are based on our family experience.

The home is a place of prayer, the place of discovery of what a family is. It is our miniature community. Faith is first discovered from our parents. It is they who pass it on from generation to generation.

It is interesting that in catholic hospitals in Australia, you can find a religious symbol in almost every room in the hospital. Why not in our own home?

Some very important moments are experienced at home. For example, the Christmas Eve and Jordon suppers, the Easter breakfast, the Christmas prosphora distribution, Christmas carolling, and Easter songs, prayers before meals, and prayers when we get up and go to bed.

The home, which is actually a church, must have some appearance of a church. It is expected that every home of every Ukrainian catholic would have a crucifix or two in the home. Icons must be found in rooms around the house. These religious symbols remind us, our children, our visitors that we are believing Christians.

It is interesting that in catholic hospitals in Australia, you can find a religious symbol in almost every room in the hospital. Why not in our own home?

Thanks to the Home Church, and to the grandparents, parents and others, the Church in Ukraine and Eastern Europe stood fast throughout the years of Soviet persecution.

One very good suggestion for every household to consider, is to renew the ancient practice of having an “icon corner” in each of our homes. In Ukrainian, we use the word “Pokuttia” or in other words placing an icon in a corner or “kut”. This icon corner becomes the home altar. A place where all can gather for prayer, ie. In time of need, home blessing. This corner is a place for prayer.  A candle, the Bible, prayer books or even the catechism are all items which can be found there.

It is here that children are raised in a Christian spirit, where daily worship and scriptural reading and meditation is made, and where we are strengthened against the temptations and trials of life. And whenever the Church is persecuted and Christians are prevented from attending Church for the Divine Liturgy and other services and sermons, then that is when the Home Church takes on a special role. Thanks to the Home Church, and to the grandparents, parents and others, the Church in Ukraine and Eastern Europe stood fast throughout the years of Soviet persecution.

The icon corner is a powerful way of making present to us the Icon or Image of God the Father Who is our Lord, God and Saviour, Jesus Christ. Through our pious use of this spiritual treasure, we are ourselves, little by little, made into Icons and Temples of the Holy Spirit!

Our church has rich traditions. Let us try to re-establish them in our homes, in our Eparchy.

Bishop Peter Stasiuk C.Ss.R. AM

This article was published in The Church and Life Newspaper

This post is also available in: Ukrainian