I'm always surprised at how little most people know about the Orthodox church, and it's been that way my whole life. The only time it really is weird is around Easter. Because the church follows a different calendar from western Christianity, our Easter most often falls on a different Sunday,which does allow us to get smokin' deals on Easter stuff! This year, it is VERY different - Orthodox Easter is this Sunday, May 5, making it difficult to explain to almost everyone, especially living in what I would consider part of the Bible belt. So, I usually just do my best to gloss over it and not mention it. It's challenging, though, since my kids didn't celebrate Easter when everyone else did this year, and they won't be getting Easter baskets until this Sunday.
The Orthodox church is beautiful; it is seeded in ancient tradition and prayer, which is something I love about it, but it is not for the faint of heart. Our church is about 45 minutes in the best of Houston traffic, so it makes getting there difficult and we'll be missing tonight, Good Friday, and Pascha (Easter) which is usually celebrated with Liturgy around 10pm on Saturday night. Eventually the kids will be able to go, but it is long and they need to be older.
Anyway, Rita Wilson (Tom Hanks' wife) wrote a column about Orthodoxy here, but other than that there's not a whole lot of popular culture references to Orthodoxy. Recently two Orthodox Bishops were kidnapped by Syrian rebels, though I never heard much about it in the main news media, just via my church. We continue to pray for their safety as well as the safety of everyone in that region especially as we move through Easter weekend.
If you are Orthodox, I wish you a blessed Pascha, and if you aren't, I hope you are perhaps a little more aware of one of Christianity's best kept secrets! Should you ever have the opportunity, I encourage you to visit an Orthodox church sometime. The iconography, chanting, singing and prayers are unlike anything you'll find in any other church!
Al Masiah Qam! Kristos Anesti!