VISITING OUR PARISH

We’re so glad that you decided to visit us online. We hope your visit here encourages you to visit us in person and helps you become more acquainted with us and the love of God that changes lives.

Are non-Orthodox visitors welcome?

Yes! While you may not yet be Orthodox, you may be surprised to learn that many of our members are converts to the Holy Orthodox faith, coming from a variety of other Christian confessions. Others have come from eastern religions or other traditions and systems of thought. You will find a wide diversity of age and ethnic groups represented at our parish.

Following the Sunday Divine Liturgy, you are invited to join us for “coffee hour.” During this time of fellowship you may wish to meet our parish Priest or other members of our parish. Our parish Priest will be more than happy to answer any questions you may have following your visit.


How long are the services?

All Night Vigil / Всенощное бдение (Saturday nights at 4:00 P.M.) are usually 3 hours in length. Hours & Divine Liturgy / Часы и Божественная литургия (Sunday mornings at 9:40 A.M) is about 2 hours in length.


Language

Our services are primarily in English, though you will hear Russian in some of the hymns and readings.


Is there a dress code?

The general rule for men and women is to dress appropriately, modestly and respectfully, as before the Living God. Traditionally this has meant that women wear dresses or skirts that fall below the knee, while men wear pants. We ask that you not wear shorts, mini-skirts, tank tops, low-cut or strapless dresses (unless covered by a sweater, etc.). Orthodox women wear scarves on their heads (not hats). Men are asked not to wear head coverings (baseball caps, etc.).


Is childcare provided?

Each parent is responsible to take care of their own children. We encourage children to be present in Church for the services. This participation is part of a child’s spiritual formation. If your baby or child gets fussy, talkative, or has a melt-down, please take him or her out to the hall until he or she is ready to return to the Church.


Standing or sitting?

The traditional posture for prayer and worship in the Orthodox Church is to stand, as free men and women, before the Living God. As there are pews in the Church, you are free to sit as the need arises. However, it is appropriate to stand during the Gospel reading, the Little and Great Entrances, the distribution of Holy Communion, when the priest gives a blessing, and at the Dismissal. If you are unsure what to do, simply follow the rest of the congregation. As there is generally more commotion towards the back of the Church, you may wish to stand closer to the front of the Church to avoid distraction.


Lighting Candles

Lighting candles is an important part of Orthodox worship and piety. We light candles as we pray, making an offering to accompany our prayers. Orthodox typically light candles when coming into the church, but there are times when candles should not be lit. Candles should not be lit during the Epistle or Gospel readings, during the Little Entrance, and during the sermon. You do not have to be an Orthodox Christian to light a candle and pray in an Orthodox church.


Venerating Icons

The veneration of the holy icons, like the lighting of candles, is an important part of Orthodox worship and piety. Icons are pictorial representations of Biblical scenes from the life of Jesus Christ, historical events in the life of the Church, and portraits of the saints; they are present in every Orthodox Church. You may be surprised to learn that holy icons have been used for prayer since the first centuries of Christianity. History tells us, for example, of the existence of an icon of Christ during his lifetime, the Icon-Not-Made-With-Hands, and of icons of the Theotokos written by the All-laudable Apostle and Evangelist Luke, the patron Saint of our Parish. When Orthodox Christians enter a Church they venerate these images with a kiss, not in worship, but in veneration for what is represented in the image. You might think of this kiss as one you would offer to your dearest loved one, or most respected and honored elder. Women should remove lipstick before venerating the holy icons.


Can non-Orthodox receive the Holy Eucharist?

Orthodox priests may only serve the Holy Eucharist to baptized members in good standing of the canonical Orthodox Church, who have prepared to partake of the Holy Eucharist. Preparation includes confession and fasting. The frequency of confession and the rule of fasting is an individual matter, part of an Orthodox Christian’s spiritual journey and should be discussed with his / her Spiritual Father. This is the ancient tradition of the Holy Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church understands the Holy Eucharist as the Mystery of the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist, not simply as a memorial, or merely in a spiritual sense, as do many other non-Orthodox Christians. Out of respect for the ancient apostolic tradition, we humbly ask that those who have not yet accepted the Holy Orthodox faith remain in their place during the distribution of Holy Communion. However, we invite you to join us in receiving the Blessed bread (Antidoron) at the end of the Divine Liturgy.


If you need more information or have any questions before you visit, please feel free to contact us.



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Orthodox Quote of the Day

...God comes into our lives when we invite Him with all our being, opening the gates of our heart from the inside. He will not come uninvited... The moment you are willing to give over your whole self to God- surrendering your life, your loved ones, your health, your victories and defeats- He will come to you and help you in ways you never dreamed possible.

Fr. Vojislav Dosenovich