For visitors to our Community
What to expect when visiting an Orthodox Church
Some find their first visit to an Orthodox Church daunting. It is after all, a church that is rich in tradition and heritage that can seem foreign to our modern sensibilities. Many are overly anxious to not stand out or "do something wrong." Our community would like you to know that you are welcome, and your joining us in worship is not a disruption, but a blessing to us.
Some things to consider:
As you enter the "Narthex," before you enter the sanctuary, you will notice members of our community lighting candles, signing themselves with the cross, and kissing, the sacred icons. You are welcome to participate in this preparation to enter the sanctuary of the Church, or if you are not comfortable, it is certainly not required.
If you are joining us on a Sunday morning, a member of our Parish Council will most likely greet you and help orient you in the Church. If you would like, they can sit you with someone to help you follow along with the service. If you prefer to sit alone, you are welcome to.
Standing and Sitting:
The congregation will stand and sit as is appropriate during certain parts of the service. If you are unable to stand comfortably, you are welcome to sit according to your needs. Likewise, if you are unable to kneel during times the congregation kneels, you are welcome to sit with your head bowed.
You may notice people standing throughout the service, crossing themselves, walking around the church to venerate icons or light candles, or even stepping out to take a break. Generally, it is appropriate, and not disruptive to move around the Church, except when the Priest is making processions around the Church, during the reading of the Holy Gospel, and times when the congregation is kneeling.
We ask that visitors who are not practicing Orthodox Christians not approach to receive Holy Communion, as the Orthodox Church practices "closed communion." The sacraments of the Church are a mystical communion, not only with God, but with one another. Just as in a marriage, this communion is offered only to those who "commit ourselves, and one another, and all our life to Christ our God" in the Orthodox Church.
At the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy the Priest will distribute Andidoron, all are welcome and encouraged to approach and receive a piece of this blessed bread, which is the remainder of the loaf from which the holy Communion is taken. This is a perfect opportunity to meet the priest as well!
If you are joining us on a Sunday, be sure to join us in the Church hall for a cup of coffee, some snacks and conversation.
If you have any other questions, please send us an email or call the church office.