If this is your first experience with Orthodox Christianity there are a few things you may like to know before you visit.
Bibles are welcome, although you don’t need to bring your own. Almost everything we say and sing is directly or indirectly from the Holy Scriptures. Also, we have the Sunday Epistle and Gospel readings printed out in the bulletin.
All of our services are in English. We do sing some things in other languages on occasion, but it is in addition to the English.
Wear comfortable shoes! We stand a lot, but we’re used to it. If you need to sit, please sit!
Children are very welcome to participate in worship as best as they are able. It is very important to us that children learn to be relaxed and comfortable in God’s House. Please bring your whole family! There is an area for nursing and diaper changing up in the bathroom in our Social Hall which can be used during the services. If you need to take your children out of the sanctuary for a few moments feel free to do so. Kids are kids and our services can seem long to little ones.
We are a diverse community and we don’t all dress or look alike. Most of our parishioners are converts to Orthodox Christianity but we have parish members with roots in Eastern Europe, the Mediterranean, and Africa. There is no firm ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ way to dress for worship but it’s always a good idea to maintain at least the same standard of formality as you would for work or school.
We sing a lot. Almost the entire service is sung except for the sermon and the Creed. The cantor will lead the service from the choir loft, but you are very welcome to join in. You can follow the service book which are available in each pew.
We worship with our whole beings and not just with our spirits and minds. You will see people bowing, making the sign of the Cross, and lifting their hands in prayer. Although we rarely kneel on the Lord’s Day or the Sabbath, if you come to mid-week services you may see us kneel especially during fasting periods. You are most welcome to worship the Holy Trinity with your bodies according to our customs but no one will be offended if you are not comfortable doing so.
Only Orthodox Christians in good standing can receive Holy Communion, although, you may approach the Chalice to receive a blessing from the priest at this time.
After the service you are welcome to venerate the Cross and take some more blessed bread. It is our custom to kiss the Cross as it is the symbol of Our Lord’s saving sacrifice. It is also our custom to kiss the priest’s hand as a sign of loving respect. If you feel comfortable you may follow our customs but no one is obliged to do so. If you do not want to kiss the Cross please come up anyway so that Fr. John has a chance to meet you.
Please join us for refreshments and fellowship after the Sunday Services. We look forward to meeting you!
The son of Jonah and brother of Andrew the First-Called, of the tribe of Simeon and the town of Bethsaida, he was a fisherman and was at first called Simon, but the Lord was pleased to call him Cephas, or Peter (JN 1:42). He was the first of the disciples to give clear expression to his faith in the Lord Jesus, saying, "Though art the Christ, the Son of the Living God." (MT 16:16) His love for the Lord was very strong and his faith in Him went from strength to strength. When the Lord was put on trial, Peter denied Him three times, but he needed only one look into the face of the Lord and Peter's soul was filled with shame and repentance. After the descent of the Holy Spirit, Peter became a fearless and powerful preacher of the Gospel. After his first sermon in Jerusalem, about 3,000 souls were converted to the Faith. He preached the Gospel throughout Palestine and Asia Minor, in Italy and in Illyria. Peter was condemned to death on the order of the wicked Emporer Nero. After installing Linus as Bishop of Rome and exhorting and encouraging the flock of Christ there, Peter went to his death with joy. When he saw the cross before him, he asked the executioner to crucify him upside-down, because he felt himself to be unworthy to die in the same way as his Lord. And so, this great servant of the greatest Master went to his rest and received a crown of eternal glory!
The Holy Apostle Paul
Born in Tarsus and of the tribe of Benjamin, he was formerly called Saul and studied under the teacher Gamaliel. He was a Pharisee and fierce persecutor of Christians. Saul was wondrously converted to the Christian Faith by the Lord Himself, who appeared to him on the road to Damascus. He was baptized by the Apostle Ananias, named Paul and enrolled in the great work of the Apostles. He preached the Gospel everywhere with burning zeal, from the borders of Arabia to the land of Spain, among both the Jews and Gentiles (heathens) and receiving the title 'Apostle to the Gentiles'. His fearful sufferings were matched only by his superhuman endurance. Through all the years of preaching, he hung from day to day like a thread between life and death. Filling his days and nights with toil and suffering for Christ, organizing the Church in many places and reaching a high level of perfection, he was able to say, "It is not I who lives, but Christ who lives in me." (Galatians 2:20) Paul was brutally beheaded in Rome in the reign of Nero, at the same time as St. Peter.
Through all the world their voice resounds; their message reaches to the ends of the earth. Prokimenon for the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul