First Time Visitors
Visiting an Orthodox Church, for many people, is a new and exciting experience. For those who are unfamiliar with the Orthodox Christian faith it may seem "different". This page will help serve as a guide. At the end of the service, we have coffee hour where we welcome you to come and meet us.
Beauty and Symbols
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The Orthodox Church believes that God is the Creator of heaven and earth. The Creator is present through His handiwork. This means that the material world, being valuable and good (Genesis 1:31), is an important means through which God shows His love for us.
The Orthodox Church affirms these convictions through her extensive use of material creation not only for the embellishment of her places of worship, but also in the Holy Eucharist (Communion), the sacraments and other prayer services. For example, when the bread and wine - "the first fruits of creation" (Romans 11:16) - are offered in the Holy Eucharist, they are also a symbolic offering of all creation to God its Creator. The Holy Eucharist, known as the Divine Liturgy, is the Church’s great action and prayer of thanksgiving.
Our worship engages all five senses. There are things to see, hear, touch, smell, and taste. The services are mostly sung or chanted, and consist largely of Biblical quotes and references, along with elements that have been present since the very early days of the Christian Church.
Icons
An icon is a holy image which is the distinctive art form of the Orthodox Church. Icons depict Christ Our Lord, Mary the Theotokos, the saints and angels. They may also portray events from the Scriptures or the history of the Church, such as the Birth of Christ, the Resurrection, or Pentecost.
The icon is not simply decorative, inspirational, or educational. Most importantly, it signifies the presence of the person depicted. The icon is like a window linking heaven and earth. When we worship we do so as part of the Church which includes the living and the departed. We never loose contact with those who are with the Lord in glory. This belief is expressed every time one venerates an icon or places a candle before it.
The important thing to remember is that you should do only that with which you are comfortable. You will not offend anyone if you choose not to venerate icons, cross yourself, or stand for the entire Liturgy. (Orthodox Christians stand during most of their worship.) None of these things are requirements, even for the Orthodox, and should you feel uncomfortable participating, simply stand or sit reverently and observe. Many Orthodox converts have been exactly where you are, and no one will feel affronted should you wish to limit your participation in the Liturgy to simply watching and listening.


 
Holy Communion
When you visit, please keep in mind that the Orthodox Church practices closed communion. This is not for triumphalistic reasons, but for very important theological reasons. In doing so we follow the practice of the ancient Church. "Open communion" is a relatively recent innovation and was not the practice of the Church beginning in the New Testament period.

All are welcome to come forward at the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy to share in the antidoron – the blessed bread – which is offered to all.

We look forward to having you join us