Frequently Asked Questions for Visitors
The following questions are often asked by visitors or new members navigating their way into the wonderful life of Orthodoxy. If your question is not answered below, please see one of our priests, a member of the Parish Council or a member of the Hospitality Ministry. Ask!
Is your Church open to everyone?Yes! The Holy Orthodox Christian Church is a house of prayer for all people, and we welcome anyone who is interested in worshiping the Father, Son and Holy Spirit - One God - with us.
How long are services?Divine Liturgy begins at 9:30 a.m. and lasts about one hour and fifteen minutes. If there are memorial services or other special blessings, it may last a bit longer. Other services during the week and throughout the year range from forty-five minutes for Paraclesis services to arond two hours for certain special Holy Week services.
Are services in English?Yes, all services are mostly in English. In honor of the Church’s Greek historical roots and the cultural heritage of many of our parishioners, there will also be certain parts of the service and some hymns in Greek, but our service books and Sunday Bulletin offer English translations for almost everything said in Greek.
May I light a candle?Yes! Everyone is welcome to light a candle and offer a prayer in the Narthex (entry area). Jesus said, “I am the light of the world; he who follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12). Each time we light a candle, we are called to remember that it is our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, Who is the True Light, and that He and only He will grant us true life. In lighting our candles, it is customary make an offering, as everything that we have is from God and the first step is to give back to Him for all of His many blessings. Orthodox Christians then venerate the icons nearby as we lift our prayers to God on high. Finally, in lighting the candle, we remember our loved ones, those who are sick or in times of need, those who have passed into the eternal life, and we ask for God's mercy on them and us, “re-igniting” our own flame and recommitting our whole life to God. Thus we begin again to live as light, helping others see the Way in a world of darkness.
Is there a dress code?While there is no formal dress code for attending church services, entering the Holy Orthodox Church is still a sacred experience which our preparation and attire should reflect. Please feel free to dress comfortably, but please also refrain from wearing shorts or t-shirts, and women are asked, in accordance with Orthodox tradition, to wear dresses or skirts instead of pants. While we will not impress the Lord with clothing, we will honor Him with our modesty and piety. As the scriptures say, "Holiness befits Your house, O Lord, for evermore" (Psalm 93.5).
What are all the 'pictures?'The 'pictures" found on the walls of the Church are called holy icons. An icon is an image of our Incarnate Savior Jesus Christ, the Saints, Angels, important Biblical events, parables, or events in the history of the Church. You will see people kiss and venerate (bow before) the icons as a sign of respect. Orthodox Christians pray in the presence of icons (just as Israelites prayed in the presence of icons in the Temple), but we do not pray to the image, as we worship only God. Icons are, therefore, not idols, nor do they violate in any way the Ten Commandments' prohibition of worshiping idols. You do not have to venerate the icons if you are uncomfortable doing so. If you do, out of respect for others please be sure your lips are clean (no lipstick, please). You can learn more about holy icons and other aspects of Orthodox Christian art and architecture here.
Can I receive the Holy Eucharist if I am not an Orthodox Christian?While we extend every hospitality possible to visitors and non-members, the Orthodox Christian Church celebrates the Holy Eucharist as the divine mystery of Christ’s real presence, so it is reserved for those members of the Orthodox Church who have prepared themselves to receive the Body & Blood of the Lord. Non-Orthodox are still invited to participate in the worship of the church and are welcome to attend all parts of the service. There are many other blessings to be received, and if you are unfamiliar or unsure about any of them ... please ask!
Is there childcare provided?In our services, children worship along their families and are always welcome. If needed, we offer a "Family and Pastoral Care Room" off the Narthex with windows into the church, where parents can nurse or tend to small or unsettled youngsters. There are also changing tables in all restrooms. At the conclusion of Holy Communtion, children are invited to participate in our Church School ministry during the school year, September through May. The church does not provide child care services except on special occasions such as adult classes and seminars.
I like it here! How can I join?Please speak with our clergy or a member of the Parish Council or Hospitality Ministry about how to become a member of the parish. We are a stewardship-based parish. You can learn more about Orthodox Christian Stewardship here.