What to Expect
We're glad you've decided to visit!
Where should I park?
There is a parking lot behind the church building. We are located within a neighborhood, not on a busy main street, so parking directly on Watt Street can also be safe and convenient.
What should I wear?
Because traditional Orthodox worship involves the body and well as the soul, we tend to shy away from restrictive and formal styles of clothing – after all, how can you make a deep bow from the waist if your tie is choking you as you do so? But still, attire should be modest and show a sense of respect for the house of God. Some folks will be a bit more dressed up; but most dress along the lines of business casual. Many of our ladies choose to wear head-coverings, as is traditional, but many do not; so a visiting lady who is not used to such should not feel at all self-conscious without one.
Is there childcare?
In Orthodox services, children worship alongside their parents as integral members of the Body of Christ. Sometimes parents take restless children briefly into the narthex (lobby) as needed, but the sound of children in the services is normally taken to be a beautiful sign of life. Toddlers and preschoolers may find it helpful to have a board book in hand to help maintain calm (we keep a few of these available to pick-up on the narthex tables).
For the convenience of nursing mothers, there is a small nursing room available just off the coffee hour room equipped with a video feed from the service.
What language do you use?
English primarily, but salted occasionally with a little Greek, Church Slavonic, Arabic, etc.
May I receive Holy Communion?
In the Orthodox Church we practice what is often called “closed” communion, so only those who have been formally received into the Orthodox Church may partake. If you are not already Orthodox, please view this as an invitation to give serious consideration to Orthodox Christianity, soon joining us in our commitment to all of the ancient Church’s dogma, practice, and discipline, which we believe to be life-giving.
Which service would be best for my first?
The Sunday cycle of services are Great Vespers and Orthros and Divine Liturgy. Great Vespers is the evening prayer of the Church. Orthros (sometimes known as Matins) is the morning prayer of the Church. These two help to prepare us for the Divine Liturgy, the service that culminates in Holy Communion.
Many find Great Vespers to be a good introduction to the style and feel of Orthodox worship, others like to jump right in to the Divine Liturgy. Either is just fine. More importantly, when you come, don’t worry about “getting” it all at once. If you would like to follow along in a service book, do so, but mostly just let the flow of the prayer, hymns, and ritual wash over you. A wise woman often tells visitors: “Come at least three times, preferably three weeks in a row, then you will begin to know.”
I’m shy, can I just come and pray quietly?
Yes, please do. But our parishioners do tend to be a friendly bunch, so please be patient with us in our enthusiasm.
You may find it helpful to read the article “Twelve Things I Wish I’d Known” shortly before your first visit. When you are ready to explore further, you might enjoy the series of videos on our “Intro Class 101” page. Still, you don’t have to study up first; just “come and see,” sometimes letting the flow of the prayers, hymns, and ritual wash over you is the best approach.