Frequently Asked Questions
I. Pastoral Questions
How can I get my child baptized?
Baptism is the Sacrament (Holy Mysterion), by which we are made members of Christ’s body, the Holy Church, and heirs of His Kingdom. Adults or older children will meet with the pastor for better understanding of the significance of Orthodox Christian baptism. For infant or baby baptisms, the parents or sponsors, on behalf of the child, will meet with the pastor to get to understand the significance of this holy mystery.
How can I get married?
The Sacrament of Marriage (Crowning) is intended by God to be a creative union of a man and a woman; God’s blessing enables spouses to love and support each other in their relationship during both happy and challenging times. For Orthodox Christians, marriage is also an invitation to share life together with Jesus Christ and to work together for each other's salvation. It is based upon a solemn, public and life-long covenant between husband and wife, celebrated in the presence of God and administered by the priest. It is often surrounded by the Christian community.
The Sacrament of Marriage is available to Orthodox Christians who seek recognition and blessing of their union in the Holy Church. Persons seeking to be married must, of course, meet the legal requirements of their residence. At least one of them must be Orthodox. If local law does not specify an age for marriage, we require both persons to be at least 18 years old.
How can I arrange a Funeral or Memorial Service?
In the Service for a christian funeral or memorial we pray that life has changed, not ended. We support this with our clear theology and attitude toward life after death. This is shown by the respect the church has for the human person in both body and soul.
A christian funeral or memorial provides condolence and comfort for family and friends of the deceased, as well as encourages them to pray, along with the church, for the soul of the departed. Our pastor is available to discuss funeral or memorial plans for your loved one, to mourn his or her loss appropriately and to give hope of eternal life.
For more information concerning or scheduling a Baptism, Marriage Ceremony or a Funeral/Memorial please make contact with the pastor.
II. Other Questions
What does Theotokos mean?
Theotokos literally means God-bearer, but is usually referred to as "Mother of God". It is a title for the Virgin Mary. Orthodox love and honor, but do not worship her. God Himself loved and honored. The attention given to her in the Church also expresses our faith that Jesus Christ is truly human, born of a woman as we are, yet remains truly God; so His human mother can be called the Mother of God.
Why venerate the Saints?
Not only God is worthy of praise; rather, “Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things” (Philippians 4:8). Praise is an appropriate response to virtue (Proverbs 27:2, 31:31). What father is displeased when you praise his sons and daughters? God is not shortchanged; rather “God is glorified in His saints” (2 Th 1:9-12).
What are Icons?
Icons are paintings of Christ, the Saints, biblical stories and sometimes holy events. They are usually painted according to traditional guidelines, because they are an important way of conveying our faith. Similar to persons who are dear to us, icons and crosses are venerated or kissed, but never worshipped. Persons and events depicted in iconography become present to us as we ask the Saints to pray for us. We do not believe that a person dies after death, but rather enters eternal life. The Saints are those who are already in heaven and hence are accessible to hear our petitions and requests for prayers.
Why do you use incense, vestments and candles?
Incense, vestments and candles are part of the imagery of heavenly worship in the Book of Revelation. During Liturgy, we participate in the worship of the angels and saints while we still dwell in this world.
Why do you use ancient prayers and hymns?
Ancient prayers and hymns are used rather than extemporaneous or modern worship forms, because they contain the accumulated insights of many centuries of wisdom. They are also packed with biblical quotations. Their repetitious nature becomes rooted in our minds. Most of them are chanted or sung (rather than spoken), so we are less conscious of the personality of the individual reader.
How can I join the Church?
Many people visit and worship with us for a while. Those desiring to become Orthodox Christians are received as Catechumens (learners). They usually spend some time learning more about the faith, the Eastern tradition while attending the Services. Finally, if they have not already received Christian Baptism, they are baptized and chrismated (anointed with Holy Chrism) and then receive Holy Communion, which completes their entry into the church.