GUIDELINES FOR SACRAMENTS
We always welcome visitors to our parish, and invite you to attend our services and experience the beauty of the ancient Christian faith as it has been preserved unaltered from Apostolic times. However, we ask that you respect the teachings of the Orthodox Church in that the Sacraments are reserved only for Orthodox Christians who are active communicants of the Canonical Orthodox Church. In the United States, the Canonical Church is defined as one whose ruling bishop is a member of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops. By the term active communicant, it is understood that the person is an active participant in the life of the Orthodox Church, adherent to her teachings and practices. An Orthodox Christian must make frequent confessions and likewise receive frequent Communion or else they have separated themselves from the Church. This also applies to those have fallen into apostasy, that is, those who deny the Orthodox faith by participating in any way in the liturgical and/or sacramental life of a non-Orthodox confession. Merely being a "dues-paying member" of the parish is not an automatic entitlement to the sacramental life of the Church, which includes funerals and weddings. Below are general guidelines, but if you would like more information please call Fr. Stephen at 201-398-5059 or use the confidential form on the contact page of this website. Current parishioners are strongly encouraged to read the attached letter from Fr. Stephen which can be found by following this link.
Baptism - Baptisms can be arranged in advance or may be performed immediately under emergency conditions. Baptisms are normally performed in the church unless exigent conditions exist. At least one sponsor (Godparent) is required, and they must be an Orthodox Christian who is knowledgeable of and adherent to the teachings of the Orthodox Church. If only one Orthodox sponsor is chosen, they should be of the same sex as the child. Potential sponsors must meet with the pastor in advance to determine their eligibility and to discuss their responsibilities.
Becoming Orthodox - The Orthodox Christian faith is universal...it is open to anyone from any background who wishes to accept and adhere to the teachings of the ancient and unaltered Apostolic Faith. For inquiries regarding reception into the Orthodox Church please contact Fr. Stephen at 201-398-5059 or via the contact form.
Communion - Communion is reserved strictly for Orthodox Christians who have properly prepared themselves through repentance (confession), prayer and fasting.
Confession - Confession is reserved strictly for Orthodox Christians. Frequent confession is encouraged, and confessions are available before each scheduled service as well as upon request as needed by contacting Fr. Stephen for arrangements.
Funerals - An Orthodox funeral is permitted only for Orthodox Christians who were active communicants of the Orthodox Church at the time of death, and are arranged through a licensed funeral director in coordination with the family and the pastor. An Orthodox funeral must be served in the church; Funeral Home or graveside-only services are not permitted. If a Funeral Home is used for the viewing, a Panikhida (Requiem Service) may be served there in the evening prior to the church funeral. As the practice of cremation is contrary to the teachings of the Orthodox Church, an Orthodox funeral is not possible if the remains are to be cremated.
Marriage - According to the Canons of the Church, an Orthodox Christian may not enter into marriage with a heterodox (non-Orthodox) person, however it is the generally accepted practice in the interest of economy that at least one of the couple must be Orthodox while the other must be at least a Christian with a valid baptism. It's essential to contact the pastor well in advance to discuss the possibility of marriage to make sure that all circumstances are in keeping with the teachings and practices of the Orthodox Church and that no canonical impediments exist. There are many times during the year in which marriage is prohibited, so the date must be planned accordingly. It is expected that those who are to be married in the Church are either already active or will become active communicants of the parish community, as this is befitting an Orthodox Christian household. Therefore those who wish to remain outside of the parish community will not be permitted a marriage within it.