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 Holy Mysteries (Sacraments) are reserved only for those baptized and chrismated Orthodox Christians who are communicants in good standing of the Canonical 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. The term "good standing" should be understood as one who is adherent to the teachings and Canons of the Orthodox Church. Below are general guidelines for those who wish to participate in the sacramental life of the Church. For more information please call Fr. Stephen at 201-398-5059 or use the confidential form on the contact page of this website.
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 in good standing. If only one sponsor is chosen, they must 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.
Communion - Communion is reserved strictly for Orthodox Christians in good standing 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.
Conversion - 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 Church. For inquiries regarding reception into the Orthodox Church please contact Fr. Stephen at 201-398-5059 or via the contact form.
Funerals - Orthodox funerals are permitted only for Orthodox Christians who are communicants in good standing 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 requiem services do not constitute an Orthodox funeral, and if such services are requested it should be understood that the deceased is being denied a proper Orthodox Christian burial by those who are making such arrangements. As the practice of cremation is prohibited by the Orthodox Church, an Orthodox funeral is not possible under those circumstances.
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.