The Orthodox Church has often been called "the best kept secret in America". It has been part of the American religious landscape since the colonial period and flourished both among the Native American tribes of Alaska and in the immigrant communities of the lower 48 states. Over the past 50 years, it has become home to a rapidly growing number of American converts from a wide variety of backgrounds. We are glad you have discovered our parish and we hope that you will come visit us in person soon.
Yes! We are always happy to share our faith with newcomers, inquirers, and visitors. We are a diverse and dynamic community and come from a variety of backgrounds.
If you are visiting for the first time, we especially encourage you to attend the Divine Liturgy service, which begins on with Matins on Sunday mornings at 8:30 a.m. When you arrive, a greeter will welcome you, hand you a Prayer Book to follow along during the divine services. All of our services are in English. Following the Divine Liturgy, you are invited to join everyone else for fellowship which includes coffee and refreshments. It is a perfect time to get to know our congregation and to meet our priest, Fr. Daniel Mathai.
The Divine Liturgy is usually about 90 minutes long. Matins (morning prayer) which precedes Divine Liturgy lasts about 45 minutes. Other services vary.
We encourage everyone to dress appropriately, modestly, and respectfully. We do ask, however, that you refrain from wearing shorts, mini-skirts, tank tops, low-cut or strapless dresses (unless covered by a sweater, etc.), or shirts with advertisements, slogans, or inappropriate images. Some Orthodox women wear head coverings, especially when approaching the altar, but this is not required. Men are asked not to wear head coverings (baseball caps, etc.) in the church area of the building.
We do not have childcare because we encourage children to be present in church for the services. We believe that this participation is an important part of a child's spiritual formation.
Yes. Sunday School is available immediately after fellowship.
The traditional posture for prayer and worship in the Orthodox Church is standing, and in many Old World churches seating is limited mostly to the elderly or disabled. We encourage everybody to stand, as they are able, during the Gospel reading, when offering incense, the distribution of Holy Communion, when the priest gives a blessing, and the Dismissal. Or...you can just follow the congregation.
Because the Orthodox Church celebrates the Holy Eucharist as the divine mystery of Christ's real presence, it is reserved for those members of the Orthodox Church who have prepared with fasting and prayer to receive the Body and 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.
Yes! Towards the end of the Divine Liturgy, the congregation will begin lining up to kiss the hand of the priest and to receive his blessing. The Orthodox understand that when they are kissing the hand of the priest, they are really kissing the hand of Christ Himself. If you are uncomfortable with doing this, it's okay not to kiss the hand of the priest as long as you are approaching respectfully.
Most of the Orthodox service is congregational singing. Traditionally, Orthodox do not use instruments. Usually, the deacons or cantors leads the congregation in worship. The music is solemn, prayerful, and intended to lead the faithful to a deeper worship experience.
Under the guidance of His Grace Zachariah Mar Nicholovos, Metropolitan, a few of us felt the need of such a parish in the Long Island area. There are many of our fellow brothers and sisters who have been raised in the Orthodox Christian faith but have been jaded, hurt, disconnected to their community, etc. We hope this parish will be a safe haven for them, to reconnect to their faith, and grow with fellow Orthodox Christians in the image and likeness of God.
New visitors will find that there are many new things to experience in an Orthodox Church service. In fact, they are often surprised at how different the experience is when compared to Protestant church services. Feel free to go at your own pace, and don't hesitate to ask questions either at church or contact us privately.