Welcome to St. Nicholas!
We would like to familiarize you with some things that may be helpful to you on your first visits to our church. One of the first things you will notice upon entering an Orthodox church is the candle stand where parishoners are lighting candles and venerating and kissing icons. Before beginning their liturgical experience Orthodox Christians will voluntarily light candles, say prayers and venerate the icons.
As one of the American churches of the Greek tradition, St. Nicholas has pews. Please feel free to sit where you are comfortable, though we would invite you to sit closer to the front where you can experience all the sights, smells and sounds of the Liturgy.
You will notice parishoners crossing themselves, bowing, and kneeling at times during the Liturgy. The cross is an affirmation of the Holy Trinity and is done by Orthodox Christians at any point in the Liturgy where they are praying through the Holy Trinity. You may also find that the amount of standing during the Liturgy is too challenging. You are welcome to take a seat.
The Orthodox Church follows a rich Liturgical tradition. The regular Liturgy is contained in the hymnals at the pews. While our choir may sing slight variations on the hymnal songs the sequence of the Liturgy remains the same. At the Small Entrance where the priest presents the Gospel book several hymns are sung which change from week to week or according to the festal calendar. At this point the Apolitikion or Hymn of the Day is sung followed by the Hymn of the Church, which for us is the hymn of St. Nicholas. This small sequence of hymns is concluded with the Kontakion which may reflect a recent or upcoming feast of the Church.
It is with deepest regret that we ask you to abstain from receiving Holy Communion. This is a sacrament reserved for those who are baptized, chrismated and prepared Orthodox Christians. It pains us to turn away a Christian who loves and worships the Lord Jesus, but because of the separation of the Christian churches and the different understandings many non-Orthodox churches have about the Sacrament of Holy Communion we ask you to abstain.
You are welcome to receive the blessed bread given by the priest at the conclusion of the Liturgy. Everyone is allowed to receive this bread which is part of the bread prepared for the Liturgy. The priest will place the piece of bread in your cupped hands and Orthodox Christians may kiss the priest's hand as a reverence of his position as God's representative in the Liturgy.
Please join us at our Coffee Hour in the hall after the service. We would like to meet you, answer your questions and welcome you to our Church. Coffee hour is typically light refreshments provided by members of the parish. At times there are luncheons which you are also invited to attend as our guests. We look forward to meeting you at St. Nicholas!