A Warm Welcome And Brief Orientation To St. Anna’s Orthodox Church
At St. Anna’s we attempt to keep those traditions and order in the Church which have been handed down through the centuries. The Church’s calendar is the Julian calendar: there are 13 days difference between the Julian and Gregorian calendar which means, for example, that the Feast of the Nativity of Christ, celebrated on December 25 on the Church calendar, falls on January 7 on the civil calendar.
You will find the church has a beautifully open feeling — we stand during most parts of our services so there are no pews. We stand thus in the presence of our Lord and God, just as we would stand in the presence of an earthly king (there is limited seating around the edges so that those needing a break can sit temporarily). You will also see that we stand with women on the left and men on the right side of the church.
Some things you will observe in an Orthodox church
Icons are representations (and reminders) of certain events central to the Church, or of certain saints. The Orthodox Church honors saints beyond number, some even without name (such as groups of many martyrs). Therefore, there are many icons; and many people have their “favorite” icons, saints, etc. Some things of importance about icons:
- They do NOT attempt to be “naturalistic.” They convey a “spiritual” element beyond the “naturalistic”, and it is their spiritual communication that is important to the believer.
- Making an icon is a spiritual event. It is done with great prayer and devotion, follows certain traditional rules of composition and color, and typically requires many years of practice.
- We reverence icons, typically by bowing before them and kissing them. This essential Orthodox practice is often misunderstood. This is NOT IDOLATRY. We do not offer “adoration” to the icon. We believe that the icon is a representation of the event or person it commemorates, and that when we reverence the icon we are offering reverence to the event or person it represents. The icon facilitates our feelings of humility and love toward the event or individual represented. (It is of some importance to note that the Orthodox do NOT represent God the Father, as He has never revealed Himself to man. We DO represent the Savior (God the Son) as HE DID reveal Himself to us when He became man. And the Holy Spirit is2 represented in the icons as, for example, the dove in the icon of the Theophany (the Baptism of our Savior) and the tongues of fire in the icon of Pentecost (Whitsunday).
There are no pews or benches for the congregation to sit during the services
- We ask that you follow the example of parishioners as to standing and sitting during the services, men on the right and women on the left – all dressed modestly and appropriately. The tradition of the Church is that of standing during the services. The aged and those who are ill are exempted from standing.
- Women with head coverings, long sleeves and no pants
- Men with long sleeves and no hats
Liturgical chant (singing) with no instruments
All these have a basis in tradition and Scripture, which are very important to the Orthodox, and they serve to keep good order in order to limit distractions in our service of instruction, worship, and prayer.
Important to note
- Communion is given ONLY to established members of the Orthodox Church in a relationship with a valid Bishop (Apostolic Succession). Therefore, unlike many churches, we cannot offer sacraments, especially communion, to others.
- Antidoron, blessed bread, is distributed at the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy to those Orthodox Christians who have fasted and did not receive Holy Communion.
- You may come forward to venerate the cross held by the clergyman and introduce yourself to him: however, the priest will not give antidoron to non-Orthodox.
We believe this is in no way “punitive” to other faiths, or denominations, but that unwavering adherence to our doctrine and principles, based on the scriptures, the interpretations of the Fathers of the Church, and the Church Councils, is what makes the Church “worthwhile.” In other words, if doctrine and principles are negotiable or proper subjects for revision according to changing social conditions, they lose their eternal and transcendent authority. For our own part, we, also, do not expect to receive the sacraments from other churches.
We would be delighted to know you better. Please feel free to attend our services as you desire.
Typical Weekly Services:
Saturday 6:00 pm—Great Vespers
Sunday 7:30 am — Matins: 9:30 am ! Divine Liturgy
There are many additional services for special occasions. These may be found in our church calendar, which in turn can be found on our website.
There is a meal in the Church hall following the Divine Liturgy. All are welcome.
Father Dimitry Kukunov, Assistant Priest
Father Savas Papadopoulos, Deacon