Guidelines for Members
Orthodox Christians should attend Liturgy every Sunday and on all
major feast days of the year. Since attendance is considered a privilege, every
effort should be made to be present when the Liturgy begins with the words, "Blessed
is the Kingdom." These words call the worshippers to experience the reality of the
communion between God and all the faithful who are members of the Militant Church
on earth and the Triumphant one in Heaven. The Divine Liturgy embodies the Holy
Eucharist. Therefore, attendance is so vital that Canon 80, Council of Trullo 692
AD states, "..if a layman staying in a town without coming to divine services for
three Sundays...he should be denied Communion."
For Orthodox Christians, partaking of Holy Communion (Holy
Eucharist) is the most sacred of all acts. Receiving the very body and very blood of
Jesus Christ is the highest privilege granted by the Lord to His Church. It is the
sign that the recipients have formally accepted the Orthodox Faith through Baptism
and/or Holy Chrismation (confirmation). In addition Orthodox Christians prepare to
receive Holy Communion by following established periods of fasting throughout the
year and by partaking in the sacrament of Confession. It is for these reasons that
only Orthodox Christians may receive Holy Communion ...and they do not participate
in any sacraments of other Christian bodies. At the Saint Luke parish, those who
wish to partake of Holy Communion must fast from all food and drink from midnight the
night before. They are also are encouraged to partake of Confession frequently but not
less than once a year. For those who receive Communion each Sunday, communal
Confession is offered four times a year during the four fasting periods. Visitors who
are in good standing of another Orthodox parish are welcome to receive Holy Communion.
However, it is a courtesy to inform the priest before the Divine Liturgy.
A Candle Offering
Upon entering the church, Orthodox Christians light a candle before
an icon as a reminder of Christ's words from the Sermon on the Mount. "You are the
light of the world...Let your light so shine before others that they may see your good
works and glorify your Father who is in heaven." (Matt. 5: 14, 16) Candles are also
burned as a prayer offering and for the commemoration of the departed who are with
Christ. (The donation for the candle is an amount determined by the person.) The
faithful venerate the icon of the season, say private prayers, and join the
congregation in worship. They stand, sit, or kneel and cross themselves as the moment
At this point, it should be made clear that gestures and attitudes
in the Church are the expressions of personal feelings. For this reason individual
expressions remain with the individual and are not firmly regulated for each and every
case. Orthodox Christians may cross themselves, kneel, venerate an icon, or stand
depending upon their personal feelings during the Liturgy. With regards to kneeling,
Church history and Orthodox tradition teach that at the beginning of Christianity,
everyone participated in the Divine Liturgy daily, not just on Sundays. Since they
knelt during the daily Liturgies, they did not kneel on Sundays. The First Ecumenical
Council in 325 AD decreed that Sunday is the great day dedicated to the Resurrection
of Our Lord, and Christians should pray standing and not kneeling. Over the
centuries, as Orthodox Christians could not attend daily Divine Liturgies, the general
practice was for participants to kneel at least during the consecration of the Holy
Gifts, when the choir sings, "We praise You..." and during the Lord's Prayer. The
Church especially prohibits kneeling from Easter to Pentecost, since this is a season
of great joy and happiness.
The Orthodox Liturgy is always sung. The responses are given by
specially trained cantors, choir directors, choirs, and by the entire congregation.
The ancient practice of the Church was that the entire congregation sang the responses.
Singing in an Orthodox Church is considered prayer transformed into poetry and music.
For this reason the Holy Fathers and Church Canons condemned the use of elaborate
music or instrumental music in the Liturgy. At Saint Luke there is no musical
Any adult who has accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and has undergone an
examination of conscience by the priest can be baptized. Children are baptized and
confirmed as full members of the Church under the sponsorship of Godparents who
pledge to nurture the child in the faith. Children are encouraged to receive Holy
Communion regularly. Mark 10:14 (RSV) states, "Let the children come to me, do not
hinder them; for to such belong the Kingdom of God."
Baptisms are usually performed on Sunday, but anytime is possible. In case of newborns
the baptism should be scheduled before the 40th day after birth.
Choosing the name is the right of the parents or, in the case of an adult, by
the adult... with the consultation of the priest. On the eight day after birth, the
priest gives the name at a special prayer service. The name must be that of an
Orthodox Christian Saint, not one chosen at random. Children should be taught about
their patron Saints as guides for their lives. Since each baptized Christian chooses
one patron Saint, only one name is given at the Baptism - not two. The name should
match the patron Saint's name in English and not be altered. Altering the Saint's name
violates the Orthodox practice of honoring and venerating the Saints. (Example: using
William instead of Basil)
The priest should be contacted to arrange for the following: (1) Naming of the child
on the eighth day, (2) Churching of the mother and child prior to the Baptism and (3)
Date of the Baptism.
The following items should be supplied for the Baptism: (1) An Orthodox style Cross
with chain or ribbon, (2) All white baptismal outfit including white undershirt,
diaper, socks and shoes, (3) White blanket, (4) One large (bath size) white towel, (5)
One small white hand size towel, (6) One white crib-size flat sheet, (7) Baptismal
candles - available in the church bookstore, (8) One small (8.5 oz) bottle of olive
oil and (9) one bar of hand soap ( unnecessary in some traditions).
One sponsor is required for the ceremony and he/she must be an Orthodox Christian who
is in good standing in his/her parish.
There are no sacramental fees for pledging members. For membership enrollment, please
contact Father regarding membership. Quite often, a question arises regarding
honorariums for the clergy or cantor and/ or donations to the church. There are
various customs and traditions. These tokens of appreciation are not obligatory and
are left to the individual.
Marriage is permitted for a man and a woman of legal age who are not related. Since
Holy Matrimony is a sacrament, both bride and groom must be baptized Christians and
one must be an Orthodox Christian. (Members of non-Christian faiths and certain cults
cannot be wed in an Orthodox Christian ceremony.) If one of the parties has been
divorced, permission from the bishop is necessary. To be wed at Saint Luke, the couple
must become pledging members of the parish.
The priest should be contacted a year prior to the wedding but not less then 6 months.
Marriages take place on Sundays during non-Lenten periods (consult the Church
calendar). Under special circumstances permission for a Saturday wedding or during
Lent could be obtained from the Bishop.
Marriages take place in a Church with a consecrated Orthodox altar. Weddings in hotels
or gardens are not permitted.
Pre-marital counseling is required. It consists of three to four individual sessions.
There is a $50 fee for materials. On the Sunday before the wedding, Confession and
Holy Communion are required for the Orthodox Christian.
Two witnesses are necessary but one should be an Orthodox Christian: It is a tradition
that the best man becomes the Godfather of the first child. Accordingly he must be an
The following are necessary for the ceremony: (1) Two rings to be placed on the third
finger of the right hand, (2) Two wedding candles (can be purchased in the bookstore),
(3) Common Cup, (4) Wedding crowns (Unnecessary in some traditions because they are
supplied by the church) and (5) Man's large handkerchief.
Orthodox Christians who marry outside the Orthodox Church. forfeits his membership in
the church and may no longer receive Holy Communion. - (from Marriage, Documents of
the Orthodox Church in America, Pg 11)
Anyone who is a Christian and has not committed suicide, is being cremated or having
his/her body donated to science. (Donation of body parts for life saving is allowed).
Upon the death of a loved one, the priest should be informed before the funeral director
is contacted. The first day memorial can be celebrated at the bedside. Funerals are
celebrated on any day of the week. The services consist of a memorial vigil on the eve,
a Divine Liturgy in the church, and interment service at the cemetery. Memorial
services are arraigned on the ninth day, fortieth day and the first year. Memorial
services are normally held 15 minutes before the Divine Liturgy. Boiled wheat (koliva)
is suggested but not required.
Memorial services can be celebrated in the home, at a funeral home or at the cemetery.
Orthodox Christians who are pledging members of Saint Luke may be viewed in church
where the Liturgy and funeral service will take place.
St. Luke has purchased a section of Fairmont Willow Hills Cemetery located at 95th &
104th Ave. in Willow Springs. Lots may be purchased in advance for $650. Contact Roslyn
Houses are blessed year around but especially during the Theophany Season beginning on
Make an appointment with Father. Set the following items on a table: (1) Family icon,
(2) Small bowl with holy water - if unavailable Father will provide, (3) Lighted candle
in a holder, (4) List of all living and departed members of the family. (The whole
house is normally blessed, but Father will bless only those areas in which he is
The priest is to be informed when a parishioner is admitted to a hospital or is
scheduled to be admitted. In preparation the person should receive the sacraments of
Holy Unction and Holy Communion. The priest will administer the healing sacraments at
the hospital for those unable to receive prior to hospital admission. The person's
name will be given to the Prayer Ministry for continued prayers of healing. Upon
discharge the priest should also be notified.
The Orthodox Church is richly flowing with prayers for all occasions. Please contact
the priest for blessings for Thanksgiving, travel, new vehicles of travel, new house,
illness, cemetery graves, Paschal food and baskets, fruits and vegetables during
Transfiguration season, St. Basil's bread, Saints days (Slava), religious objects such
as icons or crosses, etc.