Sunday services at St. Nicholas, as at many other Orthodox churches, includes two services — Matins, or morning prayer, and the Divine Liturgy, the Communion service. Because the two services happen back to back, many first-time visitors may not notice the changeover from one to the other.
Ordinary Sunday Matins is a prayer service organized around eight “odes” or songs from the Bible, along with a Gospel reading. It lasts about an hour. It ends with a dismissal, and the Liturgy begins immediately.
If you’ve been to a Catholic Mass, you’ll find the structure of the Orthodox Liturgy familiar. It begins with teaching and ends with Communion.
The teaching part of the Liturgy includes hymns for the day, readings from the Gospels and Epistles, and the sermon.
The service of Communion includes many petitions of intercession, the offering of our gifts to God, and calling on the Lord to be present in the wine and the bread. Orthodox Christians believe that Christ is truly present in the Holy Communion we receive.
We Orthodox have never had the innovation called “open Communion” that is common among some faith traditions. We feel the pain of the divisions in Christendom and leave the questions of salvation to our Merciful Judge, but for this time, Communion must be reserved to those Orthodox Christians who have prepared for the sacrament. You’ll find more information about Communion practices on the page Your First Visit.
After Sunday Liturgy, you’re invited to join us for brunch in the parish hall. We usually have a full lunch available for a small, entirely voluntary, donation. You’ll find a friendly welcome, good conversation, and an atmosphere where you are invited to share your story and ask any questions you wish.