Greet one another with a holy kiss.
(Romans 16:16, I Corinthians 16:20; II Corinthians 13:12; 1 Peter 5:14)
In the Early Church, the holy kiss was a common practice among Christians.
Immediately before the Eucharistic Offering we exchange the Kiss of Peace. Following the Russian tradition, we greet one another with three kisses on alternating cheeks (though on occasion you may exchange the kiss with someone from the Greek or Syrian traditions where two kisses are the norm).
Kissing in church is not a common feature of most Christian worship in North America. However, we have intentionally revived this tradition in recognition of the traditions represented in our congregation. But if you’re not comfortable with kissing, a handshake will work just fine.
The Eucharist begins with the recitation of the Creed or “The Symbol of Faith.”
The Creed has been a part of the Orthodox Church in its current form since 381 CE. You can listen to the Creed being sung here and learn the words if you’d like to join in:
In the Orthodox Christian tradition we engage our entire beings – body, mind, and spirit – as a part of our worship. Orthodox worship is chanted. Incense is offered up. Orthodox worship engages all the senses.
The Trisagion or the “Thrice Holy Hymn” is an ancient hymn of the church.
In recognition of the multiple Eastern Orthodox traditions that have come together in our parish, we sing in English, Greek, and Church Slavonic (the language of the Bulgarian, Russian, and Serbian churches).
At each service we sing a hymn venerating St. Makarios the Great, the patron saint of our congregation. Read more about St. Markarios or listen to the hymn as sung in Byzantine Tone 1.
Citizen of the desert and angel in the body,
You were a wonderworker, our God-bearing father Makarios!
You received heavenly gifts, through fasting, vigil and prayer,
Healing the sick and the souls those who run to you in faith.
Glory to Him who gave you strength!
Glory to Him who granted you a crown!
Glory to Him who through you grants healing to all!
We regularly sing the Beatitudes, taken from the Sermon on the Mount.
If you arrive at the end of the morning prayer service, you will hear this as the last song of the service. The priest generally censes the altar, the congregation, and the icons in the entrance hall, marking the transition from one service to the next.