12 Things I wish I had known on my first visit to an Orthodox Church. An excellent article by Frederica Mathews-Green before you visit an Orthodox Church.
The Orthodox Church in America website has wide array questions and answers to encourage you on your path to Orthodoxy.
The Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of America website has excellent articles on numerous topics about Orthodoxy.
The Sunday Divine Liturgy begins at 10:00am and typically concludes just before noon. Saturday Vespers begins at 5pm and typically concludes around 5:40pm. Please join us for our social hour after the Divine Liturgy.
There is not a formal dress code. However, common sense should be used– this is the House of God. Provocative clothing should not be worn.
Absolutely! The Orthodox Church baptizes infants and they are full members of the Church. Holy Trinity is blessed with many children, and their parents can provide practical tips for those of you who have toddlers and infants.
Holy Communion may only be received by baptized Orthodox Christians who have prepared themselves to receive the Body and Blood of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Yes, there are chairs. Typically we stand in worship, but, if necessary, you may sit.
Eastern Orthodox services trace their beginnings back to the Old Testament liturgical rites and services of the Hebrews. They are a treasury of Scripture readings, prayers, hymns, and canons composed by the Saints and pious Christians throughout the ages. Like our Jewish predecessors, Orthodox services are liturgical, sacramental, and ceremonial. Many of the hymns you hear come from the Psalms. Most of them are sung or chanted, as has been the tradition since the days of Jewish/Christian practice. Some of the ancient document sources of the Orthodox liturgical order of service go back to the second (Justin Martyr, c. A.D. 150) and third centuries (Hippolytus, c. 215 A.D.). Eastern liturgies were developed further in the fourth and fifth centuries. Liturgical practices stabilized in the sixth century, and by the eighth century were so fixed that they have not changed to this day.
You will see candles burning before the icons and on the altar, signifying the light of truth given by the Lord, illuminating the world with spiritual radiance. Candles also represent the non-created light of the Holy Trinity, for the Lord dwells in an unapproachable light. They also represent the fire of Divinity which destroys our ungodliness and sins. Candles also symbolize our soul’s burning love of God and the spiritual joy and triumph of the Church. The candles before the icon of Christ signify that He is the True Light which lights every man that comes into the world.
Wall icons and artwork appeared in Jewish temples early in ancient history (note: Duros Europos Temple destroyed in the mid 200’s) even before their use in Christian churches. Because the Son of God took on human flesh and became incarnate as man in Jesus Christ, the Church decreed it was appropriate to portray the glory of God incarnate visually through icons. Icons are NOT idols or graven images (which depicted images of false gods), and their place in Christian worship and piety was clearly articulated, defended and approved at the Seventh Ecumenical Council of the Church in the Eighth Century. Byzantine icon style may seem austere and strange at first. They are not meant to depict the natural beauty of the material world, but rather the spiritual beauty of the Kingdom of Heaven and its inhabitants (Saints). Icons are venerated, but not worshipped, by Orthodox Christians.This is a misunderstanding by some in modern Christendom, especially those who have been influenced by Puritan and Anabaptist traditions, and the Islamic tradition, which rejects any and all images.
We are most certainly Christian. We are the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church that was established on the day of Pentecost in the first century AD.
The word orthodox was coined by the ancient Christian Fathers of the Church, the name traditionally given to the Christian writers in the first centuries of Christian history. Orthodox is a combination of two Greek words, orthos and doxa. Orthos means “straight” or “correct.” Doxa means at one and the same time “glory,” “worship” and “doctrine.” So the word orthodox signifies both “proper worship” and “correct doctrine.”
There is no difference in doctrine between the Orthodox Church in America and any other canonical Orthodox Church in the world. There is a plurality of Orthodox Churches in America and many other countries in the world due to the mass migration of populations in the late 19 th and early 20th centuries. The various ethnic identities of the Orthodox Churches here in America are representative of the lands that Orthodox Christians came from. However, there is absolutely no difference in doctrine or theology.
As a remembrance of Christ’s saving victory over death on the Cross. Orthodox make the sign of the Cross at specific times during every Divine service. The sign of the Cross is made is the following manner: the thumb, index finger and middle finger are placed together symbolizing the Triune God in His Oneness. The ring finger and pinky are placed in the palm of the hand to remind us of Christ’s dual nature, both fully divine and fully human. The motion of making the sign of the Cross is: first to touch the forehead, next the chest (heart), followed by the right shoulder and lastly the left shoulder.
One does not have to be an Orthodox Christian in order to make the sign of the Cross. Anyone who
believes in God’s salvation may make the sign of the Cross with reverence and devotion!
Contributions from Holy Trinity Parishioners
I was born and raised in Orthodoxy in Olyphant, Pennsylvania.In 1956 I joined the Air Force and was stationed in South Dakota for four years. There was not an Orthodox Church within 300 miles. I then attended Catholic and various Protestant Services. Every Pascha I went home to receive my annual Sacraments of Confession and Holy Communion. A recall in 1961 took me out of Penn State and brought me out to Missouri. I joined the “Russian Church on the hill”, in Kansas City, Kansas and have been a member of Holy Trinity for over 50 years. Whether you leave home for College, a job or the Military, once you are an Orthodox Christian you will most likely always return to Orthodoxy. Your “Soul” tells you that you have found the true faith.
I grew up an active Methodist in Kansas City, Missouri. However, in college, through reading and travel, I discovered a religious void. When a friend introduced me to Holy Trinity Orthodox Church, I found truth in answers to questions I had not yet even realized. Suddenly saints and sacraments made sense to me. Truly, the Holy Spirit guided me to a loving spiritual family.
I am a convert to Orthodoxy, and Holy Trinity has made my spiritual life so much richer. I love the beauty of its services. In addition, it is a kind, caring and welcoming community that provides a wonderful instructional environment which has helped answer a lot of questions. I am blessed that this is where God has led me on my journey.
In our late 60’s and having been Orthodox 25 yrs., My wife and I have found Holy Trinity Parish ever faithful in providing opportunities for our spiritual guidance & continued growth as Orthodox Christians.
I became Orthodox, because it feels like heaven when we are at church. I love being orthodox because we aren’t expected to know everything all at once, we have time and space to learn about God in a very personal way. There is always room for growth and knowledge.
After months of research the Holy Spirit challenged my understanding of the Christian faith. Church is not about how I want to worship, it’s about how God wants us to worship. Holy Trinity Orthodox Church provides the faithful and those learning the Christian faith with an opportunity to connect to a rich apostolic tradition established and taught by the original church fathers. The community lead by Fr. Tim welcomed me on my first day and encouraged my involvement and spiritual growth. I found a home and a fulfilling way of life at Holy Trinity!
After years of searching, a military chaplain helped my family find orthodoxy. Holy Trinity is very welcoming of converts and full of young families, which appealed to us since we were looking to start a family of our own. Six years later, Holy trinity has provided our daughter with phenomenal godparents, a host of friends, and a church home in which to serve and grow.
After moving to Kansas and checking out several Orthodox churches in the area we decided on Holy Trinity for three reasons. First, the Priest, Father Tim, is easy to talk to and his sermons hit home while being infused with some levity. Second, the choir sounds like a “choir of angels” making you feel like you’re in a heavenly place . Third, the parishioners greet you with a smile and a warm “hello,” like they’ve known you for years.
We have been on a spiritual journey taking us many years and many places seeking the Church of the early centuries. It is with great joy that we can say and sing, “We have found the true light” shining brightly at Holy Trinity. It is good to finally be “home”.
Becoming Orthodox for me was the natural end of my search for an authentic and true catholicism. I had spent 40+ years as a Roman Catholic and Anglo-Catholic Anglican. Although I remain close to both communions, and while both reflect positively certain elements of the catholic faith of the undivided Church, only Holy Orthodoxy possesses the fullest vision of the Church founded by Christ. It has been said that Orthodoxy is about Truth — the Truth of God in His Church. For me, this Truth was found by coming home to the true catholic Church which has preached the Word and kept His sacraments for 2000 years… Holy Orthodoxy.