ORTHODOX CHRISTIAN PARISH OF
ST AETHELHEARD, LOUTH
ANTIOCHIAN ORTHODOX CHRISTIAN ARCHDIOCESE OF THE BRITISH ISLES AND IRELAND     
Patriarch: His Beatitude John X     Archbishop: His Eminence Metropolitan Silouan    
Priest: Fr Alban   email: father.alban11@gmail. com

Copyright of the Orthodox Christian Parish of St Aethelheard, Louth, Lincolnshire.  Registered Charity No 1102841

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Here are some questions that you might have....

Can I take Communion?

Orthodox Christians literally believe in the words of our Lord Jesus Christ (Luke 22:19-20) that the bread and the wine are His Body and Blood. They believe that the bread and the wine are the same thing which Christ gave to His disciples at the Last Supper. They are not a memorial, nor a symbol; but the same thing. We don't have any theories to explain this: it is a mystery. Saint Paul uses this word mystery when talking of marriage (Ephesians 5:32). Just as no Christian would agree to marrying a couple who did not understand what they were doing, so Orthodox Christians must ensure that those who take communion understand the words of the Liturgy: "the mysteries of Christ". To ensure this understanding, those people who want to be fully Orthodox are instructed by the priest and anointed, so that they can take Communion.

Therefore those who are members of the Orthodox Church, in communion with the Patriarchate of Antioch, have the explicit blessing of their Spiritual Father, and have fasted from all food and drink for at least six hours may receive communion. If you are not sure, ask the priest before the service. Come to one of the side doors of the sanctuary to do this, or in emergency; ask the priest quietly when coming forward at the communion itself.

What do I do if I want to become Orthodox?

First of all, come as often as you can to the Divine Liturgy. As you become familiar with it, you will find out what you need to have more understanding of. Talk to the Priest who may recommend books that you might find helpful. In due course, you will become a Catechumen, and go through a period of further instruction and preparation. Reception into the Orthodox Church is through the sacraments of Baptism (unless you are already Baptised in way recognised by the Church) and Chrismation.

Do you welcome children?

Yes, children are very welcome and it is important for them to feel that this is a place where they should be. If you feel at any time that your child is distracting others from worship, take them out for a little while and then return. Encourage them to reverence the icons, light candles and join in the responses 'Lord have mercy', 'To Thee O Lord', 'Amen', and, if old enough, the Lord's Prayer.

How will I know what to do during the Liturgy?

Orthodox worship is not formal, in the sense that everyone has to do the same thing, or that you are 'breaking the rules' if you don't do exactly the same as everyone else. Nor is Orthodox worship a spectator activity, where the priest performs and the people watch. The worship uses all our human senses, because the human body is created holy, and in the image of God. What we see, hear, feel, smell, and taste; should all be part of the Liturgy. It's not just the words and the singing. We should feel free to do as we are moved by the Holy Spirit, but without doing anything to disrupt the flow of the Liturgy, or distract the worship of others. Be free to follow the choir's lead and sing; or to remain silent. Make the sign of the cross when you are inspired to do so.  Although we usually stand throughout the service, please sit down if you are tired. We do not kneel or prostrate on Sundays, as they always celebrate Christ's resurrection, but it is usual to bow in acceptance of God's blessing through the priest.

Do you have fellowship after the service?

Orthodox Christians, as well as understanding Fasting, know how to make the most of Feasting! So it is usual for there to be a sharing of food and fellowship after the Liturgy.


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