NOTICE: Requests for duplicate Marriage certificates must be made in writing and either sent by e-mail to email@example.com or mailed directly to the Cathedral. No phone requests will be considered. Expect a wait of 3-6 weeks. We do not provide baptismal certificates for the purpose of Marriages to be performed outside the Orthodox Church.
For adequate preparation, arrangements should be made with the priest by the couple in person at least 6 months in advance.
The Sacrament of Christian Marriage is the beginning of a spiritual process that lasts a lifetime. The ultimate purpose of Christian marriage (as opposed to purely “civil” or “legal” marriages sanctioned by the state) is the salvation of the spouses and mutual support in their pilgrimage to grow in the likeness of Christ. The Cathedral church is not a “wedding chapel” to be “booked” for a one-time “event” and then abandoned except for “memories” in a wedding photo album. It is wrong-minded and insulting to treat the Church in such a cavalier and frivolous manner. Those who are considering having their marriage here must understand that up front. No dates will be discussed or reserved by phone or e-mail contacts. The intended couple must come to the Church for a Sunday Liturgy and speak with the priest afterward before any discussion of marriage can occur. They should be active and regular members of the Church, not just baptized into it as an infant.
The couple must complete and file an application at least three months in advance of a propsed date for marriage.
As a rule, the Church only marries Orthodox Christian members who are regular communicants and who intend to live as an Orthodox Christian family. Certain exceptions (special dispensation) may be made for a “mixed marriage” (marriage to a non-Orthodox spouse who has received a valid form of trinitarian baptism, e.g. by water, “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit”), but the non-Orthodox spouse must agree beforehand that any children issuing from the marriage will be baptized and raised in the Orthodox Church, and they are urged to also be open to converting to Orthodoxy in the future. Marriage of divorced persons also also requires a special dispensation from the bishop. Special dispensation is obtained through the priest.
Together the couple seeks to receive the saving grace of God in their lives. To be married in and by the Church without consciously intending to nurture that relationship in the Church is a mistake. To be married in the Church simply to please other family members, or because it is an ethnic custom, is dishonest to ourselves and to God. Before we can proceed with setting up a date for your marriage, there are certain steps that must be taken, and pre-marriage counseling must be scheduled.
Before you can be married in the Church, the following preparation and preconditions must first be met by you:
No wedding is put on the Cathedral calendar until the initial meeting has taken place.
NOTE: The goal of the Orthodox Church is to give each married couple the best opportunity for a blessed and fulfilling marriage; hence, the Church can never condone couples living together as practically married prior to the marriage. Not only is there no question from a biblical standpoint that this is inappropriate, but statistics gathered by secular professionals clearly show that there is a 50% HIGHER divorce rate among couples who have lived together prior to their weddings than those who have not! The Church makes every attempt to give couples a spiritually healthy, appropriate start. Therefore, any couple wishing to be married and is cohabitating must do everything they can to separate physically until their wedding date; this decision is made in a loving spirit of concern for the health and stability of the future marriage.
Be sure to consult the priest about every aspect of the marriage (rings, dress, flowers, special music requests, etc.) The throwing of rice on the church porch is not permitted – flower petals or dried lavender are allowed and provide a better alternative. Women’s clothing should be modest and in good taste, not have bared shoulders and backs, or at least a shawl or drape should be worn during the church service.
Please call or e-mail me (firstname.lastname@example.org) with any questions. I hope to see you in church this Sunday and every Sunday thereafter as we move closer to your wedding day. The Liturgy begins at 9:30 a.m. God bless you.
Please read the following information on Marriage before coming to discuss a date.
The Church’s vision of marriage is as an icon of the Trinitarian life of God Himself. In such a union, human love and desire for companionship become a love pervaded and sanctified by Divine Grace. God unites in body and spirit, heart and mind. Love unites in such a way that two lives become one life in perfect harmony. Such love implies a relationship in marriage that is total in character. To live up to its high calling, the Christian family must be firmly established in the faith.
A mixed marriage is a marriage between an Orthodox Christian and a non-Orthodox Christian who is baptized in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and who confesses the unique Lordship of Jesus Christ. The Church tolerates this because of her pastoral concern and love for the faithful. Thus, a mixed marriage is not the norm, but is permitted in the hope that the non-Orthodox spouse will seek entrance into the Church.
NOTICE: Requests for duplicate Baptismal or Marriage certificates must be made in writing and either sent by e-mail to email@example.com or mailed directly to the Cathedral. No phone requests will be considered. Expect a wait of 3-6 weeks. We do not provide baptismal certificates for the purpose of marriages to be performed outside the Orthodox Church.
Parents and proposed godparents, please watch both of these brief videos by Bishop Michael on Holy Baptism and Holy Chrismation.
Applicants for Baptism must come to the Church, speak to the Priest, and file an application for Baptism at least one month prior to the requested date. We suggest calling the church office during your pregnancy so that a more through preparation make take place.
The Sacraments of Holy Baptism and Chrismation initiate a person into the life of the Orthodox Church. It is the first step of a spiritual process that lasts throughout one’s life. Regrettably, sometimes Holy Baptism is considered a right of passage or even a kind of “good luck” ritual or ethnic custom. This is a wrong understanding. Infants and young children are baptized on the basis of the faith of their sponsor and with the understanding that they will be raised as Orthodox Christians, in the Church, by Orthodox Christian parents.
As a rule, the Church only baptizes the children of parent(s) who are confessing and communing members of the Church. Godparents must be Orthodox Christians in good standing, regularly attending the divine services on Sundays, and spiritually attentive to the condition of their souls. Godparents promise to assist the parents in nurturing the newly baptized child in a Godly home, encouraging them by example to seek out and receive the saving grace that flows from the sacramental life of the Church.
Before we can baptize your child in the Church parents must first make some preparations:
Please read the following information about bapism and godparents, and have your proposed godparent also read it before setting up a date with me for the Baptism. If you have any further questions, please call or e-mail me (firstname.lastname@example.org). I hope to see you on Sunday in the church. The Liturgy begins at 9:30 a.m. God bless you. Congratulations on the birth of your child.
Baptism and Chrismation must be understood and experienced as corporate acts of worship and praise. They must be communal actions of the Church as the mystical Body and Bride of Christ, common liturgical actions of the whole people of God, witnessed, celebrated and accomplished by all, together in one place, at one time. (See: On the Spiritual Life in the Church, Encyclical Letter, Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church in America, 1988.
A Godparent is the sponsor at baptism. They must be a member in good standing of the Orthodox church, in full sacramental communion, able to read the Creed, and who accepts the basic tenets of the Christian faith and its ethics. They must understand the purpose and meaning of baptism, and of the vows which they will publicly make on behalf of the one baptized, and be ready to explain it to them when they grow up. If the Sponsor is married, the marriage must have been blessed by the Church.
The sponsor at baptism cannot be:
Dear Prospective Godparent,
In order to serve as a godparent, you must be a person of faith, a practicing member of the Orthodox Church, and provide a letter from your parish priest attesting to your eligibility, and giving his blessing for you to serve as a godparent.
Before you even ask to be to be approved and blessed, or agree to serve as godparent for a Baptism, please ask yourself these questions:
Do I believe in the Nicene Creed, as framed by the holy Ecumenical and Apostolic Councils of Nicea and Constantinople? That is a simple question. One asked publicly of every godparent at a baptism and of any adult who comes to the Orthodox Church from another faith, which make up about 30% of our parish. It is the same for you who may have been baptized as a child, as for those who made a conscious decision to join themselves to the Orthodox Church.
Do I believe in and worship One God the Creator, revealed to us in a Trinity of persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, or I do instead believe in demigods, or pantheism, or false prophets, self-appointed gurus, or heretical evangelists, or do I instead worship nature and created things?
Do I believe in the Incarnation of Christ as a unique one time occurrence by which humanity and divinity were joined in His person, and by which humanity became children of God by adoption?
Do I believe that the completion of human creation, begun before time by God the holy Trinity was fully consummated and completed when Christ, the God/Man, stretched out His hands upon the cross and endured physical death, so that death is now a path to life?
Do I believe that Christ rose from the dead by His own power as God in the flesh, and ascended bodily to heaven with his human and divine nature intact, and reigns eternally with the Father and the Spirit as the God/Man? That our humanity is co-enthroned with Christ, the Son and Word of God Incarnate, in the divine Trinity forever as our destiny and the fulfillment of our personhood?
Do I believe that in the Divine Liturgy of the Church, under the mystical forms of bread and wine we partake of the very body and blood of the incarnate God, unto remission of sins and life eternal? That by eating and drinking It we enter into the life of the holy Trinity and become by Grace what God is by nature? And if so, do I avail myself and my family of these awesome Mysteries regularly with faith as directed by the Church, within which they are effected and offered?
Do I set other beliefs, customs or superstitions, whether ancient or modern, above these life-giving teachings, or in place of them?
These are questions asked of any adult coming to the Church before they are blessed and PERMITTED to receive baptism, chrismation, communion or any of the mysteries. They apply equally to you presenting yourself publicly as a godparent.
If you can answer affirmatively to these basic, minimalist questions with sincerity and peace in your soul before God, then we can proceed. It will be your conscience that will judge you or acquit you. You will be expected to come to church in advance of the Baptism to participate in the Sacrament of holy Confession. The decision of who may serve as a godparent at a baptism is within the competence of the Parish Priest, and not the parents or family members.
The responsibilities of the Godparent only begin at baptism; the role really expands and hopefully blossoms as the Godparent and Godchild develop a close and loving relationship. As with any relationship, this spiritual one needs to be fostered and cared for in order for it to develop. The best way for this relationship to grow is through prayer. Pray for your Godchild and his or her parents, and the parents should encourage their child to pray for the Godparents. By doing this you are encouraging a relationship and giving it the spiritual basis on which to mature.
Here are some practical ideas:
It is important for the Godparent to work with your godchild’s parents. Talk with your godchild’s parents often about his or her life, spiritual and otherwise, and ask how you can help. Parents can often use another perspective – and another willing hand – as they guide their children to adulthood. Parents choose Godparents who will reinforce them, people to whom our children can turn when the parents are not cool enough to listen to them, and when they need to hear difficult truths from someone who loves them.
Parents may be unsure whether they are too strict or too lenient; Godparents are a good sounding board for discussing this when it pertains to the Godchild. Parents may wish to make the Godparents the child’s emergency contact person after the parents so the secular world relies appropriately on the Godparent when crisis hits.
Parents should light candles and pray for their children’s Godparents every time they enter a church, say their family and personal prayers. Likewise the Godparents should pray not only for their Godchild but the Godchild’s parents as well.
Godparent and Godchild should develop a close and loving relationship. As with any relationship, this spiritual one needs to be fostered and cared for in order for it to develop. The best way for this relationship to grow is through prayer. Pray for your Godparent and his/her family. By doing this you are encouraging a relationship and giving it the spiritual basis on which to mature.
When greeting one’s Godparent, you should feel the love and familiarity that you have with your own parents. It is NOT inappropriate to hug or kiss your godparents, as you would your own parents.
A Godchild should light candles and pray for their Godparents every time they enter a church, say their family prayers, and say their personal prayers. The Godchild should observe the Godparents names day. Celebrate it with a special visit and dinner if you’re nearby, and give a “spiritually oriented” gift to celebrate, like a spiritual book of the Godparent’s patron saint’s life, a new icon, etc.
Keep in touch by phone, e-mail, or postcard if your Godparent lives out of state or across the globe. Prayer and love in Christ know no distance!
There will come a time in which your Godparents have aged and are less able to be fully present with you due to illness or perhaps a nursing home placement. Remember to continue to pray for them and visit or write them often to maintain your relationship. Ask for their advice even though you have grown up.
Finally there will come a day in which your Godparents will repose in the Lord. Maintain your image of your Godparents in your mind to help brings peace and memories of love and wisdom. Pray for your Godparents and offer memorial services in their memory, do works and offer alms in their name. And pray for them as they will continue to do for you in heaven.
Although great care and many prayers are put forth by the parents in choosing the Godparent for their child, sometimes after the baptism the relationship does not grow. It’s sad to have your child want to disown their “missing-in-action” godparent, but it can happen. If after repeated efforts the godparent does not respond and since it is so important for our children to have the influence of a “godparent,” ask yourself, “Who among my closest Orthodox friends could relate to my child and serve as a spiritual mentor?” Discuss the situation with your spiritual father/parish priest. Ask God to guide your efforts. Ask that person to consider the task and to pray about it. If that person agrees, let your child know that this individual is there for him/her. If the person does not consent, keep on praying and asking. Have faith that God will provide for your child’s spiritual needs.
—The Right Reverend Archimandrite CHRISTOPHER (Calin), Dean
Sunday, January 24
Blessed Xenia of Petersburg
9:00 am Hours & Divine Liturgy
Saturday, January 30
Three Hierarchs: Basil the Great, Gregory the Theologian, John Chrysostom
9:00 am Divine Liturgy
5:30 pm Vigil Service
Sunday, January 31
9:00 am Hours & Divine Liturgy
Monday, February 1
Forefeast of the Meeting
6:00 pm Festal Vigil
Tuesday, February 2
Meeting of our Lord in the Temple
8:00 am Divine Liturgy
Saturday, February 6
5:30 pm Vigil Service
The Cathedral is open one hour before service times. *Confessions are heard after divine services on Thursday and Saturday evenings, and until 9:20am on Sundays. *Memorial Prayers (panikhida) for the departed are offered on Saturdays at 5:15pm upon request made in advance.