Father Joseph Rahal
SAINT GEORGE ANTIOCHIAN ORTHODOX CHRISTIAN CHURCH
كنيسة القديس جاورجيوس الأنطاكية الأرثوذكسية المسيحية
The Sacrament of Baptism allows us to follow the tradition of our Lord as He was Baptized in the Jordan River by John the Baptist. It is a “new Birth by water and the Holy Spirit” into the Kingdom of God. John3:5.
It is recommended that children be Baptized at the earliest possible age. The selection of the Godparents should be made with care. As the name implies they will be the parents who have the secondary (and if need be the primary) responsibility of the spiritual needs of the child. And since the Godparents will be speaking on behalf of the child, they must be members in good standing in the Holy Orthodox Church.
During the sacrament of Baptism the baby receives the gift of the Holy Spirit (Chrismation) as well as First Communion.. Baptisms should be scheduled with the Priest as early as possible. (Please check with our Church office of the things that you need for the Baptism.)
For the three Sundays following the baptism, it is traditional for the Godparent to bring the child to receive communion. Marriage In an era where the concept of family and marriage is being diluted, it is refreshing to see the value the Orthodox Church places on the Sacrament of Marriage. It is not simply “until death do us apart,” rather the Sacrament allows us to translate our human love into an unending Divine experience.
The wedding ceremony uses traditional symbolism to reinforce the necessity of God’s presence as a prerequisite to a successful marriage. Among the items used are Gold Crowns, symbolic of the new kingdom over which the couple will rule, as well as a reminder of the martyrdom and sacrifice that must be made by the husband and wife. You may bring your own crowns (if you prefer to keep them), or the church will provide them for your use. Two large candles are also used in the ceremony, which the couple needs to provide, or they may be obtained from the Church.
Preparation session with the Priest is prerequisite to the sacrament. It creates an opportunity to openly discuss with the Priest the responsibilities and the rewards of a “Christ-centered” marriage.
A Wedding Day is the most memorable for newlyweds. We at St. George want to help make it an enjoyable and inspirational experience. Please try to notify the Church office of the date as early as possible.
Our Organist and Cantor are generally available. Please contact the Church office for all arrangements. (No music or musician from outside the Church is permitted).
In spite of all of our efforts, committing a sin is a consequence of our very existence. The sacrament of Penance is the vehicle by which we formally reconcile ourselves with God. It is a three step process: Admitting our weakness and expressing sincere sorrow for our sin; openly confessing our sin in the presence of a Priest and receiving the prayer of absolution, and finally making an honest commitment and pledging our utmost effort to resist future temptation of sin.
The Orthodox Church follows strictly the teaching of the Bible that only God can forgive sins. Christians are encouraged to take part in this sacrament of reconciliation on a regular basis. Although currently St. George does not have a regularly scheduled confession times, our Priest is available anytime to pray with the repentant faithful and offer guidance in areas of weakness.
Reconciliation with our Lord is a pre-requisite to receiving Holy Communion. Oftentimes we are not able to visit with a priest and receive full confession. For that reason those receiving communion may arrive early Sunday morning (by 10:00 am) and receive the prayer of absolution.
Anointing the Sick
The power of healing (on God’s terms) are an inherent part of the Orthodox faith. We are reminded in the Scriptures: “Are any among you suffering? They should pray...They should call the presbyters [priests] of the Church and have them pray over them, anointing them with oil in the name of the Lord. The prayer of Faith will save the sick, and the Lord raise them up... The prayer of the righteous is powerful and effective.” James 5:13-16 Special church services are periodically held to pray for the health of one or more of our parishioners. Sometimes such service is held in conjunction with the other Orthodox Churches in the Washington area. This service is similar to the one that takes place during Wednesday of Holy Week.
In addition, our priests make it a priority to visit the sick, be it at home or in hospitals. Please notify the church office if you know of someone who may be in need of prayer service and the anointing with the Holy Oil.
The sacrament of anointing (sometimes known as “Unction”) is intended for spiritual, physical or even mental illness, and regardless of the nature or gravity of the illness. And since it is a sacrament, it is reserved only for Orthodox Christians
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