Blessings on the First Day
This is a beautiful service traditionally performed by the priest either in the hospital or home on the day in which the child is born. It includes prayers for the recovery of the mother and the protection of the child. If you would like Father Alexis to visit for Blessings on the First Day, speak to the church office approximately three weeks before your estimated due date, then call again on the day of the birth.

Blessing and Naming on the Eighth Day
Although we often think of the service of baptism as the occasion for the solemn naming of a child, this is more properly done on the eighth day, just as our Lord received His name “Jesus” on the eighth day (cf. Luke 2:21). The “prayers on the eighth day” are traditionally performed by the priest in the home. On this day, special prayers are offered for the naming of the child. Father Alexis would like to pray these prayers of blessings for your child. Please make arrangements when Father Alexis visits for the First Day Blessing or by calling the church office as soon as possible after the birth.

The Churching
Forty days (or so) after the birth and in accordance with the Old Testament tradition observed by the Virgin Mary (Luke 2:22-24), the parents bring their child for the first entrance into the Church. Please schedule your 40 Day blessing and Churching with Father Alexis.

At the time of the Churching, please meet Father in the narthex (the entrance to the main body of the Church) where the appropriate prayers are offered over the mother. The child is then carried by the priest into the nave and to the Royal Gates, followed by family. After blessing the child in the from of the Church, the child is returned back to the parents where they then take their place in the congregation.

For Baptisms:

In the Sacrament of Baptism, a person is incorporated into the crucified, resurrected, and glorified Christ and is reborn to participate in the divine life. Please schedule your child’s baptism with the church office. If you are planning to host a reception after the service in the church hall or double classroom, be sure to schedule and reserve the space at the same time. The baptism service lasts approximately 45 minutes to an hour.

Please read this article on The Sacrament of Baptism

And these are the things you should bring to the Baptism:

  • 1 large non-white towel to wrap child before baptism
  • 1 large white towel to wrap child after baptism
  • 1 small white towel
  • Baptismal cross (often a gift by the sponsor)
  • White Baptismal garment
  • A candle to hold during service and to bring to Liturgy on the Sunday following the Baptism at Communion

Please fill out the form below and click send.

For Catechumens:

Adults wishing to enter the communion of the Church go through three stages that can be compared to getting married. At the inquirer stage, one enters into a “dating” relationship with the Church. When one’s inquiries satisfies one that the Orthodox Church is who she claims to be – the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church, the body of Christ, the fullness of him who is all in all – one is welcome to become a catechumen. Becoming a catechumen is like getting engaged. At this stage, one learns not only about Orthodoxy but how to be Orthodox, how to live according to the Orthodox way. One is gently guided in the ascetic and moral disciplines of the Church. When one feels ready to die to the world in order to live for Christ in his holy Church, one is ready to be married to Christ by becoming a member of his bride, the Church, through Holy Baptism and/or Chrismation. Please contact Fr Alexis by filling out the form below and please tell a bit about yourself in the message section at the bottom of the form.

Fr. Thomas Hopko writes, “Jesus taught the uniqueness of human marriage as the most perfect natural expression of God’s love for men, and of his own love for the Church.” Marriage in the Church is a sacrament, a mystery through which we participate in the life of God. Human love alone cannot sustain a life-long commitment of sacrificial love between two naturally self-centered people. This problem is only overcome in Jesus Christ, who on the Cross proved His love for His bride, the Church. In a Christian marriage, within His Church, “the Holy Spirit is given so that what is begun on earth does not ‘part in death’ but is fulfilled and continues most perfectly in the Kingdom of God.” (Hopko)
Sadly, we have become very “unorthodox” in our approach to marriage, prying the sacrament away from its true context in Church life. Affected by the extreme individualism of our day, we think of our wed-ding as a private affair that we can personally customize, and sometimes even treat the ceremony as a show for our family and friends. This approach tragically divorces marriage from its holy setting. On a basic level, someone who uses the Church for their own gains is guilty of taking advantage of the parish, the choir, and the priest, and more. More seriously, they deprive themselves of life in the body of Christ – the only Eternal sustenance for their marriage. In order to protect people from abusing the sacrament, thereby condemning themselves, St. Michael cannot allow the Church to be used to marry people not committed to the Church. Marriage in the Church is reserved for those Orthodox who embrace it as the beautiful and joyous reflection of the mystery of Christ and the Church.

Guidelines for getting married at St. Michael are as follows:
• Based on the conditions above, the priest will determine whether a couple is eligible for marriage in the Orthodox Church, before a date can be set.
• A minimum of six months to one year’s notice is required to set a wedding date.
• Premarital counseling with the priest is strictly required.
• At least one of the persons getting married must be an Orthodox Christian and a member of St. Michael’s in good standing. The other party, if not Orthodox, must be a Christian. (Please speak to the priest about specific norms for “mixed marriages.”)
• At least one of the sponsors must be a committed Orthodox Christian.
• As required, a pre-marriage counseling must be attended. The sacrament cannot be celebrated without it.
• The wedding date must be cleared with the Church. The best time is Sunday afternoon. If the wedding needs to be on a Saturday, it must start no later than 4:00 p.m. Understanding that the liturgical day begins at the Vesper Hour (sunset), weddings are not permitted at the following times:
– every Wednesday and Friday
– the eve of every Sunday and Great Feast
– eves/days of the Feast of the Elevation of the Cross Sept. 14) and the Beheading of John the Forerunner (Aug. 29)
– during Great Lent, including Cheesefare Week and Bright Week; i.e., Meatfare Sunday-Thomas Sunday
– during the Nativity Fast (Nov. 15-Dec. 25)
– during the Dormition Fast (Aug. 1-15)
• Only Orthodox hymns prescribed by the rubrics of the Church, no flash photography and no clapping are permitted. All other music is forbidden. All liturgical celebrations are parish celebrations, and so the St. Michael choir and chanters generally lead the musical responses.
• In the case of candidates who have been divorced, the process of reconciliation with the Church is done through the parish priest. All necessary information is submitted to the Metropolitan in writing for his final approval.
• The Removal of Crowns takes place at the end of the Divine Liturgy the next Sunday that the couple attends (usually following the honeymoon).

You will find a Marriage Form below.  Please fill it out and click send.  You may also read the following articles regarding Marriage in the Orthodox Church.

Theophany

On January 6 (or the Eve) the faithful attend a Divine Liturgy and the Great Blessing of the Water service to celebrate Theophany.  The service commemorates the baptism of Christ and the manifestation of God in three persons. During the service, the people are blessed and receive holy water which they take home in small bottles provided by the church. Some parishioners bring their own bottles often made specifically for holy water. In most churches in America the blessing is held indoors. Some communities hold outdoor celebrations by a body of water.

Blessing of the Home

It is customary, to invite your priest to bless your home with holy water in the weeks following Theophany. Prepare by cleaning the house and opening and lighting all the rooms. The items needed for a house blessing are:

  • Icon of Christ (The service can begin before your icon corner)
  • Candle
  • A list of names you would like to commemorate during the service (Living and Departed)

The priest will go to each room and sprinkle it in the four corners blessing the home with the grace of the Holy Spirit. It is best if  all family members are present for the house blessing. House Blessings are an annual tradition.