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First Time Visitor? Q & A

Q: I’m not Orthodox. May I visit?


A: Of course! You are very welcome! Most of our parishioners have come from various religious backgrounds, including Protestant denominations, Roman Catholic, New Age, Eastern religions, and atheism.


Q: What about children?


A: They are also welcomed and enjoyed! Families worship together at HROC. If your little ones need a break, you can take them to the church hall downstairs, into the play area. And you won’t miss the service because we simulcast it on the TV screen down there.


Q: Is your parish ethnic? 


A: We are an English-speaking parish with people from a wide variety of ethnic backgrounds: a typical mix of Americans with a few from other countries. 


Q: Vespers and Divine Liturgy - what are these? Which should I come to?


A: Vespers (from the Greek word for “evening”) is an early evening service that’s relatively brief (30-60 minutes), quiet, and softly lit. A good introduction to the Orthodox Church for newcomers.

Divine Liturgy is the chief service of the week. Liturgy follows the pattern established in the early centuries of the Church. It includes prayers, hymns, a reading from an Epistle, a reading from the Gospel, a brief sermon, and then most importantly, the Eucharist (Communion). Note that only those received into the Orthodox Church may receive the Eucharist, but all are welcome to receive a blessing and blessed bread at the conclusion of the service. After Divine Liturgy, please join us for coffee and a snack. 

Q: Why is Easter called Pascha in the Orthodox Church?

A: The Greek word “Pascha” is derived from the Hebrew word “Pesach” meaning “Passover.” Jesus, as the Lamb of God, replaces the Passover lamb. When we sing the Paschal hymns, we speak of a “New Pascha,” a new Passover, in which Jesus’ Resurrection enables us to pass over from death unto eternal life. The word “Easter” does not have any of this etymology. The meaning of the word Pascha is deep, that is why we use it. 

Q: What do Orthodox Christians believe is the purpose of life?


A: Simply put, we believe the purpose of life is for men and women to be united to God, now, and for all ages to come. We believe that through our union with God, we are enabled to grow into true humanity. Jesus Christ shows us what that true humanity is: a humanity freed of its self-centeredness and self-seeking, and thereby enabled to truly love God and all that He created (including the crown of His creation—all human beings). We believe it is our destiny to cooperate with the Holy Spirit, and the grace of God bestowed through the Sacraments (Mysteries), to attain the true humanity that we lost through our fall into sin.


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