Frequently Asked Questions
Below you will find some frequently (and not-so-frequently!) asked questions. We hope these will be of some help to you before you visit our church. But more importantly, just come and visit! If you have any specific question you’d like to ask, please use our contact page.
Where are you located? We are located at 528 North Hickory Avenue in Bel Air, Maryland. Our church is directly across the street from the American Legion building.
When are your worship services? Generally, our services are Saturday Vespers at 6PM, the Prayers of the Hours before the Sunday Liturgy at 8:45AM, and the Sunday Liturgy at 9AM. We also gather at times for special feast days, for example. Our calendar will indicate those dates and times.
Can non-Orthodox come to your services? Absolutely, yes! Everyone is welcome, whatever their current religious affiliation or nationality. Please, come and visit!
Will I be welcomed if I’m not Ukrainian or Russian or Greek? Yes! While the patrimony our our church is Ukrainian, our parish is made up of families from many different backgrounds — Ukrainian, Russian, Greek, English, etc. Some of our parishioners are converts to the Orthodox faith, others come from Orthodox families and grew up in the Faith. Our church family is also made up of all different types of people — children, singles, families, young and old. When we stand before God, in church, we do so simply as Orthodox Christians.
Are the services in English? Yes. Our services are entirely in English. Every once in a while on certain occasions such as Pascha (Easter), for instance, there may be a few responses said in other languages, but our services are conducted in English.
To which jurisdiction or larger church body does your church belong? Our church, Four Evangelists Orthodox Church, is part of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA. The UOCUSA is a canonical (i.e., we’re in communion with the other Orthodox churches throughout the world) Orthodox Church who, along with the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese and the American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese of the U.S.A., is under the care of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
What does Four Evangelists mean in your name? Our church is named after the four holy evangelists, whose Gospels are found in the New Testament. Four Evangelists Orthodox Church is a little less cumbersome that saying “Saints Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John Orthodox Church”.
Why are most people standing? The normal position during worship in the Orthodox Church is standing reverently because this is the most appropriate position to assume when in the presence of God (Rev 7:9). Seating is available, however.
Why so many icons? And why are people kissing them? The practice of painting and venerating holy images is an ancient one. In every Orthodox Church you will find icons of Our Lord, His Most Holy Mother and holy people from all ages. Icons are not portraits but depict spiritual reality. In kissing them, we show our love for those who are depicted. We venerate icons while worship is reserved for God alone.
What are the “Hours” read before the Liturgy? The Hours are the monastic prayers (offices) which are said at different times of the day, consisting mainly of psalms. We in parishes participate in them in so far as we are able, with usually the third and sixth hours before the Divine Liturgy on Sundays. Oftentimes we will also pray the pre-Communion prayers before the Divine Liturgy.
Why is incense used so much? Incense represents prayers rising to God (Psalm 140). It is also appropriate that God’s house is beautiful in every way, including in its fragrance.
What is the Orthodox belief about the Eucharist? Orthodox hold that Christ’s Body and Blood are truly present in the Eucharist and that, through them, God nourishes us spiritually (John 6:56).
Can anyone receive Holy Communion? Only baptised Orthodox Christians who have properly prepared themselves through confession, prayer, and the traditional pre-Communion fast may receive the Holy Eucharist.
Why and how do babies and children receive the Eucharist? Babies and children receive Communion because through baptism and chrismation (annointing with oil) they are full and equal members of the Body of Christ. Indeed, it is traditional for the youngest members of the congregation to receive first amongst the congregation.
Modified with permission from the website of Joy of All Who Sorrow Church (Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia).