Our Services are based in the Ukrainian Orthodox faith. Information on our Faith can be found within the site for the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada (uocc.ca). We encourage you to visit the site and read more about our faith and belief. We believe in the Holy Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) and you will notice many prayers performed 3 times during a service. You can also learn about practices in our church and more about our services in the section below on the Basics of Church Etiquette.
BECOME A PART OF OUR PARISH FAMILY
We warmly welcome one and all to our services in the Orthodox Christian faith at All Saints; our doors are open to everyone! We encourage you to come and visit our parish and we hope that you will consider becoming a member of our church family. By doing this you will not only support All Saints Parish but also the Consistory of the UOCC and the Central Eparchy.
BASICS OF ORTHODOX WORSHIP AND SPIRITUALITY
The "crown jewel" of Eastern Orthodoxy is her worship. Liturgical expressions in the Orthodox Church are intentionally designed to reflect biblical accounts of the worship of God taking place around His heavenly throne (see Isaiah 6 and Revelation 4). The three main services in the Church’s liturgical cycle are: 1.) Vespers (evening worship), which has the theme of hope in Christ as the Light who shines in the darkness; 2.) Matins, with the theme of Christ as God who has appeared to us heralding the Good News of salvation, and 3.) the Divine Liturgy, a celebration of Christ’s Kingdom which is both yet to come and at the same time already reigning in the heart of every believer. Orthodox worship is very physical, with many symbolic articles and gestures. Perhaps the best known of such articles are icons. Icons are understood as scripture in pictorial form; they present the message of the Bible using images rather than words. As Orthodox Christians pray before an icon or honor it with a kiss, they are not worshipping the icon itself but showing love and reverence ("veneration") for the person or event portrayed in the icon. It is popular to speak of seven "Holy Mysteries" (sacraments) recognized by the Church. Four of these Mysteries are part of the life of every believer: Baptism, Chrismation (Confirmation), the Holy Eucharist, and Repentance (Confession). The remaining three focus on specific callings or situations: Marriage, Ordination, and Unction (the anointing of the sick). A bishop alone celebrates the rite of ordination, while the remaining six may be celebrated by a bishop or priest. In an emergency, life-threatening situation, a layperson may baptize someone. Beyond these seven Holy Mysteries, Orthodox theologians will also speak of other mysteries, or "sacramentals", such as monastic tonsure, the funeral rites, and the various rites of blessing and sanctification (such as the blessing of Holy Water, the blessing of homes, etc.) Additionally, there are other rites that are part of the Church’s liturgical expressions. Among these are a special kind of sacred poetry called "akathists", orders of morning and evening prayer, and other daily services which are usually now only celebrated in monasteries. All of the above services are celebrated within the context of the Liturgical year, which begins in September and concluding in August. This is the annual cycle of feasts and fasts that sets the rhythm for the life of Orthodox believers. The majority of Orthodox believers in the world celebrate the holy days of the Church Year according to the Julian Calendar.
Blessing of the willow after the liturgy on the Palm Sunday
Human beings are created in the image and likeness of God – the image of God being all our God-like qualities in potential, the likeness of God being these qualities in their fulfillment. Eastern Orthodoxy teaches that the goal of human life is growth in the likeness of God, a process called "theosis" or "deification". By Divine grace, every person has the potential to become God-like; this was our original calling. As a result of sin and death, this process is impaired, and we fall under the tyranny of various "passions" (obsessions, compulsions, addictions) that are part of our fallen human nature. Rather than turning to God for fulfillment in life, we seek out an earthly source for inner peace. Such a search is futile as only He who created us can give us the sense of meaning, peace and fullness of life that we seek. The result is a growing sense of desperation, anxiety and depression. The Church is viewed as a spiritual hospital where the passions are cured, true peace and fulfillment can be found, and where one can once again undertake the journey of theosis. All that the Church offers us, worship, feasts, fasts, etc., are viewed as a therapeutic regime given by Christ for our healing and salvation.
The Orthodox Divine Liturgy begins when the priest intones, "Blessed is the Kingdom of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.” The time to arrive at church is before the service starts, to receive this blessing, but for some unknown reason, it has become the custom, or rather the bad habit, for some to come to church late.
If you arrive after the Divine Liturgy begins, try to enter the church quietly, and observe what is happening. If the Epistle or Gospel is being read, or the Little or Great Entrance is taking place, or if Father is giving the sermon, stay in the back until it is concluded. Try not to interrupt the Liturgy with your entrance. By the way, the best way to avoid this problem is to arrive on time, and then you don’t have to wonder if it’s okay to come in or not.
Refrain from socializing during the Liturgy - Save your greetings and conversations for the fellowship. We are in the Liturgy to greet God with our prayers and worship, not to distract others.
Cell phones and texting are never allowed in the church - If you have a professional reason to carry a phone or pager for emergencies, keep it on mute, not vibrate, and sit near the exit so that leaving for an emergency will not be a distraction to others. Otherwise, turn off your phone before entering the sanctuary.
Prepare your offering - Please have your offering ready before you arrive for church. Offering envelopes are available to take to home and are also available at the back entrance. The offering envelopes in the pews are meant for our visitors.
BASICS OF CHURCH ETIQUETTE
In the Orthodox Church, there are numerous customs and traditions that are important parts of our worship. Some of these customs are universal to the Church, while some may vary from parish to parish or cultural tradition. Upon entering the church, at all times, but especially during services, an individual should remember that he or she is in the House of God. Reverence and good manners are required so as not to disturb those who are already engaged in prayer, but, even more importantly, as an expression of sincere faith and awareness of the presence of the Lord. This information acts as a guide and not simply as a list of "dos and don'ts".
WOULD YOU LIKE TO LEARN MORE?
VISIT THESE LINKS
Get inspired by reading words of wisdom put together by experienced pastors.
Get directives on your way to learn more about the liturgical life of the church.
Get a deeper understanding of the traditions and customs of the orthodox church.
Get to know the latest news and directives provided by the leadership of the church.