Sacraments and Blessings

Blessings of Infants

The prayer life of the Orthodox Church encompasses all life events. On the day of a child's birth, you may invite the clergy to read prayers of thanksgiving over the mother and her newborn child.  On the eighth day, the child may receive another prayer in which a name is given to the newborn.  Finally, on the fortieth day (or the closest Sunday), the family is invited to come to the church and receive the prayers for the child and the mother in imitation of Christ's presentation to the Holy Temple in Jerusalem celebrated every year on February 2nd.  

Please contact the church office to let us know that you have a newborn or that you are coming to the church for a blessing. Otherwise, when you come to the Divine Liturgy, please ask of the ushers to let the clergy know that you have come to receive prayers for your newborn. 


Baptisms

Baptism is the initial and essential mystery and an absolute, decisive action for the Christian. Age is not a conditional factor in baptism. As in Christian antiquity, the Church continues to baptize both adults and infants. As a matter of fact, infant baptism is the norm in most instances. However, such baptisms are not performed in a vacuum, but upon the explicit profession of faith by parents and sponsors and especially the very community itself, gathered to celebrate the mystery, each time reaffirming its faith, pledging itself to provide an environment of continued Christian witness for its members regardless of age and circumstance. 

In order to arrange a baptism at Saint Haralambos, please contact the church office by phone or e-mail. The parish calendar is constantly updated to show availability so you can better plan your event. 


Weddings

Orthodox theology has always presented Christian marriage as something absolutely unique, and, indeed eternal. In marriage, human love is being projected into the Kingdom of God, reflecting the intimate union between Christ and the faithful which St. Paul speaks of (Ephes. 5). Married life is a special vocation which requires the grace of the Holy Spirit; and it is this very grace which is conferred in the Marriage Service.

In order to arrange a baptism at Saint Haralambos, please contact the church office by phone or e-mail. The parish calendar is constantly updated to show availability so you can better plan your event. 


Confession

God is recognized to be continuously loving, merciful and long-suffering towards his creation. He accepts all repentant sinners tenderly and rejoices greatly in their conversion. There are no limits set to the exercise of his loving-kindness and forgiveness. All sins are forgivable, save one: blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. Here we are confronted not with the powerlessness of God, but with an unrepentant and callous heart.  Through the mystery of repentance God embraces a repentant lapsed Christian with his love, in order to forgive him and reconcile him to the Church. But, for this to occur, the sinful Christian must first have a sense of his unfaithfulness to God, contrition of heart, and determination to amend. This must be followed by the confession of his sins before the authorized clergy of the Church. Both the interior repentance and the verbal acknowledgment of concrete sins are indispensable conditions for true forgiveness and reconciliation. Confession is the opening of one's conscience before God and the witness of the Church.


To help you prepare for the sacrament of confession please see https://www.goarch.org/-/preparation-for-holy-confession

Confession is offered by the clergy by appointment. During the Advent and Lenten seasons, there are regular times offered for confession and you can reserve an appointment at HERE At all other times, you can contact the church office for an appointment. 

Help and Services

Ministry to Persons Who Are Sick

Orthodox Christians who would like to receive Holy Sacraments but are unable to attend church (hospitalized or at home) should contact the church office so Holy Sacraments can be administered to them. Please inform the church office if your loved one is hospitalized! Most hospitals no longer inform us when they receive patients from our parish.

Memorial Services

Memorial Services are offered for the eternal rest of persons who have fallen asleep in the Lord. Customarily, these services are offered at 40 days, at 6 months, at 1 year and at 3 years. When three years have passed, the departed are more properly remembered on the Saturdays of the Souls.

End of Life Issues

The Right to a Proper Funeral

It is an honor to have a church funeral. When the funeral does not take place at the church it indicates that someone is not in good order. Sometimes out of convenience, we consider omitting a church funeral for our loved ones, not realizing that we are depriving them of their right to be honored. Let us honor our parents and relatives with the respect they deserve!

About Cremation

Orthodox Christians believe that in the General Resurrection, our bodies and souls will be restored to each other. Cremation is the deliberate desecration and destruction of what God has made, and is viewed as the denial of the Resurrection.

In cases where there is intention for the body of a deceased person to be cremated, thus choosing to disregard our understanding of the Resurrection, the honor of a church funeral is not given, either in the church, or the funeral home or any other place.

Additionally, memorial services with kolyva are not allowed, since the connection of the “kernel of wheat” as a sign of the Resurrection has been intentionally destroyed.