A Visitor's Guide to St. Nicholas Church
St. Nicholas (of Myra) Orthodox Church is a parish of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America, under the primacy of His Eminence, Metropolitan JOSEPH. We celebrate the Orthodox Faith according to the ancient Western Rite and are part of the Western Rite Vicariate with His Grace, Bishop JOHN as our Auxiliary Bishop.
Can I take communion?
For Orthodox Christians, the Holy Eucharist is the center of their Christian life (John 6:48-59). We believe that Jesus Christ is really present in a mystical way in the bread and wine of Holy Communion which are His Body and Blood (Matthew 26:28, Mark 14:22-25, I Corinthians 11:23-26). All Orthodox Christians are united with God through Christ's offering of Himself as the great High Priest, and with all other Orthodox Christians in a common bond of faith and practice.
Unfortunately, because of historical circumstances there have developed serious divisions in the Christian community. Many people who profess to be Christian do not hold to the Orthodox Faith. For some, communion is merely the opportunity to share a sense of "fellowship" with everyone present regardless of their beliefs and practices. As Orthodox Christians, we believe that such a practice cheapens and trivializes communion and denies the basic Biblical understanding of what communion is all about. As St. Paul says, those who do not discern the Body and Blood of Christ partake to their own peril (I Corinthians 11:27-28). While many non-Orthodox Christians may hold to the basics of the Orthodox Faith only those who have received the sacraments of Holy Baptism and Chrismation (Confirmation) in the Orthodox Church may receive Holy Communion.
However, you are invited and encouraged to come to the altar rail for a blessing from the priest and to receive a piece of the non-sacramental blessed bread (Pain Benit). This is the sign of our wish to include visitors in a sense of fellowship and hospitality in our Lord Jesus Christ and His Church.