What are the requirements of being received into the Orthodox faith?
Adults being received into the Church are expected to undergo a period of catechesis which may be through established Parish Adult Education programs or through meeting with the Parish Priest or a designated Catechist. We encourage, whenever possible, that catechumens (i.e., students) spend an extended period in study and preparation, depending on how much they already have learned. A typical catechumenate in the ancient Church would be a year, and we recommend the same, if possible, so that the prospective convert gets to see as full of a picture of life in the church as possible before committing. Sometimes this process is expedited for those preparing for marriage to an Orthodox member, with the expectation that the study will be completed after reception.
What rite is used for the reception of converts
The Parish Priest, in accordance with the canons of the Church and the guidelines set by the local bishop, will determine if the appropriate Rite of Reception is Baptism and Chrismation (anointing with the Holy Chrism or Myrrh) or Chrismation alone. Converts may be asked to provide a certificate of baptism if previously baptized in another church.
When are adult baptisms/chrismations usually held?
While an adult service of baptism or chrismation may be done on most any day, we recommend that it take place on a day immediately preceding a liturgy, such as a Saturday or Sunday morning. Holy Saturday morning is also one of the most traditional days for the service, as well as the feast of Nativity, Theophany, and Lazarus Saturday.
Do I need a Sponsor?
At least one Godparent/Sponsor (pl. Rom.; Nasi; Gr: Koumbaroi) who is an Orthodox Christian in good standing (having had a recent confession and communion) is required. A second sponsor (often the first sponsor’s spouse) is welcomed. Their main task is to support you in your decision to be joined with Christ in the Orthodox Church. They may be members of St. Mary's or another canonical parish. They should also prepare themselves by recently having had confession and communion.
What should I wear and bring?
Items to Bring: A Cross and a Candle (as above) are typically gifted by the sponsor. In the case of an Adult baptism, please bring appropriate towels.
What to Wear: Traditionally, white clothing is preferred for Chrismation. You may need to be anointed on your feet so please remove socks/stockings before the service. In the case of Baptism, you may wait to don the white until after the baptism proper. Men should wear modest, swim trunks/shorts and a white shirt. Women should wear a swimsuit with a loose white gown over that. You will be immersed in a large font and will need to dry off immediately afterwards in a side room, so have your dry white clothes/dress ready with extra towels there. Special baptismal gowns available for purchase on-line may be used as well.
Do I need to be remarried in the Orthodox Church as well (if married previously outside the church)?
Married Couples: Occasionally we hear of legally married couples who convert together (or individually) and then are told they must be re-married in the church. There is no scriptural or canonical basis for this. If you would like a service to bless your marriage together, there is the Service of Thanksgiving for married couples typically offered at significant anniversaries.