Sacraments and Needs



Baptism is birth to the life made new by Christ in His Death and Resurrection. “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born anew, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3). Baptism, as St. Paul writes, is death and resurrection with Christ. It is the personal Easter of each Orthodox Christian. Baptism is illumination and healing. Christ is the light of the world. In being united with Christ in baptism, Christians take up His light as well. By unity with His life, their own life is healed. At the moment of baptism, the person is given a Christian name. This name must be taken from the calendar of Orthodox Saints. The Saint whose name is selected becomes the patron and guide of the newly- baptized. The life of the Saint is a path toward holiness which the newly-baptized can emulate.


What shall we know and do in order to be baptized at Holy Virgin Mary Russian Orthodox Cathedral?


      1. Make an appointment with Priest
      2. Make sure that we have at least one Orthodox godparent/sponsor (female for a girl, male for a boy)

What do we need to have:


      1. Two candles (available at kiosk/candle stand)
      2. Cross (available at kiosk/candle stand)
      3. One long white towel
      4. Baptismal gown

What should we donate:


      1. $150 for the church
      2. If we would like choir to sing $50 for each choir member (minimum 3 choir members)
      3. Donation/gift to Priest and to whoever assists with preparation of the baptismal font
      4. Assistant $50 


Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.”…. and the rib which the Lord god had taken from the man made into a woman and brought her to the man… Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh. (Genesis 2:18-24)

Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her…. because we are members of his body…. This is a great mystery, and I take it to mean Christ and the church. (Apostle Paul, Epistle to the Ephesians (5:25-32))

What shall we know and do in order to be married at Holy Virgin Mary Russian Orthodox Cathedral?

      1. Make an appointment with Priest
      2. Have a California State Marriage License or valid Marriage Certificate proving that you are legally united in the matrimony
      3. Have witnesses for your holy matrimony at least one of whom should be of the Orthodox Faith

What should we have ready:

      1. Two candles (available at kiosk/candle stand)
      2. Two rushnyks/wedding towels (available at kiosk)
      3. Bottle of red wine (Moldova “Kagor” can be bought at Jons international supermarket)
      4. Two engagement rings

What should we donate:

      1. $200 for the church
      2. If we would like choir to sing $50 for each choir member (minimum 3 choir members)
      3. Donation/gift to Priest


What is the meaning of Memory Eternal? We can best approach the meaning of this song through following the connection between the Orthodox funeral services and the crucifixion of Christ. Fr. Pavel Florensky, recently canonized** by the Church in Russia, articulated the connection by first asking, “What did the wise thief ask for on the cross?” (144) and then answering by quoting from St. Luke’s Gospel: “Lord, remember me when Thou comest in Thy kingdom” (23:42). Florensky then continues: And in answer, in satisfaction of his wish, his wish to be remembered, the Lord witnesses: “Verily, I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in Paradise.” In other words, “to be remembered” by the Lord is the same thing as “to be in Paradise.” “To be in Paradise” is to be in eternal memory and, consequently, to have eternal existence and therefore an eternal memory of God. Without remembrance of God we die, but our remembrance of God is possible only through God’s remembrance of us. (144)

What shall we know and do in order to have funeral at Holy Virgin Mary Russian Orthodox Cathedral?

      1. Notify Priest as soon as possible of the death of your family member
      2. If funeral to be held at our Cathedral – $150 donation to Cathedral
      3. If we would like choir to sing $50 for each choir member (minimum 3 choir members)
      4. Donation/gift to Priest

At Home

These sacraments may be arranged with a Priest in the case of any serious illness and also in the event of impending or expected decease.

In Church

The clergy hear Confessions before and after all services; however, some times are “customary.” One of these is preferred: after the evening service, whether Vespers or the All-Night Vigil, on the day before a Divine Liturgy. An exception is made for the elderly, the infirm, and those in circumstances where they cannot pray at the evening service without hardship: the Priests hear these Confessions in the half-hour period before each Divine Liturgy, but no one is admitted to the queue after ten minutes ahead of the scheduled time of any given Liturgy. Orthodox visitors too may approach before Liturgy, either for Confession or to announce their intention to commune, based on preparation in their home parish. Confession is also welcomed by appointment.

Holy Communion

While no one at all is considered worthy of Holy Communion, including the clergy, the Orthodox Church does not admit anyone to Communion who is unprepared. An indispensable element of preparation for Holy Communion is considered to be Penance, or Holy Confession. Another indispensable element is total fasting, preferably from the preceding evening, but at least from the midnight before Holy Communion. Orthodox visitors are encouraged to consult the Priest before Divine Liturgy by getting in the Confession line, especially if they are averse to being questioned upon approaching the Chalice.


These are short, sung prayer services to our Lord, His Mother, or Saints, on the occasion of beginning some important venture, of thanksgiving for a favorable event and on other occasions. Blessing of houses, apartments, and other dwelling/buildings may be arranged with one of the Priests. Most may be served at any time, unless otherwise specified, however, all should be arranged as much in advance as possible.


The Church’s bidding of farewell on the occasion of a Christian’s departure for the other world is normally accomplished about the third day after falling asleep. The casket with the body of the departed is brought to the Church in the late afternoon before the day of the funeral for a memorial service (Panikhida) that evening. The normal time for funerals is 10:00am, however, if a Divine Liturgy has been scheduled for that day, then the funeral takes place after it. Cremation or suicide rules out a funeral in Church.


These memorial services are frequently celebrated after Divine Liturgy or before All-Night Vigil. They may be celebrated beside the place of burial. They are celebrated on the eve of Funerals, in Church with the body. They are combined with Memorial Liturgies on certain days (“Ancestral” days), such as most of the Saturdays of the Great Fast, Pentecost Saturday, etc. Panikhidas are not permitted during Holy, or Passion Week, nor Bright Week. Panikhidas after Divine Liturgy must be requested at the Candlestand before the dismissal of Divine Liturgy, and preferably much earlier than that.

Prosphora & Memorial Booklets/Lists

When the Priest takes out particles in commemorating a living or departed member of the Faithful, he says, “For the health & salvation of the Servant of God (Christian name) or “For the repose, blessed memory, and forgiveness of sins of the Servant of God (Christian name). Family names are never ever used. And only human persons are commemorated: no institutions, such as schools, animal shelters, etc. It would be a mockery to place particles representing institutions into the Chalice after Holy Communion and pray that their sins would be washed away in Christ’s precious Blood, since He did not die for any institutions.

Sacraments and Needs was last modified: November 5th, 2020 by Deacon Kirill