Parish Guidelines

Parish Guidelines

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We always welcome visitors to our parish and invite you to attend our services and experience the beauty of the ancient Christian faith as it has been preserved unaltered from Apostolic times. However, we ask that you respect the teachings of the Orthodox Church in that the sacraments are reserved only for Orthodox Christians who are active communicants of the Canonical Orthodox Church. Below are a few general guidelines regarding the teachings and practices of the Orthodox Church and some information about our parish. If you would like more information, please don’t hesitate to call the Rector, Fr. Stephen, at 201-398-5059 or use the confidential form on the contact page. We look forward to meeting you and hope that you may decide to become a part of our community!


Baptisms can be arranged in advance or may be performed immediately under emergency conditions. Baptisms are normally performed in the church unless exigent conditions exist. At least one sponsor (Godparent) is required, and they must be an Orthodox Christian who is knowledgeable of and adherent to the teachings of the Orthodox Church. If only one Orthodox sponsor is chosen, they should be of the same sex as the child. Potential sponsors must meet with the pastor in advance to determine their eligibility and to discuss their responsibilities. Parents are expected to commit to raising their child as an Orthodox Christian; that is, to attend Divine Services on a regular basis, remain an active communicant of the Church, and receive an Orthodox Christian education.

Becoming a Parishioner

Becoming a Any Orthodox Christian who is adherent in all ways to the Orthodox faith through obedience to Her teachings and practices is a member, that is, a communicant of the Church. For those communicants who wish to be benefactors of the parish as well as take an active role in decisions that affect parish life, a system of modest annual dues is in place. For more information on becoming a parishioner please call Fr. Stephen at 201-398-5059 or use our contact form.

Becoming Orthodox

The Orthodox Christian faith is universal…it is open to anyone from any background who wishes to accept and adhere to the teachings of the ancient and unaltered Apostolic Faith. For inquiries regarding reception into the Orthodox Church please contact Fr. Stephen at 201-398-5059 or via the contact form.


Communion is reserved strictly for Orthodox Christians who have properly prepared themselves through repentance (confession), prayer and fasting. Anyone age 7 or older must come to confession within the week prior to receiving Communion.


Confession is reserved strictly for Orthodox Christians. Frequent confession is encouraged, and confessions are available before each scheduled service as well as upon request as needed by contacting Fr. Stephen for arrangements.


While we are in church, and particularly while Divine Services are taking place, we should understand that we are in God’s House and that He is invisibly present with us. In respect, proper attire is required. No shorts, cut-offs, tank tops, t-shirts, or other such clothing should be worn. Women should wear a modest dress (no pants) and have their heads covered, and men should wear at least an appropriate dress shirt and pants. In general, your clothing should be as if you were in the presence of an earthly dignitary or attending a formal gathering, but you should also dress in modesty and humility. You are, in fact, standing before God, so dress for the occasion. At all times our behavior should be prayerful. There should be no unnecessary or loud talking, especially during services. Photography is permitted as long as it doesn’t disturb the prayerfulness of the service.


An Orthodox funeral is permitted only for Orthodox Christians who were active communicants of the Orthodox Church at the time of death, and are arranged through a licensed funeral director in coordination with the family and the pastor. An Orthodox funeral must be served in the church; Funeral Home or graveside-only services are not permitted. If a Funeral Home is used for the viewing, a Panikhida (Requiem Service) may be served there in the evening prior to the church funeral. As the practice of cremation is contrary to the teachings of the Orthodox Church, an Orthodox funeral is not possible if the remains are to be cremated.


Those seeking to be married in the Church must contact the Rector well in advance of the anticipated wedding date to ascertain that there are no canonical impediments or other prohibitive issues.

Vital Records

Requests for copies of baptism and marriage certificates, as well as information regarding interments in the Parish Cemetery, must be submitted in writing. Please address all correspondence to: SS. Peter & Paul Russian Orthodox Cathedral, 200 3rd St., Passaic, NJ 07055.