St. Raphael of Brooklyn Orthodox Church
Orthodox Church in America - Diocese of the South
1277 N. Paul Dr., Inverness, FL 34453
St Raphael Liturgy Features and Practices


Some Things You Might Want to Know About our Service

We extend a blessed welcome and invite you to pray with us during this service.  A number of us are from different Orthodox jurisdictions and we all may do things a little differently.  So just do what you are used to doing - there is no right or wrong here.

You may be surprised by the sights, smells, and sounds that surround you during our church services.  Following are some of the features of our church and the services:

  • Candles:  Candles are available in the narthex (vestibule) and can be lit and placed in the narthex or up near the altar.  You do not have to be Orthodox to light a candle and pray.
  • Icons (Pictures):  The icons depict the life and acts of Jesus Christ and the saints, who are alive in heaven with God, yet still present with us.  You will see people kiss and bow to (venerate) the icons as a sign of respect.  The icons are a way for us to honor them.  Feel free to venerate the icons if you feel comfortable doing so.
  • Readings before the Service:  No, you are not late for the service.  We start "readings" (prayers & psalms) at 9:30 a.m., before the actual service which starts at 10:00 a.m.  It is done by lay people while people are still coming in.  It helps to prepare us for the service.
  • Incense:  Incense is used to honor the presence of the Divine.  It is used quite frequently during the service.  We always face the priest while he is censing.
  • The Service:  Our Sunday service is called Diving Liturgy and is lead by the priest, and the responses and hymns are sung by the acapella choir.  Traditionally there are no musical instruments in an Orthodox Church.  You can follow the service using the "Divine Liturgy" book in the pew.  We do not just sit during the service, but stand, bow, and bless ourselves at various times.  Feel free to join us as much as you like, and it is OK to just sit through the service, if that feels comfortable to you.
  • Blessing Ourselves:  We bless ourselves using the thumb, first, and second fingers of the right hand together, and the last two fingers against the palm.  We move the hand from the forehead, to stomach, to right shoulder, then left shoulder.  We do this many times during the service, and not always at the same time.  Feel free to bless yourself.
  • The Lord's Prayer:  In the Lord's Prayer, we say "debts" instead of "trespasses".  We also end it at "deliver us from evil." and the priest completes the rest.
  • The Virgin Mary:  We call the Virgin Mary "Theotokos", which is the Greek word for "God Bearer" or "Mother of God".  We call upon her many times during the service to pray for us.
  • Communion:  Because the Eucharist is one of the Sacred Mysteries of the Orthodox Church, only Orthodox Christians may receive communion.  The Orthodox Church understands the Holy Eucharist as a mystery of the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist, not simply as a memorial, or merely in a spiritual sense.  Instead, we invite you to join us in receiving the "antidoron" (blessed bread) during and after the Diving Liturgy.  The antidoron bread is not Communion and is available to everyone.
  • Venerating the Cross:  After the service, we go up to the priest and venerate (bless ourselves and kiss) the cross.  You may go up and just say hello to Father Sergious without venerating the cross if you like.  Do what is comfortable to you.


Share This:

The Misson of the Orthodox Church in America, the local autocephalous Orthodox Christian Church, is to be faithful in fulfilling the commandment of Christ to "Go into all the world and make disciples of nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. . . ."

Learn More  >

St. Raphael Orthodox Church is part of the Diocese of the South. Our Diocese spans 14 states and has over 100 faithful clergy and monastics serving in 78 parishes, missions, and three monastic communities. We invite you to come worship with us from Alburquerque, New Mexico to Wilmington, North Carolina! Please see our Parish Listings for more details and to find a parish near you, or click on a story above to see the latest news from from the Diocese!

More Information >

The Holy Scripture is a collection of books written over multiple centuries by those inspired by God to do so. It is the primary witness to the Orthodox Christian faith, within Holy Tradition and often described as its highest point. It was written by the prophets and apostles in human language, inspired by the Holy Spirit, and collected, edited, and canonized by the Church.

Daily Readings >

Listen to Daily Readings >

Holiness or sainthood is a gift (charisma) give by God to man, through the Holy spirit. Man's effort to become a participant in the life of divine holiness is indispensable, but sanctification itself is the work of the Holy trinity, especially through the sanctifying power of Jesus Christ, who was incarnate, suffered crucifiction, and rose from the dead, in order to lead us to the life of holiness, through the communion with the Holy Spirit.

Today's Saints >

Listen to Saints of the Day >

St Raphael Orthodox Church