Where to Start?
St. Antony is a parish where people come together to worship God and so much more. We are a vibrant and diverse faith community made of people of all ages and backgrounds throughout Tulsa and Eastern Oklahoma who are living their faith together and raising their families within the teachings and traditions of the Holy Orthodox Church.
Our parish was started by immigrants from the Middle East who brought their faith to America with them. Over the years, they have shared their faith wiht others and many of our families have journeyed to the Orthodox Church from other Christian faith traditions and denominations as well as some non-Christian religious and spiritual traditions. Whether you’re on a journey or just wanting to visit an Orthodox parish, you are welcome at St. Antony
Of course! The faith is open to all and you are welcome here. We are always honored to have visitors join us for prayer and worship. We are a community quite a few converts (including our priest and deacons!) and welcome newcomers, inquirers, and visitors. Every sincere seeker of Christ or non-Christian inquirer is welcome. We also know many of the questions you’re going to have about the Orthodox Christian faith and pracitices; many of us have been there! Don’t be afraid to ask questions about what we do or why we do it.
When you first enter our parish, you are coming into the narthax. If you visit on a Sunday, you’ll be welcomed by a greeter at the door. Feel free to tell the greeter that you’re new and he or she will help you navigate your way around and introduce you to others you can ask questions to. We have copies of our services in the pews so you can follow along, or, if you prefer, simply enjoy the service and join us in our worship of God.
After service on Sunday, you’re invited to join us for our weekly coffee hour, which is a great time to visit with parishioners and meet our priest. If you are not interested in social interaction at first, that’s fine. You are always welcome to follow your own pace and level of interest.
It depends on the service. Below you’ll find a list of our weekly services with their time and lengths.
- Great Vespers (Evening prayers – Saturday nights at 5:00 pm) are usually 45-50 minutes.
- Orthros/Matins (Morning prayers – Sunday morning at 9:00 am) are usually 50-60 minutes.
- Divine Liturgy (Sunday 10 am) runs about 90 minutes. We think that when you have participated in an Orthodox service you will feel like – as one visitor put it – “you have truly worshipped God!” Please view our calendar for additional services throughout the year.
Most people who attend our parish follow the general rule of dressing appropriately and respectfully as we stand before the living God. We have people who wear everything from jeans to suits, long dresses to skirts, sneakers to dress shoes. We do ask that you do not wear shorts, mini-skirts, and that men don’t wear hats.
In the Orthodox Church, children participate in worship from birth and are with their parents at each service. We encourage children to be present in Church for the services. This participation is part of a child’s spiritual formation. If your baby or child gets fussy, talkative, or has a melt-down, or if you need to nurse your baby, we have a cry room upstairs for you to use.
We do have Sunday school on Sunday mornings after Liturgy for children from two years-old through high school.
The traditional posture for prayer and worship in the Orthodox Church is to stand before the King of the universe! In the Orthodox “old countries” there are typically no pews in the churches. Our parish has pews and you can sit as you need to, but we do ask that you stand during the reading of the Gospel, the Little and Great entrances, during Holy Communion, and when the priest gives a blessing, Just follow the congregation.
Lighting candles is an important part of Orthodox worship and piety. We light candles as we pray, making an offering to God accompany our prayers. Orthodox typically light candles when coming into the church, but there are times when candles should not be lit. Candles should not be lit during the Epistle or Gospel readings, during the Little Entrance, and during the sermon. By the way, you do not have to be an Orthodox Christian to light a candle and pray in an Orthodox church
Orthodox priests may only serve the Holy Eucharist to baptized members in good standing of the canonical Orthodox Church, who have recently confessed, and fasted before partaking of the Holy Eucharist. This is the ancient tradition of the Holy Church for the 2,000 years of its history. 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, as many other non-Orthodox Christians do. We ask that you respect the ancient, apostolic tradition and join us in receiving the Fellowship bread at the veneration of the cross, at the end of the Divine Liturgy.
Close to seventy-five percent of an Orthodox service is congregational singing. Traditionally, Orthodox do not use instruments. Usually a choir leads the people in a capella harmony, with the level of congregational response varying from parish to parish. The style of music varies as well, from very traditional Byzantine-sounding chant in some parishes, to more Western-sounding four-part harmony in a Russian-tradition church, with lots of variation in between. The music is solemn, prayerful and intended to lead the faithful to worship the living God.
New visitors will find there are many new things to experience in a Holy Orthodox Church service. Feel free to go at your own pace, ask any questions you want, and know you are most welcome to “come and see.”
Each week, Fr. George offers an Inquirers’ Class for those wanting to learn more about the Orthodox faith. There you can ask questions and explore or simply listen to whatever is being discussed. You’re welcome to come learn.
Feel free to contact us, or talk to one of our faithful, or to our priest priest or deacons after one of the services or during coffee hour following Sunday Divine Liturgy. If your need is of a pastoral nature, you can call the office or leave an email request to schedule an appointment to meet with a priest.