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Welcome to St. John the Baptist Orthodox Church, Canonsburg, Pa. We are a parish of the Orthodox Church in America, under His Eminence, Archbishop Melchisedek. The Orthodox Church is the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church founded by Christ, born on Pentecost, which has stayed true to the teachings and practices handed down by the Apostles and the early Church Fathers. We welcome all who seek the fullness of God in His Body and Bride, The Church. On Sunday mornings we typically have 90-120 people of all ages for the Divine Liturgy (Eucharistic worship service) and we also have services and social events throughout the week. We’d love for you to join us! See our service times here. 

If you have questions about the Orthodox Church, or our particular parish, please contact our parish priest, Fr. John Kotalik.

From left to right: Protodeacon John Oleynik, Fr. John Kotalik, Deacon Theodosius Onest

What to Expect

  • When you arrive be sure to look for one of our Sunday Greeters standing in the narthex (church entry) to receive a copy of our weekly bulletin, The Forerunner.  It contains special hymns to sing for each specific Sunday, the Epistle and Gospel readings and various announcements for the coming week.  We also have a small children’s library shelf in the narthex and you are welcome to borrow books during the services
  • The major weekly service for the Orthodox Church is the Divine Liturgy, which we celebrate on Sundays at 9:30 AM. This service tends to last about 90 minutes.  Most people will stand during the entire service but you are welcome to sit if needed.  Feel free to stay as long as you wish, and leave when you must.  
  •  The Liturgy is an intricate series of blessings, prayers, hymns, and lessons.  You should, as Christ our Savior says, “Come and see.” The entire service is sung in English to melodies and chants originating in Eastern Europe. 
  • Incense, vestments, candles are part of the imagery of heavenly worship in the Book of Revelation. In the Liturgy we participate while still in this world in the worship of the angels and saints in heaven. Many people buy candles and place them in the church as an offering of light to the Lord, who told us to let our light shine.  You are also welcome to join us downstairs in our Fellowship Hall after Liturgy for Coffee Hour.
  • We also have weekday services, some shorter than others, such as Matins, Vespers, Molebens, and Akathists, to name a few. 
  • You are welcome to attend all of our services. Please check out the schedule here. Often those who are new to the Faith choose to attend a Saturday evening vesper service (which last about 45 minutes) as a way to experience Orthodox worship a little bit at a time. 
  • We believe that a place of worship is a sacred place and that we are standing before God and dress appropriately for such a place. 
  •  Though you may notice a wide range of dress, modest clothing is recommended and that men wear pants instead of shorts.  Some women may choose to wear a head covering while others may not.
  •  We believe that the Eucharist (another name for Communion meaning Thanksgiving) is the literal Body and Blood of Christ and to receive it means that you are a full participating member of our parish community. 
  • Those who receive Holy Communion are Orthodox Christians who have prepared themselves properly for communion by prayer, fasting, and recent confession.  If you are an Orthodox Christian visiting our parish and have received confession and have fasted properly before Divine Liturgy you should first contact Father John in advance to obtain his blessing.
  • If you are not an Orthodox Christian, but would like to learn more about the Mysteries of Holy Communion, Father John would be more than happy to meet with you privately.

What we Believe

As Orthodox Christians we hold to the belief that God is the Trinity, a Three Person God; Father, Son (Jesus Christ) and Holy Spirit. As is stated in the Nicene Creed

The Orthodox Church maintains that the Bible is the God-Breathed Word of the Lord. It holds a special place among our services and our spiritual lives. As St. John Chrysostom says, “If anything is said without Scripture, the thinking of the hearers limps. But where the testimony proceeds from the divinely given Scripture, it confirms both the speech of the preacher and the soul of the hearer.” While we do not hold the doctrine of Sola Scriptura that Martin Luther put forth we do however view the Scripture as chief among tradition, holding a place of primacy among all our prayers. If you were to come to one of our services you should be quick to notice the amount of verses we use throughout our liturgical practice. During the Divine Liturgy the reading of the Epistle and the Gospel are the central part of the liturgy and are held as one of the most reverent parts of our church service.  To learn more, we have several copies of The Orthodox Study Bible available in our church library that you are welcome to borrow.
We believe that we are the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. Meaning that we are not just a piece of the Church but we are the original Christian Church founded by Jesus and continued by his Apostles. It is the same Church described in the Bible as the Body of Christ and the Bride of Christ (1 Corinthians 12 : 27; Ephesians 5 : 23–25). Throughout its 2000-year history Orthodox Christianity has remained faithful to the teachings and practices passed on from the Apostles and early Church Fathers (2 Thessalonians 2 : 15).

There is technically only one Orthodox Church, and it is not tied to any particular nationality and welcomes everyone.  It is the Church founded by Jesus and continued by The Apostles. Part of the message of Christianity throughout history is that Christ instructed his followers to go forth and baptize all nations. We believe that Christ asked not only for the people of the whole world to become members of the Church but their cultures and nations as well. This results in many different expressions of this One Truth throughout the world, experienced most notably in the cultures of each of the Orthodox bodies, including but not limited to Greece, Antioch, Jerusalem, Egypt, and eventually Russia. Importantly these churches remained in communion with each other, continuing to teach the same doctrine working together to spread the faith to the world and administer the sacraments.

They differ though in their cultural expressions. As Christianity has spread around the world it began to adopt the cultures of those local regions as well, this includes Native American Tribes in Alaska, the Orthodox Church in India, and the Orthodox Church in Mexico. In America we have the privilege of experiencing a multitude of “different” Orthodoxiesbecause of the manner in which Orthodox Christianity came here from various ethnic groups migrating to the United States throughout the years. 

For a closer look this timeline may be helpful:

Iconsare holy images depicting Christ, His mother, the Theotokos, saints, martyrs, angels and various events from Church history.  They represent the true special reality of the Church, that the Saints worship alongside us in the Divine Liturgy. They are vital to our relationship with God and His Saints.  As windows to heaven, they act as guideposts on our way to the Kingdom. We kiss (or venerate) icons in the church out of love, honor and respect for those who are depicted much in the same way one might kiss a photo of a loved one.

Sacraments

The sacraments in the Orthodox Church are officially called the “holy mysteries.” Usually seven sacraments are counted: baptism, chrismation (or confirmation), holy eucharist, penance, matrimony, holy orders and the unction of the sick.

More about our Faith

Journey to Orthodoxy

This is a website with stories of people from many different backgrounds and countries and their process of converting to Orthodox Christanity.
View Material

An Introduction to the Orthodox Worship Space

This is a series of 34 short videos by Khouria Frederica Mathewes-Green in which she introduces the basic elements of the Orthodox Divine Liturgy and other aspects of Orthodox worship.
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Orthodox Intro

This website, which is maintained by reliable Orthodox priests, provides basic information about Orthodoxy for those who are not familiar with it.
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Ancient Faith Ministries

Ancient Faith Ministries provides a variety of resources to learn about Orthodoxy. They stream Orthodox music and podcasts 24 hours a day. Their bookstore has a selection of Orthodox books for every interest, and they have thousands of podcasts on every imaginable topic.
View Material

Walking an Ancient Path

A podcast on Ancient Faith Ministries about living and learning about Orthodox Christianity. For those who are exploring Orthodox Christianity, this podcast is particularly helpful.
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The Orthodox Faith

This link takes you to a page on the website of the Orthodox Church in America. This is the jurisdiction that St. John’s is part of. On this page you will find a variety of material about Orthodox Christianity, including prayers that are commonly used, recommended readings, and resources prepared by Fr. Thomas Hopko to introduce virtually every aspect of Orthodox Christianity.
View Material