An Orthodox Christian home altar with icons of Mary and Jesus
The only English speaking Orthodox Christian Church in eastern Suffolk is celebrating its twenty-fifth anniversary the weekend of September 25th, 2009. St. John the Theologian Orthodox Church in Shirley, New York will be visited by Metropolitan Jonah, the popular, recently elected leader of the nation-wide Orthodox Church in America. Metropolitan Jonah will preside over the Divine Liturgy on Saturday, September 26th at 10:00 a.m. at the church located at 158 West End Avenue, which is open to the public.
There will be other events and activities throughout the weekend. More information is available at the St. John the Theologian website.
Orthodox Christianity has been referred to as one of the best kept secrets in America. One reason for this is that Orthodoxy appeals so strongly to the American longing for meaningful living and satisfying spiritual expression, that converts often wonder why everyone doesn’t know about it.
Another reason is that many Americans mistakenly think that Orthodoxy is a cultural club only open to Greeks and Russians, when in fact there are more than 250 million people worldwide and 1.2 million Americans who practice the Orthodox faith. These figures are according to USA Today in a 1/11/2007 article titled "More Americans Join Orthodox Christian churches", by Tom Breen of the Associated Press.
The Orthodox Christian faith is a mystical faith, rich in symbolism and ritual. It is heavily influenced by eastern thinking that is focused on spiritual transcendence through ascetical practices rather than legalism. It was founded after the crucifixion of Christ when all Christians were of one church. In 1054 A.D., the faith was split in two: Catholicism in the west and Orthodoxy in the east. The two faiths evolved in completely different ways in their approach to spiritual faith and teaching. There are also dogmatic differences.
The East End of Long Island has three Orthodox churches, St. John's is a bit further west but it is the only fully english language one. Southampton has a Greek Orthodox Church, Kimisis Tis Theotokou, located on St. Andrew’s Road, off of Rt. 27 across from Stony Brook Southampton College. Their phone number is: 631-283-6169. Services are in a combination of Greek and English.
The North Fork has two Greek Orthodox Churches: The Church of the Transfiguration of Christ at 1950 Breakwater Road in Mattituck, phone 631-298-9652; and the Greenport Greek Orthodox Church is St. Anargyroi and Taxiarhis at 702 Main Street, 631-477-1801. Services are in Greek.
To experience Orthodoxy entirely in English, St. John the Theologian is the place. It is approximately 30 minutes west of Riverhead. The phone number is 631-281-5960.
Read more about Orthodoxy: The Nativity Fasting period helps prevent Christmas depression and Lessons for Children around Eastern Orthodox Easter (Pascha)