For those planning baptisms & weddings at St. Elias Cathedral, the following requirements must be met:
1. The meaning and purpose of baptism is for the child to be incorporated into the Body of Christ (the Church) by participating in the Lord's death and resurrection. When the child is placed in the water, they are being buried with Christ; when they rise from the water, they rise to new life. Baptism is not simply a cultural rite of passage; it is a literal "puting on" of Christ. The child is illuminated by baptism, and thus is made ready to receive the Seal of the Gift of the Holy Spirit, given in the Sacrament of Chrismation (also known as confirmation), which takes place at the Baptismal service. Having been illumined and having received the gift of the Holy Spirit, the child is now able to be fully incorporated into the life of the Church, and this takes place most significantly at the reception of Holy Communion. Unlike other Christian groups, the Orthodox Church has preserved the ancient practice of giving communion immediately to the newly-baptized and chrismated infants; there is no "first communion" ceremony when the child is older. The communion at the baptism is their first communion, and they are welcomed to the Chalice from that point on.
2. Before choosing & confirming the godparents, please ensure the prospective godparents meet all requirements: At least one godparent must be an Orthodox Christian, the other can be a Christian of another denomination [i.e. Catholic]; the godparents must be in good standing with their respective churches, and are to receive confession and communion in the weeks approaching the baptism. We encourage careful consideration of who you ask to be godparents. It is of the utmost importance that godparents be people of prayer who are active in church, and who have a dedicated commitment to Jesus Christ. Simply choosing someone because they are a friend or a relative is not enough if that person is not close the Lord. This is because the godparent's job is to ensure the child is brought up in the Orthodox Christian faith, that their life of prayer and sacramental life is nourished, and that they live "in Christ." If the godparent is not living this life already, then they will not be able to give to the child that which they themselves do not fully possess. This is why we urge a prayerful, deliberate, and careful choice when selecting godparents for our children. Furthermore, no one will be permitted to serve as a godparent unless they have received confession and communion, in order for them to be spiritually prepared for the great role they are about to fulfill.
3. Schedule and confirm the date of baptism with the Cathedral office by calling 613-738-2222.
4. The godparents and parents are to meet with either Fr. Ghattas or Fr. Michael several weeks before the baptism in order to discuss the order of the service, the responsibilities of the godparents, and required items to bring.
1. The Orthodox wedding service is not simply a social "contract" between the man and the woman. Rather, it is a complete joining of the husband and wife together in Christ. Our Lord Jesus Christ is the bond which unites the man and woman in the communion of marriage. Therefore, the sacrament of Marriage presupposes that the couple are already living a dedicated life in the Church, and will continue to do so after marriage.
2. Weddings should be booked at least 6 months in advance; 1 year in advance is preferrable. Please reserve the church BEFORE reserving the reception hall. We do not take wedding reservations over the phone; the couple must make an appointment to speak with the priest before the wedding date will be confirmed.
3. There are certain days when weddings CANNOT take place. These include: Wednesdays and Fridays, Great Feasts of the Church, during the Christmas Fast (Nov. 15 - Dec. 25), during Great Lent (including the period from Meatfare Sunday to Thomas Sunday), and during the Dormition Fast (Aug. 1-15).
4. If either member of the couple was previously married & divorced, they must first be reinstated by the Metropolitan Archbishop to the sacramental life of the Church before proceeding with the wedding; this process can be initiated by speaking with Fr. Ghattas or Fr. Michael.
5. At least one member of the couple must be an Orthodox Christian; the other must at least be a Christian (i.e. Catholic.) Weddings between Orthodox and non-Christians are not permitted. All members of the wedding party must be Christian.
6. The couple must attend at least 2 sessions of pre-marital counseling with the priest in the months prior to the wedding.
7. The couple must receive confession and communion at their respective churches prior to the wedding.
8. The couple is to return to the Cathedral on the nearest Sunday following their honeymoon for the service of the Removal of the Crowns.
If you have any questions regarding baptisms or weddings at St. Elias Cathedral, please call the Cathedral Office at 613-738-2222. Any decisions about unusual circumstances regarding these services are subject to the discretion of the Pastor, Fr. Ghattas.