2148 Michelson Dr, Irvine, CA 92612
Nativity of the Most Holy Theotokos Serbian Orthodox Church of Orange County, California is a parish of the Diocese of the West, Serbian Orthodox Church in America. Our parish is under the episcopacy of His Grace Dr. MAKSIM, Serbian Orthodox Bishop of Western America. The Serbian Orthodox ruling hierarch is His Holiness Patriarch Irinej. Our parish priest is Father Blasko Paraklis.
Our parish is named after the Most Holy Theotokos, the ever-virgin Mary, counted as a most Holy human being ever. Our annual parish feast day is September 21. Originally founded in Orange County, California by His Grace Bishop Jovan in the spring of 1998, our parish gained a full time priest, Father Blasko Paraklis, in October of that year. United in Faith, parishioners shared a sense of fellowship and a growing determination to build a church, fellowship hall and school from the onset.
Among the worshipers are senior citizens, grateful that there is finally a church close in their area; families seeking religious education for their children; students and single adults, who appreciate the spiritual guidance and fellowship; new immigrants who seek support in the daunting task of acclimating to their new country, and a broad range of others.
Following the example set by early Serbian immigrants to this country, the Orange County community seeks to perpetuate the faith and pass a strong spiritual and cultural foundation on to future generations. Divine Liturgy and vespers services are celebrated regularly on Sundays and Feast days followed Sunday School, all in a rented facility which houses a beautiful chapel, classrooms, a fellowship hall and a full kitchen.
As is traditional from the earliest of structures built specifically for Christian worship, the sanctuary (the altar in the chapel) is at the extreme eastern end of the building, the direction of the light, symbolized by the rising sun. The narthex (the vestibule) is at the west end of the building, the ‘dark’ end representing the darkness of sin. The nave (main body) is situated between the two.
The icons (religious pictures) that adorn the chapel are traditional in style with examples from a variety of Orthodox cultural traditions. On the Eastern wall behind the Holy Altar table, hang the icons of the twelve major Feasts of the church year. Icons of the Crucifixion and Resurrection are located left and right of center, and the icon of the Holy Eucharist is in the center.
The Serbian Orthodox community in Orange County is determined to build a permanent place of worship that will be an earthly testimony to the glory of God, a place that will welcome all who are faithful to the Orthodox Church and its teachings, and all those seeking to learn more about the faith. We are very blessed to have Russian Orthodox Christians and others as part of our Pan-Orthodox Community In this endeavor, the parish humbly and respectfully seeks your support.
You are welcome in our church! We are thankful for all those God sends, in His divine providence, to our spiritual home. Those who would like to learn more about our ancient Christian faith should feel free to contact the parish priest. Our Church welcomes all who have a sincere desire to follow the founder and head of our ancient Faith, our Lord, God and Savior Jesus Christ.
If you are an Orthodox first-time visitor without a parish of your own, we encourage you to join our community. Simply ask one of the Faithful, someone on duty at the candle stand, or the priest.
After the Divine Liturgy, we welcome all visitors to join us in our small fellowship hall for lunch and conversation with our parish family. You will find people from almost every walk of life. We are one family in Christ bound together in one common faith.
We gather in church as a parish community united in an ancient faith for a singular purpose–the worship and glorification of God. For this reason, we ask you to please refrain from any unusual or disrespectful behavior while you are in our place of worship as this distracts the Faithful from our purpose. Distracting clothing, smoking inside the building, standing with hands in pockets, conversing, and any other behaviors that draw attention to oneself are discouraged. We glorify God in humility, inner peace and reverence through our thoughts, prayers, appearance and behaviors.
Please understand that non-Orthodox visitors, regardless of their Christian affiliation or confession, are not permitted to receive Holy Communion in the Orthodox Church. Reception of the Divine Gifts identifies a person with the Orthodox body of believers exclusively. It has been thus since the first Mystical Supper in the upper room. While no one at all is considered worthy of Holy Communion, including the clergy, the Orthodox Church does not admit any Orthodox person to Communion who is not prepared. An indispensable element of preparation for Holy Communion is considered to be regular participation in the Mystery of Holy Confession. Another indispensable element is total fasting, preferably from the preceding evening, but at least from the midnight prior to morning reception of the Mystery of Holy Communion. Orthodox visitors are encouraged to contact the Priest prior to the Divine Liturgy if they intend to receive the Mysteries.
You will find in the hallway before you enter the chapel a small candle stand where candles may be purchased for a donation. These candles are lit and placed in one of the candle stands accompanied by our prayers. The candle is at once a small offering and a symbol of our own lives. The warmth of the flame is our faith casting light upon a world darkened by sin. We recognize that our life on earth is temporary, thus we must shine brightly with the Light of God while the time is given to us. It is the favorite lie of our adversary the devil that there is ‘plenty of time’. Our Orthodox visitors will also find that we offer small pieces of paper for writing the names of living and deceased family members at the candle stand. The names are given to the priest who offers special prayers for the health or blessed memory of your loved ones. The list of names must be received in the Altar well prior to the beginning of Divine Liturgy.
Thank you for joining us online. We hope you will visit us. Our ancient faith is founded upon the love of God who so loved the world that He sent His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to us that we might, by His example, learn to truly live and, by His death and resurrection, be free from the tyranny of sin. We genuinely hope that You find Him here in our midst.