Where Do I Start?

To become an Orthodox Christian and a member of St. Paul’s, one simply begins by inquiring about Orthodox Christianity.


Where does your inquiry begin? It begins with openness, curiosity, and an active interest in exploring and experiencing the faith.


What do I need to know? Begin exploring the fundamentals of Orthodox faith and practices and learn what it means to be an Orthodox Christian.


What happens next? Following a period of formal instruction and personal discernment, take the next step in becoming a committed and practicing Orthodox Christian.

Inquiring About the Faith

To understand who we are, we want to encourage you to worship with us and attend any of the Bible studies and other classes that we offer.

We have a parish bookstore located in our parish hall that offers an extensive range of materials that can help you explore the history, teachings, and worship of Orthodox Christianity.

We also have the Father George Stephanides Library, an excellent lending library that you are welcome to use. For information on how to access and use the library, contact Jennifer Mitchell at the parish office or jennifer@stpaulsirvine.org.

When you’re ready to learn more, you can enroll in our Orthodox Christianity 101 class. You can find more information HERE.

Learning About the Faith

The fundamental requirement for becoming an Orthodox Christian at St. Paul’s is taking a class offered each September through April called Orthodox Christianity 101, a 24-week class that explores the basics of our faith and practice.

You may access the syllabus for Orthodox Christianity 101 and browse course materials on our parish website.

Becoming a Catechumen

Becoming an Orthodox Christian isn’t just a matter of adopting a new set of intellectual beliefs; it is also about joining a parish, a community of other Orthodox Christians, and taking up a Christian lifestyle focused on following Christ.

To become an Orthodox Christian and enter the Church, one must first be made a catechumen. A catechumen is someone who has officially been received into the Church as an Orthodox-Christian-in-training.

At St. Paul’s,  one normally is made a catechumen on the Sunday of Judgment, shortly before Great Lent begins in preparation for the celebration of Pascha (Easter).

Catechumens do not yet partcipate in the sacraments of the Church, but they are prayed for and blessed during each Divine Liturgy, especially during Great Lent.

Becoming A Catechumen?

Are You Ready?

If, when taking Orthodox Christianity 101, you feel that you are ready to become a catechumen, you must inform our pastor, Father Steve, no later than February 16, 2023. Father Steve will meet with you to talk about this very significant step in your spiritual journey and help you select a sponsor or godparent. Father Steve will also walk you through the service for becoming a catechumen.

The Service for the Making of a Catechumen takes place on The Sunday of Judgment at the end of the Divine Liturgy. You will meet Father Steve out in the narthex of the Church. The Service itself consists of a prayer of blessing, several prayers of exorcism, and a series of brief questions and answers; at the end of the service, everyone recites the creed together, and there is another prayer of blessing. Father Steve will then take you back into the Church with him, and, at the very end of the service he will officially introduce you to everyone in the parish. Folks will greet you and introduce themselves to you during coffee hour, but, by this time, you will already be familiar with many of the people in the community.

Catechumen Service Booklets

Becoming an Orthodox Christian

For most people this process takes a minimum of nine months beore entering the life of the Church sacramentally through either baptism and/or christmation.

Those catechumens who are ready to become members of St. Paul’s and enter the life of the Church are normally baptized and/or chrismated on Great and Holy Saturday just before our celebration of Pascha (Easter).

Catechumens who have never been baptized and are coming from either a non-religious background or a non-Christian religion (Judiasm, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Mormonisn, Jehovah’s Witness, etc.) are baptized and chrismated in the early afternoon (about 1 pm) following the Holy Saturday morning celebration of the Liturgy of St. Basil.

Catechumens who are coming from Christian denominations that confess their belief in the teachings of the Nicene Creed (Roman Catholic, Lutheran, Anglican, Methodist, Southern Baptist, etc.) and that baptize “in the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit” as commanded by the Lord Jesus (Matthew 28:18-20), require only chrismation (Anointing with Chrism) and are chrismated on Great and Holy Saturday evening at 9:30 pm, shortly before the beginning of our Resurrection Service and Easter Liturgy.

All the newly baptized and chrismated Orthodox Christians receive the Body and Blood of the Lord Jesus Christ at the Easter Liturgy that evening.

This is the road towards Christ and membership in the Body of Christ at St. Paul’s, a road of worship, learning, and repentance.

For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

Matthew 16:25