A Warm Welcome to Our Visitors
Thank you for visiting our St. John the Theologian Orthodox Church web site. The mission is located in Cape Girardeau, not far from the university. We’re on the corner of Independence and Clark. The Orthodox Church, and particularly our Antiochian Archdiocese, has roots back to the beginning of the Church in the days of the apostles. In the book of Acts, St. Luke records that "the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch (Acts 11:26)." We treasure our Christian heritage. At the same time, we're a community that is faithful to the living Tradition of our Church in this generation. Our message is the unchanging Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. Our parish is a fellowship of people who are growing in His grace. Our mission is two-fold:
We trust that you will find the information you're looking for on our various pages and links. We endeavor to provide clear explanations that reflect the fullness of the Faith "which was once for all delivered to the saints (Jude 1:3)." After visiting St. John's, we also encourage you to visit other Orthodox churches near you. If you live in our area, we would be delighted to have you come and experience the life of the Church with us. The Orthodoxy you'll find here isn’t new or unique to us. In fact, we practice that which the Church has believed at all times, in all places, by all people. There are not short cuts. We put on Christ just as all Christians have done from the beginning, which enables us to hand down to the next generation the living witness of "Christ in you the hope of glory (Colossians 1:27)." If you're already an Orthodox Christian, we want to provide you with helpful information to deepen your faith and strengthen your life in Christ. If you're not yet Orthodox, we invite you, as did the apostle Phillip, "come and see (John 1:46)."
At the founding of the mission, our Bishop selected the name St. John the Theologian to express the Orthodox belief that in Jesus Christ we are a new creation. Through Christ we can put on love, not only love for God, but love for one another and all people. As the Apostle and Evangelist said, "Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love (1 John 4:7-8)." Indeed, all of the Scriptures bear witness that the greatest gift is love. We strive to embody this holy virtue and put it into practice. We pray that your time today on our web site encourages you in your daily effort to put on the same love. May God bless you.
In the joy of the Resurrection, Fr. Daniel
Receiving Holy Communion, non-Orthodox Christians
Again, welcome. Thanks for visiting the mission. When you arrive, feel free to light a candle, say a prayer, and venerate the icons. There are Divine Liturgy books available in the narthex of the church so that you can follow along. We'll make sure that somebody greets you and shows you where we are in the service. We view the holy Eucharist as the fruit of a unity already achieved, not as a means to that unity. While only Orthodox Christians may receive Holy Communion, we encourage our non-Orthodox friends to join in receiving Holy Bread at the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy. Also, we extend a warm invitation for you to join us during coffee hour in our fellowship hall after the service. Have a bite to eat. Give us the opportunity to introduce ourselves and talk with you.
Receiving Holy Communion, Orthodox Christians
The Divine Liturgy assumes preparation and that you intend to partake of the precious and all-holy Body and Blood of our Lord, God, and Savior Jesus Christ. An Orthodox Christian must prepare to receive Holy Communion through prayer, fasting, and confession.
In his book The Mind of the Orthodox Church, the Metropolitan of Nafpaktos Hierotheos addresses the issue very well when he says, "Liturgical life without the ascetic life does not help effectively in the regeneration of the church congregation."
As a starting point, when you approach the Holy Cup you must have abstained from food and drink for a minimum of 12 hours, attended Divine Liturgy with regularity, been to confession recently, and be at peace with all men in so far as you are able. Other individual considerations are at the discretion of the pastor.
The Manner in Which We Receive Holy Communion
After the priest says with the fear of God, with faith and love draw near you may begin forming a single line in the middle of the church. This is a holy time. Be mindful of what you are doing and whom you are approaching. Pray while you are waiting to receive Holy Communion.