I wanted to go to divine liturgy today, which was Sunday but I thought it would be rude to just barge in unannounced without letting the priest know that I was going to visit. Should I ask to speak to the priest to let him know that Im going to visit? I have been reading all I can about proper etiquette in an Orthodox church. I hope I remember it all.
First, I wouldn’t worry too much about remembering everything. It’ll come in time J Regarding calling, unless you are an Orthodox Christian planning on asking to receive communion, it’s not really necessary. Of course, there is nothing wrong with calling him if you want to. Some people might even find it a bit more comfortable if they feel like they’ve already talked to someone at the Church. But I wouldn’t avoid going if you didn’t happen to talk to anyone at the parish.
What is an Orthodox service like? Is it like the usual sermons in other churches where they preach, lecture, and have the choir singing once in a while?
Well… there are all the basic parts you might expect, though they tend to be different than what you‘d find in some other groups. For example, there might be singing, but they aren’t going to say “Open up your hymnals to page 254”. The sermon can vary radically from parish to parish, so it’s hard to say much about that. There is a good bit of give and take between the priest/deacon and the choir/people. There is usually some people crossing themselves, bowing, etc. going on. A good general principle is, follow what you see happening around you. For example, they’re going to cross themselves when the Trinity is mentioned, so feel free to do the same.
I know that I am not allowed to take Holy Communion, but would I be allowed to partake in the Antidoron?
That would probably vary from parish to parish. When I’m visiting a parish I’ve never been to before, I use a “wait and see” attitude. Sometimes people will offer some antidoron, or when you venerate the cross at the end some will be offered to you. Sometimes not. If you plan on going more than once, you could always ask the priest about it.
Also, what is Orthros? It seems they have these on weekday feast days at night. Does that mean they do them daily? They have Orthros before divine liturgy in the morning.
If you google Orthros or Matins you should get some good articles on it… I don’t think I could really explain what it is very well (hopefully someone more interested in liturgics will…)