The purpose of pastoral care is to cultivate the healing, transforming presence of the living Christ in the lives of the people within the parish and beyond. In the Orthodox Church, the sacraments and liturgical services are central to pastoral care. Beyond the sacraments, pastoral care takes place in a variety of forms and includes everything from hospital or homebound visitations, to informal discussions about faith and life, to offering a pastoral presence in a time of crisis. Please call the Church office (804-355-3687) if you would like to arrange pastoral care for yourself or for a member of your family.
If you or a family member would like a visit in the hospital by a priest, please call the church office (804-355-3687) and give the full name (the name under which they have been admitted to the hospital) of the person to be visited, the name and location of the hospital and whatever additional information you think may be helpful. If this is a pastoral emergency, please call Father Nick directly.
The gift of God's forgiveness is received through private prayer, corporate worship, the disciplines of prayer and fasting, penitential services and above all, through the sacrament of Holy Confession.
The value of Holy Confession is twofold. First, through this sacramental act of the ordained priest and the Christian believer, we have the assurance of divine forgiveness, according to the words of Christ (Jn 20:23). Secondly, Holy Confession provides the opportunity to talk about one's deep concerns, to receive counsel and to be encouraged toward spiritual growth, all of which are universally recognized as extremely beneficial to personal life.
Holy Confession is appropriate whenever an Orthodox Christian feels the need for it. It is also a part of our total spiritual preparation during the fast periods leading up to the great feasts of Easter, Christmas, the Falling Asleep of the Theotokos and the Feast of Twelve Apostles.
Confessions are heard by making an appointment with the priest.
"Even though you have ten thousand guardians in Christ, you do not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel."
-1 Corinthians 4:15
Spiritual direction in the Orthodox Church involves fostering the healing and spiritual growth of people in a sacramental, liturgical, and community context and through a personal pastoral relationship with one’s spiritual guide – aka “spiritual father”.
Therefore, in addition to participating in the services and sacraments of the Church and in addition to personal prayer, reading scripture and practicing the spiritual disciplines, every Orthodox Christian should seek spiritual direction from a trusted, mature and faithful spiritual father or spiritual mother. Ideally, one’s spiritual father will also serve as one’s father confessor. While this is usually one of the designated roles of parish clergy, some individuals have a pastoral relationship with a spiritual father who is not connected to the local parish.
From time to time, pastoral counseling is necessary to foster spiritual growth in addition to pastoral care, confession and spiritual direction or when a person, couple or family is “stuck” despite having received pastoral care, confession and spiritual direction. Our priests provide such counseling to the extent that their training allows.
Pastoral counseling is distinct from pastoral care in that it provides an ongoing context in which a person, couple or a family may work through more complex challenges. When our priests feel that such counseling is beyond their capability, they many recommend the help of a trained and licensed counselor who draws from the knowledge of both the behavioral sciences and theology.
Pastoral counselors may also refer clients to other health care professionals, such as a psychologist or psychiatrist, for evaluation and medication. In many cases, pastoral counselors work as a team with other health care providers.
Please contact a priest for further information and assistance in arranging pastoral counseling.
Pre-marital counseling is offered (and required) for all couples seeking to be married in our church. The counseling involves teaching the couple about the nature and purpose of the Sacrament of Marriage in the Orthodox Church. In addition, it addresses certain practical concerns in marriage in an effort to help couples navigate their way through marriage successfully and to identify (and if possible resolve) areas of difference that may become a source of conflict later.
Three Sessions of pre-marital counseling are given by a parish priest to any steward (and his/her future spouse) in good standing of Saints Constantine and Helen who is planning to be married.
Please contact a priest to arrange your premarital sessions.