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Frequently asked questions



1. Who we are

Istok Enterprises is a Canadian company dedicated to providing Orthodox community with vast selection of traditional Christian Orthodox vestments, garments, books (in Russian only) and various church supplies. All items that you will find on this site are made by carefully selected Russian craft masters and are shipped to our customers from our warehouse in Moscow, Russia.

The mission of our company is to serve the needs of Orthodox community as best as we can.  That is why we so much appreciate your input and suggestions on our work.  We strongly believe that without you, our customers, this business will not go anywhere.  So, please write us and we will do our best in bringing our services along with your expectations.

In terms of books, we offer basic liturgical service sets, lives of the Saints, writings of the Fathers, books on theology, history and the spiritual life, and more.  This site contains our Online Catalogue with images of almost every item presented.

To keep our prices as low as possible, we are trying to cut overhead costs wherever it is possible.  For this reason we strongly suggest contacting us via e-mail - you will always get a prompt response from our Sales Department. 

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2. How do I order vestments?

1. Browse through available vestments sets and the select the one that suites you in terms of fabric quality. Note that there are two options for vestment furniture decoration: Standard and Premium. The Standard options means that you may select a fabric from the Vestment Fabric section, but the crosses and galloons will be plane without embroidery. If you select Premium decoration, you may select from the Vestment Items section type of galloons and cross sets.

2. Note that though the same picture represents some vestment sets, they differ in quality of fabric. You may certainly order vestments made from any fabric listed in the Vestment Fabrics section (provided they are in stock). The only thing is that the fabric chosen in the Fabric section must match description of a particular vestment. That is, if you want, say, Greek metallic brocade, vestment description should also say "Greek metallic brocade".

3. Upon selection of a vestment set, submit your order via on-line shopping cart AND fill out our on-line Measurement Chart. Indicate your name in the field provided and in the Comments field place any information pertinent to your vestment design, e.g. fabric and, if applicable, cross set and galloon catalogue numbers.

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3. Are your vestments pre-made?

Almost all vestments are custom-made, except for items like monastic belts, etc. that may be pre-made.

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4. How do I send my measurements?

To send us your measurements, just fill out our on-line Measurement Chart. Indicate your name in the field provided and in the Comments field place any information pertinent to your vestment design, e.g. fabric and, if applicable, cross set and galloon catalogue numbers.

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5. Can you tell me what is Flax? Is Flax cotton?

Flax is a natural fiber (grass) cultivated in northern regions of Russia and Poland. Vestments of the High Priest in the Old Testament were commanded to be made out of pure flax. This fabric is the most body-friendly one in the world. One disadvantage: machine-processed flax (hand-made flax is very expensive and hard to find) wrinkles somewhat easily. Blends with cotton or rayon are better in this respect, however.

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6. I need to order something that I could wear in hot summer. What do you recommend for neatness and easy care?

All three basic fabrics that we offer - wool, cotton, and flax - may be washed and dry-cleaned. The best body-friendly fabric is flax. However, if you don't expect the garment you order to touch your skin, this may not be a big deal. There are some blends of flax with cotton, viscose, polyester but all of them don't do much better than the pure flax unless there is something like 70-90% of polyester.

The best "cool" fabric we can suggest is cotton/viscose blend at 90/10%. Wool is also durable, but is probably better suitable for a colder environment.

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7. Can I place an order over the phone?

Each item in our on-line catalogue is assigned its weight factor. The latter is used by the built-in software to automatically calculate shipping charges. Discounts are also calculated on-line and subtracted from your Total order sum. For this reason it is very difficult for us and time-consuming to accept an order over the phone. Exceptions may be granted only to those who for purely technical reasons are unable to shop on-line.

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8. I am trying to place an order, but when after putting something into my shopping cart I click on the BACK button to return to the previous page, my shopping cart appears empty.

When you have already put something in your shopping cart DO NOT click on the BACK button. It will bring to the previous stage of your shopping cart when it was empty. Instead, click on the Continue Shopping button and everything will be intact.

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9. What does RPS stand for?

RPS, as far as we are concerned, stands in our correspondence for Russian Postal Service.

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10. Where are the orders shipped from?

All orders are shipped from our European Warehouse.

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11. How much time does it take to get an order?

Normally, it takes about 3-5 weeks to sew an order. During high-season picks, such as before Holy Pascha, in August-September (after our summer break), production time for sewing items may be around 6-8 weeks.

Rush service is currently available for typical vestments orders (without complex embroidery, etc.) at 50-100% surcharge with sewing completed within 2-7 business days.

For jewelry items production time may be around 10-16 weeks..

In terms of shipping, three factors affect delivery time. The first factor is internal handling and packing which usually takes 1-5 days. It is our commitment to ship orders that do not require special wooden crates within 48 business hours of their reception.

Customs clearance constitutes the second factor. Legally, Customs in Europe have 7 days to clear a parcel. They usually do the job within 48 hours, but during vacation period in summer, New Year holidays, etc. they extend this time to 4-7 days. FedEx and UPS have Customs officials working in their own premises and usually are able to squeeze orders through to fit their standard delivery time (3-5 days). Orders with subtotal over 100 Euro (about $89 USD) require longer Customs clearance.

The third factor is the shipping itself. RPS AIR takes ON AVERAGE 10-16 days to the Americas, Europe and Japan.
It takes more time to reach Australia and South Africa.

About 2% of the orders take 6-7 days and more than 20 days for delivery. We have no idea what generates this spread. Ground delivery takes at least 1 month and may extend to something like 2-3 months. We strongly suggest that you opt for RPS Air unless delivery time doesn't really matter for you.

EMS Garant Post is a courier agency that delivers to major cities around the world within 10 days and 17 days elsewhere.

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12. I think, my order is late. What could you/I do about this?

First, check out what kind of shipping option you selected at the time of order placing. Then, if it was RPS Air and you haven't received your order in 2 weeks, send us a note and we will have RPS initiate tracing procedures. Note, that RPS does not initiate tracing for Ground delivery until after 2 months and 4 weeks for Air from the shipping date have expired.

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13. How can I get fabric or galloon samples?

You may order a complete set of vestment fabrics by placing an order for item Fabric Samples FA-000 in the Vestment Fabric section and VI-000 in the Vestment Items section respectively. If you need just several samples of a particular item, send us a note and we will mail them to you. In the last case, there is a $3.00 charge to cover the postage, which will be applied to your next submitted order.

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14. Do I pay taxes on my purchase?

There are no taxes applicable to any orders.


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