Church Etiquette

Church Etiquette

Church, for us Orthodox Christians, is the holiest of all places. It is the place where we come face-to-face with our Lord, thereby, demanding the utmost in respect and conduct. While in Church, WE DO NOT chew gum, candy, etc., and WE DO NOT cross our legs or move around and carry on a conversation, especially in the Narthex of our Church.

All of these activities tend to distract those around us and lead our soul away from the mystical experiences of the Divine Liturgy. Our movements about the Church, at their appointed times, should be done with the utmost respect for the place in which the Lord dwells.

WHEN ARE WE NOT TO ENTER THE NAVE of our CHURCH?

As we are entering God’s Home, we must always keep in mind that during the following times, WE MUST NOT ENTER THE NAVE of our Church NOR COME TO THE FRONT of the Church to light a votive candle:

  • During the Small Entrance (when the procession with the Gospel takes place)
  • During the EPISTLE Reading
  • During the GOSPEL Reading
  • When the priest is censing and is facing the Congregation
  • During the GREAT ENTRANCE (when the procession of the Holy Gifts takes place)
  • When the priest is blessing the Congregation
  • During the recitation of the Nicene Creed (“I believe…”)
  • During the Consecration of the Holy Gifts
  • During the recitation of the Lord’s Prayer (“Our Father…”)
  • During the Priest’s sermon

WHEN DO WE KNEEL (and other questions)?

  • We do not kneel on Sundays during the consecration of the Holy Gifts as Sundays are resurrectional in nature
  • We do kneel on Weekday services except from Easter until the Pentecost – However, for many decades in our Churches, the Faithful have had the pious tradition of kneeling, even if it has been technically and theologically wrong to do so
  • We do not exchange the Kiss of Peace during the Liturgy, per our Orthodox Tradition
  • After receiving Holy Communion, we step away from the Chalice before doing our Cross
  • We fast year-round on Wednesdays and Fridays; Saturdays are not fasting days
WHILE IN CHURCH, REMEMBER to…
  • Wear appropriate attire to enter God’s House
  • Silence your mobile devices
  • Sit with your legs uncrossed
  • Refrain from chewing gum, mints, or candy
  • Remove lipstick when receiving Holy Communion or when venerating and kissing the icons
  • Follow the direction of the Priest for standing & sitting
  • Maintain quiet in the Sanctuary
  • Refrain from greeting others while in the Church during and exiting from the Divine Liturgy – that is reserved for Fellowship Hour AFTER services
  • Refrain from applauding
  • Not to occupy the hallways or community center during the Divine Liturgy. Instead…
  • Enter God’s House formally with reverence and respect

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