An Orthodox church is a special place of Godís
presence on earth. We must behave ourselves reverently in church, so as not to
offend the dignity of the sacred place and not to call Godís wrath on
ourselves. We should come 5-10 minutes before the service begins. Coming into
church we must make the sign of the cross and bow. On entering a church, men
are to remove their headwear. Women should cover their heads, and dress
according to their sex, there must be no lipstick left on their lips. We must
be dressed appropriately and neatly. We should not speak loudly, keep our hand
in pockets, or chew the gum in church. We should not wander around needlessly
We must put candles and venerate icons so that we
do not interfere with other people praying in church. Any conversation should
be restricted to the very minimum. You can greet your acquaintances briefly and
postpone talking to them for a later time. Having come to church with children
you must prevent them from running, misbehaving and laughing. A crying child who cannot be calmed down, should be taken out of church
by the parent.
We can join the singing chorus very softly. If
the entire parish is singing, we must prevent "loud cries." While in
church one can be sitting only due to illness or extreme fatigue. One should
not sit with his or her legs crossed. If all the praying people kneel, you
should join them. It is prohibited to smoke on a church-porch. Animals or birds
are not allowed in church.
No walking or talking is allowed during Gospel
reading or when the Cherubic hymn is sung, as well as while Eucharistic Canon
(from "The Symbol of Creed" to "Our Father") is read.
During that time it is also advised to refrain from putting candles and
venerating icons. One can correct a fellow parishioner only in a soft and
delicate manner. It would be better not to make any remarks unless a person
behaves like an impertinent hooligan. Finally we should stay in church till the
end of service. You may leave earlier only due to bad health condition or if a
very serious matter requires it.
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