In the Orthodox Church, there are many customs and traditions that are an important part of our worship. Some are cultural and some are pious customs. Some are essential and some are not. From time-to-time, we need to address some of these various etiquette issues to better inform the faithful.
When entering the narthex, we are leaving the secular world behind us. As we enter the nave of the sanctuary, we enter into a space of worship that is a foretaste of the Kingdom of Heaven.
Conversation and speaking should be limited to essential communication. Casual conversation should not be held in church and never during the time Holy Communion is being offered. Fellowship time follows services during the Coffee Hour.
Chewing gum is inappropriate.
The Importance of PunctualityThe time to arrive at Church is before the service starts. If you arrive after the Divine Liturgy begins, try to enter the Church quietly and observe what is happening. If the Epistle or Gospel is being read or the Little or Great Entrance is taking place, wait until it is finished to quickly find a seat.. Try not to interrupt the Liturgy by your entrance. The best way to avoid this situation is to arrive on time.
"Let Us Attend"
Young Children & BabiesWe encourage you to bring your young children and babies to church services. After all, Jesus said: "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these" (Matthew 19:14). However, if your child becomes excessively noisy, we ask you to please take them to the nursery so as to not disrupt the service for others. The nursery is equipped with closed circuit TV so you may watch the service from there. We have also designated the library as our "Quiet Room". A gentle reminder, please do not overdue children's snacks in the sanctuary. Use the "Quiet Room" or the nursery for food consumption.
Excessive CosmeticsWomen who wear lipstick to church should blot their lips well before venerating an icon, receiving Communion, or kissing the cross or the priest's or bishop's hand. Perfumes and after-shave should be worn at a bare minimum (if at all).
Leaving Before Dismissal
Leaving church before dismissal deprives us of a blessing. Worship has a beginning "Blessed is the Kingdom..." and an end "Let us depart in peace..." To leave immediately after Communion is to treat the church like a restaurant where we come and go as we please.
Handling The Blessed Bread (Antidoron)
Attire: Using Good JudgementWhen attending services, there are those who feel that God will accept us regardless of our attire. Yes, God does accept us as we are, but what are we doing to prepare ourselves for Him? This is why we must take proper care in what we wear. We need not be dressed "fancy" so as to impress others.
We need to only be dressed "respectfully" and "modestly" so as to present ourselves to God. Preferably, this means wearing "Sunday best" but "business casual" is acceptable. From time to time, medical or other reasons arise which may prohibit the wearing of certain clothing. You should use your good judgment when these situations arise. Speaking with your priest will help also.