“Let everything we do be done in an orderly way.” (1st Corinthians 14:40)
The best way to show proper etiquette is to love to God is to be respectful to others. Please make every effort to be in church before the Divine Liturgy begins, and to remain quiet and respectful throughout the entire service.
Appropriate clothing should be worn, hands should be prayerfully at our sides or folded, not in our pockets, or laid on the tops, or sides of the pews. There should also be no food or drink in the Church (no gum chewing!) unless it's Holy Communion or food that has been blessed and distributed by a clergyman. When seated, legs should not be crossed. Limit talking and moving around, and try not to create a distraction for yourself or for others. Please clean up after yourself at the conclusion of the service.
Fellowship is important. However, the designated place for socializing is the fellowship hall - not the narthex. Please also respect the purpose of the altar. Please do not interrupt the priest who is conducting prokomidi and katalysis before and after the Divine Liturgy. The only people who are allowed in the altar are those who have been given permission by the priest. If you would like to speak with Father Jason, please wait until a more appropriate time to do so.
CHILDREN IN CHURCH
The presence of children in the worship is essential to a healthy Church! Why else would our Lord say “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)
Here are some insights that we all might find helpful:
- Help your children see what is taking place in the service and explain to them what is happening. Don’t be afraid to sit up front!
- If your child asks a question that you might not know the answer to, ask Fr. Jason or a Sunday School teacher! It can be a good learning opportunity for the rest of the children.
- It’s ok to correct your child’s behavior if they misbehave. At the same time, don’t resent them for being children. Even adults struggle to pay attention in Church!
- It’s ok to bring your children into the narthex or cry-room if you feel that it’s necessary.
- Lead by example! Bring your children Church on a regular basis, and to establish a routine of prayer at home.
- If children are not comfortable receiving the sacraments, it’s our responsibility as parents to show them by our example. This means preparing for and receiving the sacraments ourselves. Why would they feel comfortable doing something that we don’t?
- We must all show support, love, and patience to one another, especially to struggling mothers. This includes those of us who have already raised children, those who might not have children. This especially includes fathers! Honor your wife, and fulfill your role in training up your children in the way that they should go! (cf. 1 Peter 3:7; Prov 22:6)
HANDLING THE HOLY BREAD (ANTIDORON)
After receiving Holy Communion and at the end of the Divine Liturgy, it is customary to receive a piece of holy bread or antidoron - the bread that was left over after Holy Communion was prepared. While antidoron is not Holy Communion, it is blessed bread, and as such should be eaten carefully so that crumbs do not fall.
Both adults and children should always remember to treat and consume the antidoron with respect.
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 with disrespect. The church school students and their teachers are the only permissible exception.
GREETING A PRIEST OR BISHOP
It is not appropriate to merely shake the hand of a bishop or priest. In the Orthodox tradition in this country, the faithful usually take the bishop's or priest's right hand as though to shake it, but instead kiss it. We kiss/venerate his hand to honor the fact that his hand holds the Holy Gifts. If the Priest is holding the Gospel, Cross or other Holy Object, kiss/venerate the object first and then his hand.