Church Etiquette: Guidelines for Maintaining Reverence and Decorum During Divine Services.
When attending Divine Services we all have the responsibility of maintaining proper decorum and atmosphere in the church. The very first thing to keep in mind is that we are to be at Divine Services on time.
Remember the church is the House of God. Reverence and good manners are required at all times. No irreverent or irrelevant conversations should go on in the Narthex or in the church proper. There are certain times during the Divine Services when no one should be moving about or entering the church or being seated at a pew. Wherever a person happens to be at these moments, he or she should stop and stand reverently until the proper moment to be seated. These times are:
- During the Doxology, while the priest is censing.
- During the Small Entrance – The procession of the priest and altar boys with the Holy Gospel.
- When the priest censes the Altar, icons, and congregation throughout the Divine Liturgy.
- During the reading of the Epistle and Gospel.
- During the sermon.
- During the Great Entrance – the procession of the priest and altar boys with the Holy Gifts.
- During the recitation of the Creed and Lord’s Prayer.
- During the Consecration of the Holy Gifts. (Se Imnoumen)
- During Holy Communion. To receive Holy Communion the faithful should come forth down the centre aisle and use the side aisles to return to their seats.
- When receiving any sacrament of the church, use your baptismal/chrismation name.
- During any special services such as Memorials or Artoclasia, special doxologies, etc.
The general rule is that whenever the priest is outside the Holy Altar either with the censer or for giving a blessing, there should be no movement in the church. Also, we remind everyone that we should attend the Divine Liturgy and all services of divine worship from the beginning.
Please remember that Parish Council members are obligated to maintain order and decorum in the church during worship. Please try to understand us. Cooperate with us. If you know of someone who falls under the aforementioned categories, please let us know. We will do everything in our power to be useful and reinstate them in the Church. We, the priests, are here to serve you. Your cooperation in following these regulations will help us greatly in offering you assistance in all your spiritual needs.