Updated: Nov 21, 2019
The church is the place where God meets with his people, Christ with his Bride – the Church; it is the image of the union in Christ of “heaven” and “earth”. Recognizing this reality, a Christian, as he or she approaches the church, must already internally prepare for this meeting with proper composed behavior. This inner state is also manifested through external signs, symbols that are inherent in human nature, which is a combination of the spiritual and bodily: our bodily postures and gestures express and nurture our spiritual mindset.
Entering the church
At entering the church, the faithful make the sign of the cross three times. Men remove their head covering. Then, when the service has not yet begun, we calmly approach the tetrapod to venerate by bows and a kiss the church’s patronage icon (or icon of the respective feast) and the holy cross, crossing ourselves twice before and once after kissing. We then depart to our place in order to greet the Lord in private prayer and to give Him first our due respect and honor.
Afterwards, we may greet our fellow worshipers near us with a slight bow of our (unless it prevents others from praying) quietly addressing them with our traditional Christian greetings.
During the Divine Service
The Divine Liturgy is the foundation and summit of Christian life. It must be remembered that participating in the Liturgy every Sunday and on Feast days is our Christian duty. The voluntary and deliberate omission of this sacrament without good reason on our part is a violation of the Third Commandment of God – a grave offense.
Also, without good reason, we cannot be late for the Divine Liturgy. For proper preparation, we come to church in advance to go to confession, if need be, to make our private requests for prayers, to light votive candles, and so on. During the celebration of the Liturgy, we should not walk around in church, in order not to distract the faithful. If there is a need to light a candle during the service, we try to do so in a manner, so as not to disturb others at prayer.
How to dress?
Our attire should be decent and festive in order to pay due respect to our Lord, and at the same time it should be simple so as not to distract other believers.
(under the auspices of the Commission for the Laity of the Chicago Eparchy of St. Nicholas)
to be continued…