Church Etiquette

What is “proper behavior” during Church services?

Probably the most important duty that we each have as worshippers attending church services is to do all that is in our power to see that a proper decorum and atmosphere is maintained so that all of the congregation is able to pray sincerely, peacefully and meaningfully.

It is with this fact in mind that we have set forth the following guidelines:

Upon entering the Church, at all times, but especially during services an individual should remember that he or she is in the House of God. Reverence and good manners are required so as not to disturb those who are already engaged in prayer, but, even more importantly, as an
expression of sincere faith and awareness of the presence of the Lord. No irrelevant conversations should take place, either in the Narthex or in any part of the Church.

According to actual church service procedures, each and every member of the congregation is required to be seated in the pews at the beginning of the service. It is only by leniency that anyone is allowed to enter the Church once the services have begun. Thus it behooves us not
to take undue advantage of this leniency.

There are several parts of the service during which no one should be moving about.

Wherever a person happens to be at these moments, he or she should stop and stand reverently, until the proper time to proceed.

These parts of the service are:

  • The Procession of the Priest and Altar Boys with the Gospel;
  • The reading of the Gospel;
  • The Cherubic Hymn and the Great Procession of the Priest and Altar Boys with the Holy Gifts;
  • The recitation of the Nicene Creed (in which the entire congregation should participate);
  • The prayers of offering “Take, eat…” and the prayers of the consecration of the Holy Gifts;
  • The Sermon;
  • Any special services (memorial services, processions, prayers);

One basic rule to follow is that, whenever the Priest is facing the people or outside of the altar, either with the censer or giving the blessing, everyone should stand wherever they are.

Please remember that the Parish Council members and the ushering staff are required to keep order during services, and all should follow their instructions at all times.

St. George Greek oRthodox Cathedral

Manchester NH

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