Our Church Etiquette

Our Church Etiquette

RESPECTFUL BEHAVIORS 
Remember that you are in church to worship God, the Holy Trinity. The priest says, “With the fear of God and faith and love, draw near.” Let this be the way you approach your worship.

  • Refrain from socializing during the Liturgy – Save your greetings and conversations for the fellowship hall. We are in the Liturgy to greet God with our prayers and worship, not to distract others.
  • Mobile devices – The use of mobile phones is never proper during the Liturgy. If you have a professional reason to carry one for emergencies, keep it on mute, not vibrate, and sit near the exit so that leaving for an emergency will not be a distraction to others. Otherwise, turn off your phone before entering the sanctuary.
  • Refrain from reserving seats – Allow others to sit as they come into the church and especially make room for visitors so they will feel welcome.
  • We do not clap in church
  • Lipstick – Do not wear lipstick while taking Holy Communion, or when kissing the cross, an icon, the priest’s or bishop’s hand, or any sacred object. It is best not to wear it at all in the church.
  • Leg crossing – One should not be too casual in the Divine Liturgy. People from some Orthodox traditions are offended by the crossing of legs. In our North American culture, while there are no real taboos, we tend to cross our legs to get comfortable when sitting. Crossing one’s legs in church is not permitted, not because it is “wrong,” but rather because it is too casual and relaxed for being in church. Remember, sitting in church is a concession, not the normative way of prayer. Keeping your feet on the ground also enables you to remain attentive and to stand when necessary.
  • Church Dress – Respectful attire is also an important part of attending Orthodox services. You do not need to be dressed “fancy” but respectfully and modestly so as to present yourself to God. Preferably, women should wear dresses or skirts and men should wear dress pants or suits. No shorts, short skirts or revealing clothing please. Some women have the pious tradition of covering their heads. Men and boys must remove their hats when entering the church.
  • Photography in the Church – Whenever photography will take place during a service at an Orthodox church (including special events such as weddings and baptisms), please make sure to instruct photographers that pictures and videos may not be taken from behind the priest or standing in front of the altar.