Sunday, April 3, 2016

Lighting Candles ( Church Etiquette )

Lighting candles is an important part of Orthodox worship. We light them as we pray, making an offering to accompany our prayers. Orthodox typically light candles upon entering the church, after venerating the icons. If a service is already in progress, and the candle stands are up front, it is a good idea to wait until after the service to light candles so as to not distract others from prayer, nor draw undue attention to oneself.

Standing vs.Sitting ( Church Etiquette )

The traditional posture for prayer and worship in the Orthodox Church is to stand. In “Orthodox countries” there are usually no pews in the churches. Chairs or benches on the side walls are reserved for those who need them, i.e. the elderly, infirm, “with child”, etc. In North America, some Orthodox faithful have introduced pews into their churches thus creating the artificial “need” to figure out when to sit and when to stand. Whether a church has few chairs or many, there are times when one should definitely stand:

The beginning of the service: “Blessed is the Kingdom...”

All Litanies—The Entrances: with the Gospel and later, the Chalice

Gospel Reading

The Creed, the Lord's Prayer

The Anaphora beginning with “Let us stand aright” through the Hymn to the Theotokos

The distribution of Holy Communion,
i.e. the Body and Blood of Christ in our midst, through the end of the dismissal

As you can see, this leaves little time for sitting. Whatever parish you are in, when in doubt, stand in prayer—yet remaining sensitive to not drawing attention to oneself, or blocking other's participation in the service.