Clergy Etiquette

posts-pic-priest-blessing-personThe following is a guide for properly addressing Orthodox clergy. Most of the titles do not exactly correspond to the terms used in Greek, Russian, or the other native languages of the national Orthodox Churches, but they have been widely accepted as standard English usages.

Greeting Clergy in Person

When we address Deacons or Priests, we should (more…)

The Sign of the Cross during the Creed

These instructions on the appropriate time to make the Sign of the Cross during the Nicene Creed come from the Moscow Typicon, and it is Fr. Job’s request that this become standard practice for our parish.

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The sign of the cross is to be made at 1) I believe in One God, the Father Almighty, 2) and in One Lord, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, 3) and in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the Giver of Life, and 4) and the life of the age to come.

(+) I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible.

(+) And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the only begotten, begotten of the Father before all ages; Light of Light, true God of true God; begotten, not made, of one essence with the Father, by whom all things were made.

Who, for us men for our salvation, came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the Virgin Mary, and became man; and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate; and suffered and was buried; and the third day He rose again, according to the Scriptures; and ascended into heaven, and sits on the right hand of the Father; and He shall come again, with glory, to judge the living and the dead; whose kingdom shall have no end.

(+) And in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of Life; who proceeds from the Father; who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified; who spoke by the prophets.

In one holy catholic and apostolic Church. I acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins; I look for the resurrection of the dead,

(+) and the life of the age to come. Amen.

Sanctified Bread

Bread occupies a special place in our lives. It symbolizes all food as well as the labor necessary to obtain it. As God once told Adam, “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread” (Genesis 3:19).

In bread there is religious symbolism. The Lord Jesus Christ called Himself the “bread of life” (John 6:51), and said “if any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever…” (John 6:51). Finally, He allowed bread, which [in being of organic composition] is related to human flesh, (more…)

Candles in Divine Services

The Candle

What does a person first do upon crossing the threshold of a church? In nine out of ten cases, he goes to the candle stand. Our practice of Christianity, our involvement in its ritual, begins with a little beeswax candle. It is impossible to imagine an Orthodox church in which candles are not lit.

Blessed Simeon of Thessalonica (15th century), commentator on the Liturgy, states that pure wax symbolizes the purity and chastity (more…)

On Receiving the Mystery of Holy Communion

At the request of Fr. Job, please see below for instructions on how to receive the Mystery of Holy Communion. This is an excerpt from the book A Practical Handbook for Divine Services by the Igumen Gregory Woolfenden (+ 2008). Where necessary, additions to the text (“-ed.”) have been made in order to more closely reflect the practice of our parish.

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Communion of the Laity

When it is time for the communion of the laity, the server takes the candle from in front of the holy doors. The priest, approaching the holy table, picks up the chalice and turns to face the west. The deacon, meanwhile, draws the curtain aside (more…)

On Pious Behavior in Church by Archpriest Victor Potapov

Archpriest Victor Potapov, rector of Saint John the Baptist Cathedral in Washington D.C., wrote this excellent article below. It addresses many frequently asked questions concerning church etiquette in the Orthodox Church.

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From time to time, new parishioners ask us to explain how one should behave during church services. First of all, one must come to the realization that everything externally taking place in church is an expression of our internal feelings, and must be consonant with them. Thus, for example, a prostration is a sign (more…)