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Poll
Question: Where should everyone stand in the church?
Men on left, Women on right
Women on left, Men on right
All Single Women on left, all men and married women on right
All married people on left, all single people on right
All the converts in the front of the church and all the cradles in the back
Stand? Why stand when you can sit in a pew?

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« on: July 25, 2007, 02:55:58 AM »

So I was just debating with several people in my parish about the correct place for the women to stand in the church. One guy said that the women should stand on the left since that is the side of the Theotokos on the iconostasis. Another one says that women are on the right since it corresponds to the theology behind why the deacon stands in front of the icon of Christ while the hymns to the Theotokos are sung during the 1st antiphon. One guy said he enjoyed praying with his wife on his side while another enjoyed having his wife as far away from him as possible.

I am more confused then ever and was hoping that everyone on the site could tell me what the Orthodox church teaches on these matters.
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« Reply #1 on: July 25, 2007, 03:15:09 AM »

As far as I know, the tradition is that women stand on the left and men on the right (facing the altar). This is the way we do it at my church also. However, I think it's more importnat to be at the church and not where you stand.
I'm glad by that arrangement, though, because I can concentrate on the Holy Liturgy and not on beautiful women, like a sinner that I am.
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« Reply #2 on: July 25, 2007, 03:26:18 AM »

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eastern_Orthodox
Traditionally, men stand on the right and women on the left.

http://biserica.org/Publicatii/1995/NoIV/31_index.html
4. A patra conditie canonica. Totdeauna barbatii in biserica trebuie sa stea in partea dreapta, iar femeile in partea stanga. Si in ordinea aceasta trebuie sa stea in biserica : barbatii batrani in frunte, cei mai putin carunti la spate, cei mai tineri in spatele lor, flacaii si baietii tot asa. La fel si femeile. Iar intre barbati si femei, sa lasati o carare in biserica, ca sa mearga cine vine sa se inchine si sa duca darul la Sfantul Altar.

4. The Forth Canonic Law. Men should always stand in the church on the right side and women on the left. And this is the way to stand in the church: older men in the front, the one less older men behind them, the young ones behind those, teenagers and children likewise. The same thing for women. Between men and women leave  room so that anyone who comes to church can go to the Holy Altar to cross himself and bring his gift.

I believe this is different in the OO churches:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethiopian_Orthodox_Tewahedo_Church

As with Orthodox synagogues, men and women are seated separately in the Ethiopian church, with men on the left and women on the right (when facing the altar).
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« Reply #3 on: July 25, 2007, 03:30:09 AM »

As far as I know, the tradition is that women stand on the left and men on the right (facing the altar). This is the way we do it at my church also. However, I think it's more importnat to be at the church and not where you stand.
That's right and I agree with you that where you stand is unimportant - but try telling that to a Moldovan babusca who looks just about ready to knock you to the ground for standing with the women!
Quote
I'm glad by that arrangement, though, because I can concentrate on the Holy Liturgy and not on beautiful women, like a sinner that I am.
Well in our church here, there is no division of the sexes, though I was quite surprised to se this. I'm sure that everyone must have been used to it at home (they're nearly all Romanian immigrants) but they appear to have arrived in Britain and just started mixing. I prefer it non-segregated as it allow me to do my share of looking after the kids.

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« Reply #4 on: July 25, 2007, 04:18:23 AM »

In Greece, traditionally, men go on the right and women to the left. We do not keep this strictly though as women´s side is always far more congested, so women will usually occupy space on the right hand side of the church as well as upstairs in the Gynaeconites. On Feast Days, as the church is usually too crowded for norms to be properly applied, people mix more at the entrance of the Church and to facilitate things for Holy Communion, women are channeled to the queue of men as well, to balance things out.
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« Reply #5 on: July 25, 2007, 07:20:09 AM »

I prefer women in front/men in back myself - women standing in their pews/ men sitting in theirs.
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« Reply #6 on: July 25, 2007, 08:37:44 AM »

Traditionally, men go on the right and women to the left.  In my parish married couples tend to stand together with their kids as a family throughout the church but many of the single men have chosen to stand in the front on the right side and the single women to stand on the left side in the front.

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« Reply #7 on: July 25, 2007, 09:54:35 AM »

In my parish families stand together, but everyone huddles near the door, or at least as close to the walls as possible. We don't really differentiate by sex.
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« Reply #8 on: July 25, 2007, 11:24:18 AM »

How about Agia Sophia (and the other ancient super-Basilicas): Women and visitors on the balcony, men on the ground level.
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« Reply #9 on: July 25, 2007, 11:29:27 AM »

How about Agia Sophia (and the other ancient super-Basilicas): Women and visitors on the balcony, men on the ground level.
This is why I think most churches here in America are uncanonical in their design. If there is no balcony then the women are not in their proper place in the church. If the women are standing above us men then we can't be distracted by them as we pray.
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« Reply #10 on: July 25, 2007, 11:29:45 AM »

How about Agia Sophia (and the other ancient super-Basilicas): Women and visitors on the balcony, men on the ground level.

In my parish that would put all the women in the choir loft...not sure how that would work.
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« Reply #11 on: July 25, 2007, 11:30:38 AM »

This is why I think most churches here in America are uncanonical in their design. If there is no balcony then the women are not in their proper place in the church. If the women are standing above us men then we can't be distracted by them as we pray.

Please do cite the relevant canon for us!
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« Reply #12 on: July 25, 2007, 11:42:01 AM »

Please do cite the relevant canon for us!
Everyone knows it is 111 of Trullo aka the Quitisext Council.
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« Reply #13 on: July 25, 2007, 11:42:14 AM »

In my parish that would put all the women in the choir loft...not sure how that would work.

Eh, I don't like the "choir lofts."  They should make full-sized, large balconies.

How about a "choir rail" instead of the loft/mini balcony - a catwalk-type ledge going around the sides of the Church about 2 stories up, only wide enough for people to stand against the rail and have someone else walk behind them.  They had that at the Great Church of Christ (Agia Sophia) as well!  (You could get over 1000 cantors involved - quite a feat!)
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« Reply #14 on: July 25, 2007, 11:57:25 AM »

Reminds me of the original church of the Greek parish in Norfolk, VA. It had a three-sided loft around the nave. Church was very wide, too - iconostasis had 7 icons (large) on each side (to get some perspective). View from loft was stunning.
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« Reply #15 on: July 25, 2007, 12:03:28 PM »

Everyone knows it is 111 of Trullo aka the Quitisext Council.

Huh?

Oh, OK, I 'see' it now... Wink
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« Reply #16 on: July 25, 2007, 12:20:23 PM »

This is why I think most churches here in America are uncanonical in their design. If there is no balcony then the women are not in their proper place in the church. If the women are standing above us men then we can't be distracted by them as we pray.

I like the idea of women being up high and above the men. There is something intuitively appropriate with that arrangement. We ladies could harmonize with the angels during Divine Liturgy while all of you men could work out your distraction problems down below. Then, at a moment's notice you could quickly run up to the altar to receive confession for your lustful thoughts   Cheesy Cheesy Cheesy
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« Reply #17 on: July 25, 2007, 12:25:10 PM »

I like the idea of women being up high and above the men. There is something intuitively appropriate with that arrangement. We ladies could harmonize with the angels during Divine Liturgy while all of you men could work out your distraction problems down below. Then, at a moment's notice you could quickly run up to the altar to receive confession for your lustful thoughts   Cheesy Cheesy Cheesy

Lustful thoughts? As in from glancing up?
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« Reply #18 on: July 25, 2007, 12:28:30 PM »

I've belonged to 5 different SOC parishes (4 without pews, 1 with) and in each of them women were on the left, men on the right.  I always assumed it was just a small "t" tradition.
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« Reply #19 on: July 25, 2007, 02:17:43 PM »

Lustful thoughts? As in from glancing up?

The sound of our angelic voices would incline you to look up and that would be your downfall.
Perhaps having separate churches would be the answer! Cool
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« Reply #20 on: July 25, 2007, 02:23:54 PM »

Maybe you should be Jewish. They've got this all figured out.  Wink
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« Reply #21 on: July 25, 2007, 02:33:19 PM »

The sound of our angelic voices would incline you to look up and that would be your downfall.
Perhaps having separate churches would be the answer! Cool

A variation of that forbidden fruit thing, right?
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« Reply #22 on: July 25, 2007, 02:37:49 PM »

The sound of our angelic voices would incline you to look up and that would be your downfall.
Perhaps having separate churches would be the answer! Cool
With my parish, you women would NEED to be in the balcony just so you can hear yourselves sing without the basses drowning you out! Cool
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« Reply #23 on: July 25, 2007, 03:44:44 PM »

With my parish, you women would NEED to be in the balcony just so you can hear yourselves sing without the basses drowning you out! Cool

But when you're singing that Russian music, you better have your basses drowining out everyone else or the music doesn't sound good!  Cheesy
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« Reply #24 on: July 25, 2007, 04:23:35 PM »

If I was to face the altar, we have women standing on the right side and men on the left.  I saw the same with the Ethiopians and Indians, and I assume the Syrians as well.

God bless.
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« Reply #25 on: July 25, 2007, 04:34:42 PM »

...but everyone huddles near the door, or at least as close to the walls as possible.

Doesn't that just drive you nuts?   Blocking the doors in an out, almost like they're afraid to get fully in the door and keep their quick escape options open.  Or more than likely, huddling around the doors and walls like cockroaches lets you lean against something while resting your feet.  Try juggling young kids, diaper bags and baby carriers while clueless people lean in the doorways.  I would never admit to getting any satisfaction from whacking them on the shins with a baby carrier as I struggled past. 
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« Reply #26 on: July 25, 2007, 04:59:28 PM »

After long and tedious reconsideration of this weighty question I am afraid I must offer my suggestions.
ISTM that the best side for BOTH women AND men to stand on should be, without question, their own bottom-side or soles of their feet. The alternatives, while possible, offer distinct disadvantages, to wit:

1) Standing on their "top- sides" or heads would be entirely too difficult to carry off (especially for some of the ladies and most of the men) in genteel fashion. Additionally, for the women, this alternative might prove too distracting for the men (see Loft post above).
2) Standing on BOTH sides is also to be discouraged as this entails, technically, standing on one's hands. As one can tell, this offers the identical drawbacks that Option 1) above does plus it prevents the mothers and Yiayias from rendering proper discipline to the children (or men) in corporal fashion.
3) Rumor has it that a certain 'competition' has begun among OC.neters involving alcoholic beverages. Advance warning should be given that "standing on one's backside" or in a semi-conscious, prone arrangement is not to be tolerated whether on winning or losing teams.

Thanks for your attention.
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« Reply #27 on: July 26, 2007, 02:30:34 AM »

After long and tedious reconsideration of this weighty question I am afraid I must offer my suggestions.
ISTM that the best side for BOTH women AND men to stand on should be, without question, their own bottom-side or soles of their feet.



Sorry, I discussed the options you suggested with my church girlfriends and we decided we are not coming down. We like it up here  Cheesy Wink Kalinichta agapito!
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« Reply #28 on: July 26, 2007, 02:42:11 AM »

Sorry, I discussed the options you suggested with my church girlfriends and we decided we are not coming down. We like it up here  Cheesy Wink Kalinichta agapito!
If that's how you feel, then stay up there. Tongue  We don't want you down here. Wink
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« Reply #29 on: July 26, 2007, 05:02:44 AM »

If that's how you feel, then stay up there. Tongue  We don't want you down here. Wink

We planned that, right...?  Undecided
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« Reply #30 on: July 27, 2007, 01:29:55 AM »

Didymus,

Quote
All Orthodox Churches separate men and women in Church don't they? - Quoted from this thread

As far as I know, that is the tradition of the various groups. However, in America, almost every Church I've been in has a mixed congregation. As I sit here, I can only think of one Church that had seperated men and women, while I can think of probably a dozen that I've been in that was mixed.
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« Reply #31 on: July 27, 2007, 02:03:21 AM »

Didymus,

As far as I know, that is the tradition of the various groups. However, in America, almost every Church I've been in has a mixed congregation. As I sit here, I can only think of one Church that had seperated men and women, while I can think of probably a dozen that I've been in that was mixed.

I'm Australian so I can't speak for what Americans do however as you yourself admit, traditionally all Orthodox Churches have separated men and women.

I'm fairly sure the OOs place the women on the right when facing the altar whilst EOs place the women on the right when looking out from the altar.
The issue here is whether the symbolic 'queens' should stand to the right of their husbands or to the right of God on the altar.
The Psalmist says, at Thy right did stand the Queen in gold. This refers to the Lord and His mother St. Mary but the issue in where ladies stand in the Church has to do with symbolism.

Here in Australia I have only heard of and seen Churches where the traditional practises of the Faith are kept. I have only seen inside Coptic, Ethiopian and Serbian Churches though. I've seen others from the outside but this doesn't help this discussion. I believe the Greeks, Romanians and Russians also separate as the Serbians though at least in Australia.

Having come from a Protestant background, I think it distracts from worship to have men and women stand together so they ought to be separated.
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« Reply #32 on: July 27, 2007, 02:06:41 AM »

In my parish families stand together, but everyone huddles near the door, or at least as close to the walls as possible. We don't really differentiate by sex.

Where is your parish and which branch of The Church please?

In some Churches you're doing well if you can get everyone to stand on the inside of the Church. Is this why Ethiopians lock the doors?

Also, what is the Quitisext Council? I can't find anything about it?
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« Reply #33 on: July 27, 2007, 03:02:37 AM »

Didymus, try Quinisext Council, it seems you write it in the wrong way and this is why you cannot find any information. Smiley
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« Reply #34 on: July 27, 2007, 03:59:19 AM »

Thanks Sophie. Found it now and seems it's an EO council that explains why I haven't heard of it. What exactly does canon 111 say?
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« Reply #35 on: July 27, 2007, 06:05:40 AM »

Quote
What exactly does canon 111 say?

It was a joke. Wink
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« Reply #36 on: July 27, 2007, 11:12:45 AM »

Where is your parish and which branch of The Church please?
Springfield, Missouri. It's an OCA parish.
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« Reply #37 on: July 30, 2007, 07:14:13 AM »

The Quinisext Council only has 102 canons.
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« Reply #38 on: July 30, 2007, 08:03:40 AM »

The Quinisext Council only has 102 canons.

It was joke, MA.
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« Reply #39 on: August 01, 2007, 12:35:56 AM »

Doesn't the Bible say Men in the front and Women in the back?? (and that women aren't supposed to talk during church??)  Wink

PS- I'm just stirring the pot! (I'm just joking)
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« Reply #40 on: August 01, 2007, 12:35:07 PM »

Doesn't the Bible say Men in the front and Women in the back?? (and that women aren't supposed to talk during church??)  Wink

PS- I'm just stirring the pot! (I'm just joking)


But it is also written in the Bible, "The neck shall always move the head!"
so it really doesn't matter where we puppetmast....ur I mean...women stand...hee, hee, hee  Wink
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admiralnick
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« Reply #41 on: August 13, 2007, 02:41:44 PM »

In good old american non-sexual discriminatory style, my church inter-mixes the sexes. Which makes sense from not only a practical perspective, but also since we are called to be in the image of both Christ and the Theotokos, not one or the other.

-Nick
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Christodoulos
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« Reply #42 on: September 20, 2007, 06:46:56 PM »

In good old american non-sexual discriminatory style, my church inter-mixes the sexes. Which makes sense from not only a practical perspective, but also since we are called to be in the image of both Christ and the Theotokos, not one or the other.

-Nick

God bless!+

That woman and man are seperated has nothing todo with discrimination!
We should not follow our own way of thinking or our own opinion in such questions.
It is an old tradition that woman stand on the left side and man on the right ( usually in every serbian orthodox church also today you can see this).I think it is written above because the icon of the Theotokos is on the left side and the icon of christ on the right!
In the early church often the two sexes were completly seperated with seperate entrances for woman and man and a curtain or wall in the midst so that no side could see the other( I think the practise of the muslim mosquee copy the ancient christian practice!)

This was the tradition in all orthodox ( also in catholic) churches ! Some local churches stand fast in this tradition others are not so strict but it can be proofed that it was common. I read a few months ago an appeal of a russian bishop that this tradition should be followed again by all orthodox christians!

When you study the mass in the middle age also it was common in the catholic church because this tradition is an very old one. Like it was also a catholic tradition to stand during prayer and liturgy!

So it is not important if it we understand or like this seperation , it is a tradition of the church and we should follow it! We are not allowed to change any tradition of the church.

In CHRIST




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ytterbiumanalyst
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« Reply #43 on: September 20, 2007, 07:05:47 PM »

So it is not important if it we understand or like this seperation , it is a tradition of the church and we should follow it! We are not allowed to change any tradition of the church.
This may be a minor quibble, but I would say that we are not allowed to change any Tradition of the church, but that we can change traditions when the need arises. Now, whether something is a tradition or a Tradition is another matter.
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« Reply #44 on: September 20, 2007, 07:09:25 PM »

This may be a minor quibble, but I would say that we are not allowed to change any Tradition of the church, but that we can change traditions when the need arises. Now, whether something is a tradition or a Tradition is another matter.

Christodoulos, as a non-native English speaker, may not know what you are referring to. Could you clarify for him and others?
« Last Edit: September 20, 2007, 07:09:48 PM by Anastasios » Logged

Met. Demetrius's Enthronement

Disclaimer: Past posts reflect stages of my life before my baptism may not be accurate expositions of Orthodox teaching.

I served as an Orthodox priest from June 2008 to April 2013, before resigning for personal reasons
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