Author Topic: That Awkward Moment When...  (Read 1323 times)

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Offline KostaC

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That Awkward Moment When...
« on: March 13, 2014, 10:25:17 PM »
Hey, everyone. I'd like to apologize beforehand if this is a stupid question or one of those "ask your priest/bishop questions."

When I'm away at school, I attend a local OCA Church. I genuinely enjoy my home-away-from-home and the practices I've been introduced to, some of which I had never seen at my home church. One of those practices is standing during Divine Liturgy. I don't need to explain to everyone that one usually sees pews in parishes part of the the Greek Orthodox Church of N. & S. America. Such is the case at my home parish, and I had never known that it was not a practice to sit during church until my second visit to Greece when I was 16. I prefer to stand during the Liturgy; I like this part of our tradition. As such, I've taken to standing during Divine Liturgy when I'm back home. However, there's one problem: I never realized how long my parish sits and kneels for. During the consecration, everybody kneels. Last week, I decided that instead of being the only person to stand the entire liturgy and feeling awkward about it, I'd make prostrations as some sort of compromise. Only, I felt even more embarrassed because I'm in the aisle of church making prostrations, and it was such a long time to kneel that I think I made about 20-odd prostrations and I felt like more eyes were on me than had I just stood. In the end, I just sort of knelt and remained in the aisle and felt like an ass. I don't really know what to do. My purpose for doing this is not some sort of crusade against the practice or a rebellion against the parishioner powers that be; I'm doing this for myself just because I have a preference. I'd like to ask: should I follow my conscience and carry on tradition, stand, and not care if all eyes may or may not be on me, or should I respect the customs of my home parish and sit and kneel when everyone else does and be humble about it? I genuinely don't know what to do. I'd also like to add that although I've been doing this for about half a year now, no one has said anything to me about it, so it hasn't started any sort of conflict.
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Offline Maximum Bob

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Re: That Awkward Moment When...
« Reply #1 on: March 13, 2014, 10:59:05 PM »
Well, as a general principle I believe we're not supposed to do anything that would draw attention to ourselves during the liturgy or that would distract someone else. So, had you asked half a year ago I'd have said do what your parish does. Now, I don't know, though I'd still probably lean that way. But, hey I'm no expert.
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Offline LizaSymonenko

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Re: That Awkward Moment When...
« Reply #2 on: March 13, 2014, 11:50:51 PM »

Can you stand off to the side, or towards the back, thereby being less conspicuous?
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Offline NicholasMyra

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Re: That Awkward Moment When...
« Reply #3 on: March 13, 2014, 11:52:19 PM »
"Follow the custom of the church where you are."

-St. Ambrose
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Offline Nephi

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Re: That Awkward Moment When...
« Reply #4 on: March 14, 2014, 12:43:24 AM »
"Follow the custom of the church where you are."

-St. Ambrose

This. So when I visited a Greek parish for the first time a while back, I knelt alongside everyone else. Not that I'm a hardliner against kneeling to begin with or anything.

Or perhaps stand at the back like Liza said, but repeated prostrations are probably a bit much, IMO.

Offline LBK

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Re: That Awkward Moment When...
« Reply #5 on: March 14, 2014, 03:09:12 AM »
Why not just stand with your head bowed, without doing the prostrations?
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Offline Αριστοκλής

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Re: That Awkward Moment When...
« Reply #6 on: March 14, 2014, 05:25:14 AM »
Being a baptized Greek Orthodox worshiping in his wife's ACROD church (which has a more Latin style) I have similar choices to make, preferring to stand for the liturgy, except for the homily and announcements, and not to kneel on Sundays. I solve this by standing in the rear and not kneeling unless it is a weekday liturgy, behind the pews and out the way and sight of most everyone but the priest, deacons, and subdeacon. On weekday Divine Liturgies I also have plenty of room for prostrations. I did ask permission before doing all these.

I also do this now on the few times a year we attend a Greek parish (with permission- Greek priest actually encouraged).

Back home....I do what my mother does  ;)
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Offline Alpo

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Re: That Awkward Moment When...
« Reply #7 on: March 14, 2014, 06:21:24 AM »
This is more like fun than awkward byt anyway, I attended a liturgy yesterday. At some point a child climbed into the bishops throne, threw the Eagle rug away and sat on the throne. The mother rushed to chide the child but everybody else seemed to smile. :angel:
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Offline elephant

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Re: That Awkward Moment When...
« Reply #8 on: March 14, 2014, 07:33:42 AM »
Dear Kosta,

Some people at the Church I attend stand from the time of the consecration through the dismissal.  This was discussed with the Priest, who agreed that standing is the proper respectful posture.  He also is aware that 'standing out' can be a temptation.  There is one individual who does full prostrations, including on Sundays.  No one says anything, but our Priest would recommend bowing instead, as full prostrations are 'standing out'.

You could join the choir - they stand through the Liturgy.

Love, elephant 

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Re: That Awkward Moment When...
« Reply #9 on: March 14, 2014, 07:52:53 AM »
I went to the GOA church for a Presanctified Gifts Liturgy last year.  During the Prayer of St. Ephraim, I started to prostrate, but I noticed no one else was doing that.  So I didn't do it.  It was still a blessing to be there with that parish, even though I wasn't doing what I was used to.
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Re: That Awkward Moment When...
« Reply #10 on: March 14, 2014, 07:55:29 AM »
This is more like fun than awkward byt anyway, I attended a liturgy yesterday. At some point a child climbed into the bishops throne, threw the Eagle rug away and sat on the throne. The mother rushed to chide the child but everybody else seemed to smile. :angel:

Perhaps, it's a sign.  If male, a future Bishop in the Church.  If female, maybe a Lutheran bishop.


I kid, I kid.   ;) It's nice when adults have a sweet disposition toward children.
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Offline elephant

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Re: That Awkward Moment When...
« Reply #11 on: March 14, 2014, 08:00:13 AM »
Yes, when we visit at other parishes, or the monastery, everyone including our Priest prostrates to the floor.

But that is not the local tradition in the GOAA parish.  

Also, our Priest has instructed the people to stand during the consecration from Pascha until after the 'kneeling prayers' at Pentecost.  

Love, elephant

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Re: That Awkward Moment When...
« Reply #12 on: March 14, 2014, 08:35:34 AM »
Don't make a spectacle out of yourself. There's a parable about it.

Offline Ferd Berfel

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Re: That Awkward Moment When...
« Reply #13 on: March 14, 2014, 09:49:28 AM »
I went to the GOA church for a Presanctified Gifts Liturgy last year.  During the Prayer of St. Ephraim, I started to prostrate, but I noticed no one else was doing that.  So I didn't do it.  It was still a blessing to be there with that parish, even though I wasn't doing what I was used to.

My Greek church is a rather small one, but we always do the full prostrations at this prayer. Of course, because we have pews, people have to move into the aisles before this can happen. There's usually a pause when the Priest mentions that the Prayer of St. Ephraim is coming up, and then everyone shuffles, the prayer is said, and everyone shuffles back.

Offline Yurysprudentsiya

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Re: That Awkward Moment When...
« Reply #14 on: March 14, 2014, 09:58:46 AM »
Dostoevsky says, Dont go to a strange monastery with your own rules. 

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Re: That Awkward Moment When...
« Reply #15 on: March 14, 2014, 10:14:22 AM »
Being a baptized Greek Orthodox worshiping in his wife's ACROD church (which has a more Latin style) I have similar choices to make, preferring to stand for the liturgy, except for the homily and announcements, and not to kneel on Sundays. I solve this by standing in the rear and not kneeling unless it is a weekday liturgy, behind the pews and out the way and sight of most everyone but the priest, deacons, and subdeacon. On weekday Divine Liturgies I also have plenty of room for prostrations. I did ask permission before doing all these.

I also do this now on the few times a year we attend a Greek parish (with permission- Greek priest actually encouraged).

Back home....I do what my mother does  ;)

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Re: That Awkward Moment When...
« Reply #16 on: March 14, 2014, 10:15:26 AM »
This is more like fun than awkward byt anyway, I attended a liturgy yesterday. At some point a child climbed into the bishops throne, threw the Eagle rug away and sat on the throne. The mother rushed to chide the child but everybody else seemed to smile. :angel:

I wish I was there, I would've loved to see that.  Especially the throwing away of the rug. 
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Offline Αριστοκλής

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Re: That Awkward Moment When...
« Reply #17 on: March 14, 2014, 11:08:37 AM »
Dostoevsky says, Dont go to a strange monastery with your own rules. 

Where did he say that? Curious.
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Offline podkarpatska

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Re: That Awkward Moment When...
« Reply #18 on: March 14, 2014, 11:10:33 AM »
"Follow the custom of the church where you are."

-St. Ambrose

No pun or double meaning, but the old adage, when in Rome, do as the Romans do, seems applicable.

Offline Yurysprudentsiya

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Re: That Awkward Moment When...
« Reply #19 on: March 14, 2014, 11:20:42 AM »
Dostoevsky says, Dont go to a strange monastery with your own rules. 

Where did he say that? Curious.

Well, one of his characters actually did, in the Brothers Karamazov.  It is now a popular folk saying in Eastern Europe.

Offline Αριστοκλής

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Re: That Awkward Moment When...
« Reply #20 on: March 14, 2014, 11:31:46 AM »
Dostoevsky says, Dont go to a strange monastery with your own rules. 

Where did he say that? Curious.

Well, one of his characters actually did, in the Brothers Karamazov.  It is now a popular folk saying in Eastern Europe.

I'll have to re-read it. Thanks.
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Re: That Awkward Moment When...
« Reply #21 on: March 14, 2014, 11:35:21 AM »
"Follow the custom of the church where you are."

-St. Ambrose

No pun or double meaning, but the old adage, when in Rome, do as the Romans do, seems applicable.

Which is the paraphrase of what St. Ambrose wrote: "When I am at Rome, I fast on a Saturday; when I am at Milan, I do not. Follow the custom of the church where you are."
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Re: That Awkward Moment When...
« Reply #22 on: March 14, 2014, 11:40:36 AM »
Actually, I think they're from distinct quotes.  ;)
« Last Edit: March 14, 2014, 11:41:52 AM by NicholasMyra »
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Re: That Awkward Moment When...
« Reply #23 on: March 14, 2014, 11:44:30 AM »
Actually, I think they're from distinct quotes.  ;)

I think you are right.
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Offline podkarpatska

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Re: That Awkward Moment When...
« Reply #24 on: March 14, 2014, 11:48:50 AM »
Either way, its good advice!

Offline frjohnmorris

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Re: That Awkward Moment When...
« Reply #25 on: March 14, 2014, 11:50:13 PM »
Being a baptized Greek Orthodox worshiping in his wife's ACROD church (which has a more Latin style) I have similar choices to make, preferring to stand for the liturgy, except for the homily and announcements, and not to kneel on Sundays. I solve this by standing in the rear and not kneeling unless it is a weekday liturgy, behind the pews and out the way and sight of most everyone but the priest, deacons, and subdeacon. On weekday Divine Liturgies I also have plenty of room for prostrations. I did ask permission before doing all these.

I also do this now on the few times a year we attend a Greek parish (with permission- Greek priest actually encouraged).

Back home....I do what my mother does  ;)

My suggestion would be to stand in the last row and do what you are used to doing. I do not know about other Priests, but I am too busy with what I have to do as a Priest to pay much attention to what the congregation does. However, one should not kneel on Sundays. There is a canon of the 1st Ecumenical Council against kneeling on Sundays. During the Presanctified Liturgy and other Lenten Services, my people get in the aisle for the prostrations.

Fr. John W. Morris

Offline Nephi

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Re: That Awkward Moment When...
« Reply #26 on: March 15, 2014, 12:25:16 AM »
However, one should not kneel on Sundays. There is a canon of the 1st Ecumenical Council against kneeling on Sundays. During the Presanctified Liturgy and other Lenten Services, my people get in the aisle for the prostrations.

Fr. John W. Morris
Fr. John, if I recall correctly, the Greek Archdiocese permits kneeling on Sundays (although still at the discretion of the priest or bishop, I believe), so it's not completely forbidden across the board, first Ecumenical Council or not.

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Re: That Awkward Moment When...
« Reply #27 on: March 15, 2014, 12:31:16 AM »
"Follow the custom of the church where you are."

-St. Ambrose

This. So when I visited a Greek parish for the first time a while back, I knelt alongside everyone else. Not that I'm a hardliner against kneeling to begin with or anything.

Or perhaps stand at the back like Liza said, but repeated prostrations are probably a bit much, IMO.

Orthodox tradition is to stand on Sundays for it is the Day of Resurrection, pews or no pews.....am I being to rigid? 

Offline ilyazhito

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Re: That Awkward Moment When...
« Reply #28 on: April 08, 2014, 03:23:28 PM »
JoeS@, you are correct. Neither the OCA nor ROCOR nor the Serbs kneel on Sundays, and the Serbs serve according to a version of the Studite Typikon, like the Greeks and Antiochians.

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Re: That Awkward Moment When...
« Reply #29 on: April 08, 2014, 04:02:55 PM »
I was in a Greek Church and the priest mentioned in a study class I think that everyone should stand. But they have pews and people kneel. The reason for standing is out of respect to Sunday and Saturday. So you have a choice- stand and follow what you should based on the rule, or kneel based on what everyone else is doing, a kind of peer pressure mixed with respect for what others are doing.

I usually do a mix. Maybe we could talk about ekonomia in that circumstance.

Ideally it should not matter what others do when it comes to standing. If you are in church and it is just you and two other people, you would stand and then the two others would see it and stand too. The fact that there happen to be X number of people should not change that.

I think the quote by St Ambrose about following local customs is misleading, because the local custom actually is to stand, and the issue is that people are not following the rule.

My thought-out recommendation would be to stand, but like I said, I do a mix.
« Last Edit: April 08, 2014, 04:03:25 PM by rakovsky »

Offline JoeS2

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Re: That Awkward Moment When...
« Reply #30 on: April 08, 2014, 04:29:27 PM »
I was in a Greek Church and the priest mentioned in a study class I think that everyone should stand. But they have pews and people kneel. The reason for standing is out of respect to Sunday and Saturday. So you have a choice- stand and follow what you should based on the rule, or kneel based on what everyone else is doing, a kind of peer pressure mixed with respect for what others are doing.

I usually do a mix. Maybe we could talk about ekonomia in that circumstance.

Ideally it should not matter what others do when it comes to standing. If you are in church and it is just you and two other people, you would stand and then the two others would see it and stand too. The fact that there happen to be X number of people should not change that.

I think the quote by St Ambrose about following local customs is misleading, because the local custom actually is to stand, and the issue is that people are not following the rule.

My thought-out recommendation would be to stand, but like I said, I do a mix.

If it weren't for pews there would be no question what to do.

Offline frjohnmorris

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Re: That Awkward Moment When...
« Reply #31 on: April 08, 2014, 06:40:41 PM »
JoeS@, you are correct. Neither the OCA nor ROCOR nor the Serbs kneel on Sundays, and the Serbs serve according to a version of the Studite Typikon, like the Greeks and Antiochians.

It is not a matter of the Typikon. There is a canon of the First Ecumenical Council, Nicaea I in 325, that forbids kneeling on Sundays, because every Sunday is a little Pascha, a celebration of the Resurrection. Some people do a prostration during the Epiklesis, but kneeling itself is improper on a Sunday.  We do not kneel at all during the Paschal Season, that is why we have the Kneeling Vespers on Pentecost. Although many do the service after the Divine Liturgy, but it is actually the Vespers for Monday because according to Orthodox time the day begins at Sunset and Vespers is the first service of the new day. For example, today is April 8, but at Vespers we will use the stichera and other moveable parts for April 9.

Fr. John W. Morris

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Re: That Awkward Moment When...
« Reply #32 on: April 08, 2014, 07:01:27 PM »
JoeS@, you are correct. Neither the OCA nor ROCOR nor the Serbs kneel on Sundays, and the Serbs serve according to a version of the Studite Typikon, like the Greeks and Antiochians.

It is not a matter of the Typikon. There is a canon of the First Ecumenical Council, Nicaea I in 325, that forbids kneeling on Sundays, because every Sunday is a little Pascha, a celebration of the Resurrection. Some people do a prostration during the Epiklesis, but kneeling itself is improper on a Sunday.  We do not kneel at all during the Paschal Season, that is why we have the Kneeling Vespers on Pentecost. Although many do the service after the Divine Liturgy, but it is actually the Vespers for Monday because according to Orthodox time the day begins at Sunset and Vespers is the first service of the new day. For example, today is April 8, but at Vespers we will use the stichera and other moveable parts for April 9.

Fr. John W. Morris

Father,

Some (not all) Ukrainian Orthodox kneel at Sunday liturgy during the Lord's Prayer and the consecration. 

I believe this may have come in through the Greek Catholic era, and I think it is dying out, but have heard that it can be justified by concluding that the canon only is intended to prohibit penitential kneeling, and is therefore silent as to adorational kneeling. 

Offline Basil 320

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Re: That Awkward Moment When...
« Reply #33 on: April 08, 2014, 07:06:21 PM »
However, one should not kneel on Sundays. There is a canon of the 1st Ecumenical Council against kneeling on Sundays. During the Presanctified Liturgy and other Lenten Services, my people get in the aisle for the prostrations.

Fr. John W. Morris
Fr. John, if I recall correctly, the Greek Archdiocese permits kneeling on Sundays (although still at the discretion of the priest or bishop, I believe), so it's not completely forbidden across the board, first Ecumenical Council or not.

For the record, kneeling during the Consecration on Sunday's was a practice initiated in the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of N. & S. America (predecessor to the GOAA) during the Archepiscopal tenure of Archbishop Michael (1949-'58), a respected hierarch, a "scholar," "theologian," and "mystic," as one biographer has asserted, (who is buried at the St. Basil Academy in Garrison, NY). It is not considered an act of penance, but in respect for the awesomeness of the moment, "Send down Thy Holy Spirit upon us and upon these gifts here spread forth."

In my GOAA diocese/metropolis, the current hierarch and his immediate predecessor do kneel during the Consecration on Sunday's, but do not make an issue of it, while most, but not all of the priests and faithful in their parishes, do kneel during the Consecration in the Divine Liturgy on Sunday's.

In an unofficial manner, there are GOAA parishes which no longer kneel on Sunday's.
« Last Edit: April 08, 2014, 07:16:50 PM by Basil 320 »
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Offline frjohnmorris

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Re: That Awkward Moment When...
« Reply #34 on: April 08, 2014, 10:30:52 PM »
JoeS@, you are correct. Neither the OCA nor ROCOR nor the Serbs kneel on Sundays, and the Serbs serve according to a version of the Studite Typikon, like the Greeks and Antiochians.

It is not a matter of the Typikon. There is a canon of the First Ecumenical Council, Nicaea I in 325, that forbids kneeling on Sundays, because every Sunday is a little Pascha, a celebration of the Resurrection. Some people do a prostration during the Epiklesis, but kneeling itself is improper on a Sunday.  We do not kneel at all during the Paschal Season, that is why we have the Kneeling Vespers on Pentecost. Although many do the service after the Divine Liturgy, but it is actually the Vespers for Monday because according to Orthodox time the day begins at Sunset and Vespers is the first service of the new day. For example, today is April 8, but at Vespers we will use the stichera and other moveable parts for April 9.

Fr. John W. Morris

Father,

Some (not all) Ukrainian Orthodox kneel at Sunday liturgy during the Lord's Prayer and the consecration. 

I believe this may have come in through the Greek Catholic era, and I think it is dying out, but have heard that it can be justified by concluding that the canon only is intended to prohibit penitential kneeling, and is therefore silent as to adorational kneeling. 

Frankly, that argument sounds like something that a Jesuit would make. I am not trying to start a fight or criticize the Ukrainian Orthodox, but the proper Orthodox practice is no to kneel on Sunday. Canon XX of the 1st Ecumenical Council, Nicaea I in 325

Forasmuch as there are certain persons who kneel on the Lord’s Day and in the days of Pentecost, therefore, to the intent that all things may be uniformly observed everywhere (in every parish), it seems good to the holy Synod that prayer be made to God standing.

Fr. John W. Morris

Offline dknajjar

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Re: That Awkward Moment When...
« Reply #35 on: April 24, 2014, 09:47:50 AM »
In my own parish (Antiochian) we always knelt, Sunday or not. It wasn't until our current pastor reminded us of the canons of the Church which proclaim that the Liturgy on Sunday was a reminder of Pascha and a celebration of the Resurrection, informing us that the more correct practice would be to remain standing during the consecration of gifts. This was 15 years ago or more. Still, we have people in the church who prefer to kneel, as that is what they had been taught to do all their lives.

In the past year, our parish temporarily held services in conjunction with a local GOA parish while our new temple was under construction. The practice in that parish was to kneel. During that part of the service, some knelt (including many from my parish who may have been going along with the host parish practice) and many stood. We all got along, and some of the kneelers asked the standers why they were standing, which gave us an opportunity to explain and teach. We did not, however, chastise the kneelers.

Most importantly, however, would be not to do something to stand out (pardon the pun) and thereby cause confusion for others. If you prefer to stand, you should do so, but perhaps find a place to stand where you do not become the focal point of the service. Whether standing, kneeling, or doing prostrations, the focus of us all should properly be on the gifts and the prayers of the priest.