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Author Topic: Proper Actions Upon Entering Church  (Read 1722 times) Average Rating: 0
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patricius
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« on: March 13, 2003, 01:18:59 PM »

I would very much appreciate any help which can be offered to me on this matter.  When entering an Orthodox Church what exactly is it appropriate to do?  I mean this in reference to the time of first walking in the door until arriving at your place.  All any have been willing to tell me so far at the church I have been visiting is that you light a candle.  However, what of the details?  Are there prayers involved?  Gestures?  And what of the icons?  I have no familiarity with such things at all.  Many thanks in advance for any assistance.

Patrick
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« Reply #1 on: March 13, 2003, 01:29:40 PM »

Patricius, it is good for you to be concerned what to do. Here is a good set of instructions: http://orthodoxinfo.com/praxis/guidech2.pdf
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« Reply #2 on: March 13, 2003, 01:56:08 PM »

Patricus,

Nicholas' article is a wonderful place to start.  Here is what I do after opening the door:

1. Venerate(cross self twice, kiss, then cross self again) the icon of St. John Climacus in the narthex(vestibule).  Here we have candles and prosphora(only at liturgies) that the faithful may take, and baskets for donations(3 baskets - tithes, candes/prosphora, and alms).  

2. Opening the door to the nave(sanctuary in protestant terms), you will see three icons.  One of the patron saint/feast in the front, and two in the back; Christ on the right and the Theotokos with Christ on the left.  

3. I walk up to and venerate the icon of the patron, then Christ, then the Theotokos.  I then walk to where I will stand for the service(for me in the choir area), making sure to cross myself if I cross in front of the Royal Doors area.
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« Reply #3 on: March 13, 2003, 02:20:24 PM »

I would very much appreciate any help which can be offered to me on this matter.  When entering an Orthodox Church what exactly is it appropriate to do?  I mean this in reference to the time of first walking in the door until arriving at your place.  All any have been willing to tell me so far at the church I have been visiting is that you light a candle.  However, what of the details?  Are there prayers involved?  Gestures?  And what of the icons?  I have no familiarity with such things at all.  Many thanks in advance for any assistance.

Patrick

Patrick, just do what you see everyone else doing and you can't go wrong.  Some parishes have their own local "customs" that deviate from the norm, and then there are individuals who deviate from the local "custom" too!    Shocked

Our young, traditionalist new priest (OCA) just issued, in the latest parish Sunday bulletin, lengthy instructions from the Ustav/Typikon on how and when to do "reverences" (and distinctions between "zemnoy poklon" [reverences with forehead to the ground] and "poiasnoi poklon" [waist reverences]).  It seems very few, if any, of us (even "cradle" Orthodox) were doing them correctly and in the Orthodox manner.   Sad   So you see, we're ALL still learning.  Just relax and enjoy your Orthodox worship experience!

Hypo-Ortho
« Last Edit: March 18, 2003, 12:18:00 AM by Hypo-Ortho » Logged
Justin Kissel
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« Reply #4 on: March 13, 2003, 07:06:14 PM »

There is no set procedure, only guidelines I think. All the suggestions/links so far are good; I'll just go over quickly what I do when I enter an Orthodox Church (not that what I do is important, but just to help add to the other posts so that you can get a general feel for what people do).

If there is an icon of the church's patron just inside the front door, I reverence this icon, and then usually... um... let me phrase this gently... take steps to assure that I won't have to leave during the middle of the service to relieve a pressing concern. Wink I know that may seem crude to mention, but I think it's a sensible thing to do, so I mentioned it. I then go into the nave (as amator pointed out, this is what I called the "sanctuary" as a Protestant.. interesting..), and reverence the icons that are in the back, where you first enter. I rarely do 3 bows and crosses, though some people do; I do take my time though. What happens then depends on what time I get to the church. Usually, since I get their well before the service, I go up front and reverence anything that it would be proper to, and then I usually go to my seat ( forgive me Grin) after that. In one Church, Saint George in Altoona PA, I stop and reverence the icon of Saint Mary of Egypt, since it is my Wife's patron.

I then pray a few prayers, mostly asking for forgiveness of sins, and that I will be able to concentrate on God (young men sometimes have wandering eyes, unfortunately), and understand what is being said during the service. (the Churches I've attended have almost all been in English, by "understand" I mean to understand on a deeper level, not just what is technically being said.)  After this (having done pre-communion stuff the night before) I look through the bulletin, which usually has some relevant information (readings, info about one of the saints of that day, etc.). My goal is usually to have at least two things after the service that I want to research; this helps me pay attention more than I probably normally would (I come from a background that had quite vibrant singing, and shorter services, so I sometimes still "zone out" unfortunately). As an example of what I might research, I might pick out one thing from a kontakion that was said about a saint to research, and one thing that the Priest said in his Sermon. (When I say research, I just mean getting a bit more info, I don't mean I spend the rest of the day researching... that doesn't happen often, anyway Smiley )

Whether you light a candle, what prayers you say, and so forth, are basically up to the individual (unless your spiritual father directs you to do things a certain way, or there is a standard practice at a parish that the Priest asks that you follow). If you still feel uncomfortable, maybe you can pick out someone who seems approachable and ask them what they do. Say hi, and see if they seem willing to talk about Orthodoxy. If they do, fire away Smiley
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patricius
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« Reply #5 on: March 16, 2003, 09:41:25 PM »

Dear All,

Very helpful.  I appreciate everything.  A couple of things still confuse me, but perhaps the article linked to will help in that regard.  Thanks again.

Patrick
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« Reply #6 on: March 16, 2003, 10:54:18 PM »

Dear All,

Very helpful.  I appreciate everything.  A couple of things still confuse me, but perhaps the article linked to will help in that regard.  Thanks again.

Patrick

Patrick,

Glad you were able to find help.  If you want to ask about the other things, feel free to ask here, start a new thread, or PM me.  Hope you find the answers you seek!

David
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