Dear Brothers and Sisters of St. Thomas: The Lord bless you all!
This little corner of the St. Thomas website is dedicated to questions which have been asked concerning church etiquette in the ROCOR tradition. Many of you would like to know the answers to such questions as:
How should I enter the temple of God?
What is the proper order and way to venerate the icons placed on analogia (wooden stands) throughout the church?
When is it improper to move around and light candles during the services?
When is it appropriate to sit during services?
Is gum or any kind of snack food allowed in church?
What kind of clothing is appropriate to wear in church? What kind is inappropriate?
Should people venerate icons before communing?
Should this be done after communing?
Where should we stand during services?
How should we greet clergy of major orders? (Deacons, priests, and hierarchs)?
All of these and more will be addressed as time goes on. And please feel free to contribute any questions as they will all be answered. And now, on to Fr. Mark's first "corner."
Today’s topic is very simple. I would like to encourage those in attendance on Sundays to move up closer to the altar area on the side opposite our choir. (This is near the doors which will later be opened for coffee and food). A quarter of our church floor space is not being used...and it would be much more comfortable for mothers of young children to have more “elbow room” in the back of the church, in order to move around, and even step out if necessary. While we are happy to have families stand together on either side of the nave, I especially encourage men without little children to move up into the area mentioned above. It is on the “Christ side” where it is traditional for men to stand. Women traditionally stand on the “Theotokos side.”
With warmest regards in our Faith, - Fr. Mark