One of the most important duties that we each have as worshippers is to do all that is in our power to see that a proper decorum and atmosphere is maintained so that all of the congregation is able to pray sincerely, peacefully and meaningfully. Upon entering the Cathedral, at all times, but especially during services an individual should remember that he or she is in the House of God. Reverence and good manners are required so as not to disturb those who are already engaged in prayer, but, even more importantly, as an expression of sincere faith and awareness of the presence of the Lord. Should you require assistance during service, please contact one of the Parish Council members who service as ushers.
The Cathedral kindly asks for all congregants and guests to refrain from chewing gum or using any mobile devices during the service (phone, text or email) and to switch them to silent upon entering the narthex. Also please refrain from unnecessary conversation – should you have questions or need assistance, please contact one of the ushers or parish council members (who will be denoted by their name tags). Finally for all, please reframe from slouching or crossing your legs during the service – should small children need a break, please ask the ushers for directions to the rest rooms or waiting room attached to the narthex.
The Cathedral encourages congregants and visitors to dress conservatively. For men, we encourage wearing a suit and tie or a sports jackets and slacks with a tie. For women, we encourage covering the shoulders and refraining from skirt lengths above the knee. Also for women, please blot lipstick before venerating icons, receiving communion, kissing the cross, or kissing the clergyman’s hand.
Please arrive at church before the service starts. If you arrive after the Divine Liturgy begins, try to enter the Cathedral quietly and observe what is happening. Try not to interrupt the Liturgy by your entrance. There are several parts of the service during which no one should be moving about either in the nave or the narthex. One basic rule to follow is that, whenever the Priest is facing the people or outside of the altar, either with the censer or giving the blessing, everyone should stand wherever they are. These parts of the service are:
- The Procession of the Priest and Altar Boys with the Gospel;
- The reading of the Epistle and Gospel;
- The Cherubic Hymn and the Great Procession of the Priest and Altar Boys with the Holy Gifts;
- The recitation of the Nicene Creed (in which the entire congregation should participate;
- The hymn, Se Ymnoumen, and the prayers of the consecration of the Holy Gifts;
- The Lord’s Prayer;
- Holy Communion;
- The Sermon;
- The Dismissal Prayer; and
- Any special services (memorial services, processions, prayers).
Lighting candles is an important part of Orthodox worship. We light them as we pray, making an offering to accompany our prayers. We typically light candles when coming into the Catehdral. There are times, though, when candles should not be lit – please see the list above for these most holy portions of the Divine Liturgy. If in doubt, a church usher is available to guide you.
When you enter the Cathedral, it is traditional to venerate the icons located in the narthex. When venerating (kissing) the icon, please beware that it is improper to kiss an icon on the face.
Handling the Holy Bread
After receiving Holy Communion and at the end of the Divine Liturgy, it is customary to receive a piece of holy bread or antidoron – the bread that was left over after Holy Communion was prepared. While antidoron is not Holy Communion, it is blessed bread, and as such should be eaten carefully so that crumbs do not fall. Both adults and children should always remember to treat and consume the antidoron with respect.
Caring for Children
Recognizing the special needs of our smallest parishioners, please be courteous to others in the Cathedral should you need to feed or attend to your child. The narthex and Bride’s Chamber in the front of the church are designed to allow you a place to go and attend to your child, while allowing others to continue their participation in the Divine Liturgy.
Leaving Before Dismissal
Leaving church before dismissal deprives us of a blessing. Worship has a beginning “Blessed is the Kingdom…” and an end “Let us depart in peace…” Please spend the additional minutes with the congregation to complete your prayer in an appropriate fashion.