Useful Tips

How to go to church for the first time, how to behave in an Orthodox church

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The Orthodox church is divided into three parts: the narthex, the temple itself, the altar. Climbing the stairs, you will enter the narthex and only then to the temple. Only men are allowed to approach the altar, with the permission of the priest. Entering the temple, you need to stop at the door and bow three times with prayers “God, be merciful to me a sinner” (on the weekday, make a half-bow, in fasting - an earthly bow). After you have to bow to the right and left who came before you to the temple. If there is worship, it is worthwhile to stay still and carefully listen to the psalms and prayers that are read in the temple, not speaking to oneself, or reading from books separately from church singing. Such behavior is considered separation from the church congregation and condemned.


  1. It is advisable to enter the temple some time before the start of the service, in order to have time to put candles, attach to the icons and order a commemoration. Entering the temple, when the Holy Gifts are being carried out, it is worth staying at the front door until the end of the most important parts of the service.
  2. You can’t enter the Orthodox church with animals or birds.
  3. Do not forget that you should turn off the mobile phone.
  4. Men must enter the temple without covering their heads, and women cover their heads. It is important that you follow the rules for dressing in the temple. Unacceptable clothing: shorts, short skirts, trousers (for women). It is desirable that the clothes be modest, neutral, soft tones and cover most of the body.
  5. Entering the temple, you need to go to the lectern, a special table located in the middle of the temple, on which lies the icon of the temple and the saint of this day, and attach to them. During the service, it is customary for men to stand on the right side and women on the left. It is not customary to sit in an Orthodox church, with the exception of the sick and the elderly. Arriving at the temple with the children, you must ensure that they behave modestly and do not make noise. If the baby cries, you must immediately bring him out into the street. Children should not be allowed to eat in the church except for blessed bread distributed by the priest. Walking around the temple, you cannot turn around behind the priest and turn your back on the altar.
  6. You cannot leave the church before the end of the service. Service must be defended from beginning to end, it is considered a sacrifice to God.

Tip 2: How to Go to Church

A person who has begun to go to church should realize for himself that when he is going to the temple, he is going to meet God himself. This is the first and most important condition. Joint church prayer does not allow thoughts to disperse, and church chants tune the soul in an appropriate way.

Before the service, it is advisable to spend some time in silence and prayer. The temple is the house of God. Based on this, church attendance should be reverent.

Every Orthodox Christian is required to attend Sunday and holiday services. One should strive for an understanding of worship. All arising questions and doubts should be resolved with the priest.

Dressing when visiting the temple should be clean and tidy. Women are appropriate for clothing that matches their gender, that is, dresses and skirts that are not too open or tight. It is advisable to do without makeup. The woman in the temple should be with her head covered (1 Cor. 11, 13). A man should be in a church without a headdress (1 Cor. 11, 4). A woman during the period of purification cannot attend the temple.

Entering the temple, it is worth leaving all everyday cares. In the service you don’t have to turn around, make noise, talk, distracting people from prayer. Men, according to the ancient tradition of the Church, stand on the right side of the temple, women on the left.

In the service you need to delve into prayers, singing and reading. If the thread of service is lost, then the priests recommend praying to oneself: “Lord, Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.” You must not leave the temple until the end of the service.

And do not think that the candle is a bribe to God. “A sacrifice to God is a broken spirit” (Psalm 50, 19). By laying a candle, a man likens himself to a soft wax, wanting to become just as compliant with the will of Christ, and calls on God to light a spark of faith in the heart.

The more a person continues to go to church, the fewer questions remain, everything falls into place. It is always worth remembering the words of sv. King David: “I will enter your house according to the multitude of Thy mercy” (Psalm 5, 8), that is, a person enters the temple by the grace of God, and not by his will. And svt. John Chrysostom invites, having received mercy from God, to make such a sacrifice in response: “I will worship the holy temple in your fear” (Psalm 5, 8) - not like many of the worshipers who scratch, yawn, doze, but with fear and trepidation. He who prays in this way lays all evil, settles in all virtue, gains the favor of God.

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Tip 3: How the Church Works

People often think that they need to go to church, do something there, and this makes an important sense for their life. Perhaps this is the imprint of education, perhaps the human soul is looking for something sacred and high. Whatever the reason, a person’s interest in the church is always good. But, nevertheless, he must know something so that this interest brings only a positive result, and not disappointment.

The first and most important thing to know about the church is that the church is not a building. Each person more than once in his life saw magnificent buildings with shiny domes above. A beautiful sight. But this is not a church at all. The church is a living organism made up of people. The Bible precisely defines what a church is. And the people who are part of it come together to grow spiritually together in unity. So, the church is not a building, even a very beautiful one, but a meeting of people. And those magnificent buildings with domes that everyone knows, these are just places where living churches gather. These are temples that help worship God. So, the church does not work as a building, but as something living.

The second thing that is often overlooked is diversity. “All kinds of churches are needed, all kinds of churches are important” - someone will agree, someone will protest. But whatever you think, in this redone expression one truth is hidden: the church is not only Orthodox. There are three main Christian denominations (“church” - a concept unique to Christianity): Orthodoxy, Catholicism and Protestantism. Orthodoxy is often the closest to the Slavs, but it is important to understand that the church is not limited to this. Even if you are negative about Catholics or Protestants, a meeting of members of these faiths will still be called a church.

Due to the fact that there are different churches, you need to understand what to expect from a particular church. The church works (here already in the literal sense, we mean the schedule and nature of worship) in each denomination and denomination in different ways. For example, in Orthodox churches there is a schedule of basic services, but a believer, in most cases, can come to the church at any other time for prayer, and even in this case he will become involved in the church. In Protestant churches, however, great emphasis is placed on general meetings and services, when only a church becomes a church. In addition, the vision of each individual local church in some matters may differ slightly from others.

So, a church is a gathering of living souls in the name of God, and if a person wants to go to church, then he must be ready to come to God with other people, and not just come to the temple to perform a religious action. Religious action (prayer, putting candles in the temple, taking the sacrament) should be an expression of desire to communicate with God. And each church can have its own peculiarities of worship, which is manifested both in the schedule and in the manner and manner.

Basic rules if you first came to church

A woman is supposed to attend the temple in a long skirt or dress. Pants are considered unacceptable. It is also not recommended to wear a tracksuit or shorts.

It is not recommended to use cosmetics, especially lipstick. If suddenly a woman wants to kiss the icon, then the trace of lipstick will clearly not cause delight among the clergy.

It is believed that all parishioners should wear long-sleeved clothing, regardless of the season.

You must enter the church calmly, silently, with awe. According to the rules, a man must take off his hat, and a woman, on the contrary, put on a scarf. Usually those women who go to church not the first time take their handkerchief. For the rest - you can use the "duty scarf." And if he is not, then you can quietly ask the church workers. Usually for these cases they have several scarves for parishioners.

On the threshold of the church you can read “The Prayer of the One Going to the Church” or “Our Father”. Or say, "God, cleanse me from the sinful and have mercy on me."

Prayer to the church

Rejoicing in those who have filled me, we shall go to the house of the Lord. By the multitude of Your mercy, Lord, I will go down into Your house, I will worship to Your holy temple in Thy strass. Lord, instruct me in Thy truth, my enemy, for the sake of me, correct my path before Thee, but without stumbling I will glorify the One Deity, the Father and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, now and ever and ever. Amen.

First time in church, how to behave

If you do not know these prayers by heart, then you can copy them to a piece of paper and read from a sheet or use the modern option - upload prayers to your phone.

So, when you entered the church, make three earthly obeisances. During the holidays, three belt bows are performed. Then you can bow to the parishioners in the right and left side. For some, this will not be an easy task. Since a feeling of awkwardness or even shame for some will be a hindrance. If this is a problem for you, then you can limit yourself to the usual bow and triple overshadowing yourself with a cross. Try not to think about how you will look from the outside. Just bow and cross yourself three times.

From ancient times it was believed that the left side of the church was allotted during worship for women, and the right side, respectively, for men. Although this rule is now rarely observed, it is remembered, and even more so it is known, you can use it.

During the service, baptism and bowing of the head is necessary when the priest overshadows the cross, the Gospel, image or the holy cup. During the overshadowing of candles, the sign of the Cross and the censer you only need to bow your head.

If there is no service, then you can go to any icon you like, cross yourself twice, kiss the lower part of the image and cross yourself a third time.

During the service, you should not turn your head, looking around, examine the worshipers, ask them about something, chew gum, keep your hands in your pockets, say hello to friends, talk on the phone. If this is absolutely necessary, then it is better to leave the temple and make a call.

During menstruation, it is better for women to refuse to visit the temple, as it is believed that thereby a woman desecrates the shrine.

You cannot take photos or videos in the church. But if there is an urgent need for this, it is better to coordinate this issue with the priest in advance.

Candles are best purchased prior to service. For this, the temple has a specially designated place.

A candle can be placed with any hand. You can not put candles on the icons during the service.

Candles for health can be put on any icon. A candle for repose only on a special canon. Usually it is located at the beginning of the temple and has a square shape.

If you put a candle for the first time, then do the following: go to the canon and select an empty place where you will put. From the next candle, light your own and slightly warm the lower part of your candle from the neighboring one, put the candle on the canon.

Sometimes parishioners do the following: they buy the most expensive and thickest candles and put them without lighting on the canon. Thus, as if I sacrifice candles. If you wish, you can follow their example.

If you want to light a candle to a saint or pray to him, you should cross yourself twice, bow in your belt, put a candle, cross yourself again and bow.

Finally, you can take holy water. Holy water is usually found in a special container in the temple. If you do not see her, then go to the church workers and ask. Usually parishioners themselves pour water.

First time in church service, what to do

If you go to church for the first time or while you are thinking about it, you can do so. Get dressed, as indicated above, take a handkerchief for women and a container for holy water (optional). Go to church.

In the church, buy a few candles, put on the canon. Do not leave immediately. Stand a little in service if she goes. If you do not know when to be baptized or bow, then you can "spy" on knowledgeable parishioners. They usually stand in the front rows and sing along during service. Do not make a pious face, open your mouth, as if you are also saying a prayer. Stand silently, listening to the words of prayer. Try to feel God within you, to feel divine energy. If you do not feel anything, then this is normal. Perhaps in the future everything will change. Stand as long as you see fit in the service.

After the service you can make donations. For this, there are special drawers in the temple, with a cutout at the top. Usually they are along the wall of the temple. When you lower the money, try to do it so as not to attract the attention of parishioners. Everyone donates as much as he sees fit to the temple.

Also, if desired, you can buy your favorite icon. Remember that an expensive icon is no different from its cheap counterpart. Buy the icon to which the heart lies. Some recommend buying a bible or gospel. Before you do this, consider whether you will read it.

Also, if you wish, you can buy a cross or some church decoration. If you took a container for water, then use it before leaving the temple. On this your first visit to the church can be completed. Having left their temple, cross yourself, bow and go with God.

And finally, remember that a true Christian is characterized by his faith, and not by the frequency of attending church, donations or talking about spirituality.

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