Liturgical Guidelines

Information on Liturgical Guidelines at Ascension Cathedral.

How to behave in church:

  • No chewing gum
  • No lipstick if receiving Communion
  • Clothing requirements: modest
  • When to enter: not during the Gospel, Consecration, or any Procession
  • When to cross oneself: when the Priests do
  • When to kneel: never on Sundays

Please be aware that from Pascha for fifty days until Pentecost we do not kneel at any of the services, including the Divine Liturgy, on weekdays and on Sundays. Please also keep in mind that it is good order (canonical order) to never kneel on Sundays, as it is the celebration of the Eucharist and the Resurrection of Christ. A deep bow, remaining bent at the waist, is traditional for those times when we would otherwise be kneeling.

Also, during the reading of the Holy Gospel, there should be no movement, no talking, and no noisemaking of any kind, as we are hearing the words of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, and the proclamation of the Good News from the Holy Apostles, the Evangelists. This is proper decorum for any time that the Gospel is being read, whether it be on a Sunday or a weekday.

Finally, please keep in mind that receiving communion is only for those Baptized and Chrismated in the Orthodox Church, and should be the culmination of prayer, fasting, almsgiving, and preparation in general. When we approach the chalice we must be reverent, attentive, and prayerful, fully anticipating to receive the One Lord and God and Saviour Jesus Christ into our very bodies. As part and parcel of this Sacrament, and any Sacrament of the church, we approach Christ by saying and vocalizing our Baptismal/Chrismation name.

Furthermore, the Church discourages women from wearing lipstick when approaching the chalice, and the people in general should not be talking or greeting each other in the communion line. Ultimately, this awesome act should be done quietly, with the utmost piety and reverence. This also, of course, means that we should not have any food or drink in our mouths, and most especially should not be chewing gum (one should not be chewing anytime in church).

If you have any questions about these items of liturgical protocol, please contact our Proistamenos, Fr. Tom Zaferes: 510-531-3400.