Tag Archives: Praying in Church

St. John Chrysostom: How absurd and foolish it is . . .

Icon of St. John Chrysostom“How absurd and foolish is it that should a harper, or a dancer, or any one of these kind of people, invite us to his house, we would go there with all haste, and thank him for having invited us, and spend almost half the day there; paying attention only to him. But when God is speaking to us through His holy Prophets and Apostles we yawn, and we scratch, and we turn this way and that!

And at the circus, without a roof above them to keep off the rain, the crowds stand there crazy, the rain pouring down on them, and the wind blowing it in their faces, and they think nothing of the cold or the rain or the distance, and nothing will keep them from going there, and nothing will keep them at home! But to go to the Church, a shower, or the mud on the road, is a serious obstacle!”

— St. John Chrysostom, On the Respect Due to the Church of God and to the Sacred Mysteries

St. John Chrysostom: Were you to stand in the presence of the king you would not even dare. . . .

Icon of St. John Chrysostom“You have entered the Church, O Man; you have been held worthy of the company of Christ. Go not out from it: unless you be sent. For if go out from it without being sent you will be asked the reason; as if you were a runaway. You spend the whole day on things which relate to the body, and you cannot give a couple of hours to the needs of the soul? You go often to the theatre. And you will not leave there till they send you away. But when you come to the Church you rush out before the Divine Mysteries are ended. Be fearful of Him Who has said: He that despiseth anything, shall it be despised (Prov. xiii. 13).

Were you to stand in the presence of the king you would not even dare. But when you stand in the presence of the Lord of all, you do not stand there in fear and trembling, you laugh, provoking him to anger? Do you not see that by this conduct you provoke Him more by your very sins? God is not wont to be as angry against those who sin as against those who, when they have sinned, feel neither sorrow regret.”

— St. John Chrysostom, On the Respect Due to the Church of God and to the Sacred Mysteries

St. Philaret of Moscow: If on coming to the house of a king . . .

Icon of St. Philaret of Moscow“If on coming to the house of a king thou wouldst be apprehensive and concerned not to do anything incompatible with the dignity of the place, then with what reverence oughtest thou to enter into the house of the King of Heaven. If thou art gripped by fear in the house of a king, although he does not see thee, although, perhaps, he is not at home, then with what fear thou oughtest to stand in the house of God, where the Omnipresent One is always present, where the All­seeing One constantly sees thee. When thou hearest a prayer in church, endeavor that not only thine ear, but also thy heart would hear, so that the prayer of the Church would become thine own prayer.”

— St. Philaret of Moscow

St. Tikhon of Zadonsk: In going to church, think that thou art going to the house of the King of Heaven . . .

Icon of St. Tikhon of Zadonsk“In going to church, think that thou art going to the house of the King of Heaven, where with fear and joy one ought to stand as in heaven before the King of Heaven. While standing in church, do not look around to the sides and do not look at how someone is standing and praying, lest thou be condemned with the Pharisee, since thou didst not come to judge others, but to ask for mercy for thyself from God the Judge and Knower of hearts. Gaze with compunction toward the altar alone, where the holy sacrifice is offered. More than anything else, beware of laughter and conversations, for whoever laughs or converses while standing in church does not render honor to the holy place and tempts others and prevents others from praying.”

— St. Tikhon of Zadonsk