What to Do When Going to an Orthodox Church For the First Time

What to do when going to an orthodox church for the first time

When going to an Orthodox church for the first time, there are several things you need to remember. You should avoid arriving late, stand, and venerate icons. In addition, you should bring your children. These tips should help you have a positive first experience.


Orthodox Christians traditionally stand for almost the entirety of the service. While some Orthodox churches may not have pews or chairs, you are welcome to sit if you prefer. Although standing for long periods of time may be uncomfortable, it will get easier with practice. If you have never been to an Orthodox church, here are some tips to help you feel comfortable and safe during your visit.

When you enter the church, stand up and greet other people, but do not talk, stare or engage in private conversation. The church is for worship, not for personal communication. Women are encouraged to stand, and men should stand on the right.

Venerating icons

The veneration of icons is one of the most traditional practices of Orthodox Christians. It is a tradition that has been around for centuries, and is central to the Orthodox piety. While Westerners may question whether this practice is idolatry, no Orthodox Christian would consider it such. The icons are offered for veneration as a sign of respect and love.

The process of veneration includes blessing yourself twice and kissing an icon. Then, proceed to the Church, usually the Nave, to venerate the icons. The icons are usually placed on chest-high wooden stands known as analoi. These stands contain smaller icons of Christ and the Mother of God. The icons will also be displayed on the Iconostas, which is the wall of icons lining the nave.

Bringing children

When bringing your child to an orthodox church for the first time, it’s essential to set a good example. You should make an effort to teach your child the prayers from the service and the fasting periods. It is also important to establish a relationship between your child and the Orthodox faith.

First, you should prepare your child to worship by praying in front of holy icons with you every day. You should also teach your child how to bow, stand quietly, and sit respectfully. It is best to avoid introducing children to church as something new to be learned; bringing them to church should be an opportunity to practice and implement in public what you teach them at home.

If your child is sinning or misbehaving, you should take them out of the line before they get a taste of Communion. Communion is a privilege, not a right, and it is important to teach children not to take their privileges for granted.

Avoiding being bored

When going to an Orthodox church for the first time, there are some things you can do to avoid boredom. For example, you should know that Orthodox Christians traditionally stand during the entire service. Although some Orthodox churches do have pews, many are not equipped with chairs. Despite this, it is still polite to sit when you need to. The good news is that standing for hours can get easier with practice.

Moreover, boredom is always accompanied by a message. If we let it last long enough, it can reveal something about ourselves, our relationship to being, and our emotions. This is a message that most modern people rarely experience. It is best to allow yourself to become bored for a while before you get up and return to the distractions of the day.

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