Cathedral Etiquette

Proper behavior for places of worship
General Etiquette for Visiting Places of Worship
  • Be aware and considerate of those who are praying or worshipping
  • Your phone should be switched to silent upon entering a cathedral 

  • Don't chew gum or use a cell phone (texting or talking)

    • Some cathedrals allow no-flash photography, be sure to follow the signs and directions 

  • Dress modestly 
    • Follow the directive signs (usually placed outside)
    • Generally these should be covered:
      • your legs above the knee
      • your shoulders
  • Whisper and refrain from unnecessary conversation

  • Don't walk in front of others praying

  • Don't walk across or in front of the altar

Worship Etiquette
  • Lighting Candles
    • Typically worshippers light them when entering the cathedral
    • Worshippers light them as they pray, making an offering to accompany their prayers
    • There are certain times, when candles should not be lit (usually during the service); ask a church usher if in doubt 
  • Venerating (kissing) icons

    • It is traditional for worshipers to venerate (kiss) the icons located in the narthex

    • You don't have to do this

    • If you do venerate an icon,

    • Remember it is improper to kiss an icon on the face

    • You should blot any lipstick beforehand

During a Service
  • Dress appropriately

    • For men: wear a suit and tie or a sports jackets and slacks with a tie

    • For women: Have your shoulders covered, and dresses/skirts should be knee length or longer.

  • Arrive at the church before the service starts

  • During the service, there are some moments when no one should be moving around

    • One basic rule: whenever the priest faces the people or is outside the altar on the solea, either censing or blessing, everyone should stand wherever they are

  • Blot lipstick before venerating (kissing) icons, receiving communion, kissing the cross, or kissing the clergyman’s hand.

  • Refrain from chewing gum or using a cell phone/camera during a service

  • Refrain from slouching or crossing your legs
  • If you choose to receive the Holy Communion, you should eat it carefully so no crumbs fall
  • Don't leave the church before dismissal 
China Teaching
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