How to behave in a temple, or Religious etiquette (Part 1)

How to behave in a temple, or Religious etiquette (Part 1)

Each religion has a number of distinctive features. I do not mean the difference in the faith itself – everyone has their own. But to know the basics of behavior in the temples representing various religious currents, it is simply necessary for every person. You never know where life can enter … So, let’s start with what is closest to us, the Russian people.

Orthodox temple

As a rule, Orthodox churches have three entrances: the main (western, opposite altar), northern and southern. The whole church building is divided into an altar, the temple itself and a porch. The altar is fenced off from the temple itself by an iconostasis, reaching up to the ceiling in most cases. In the altar there is a throne and an altar. The altar is led by the Royal Gates (central), as well as the northern and southern doors.

Women are forbidden to enter the altar. Men can enter the altar only by permission of the priests, and then only through the northern or southern doors. Through the Royal Gates, only the clergy enter the altar.

Directly to the iconostasis adjoins the salt – an elevated platform along the altar. Opposite the royal gates is the pulpit – the central part of the salt. Without the permission of the clergy to the pulpit and salt it is also not allowed to ascend.
Since ancient times, it has been established to perform worship three times a day: in the evening, in the morning and in the afternoon, a liturgy. You should know that the church day does not begin at 0 o’clock on a calendar day, but at 18 o’clock in the previous day.

The entrance to the temple from the street is usually arranged in the form of a porch – a platform in front of the entrance doors, to which several steps lead. Approaching the temple, you need to make a sign of the cross and a bow. Rising to the porch, before entering the door, again you need to cross yourself with the sign of the cross. Do not stand on the street, pray for a long time and show off.

To come to the temple should be 10-15 minutes before the start of the worship. During this time, you can submit notes, put a donation on the eve, buy candles, put them and attach to the icons. If you are late, you should behave in a way that does not interfere with the prayer of others. If there is no way to freely approach the icons and put the candles, ask them to pass the candles through other people.

During the service, men should stand in the right part of the temple, women in the left, leaving free passage from the main doors to the Royal Gates. In the Orthodox church it is forbidden to sit, excepting may be only ill health or severe fatigue of the parishioner.

In the temple it is indecent to show curiosity and see others around. It is unacceptable to condemn and ridicule the unintentional mistakes of servants or those present in the temple. It is forbidden to talk during the service. Do not condemn and pull back the novice who does not know the church rules. Better to help him with polite and kind advice. You need to buy candles in the temple you came to. If possible, do not leave the temple until after the service.

When visiting temples, you are supposed to dress so that most of the body is covered. It is not customary to go to the temple in shorts and sportswear. If possible, men and women should also avoid shirts and shirts with short sleeves. The head of a woman should be covered. Men in front of the temple are required to remove the headdress.

You should not ask for blessings from deacons and simple monks, since they do not have the right to do so. Bless priests and bishops, as well as abbesses of monasteries in the dignity of the Abbess. Accepting the blessing, you should fold your palms crosswise (the right palm over the left) and kiss the right, blessing the hand of the priest, you do not need to be baptized before that.

Catholic temple

The Catholic temple has in general the same device as the Orthodox church. The most significant difference that catches your eye is the absence of the iconostasis. Instead, there is a low altar barrier. In the temple stands the central part – the altar one. You can find out this place by an inextinguishable lamp burning in front of the tabernacle.

In addition to the central altar, there may be lateral chapels in honor of the saints. In the temple there is also a special place for the choir and sacristy (a separate room for the servants of the temple and the storage of liturgical robes and objects).

Men at the entrance to the temple must necessarily take off their hats. For women kerchiefs are not required. There are also no special rules in clothing or use of cosmetics. The appearance in the church in shorts or overly open clothes is not welcome, and in some churches, including St. Peter’s in the Vatican, it is forbidden.
At the entrance to the temple there is a vessel with consecrated water, or a sprinkler, into which the fingers of the right hand are dipped and then crossed.

Immediately at the entrance to the temple, kneeling (the right knee) is performed in front of the tabernacle. And then, passing by the tabernacle, they make kneeling, or at least bow their heads. The Catholics are baptized in a different order from the Orthodox – first the left shoulder, then the right one. There are no special moments outside the liturgy, when it is required to perform the sign of the cross.

The Catholic priesthood gives a vow of celibacy, so it’s tactless to be interested in the family life of the interlocutor. One more feature – as a rule, the priest first submits a hand, including to women.

Actually, this limits the basic rules of behavior in Christian churches.

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