Church Etiquette

During the Liturgy

  • We should arrive when the Divine Liturgy begins on Sunday mornings. If we do arrive late, there are certain times when we should wait before entering the Nave (sanctuary) to light our candle and enter the church. Please do not enter:
    • During the Small Entrance and the Great Entrance.
    • During the reading of the Epistle and the Gospel.
    • During the Consecration (when we are kneeling).
    • During the reciting of the Creed and the Lord’s Prayer.
    • Whenever the priest is censing the congregation.
  • During these times (above), we should also not leave the Nave, unless it is to take a young child out.
  • You can and should make the sign of the cross any time you wish, but particularly, there are certain times during the Liturgy when we all make the sign of the cross:
    • When entering the Nave (sanctuary).
    • Whenever we hear the name of the Father, Son, and Holy    Spirit.
    • Whenever we hear the name of the Virgin Mary.
    • Whenever we hear the name of our patron saint.
    • When we enter the altar area (for men and boys only).
    • Whenever we cross in front of the altar (for everybody).
  • No snacks are allowed in church, if small children need to be fed, please take them out and feed them.
  • No gum chewing is allowed during the Divine Liturgy.
  • Talking in the Nave of the church should be kept to a minimum, and only in a low voice. We are here to worship, fellowship comes after the Liturgy.
  • Our children are the apples of our eyes, and definitely belong in church.  But there are times when their behavior can be distracting to others. When this happens, tell them to calm down, and if they can’t, it is our job as parents to take them outside until they do settle down. Please restrain the children from running around.
  • Soft toys and church related books are great for the little ones - please, no hard toys, such as blocks, cars, trucks, dolls, etc. When banged on the pew, these are very distracting.

Holy Communion 

  • Ladies should remove lipstick with a tissue before receiving Communion.
  • On Sundays when we are receiving Holy Communion, we should not eat or drink anything, including water from the water fountain, beginning from when we wake up until after we receive Communion. The only exception to this is small children and any kind of medicine for anyone.
  • While Communion is being served, we should stand quietly and recite the “Prayers of Thanksgiving after Receiving Communion” that are found in the Liturgy book. It is okay to acknowledge friends that pass by, but we shouldn’t get into conversations, wait until after the Liturgy.
  • When receiving Communion, we should hold the cloth under our chin, in order to catch any that may fall. After receiving, lightly touch the cloth to your lips to blot up any remaining Communion.
  • When we are standing in line to receive Communion, we don’t stand with our hands in our pockets, it is considered irreverent.

Andithoron (the blessed bread)

  • When receiving Andithoron from the Priest, we should kiss his hand as we receive it. We should then keep it cupped in our hands until we have eaten it. We put both our hands together in the form of a cross and cup them so that we can catch the crumbs.
  • If you see a crumb or piece that has fallen to the floor, you should pick it up, kiss it, and either eat it or place it somewhere people do not step.
  • We never throw andithoron into a trash can, after all, it’s not trash, it’s blessed bread! If there is leftover andithoron, it is to be given to the faithful and the crumbs are placed where they may be eaten by the birds.
  • Please watch your children as they eat their andithoron so they don’t leave it on the pew or other inappropriate places.

Church Grounds

  • We should respect all church property, the buildings and the grounds, and particularly the Narthex (just outside the sanctuary doors) and the Nave (inside the doors). This is God’s House and we should treat it even better than we treat our own.
  • When entering the Narthex, refrain from conversations except brief greetings.
  • During coffee hour, please do not let the children run around the room -This is an accident waiting to happen, with hot coffee and food being juggled in many hands.
  • We don’t run inside the Nave of the church.


  • We always stand when a Priest enters a room, and we greet him with a kiss on his right hand. Kissing the Priest’s hand is something we do in and out of church, because we are showing respect for the Priest himself and for the position of the Priest, and also because the Priest’s hands are used to consecrate the Body and Blood of Christ during Communion.
  • We don’t cross our legs when sitting in church, it is considered irreverent.
  • Clothing - if you’re not allowed to wear it to school, don’t wear it to church. Short pants are not appropriate for the sanctuary.
  • Remember - too tight is not right!

** This guide to Church Etiquette was prepared by His Grace Bishop Sebastian Skordallos of Zela, Chief Secretary of the Synod of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. 

Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral
3511 Yoakum Boulevard
Houston, TX 77006
Office: (713) 526-5377
Fax: (713) 526-1048
Office Hours: Weekdays 8am-4:30pm