Manners at Church
( By : H. H. Pope Shenouda )
You come to church with a special spiritual readiness. :In olden times they used to come reciting the psalms on the waylaying, "I was glad when they said to me: Let us go into the House of the Lord." (Ps. 122:1) "How lovely is your tabernacle, O'Lord of hosts?" (Ps. 84:1) "My soul longs for the courts of the Lord." (Ps. 84:2) "One thing I desired of the Lord that I will seek: That I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life." (Ps. 27:4) "Blessed are those who dwell in your house. They will still be praising you."
A person enters the church saying, "But as for me, I will come into your house in the multitude of your mercy; In fear of you I will worship towards your holy temple." (Ps. 5:7); so he worships and sits in reverence.
Among the rules of respect of the church, it is not permissible to sit at the time when you must be standing.
It is not allowable to enter the church with newspapers or magazines in your hand; the worst thing is to keep yourself busy with it.
It is not permissible to raise your voice, but if you talked for necessity, you speak in a quiet voice. Do not engage yourself looking here and there but concentrate your senses and mind on the prayers, contemplations and listening as if you are standing before God.
In reciting the chorus and the tunes, it is not allowable to raise your voice over the others or be different from them in the tune.
It is appropriate to come to church in decent clothes worthy of the house of God. Also, those who are receiving communion, they must take off their shoes, and women to cover their hair and do not put makeup.
It is not permissible to leave the church except after hearing the final blessing from the priest, especially on days of Holy Mass.
You must come early to the church, the Lord says, "And those who seek me diligently will find me."(Prov 8:17).
It is assumed that who will partake in communion must attend the early raising of incense (Matins) or at least at the presentation of the offertory and hearing of the absolution of the servants. It is improper to crowd together during communion or when taking (The Holy Bread). but to go forward in order, giving preference to one another.