Thanks to both Reader Daniel and Matushka Anna for their responses, as
well as to people who e-mailed me offlist. Reader Daniel's response
addresses *exactly* what my concern is, namely -- how much attention
do you want to draw to yourself, anyway?! On the other hand, I don't
want to go into a house of worship and not at least say hello to the
This question actually comes up for me more often in the context of
going to confession prior to receiving Communion: Because of the
distance from my ROCOR parish, Vigil is out of the question, so going
to confession is pretty much limited to the reading of the Hours in
the morning. I'm not the only one in this bind, though, so by the
time confessions are over, there's barely time to skedaddle up to the
choir loft for the beginning of Liturgy. At least now I have a sense
of what's appropriate when.
(BTW, just to ramp up the brain-dead quotient: Do you venerate ALL
the icons, or only the main ones? We have icons all over the church,
and even at Jordanville, I'm torn between "saying hello to everybody"
and just getting out of the way.)
On Wed, Sep 9, 2009 at 4:35 PM, Daniel Olson <danielolson@...> wrote:
> While movement around the church during services in order to venerate
> icons, put up candles, etc. is a something commonly observed, it
> should not be encouraged since it is contrary to good liturgical
> order. Such movement has a two-fold negative effect. First, it
> distracts the person who is moving about and performing his own
> personal acts of piety from giving full attention to the Church's
> communal prayers, hymns and readings that are taking place at that
> time. Second, the person moving about the church is also distracting
> others from paying attention to the service.
> The idea that some parts of the service are not important enough to
> warrant our full attention or that it is permissible to distract
> others during such times can only be considered an aberration.
> In considering this and other similar questions, it is useful to
> determine first the Church's normative practice. In this case, the
> normative practice is to arrive at church prior to the beginning of
> the service. That way, one may perform any desired acts of personal
> piety without distracting oneself or one's neighbor during the service.
> The second task is to provide guidance to those who for some good
> reason are unable to follow the normative practice. In this case, the
> best guidance is for such persons to go directly to their place as
> quickly and unobtrusively as possible after entering the church.
> Personal acts of piety may be performed as desired after the service
> is over. This guidance not only benefits the individual himself and
> others in the church, but it also contributes to the overall decorum
> of the divine service.
> Daniel Olson