Stand before the Lord, your God!

And the angel answered and said unto me, These are the four spirits of the heavens, which go forth from standing before the Lord of all the earth.

Zech 6:5

Ye stand this day all of you before the LORD your God; your captains of your tribes, your elders, and your officers, with all the men of Israel,

Deut 29:10

The practice of Orthodox Christians to stand during prayer and church services is not only a representation of spiritual service in the Heavenly Church, but also in the Church of the Old and New Testament. As Orthodox Christians, according to the apostolic teachings, we all stand during the reading of the Gospel and the “Liturgy of the Faithful.” And any time the Royal Doors are open or the Priest is in the Nave.

Remember: worshiping God is not about us. It is about Him. We are God’s humble servants. And we must be ready, attentive, and willing to serve Him. We must acknowledge that we are in the presence of God, and should stand in awe and respect. As Tertullian of Carthage tells us: “It is especially improper to pray while sitting at the very time that a multitude of angels stand before the face of the Lord in fear and trepidation; sitting shows that we are somehow praying unwillingly, carelessly, in a lazy manner.”

Let’s also quickly discuss how we dress during the Divine Liturgy and any time you attend Church services in an Orthodox Church. Everyone should refrain from clothing that is immodest, ostentatious, a fashion-statement, or otherwise distracting from the prayerful and sacred space of the Lord’s House. Clothing or bodily adornments with images, symbols, or writing should not be worn or at least covered up, so that the holy icons and Word of God do not have to compete with the logo of our favorite sport team, the name of a music band, or the slogan of our political party. Cover your skin decently and properly before the Lord your God! You are presenting yourself before your God. Dress and act appropriately.

The Scriptures offer us a dress code, with not only calls to the aforementioned virtuous principles, but also specific details in relation to: cross-dressing (Deut. 22:5), body markings (Deut. 14:1, Lev. 19:28), braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire (1 Tim. 2:9, 1 Pet. 3:3-4), and head coverings (1 Cor. 11) to name a few.

This being said, we should not take it upon ourselves to enforce standing or the dress code upon anyone else, especially visitors to the parish. As people become familiar with Orthodox Christianity, they will slowly start to adapt themselves to the ways of the Orthodox Church, naturally growing in Christ with that which pertains to both soul and body. Take care of yourself only.

Contributing to the common work of our Divine Liturgy involves everyone, from beginning to end, from “Blessed is the Kingdom” to the final “Amen” and “Many years”—and ultimately, eternally beyond in “the never ending day of the Lord’s Kingdom” itself.


by Abbot Tryphon

The Orthodox Practice of Standing for Worship Standing before God has been the only acceptable posture for Orthodox Christians from the earliest of times. We recognize that a faithful servant would never sit before his master, for the faithful are all servants of the Lord, whom we worship as we stand in our temples. The […]

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About padrerichard

I am a Priest with ROCOR.
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