Standing vs. Sitting in the Orthodox Church

posture in church

The traditional posture for prayer and worship in the Orthodox Church has been to stand. In the Orthodox “old countries,” there are usually no pews in the churches. Chairs or benches on the side walls are usually reserved for the elderly and infirm. In North America, we have tended to build our churches with pews, and since we have them, we need to determine when we may sit and when we should stand.

First, it is fully acceptable (even preferable) to stand for the entire service. If you prefer this, it would be best to find a place closer to the back or side of the church so as not to block someone’s view.

When should you definitely stand? Always stand during the Gospel reading, the Little and Great Entrances, and Anaphora, the distribution of Holy Communion, whenever the priest gives a blessing, and the Dismissal. In many parishes, the Divine Liturgy books in the pews have suggested times when sitting is acceptable.

When in doubt, stand. It is never wrong to stand in church.

Adapted from