As a rule, priests receive confession in any enclosed spaces inside the church walls. If there is no way to go to church, the priest can receive confession in the house of Orthodox Christians or in another decent place.
While waiting for your turn for confession, you should behave calmly and reverently, spending time reflecting on your sins and paying attention to the service being performed in church.
Before you go directly to confession, it is customary to perform three bows to the ground before an icon of God, saying the prayer: “God, cleanse me, a sinner, and have mercy on me (bow), Thou hast created me, O Lord, have mercy on me (bow), countless times I have sinned, O Lord, have mercy and forgive me, a sinner (a bow)”. Then, without the sign of the cross, bow to the ground to the people standing in church, saying the words: “Forgive for Christ’s sake.” They, bowing from the waist, reply: “God will forgive.”
When entering to confess to the priest, the confessor bows down to the ground four times before the Holy Gospel and the Holy Cross lying on the lectern, with the prayer: “Accept me, O Lord, my confession, and have mercy on me” (bow).
There is a pious custom that for every sin that the confessor bows to the ground (without the sign of the cross) to the Holy Gospel and the Holy Cross, they wholeheartedly appeal to the spiritual father with the words: “Sinful, forgive for Christ’s sake, honourable father”. The use of this rite during the confession strengthens the function of the sacrament of repentance and attracts the grace of God to the confessor.
After the confession is over, the confessor again bows three times to the ground in front of the Holy Cross and the Gospel and then asks the priest for the blessing to receive the Holy Mysteries of Christ.
When a person who has repented their sins leaves the priest, they make the same bows (only bowing from the waist) which they did when entering the confession. People respond to a bow to them, saying: “With pure repentance”.
The next morning, the general conclusion of the Confession is completed in the church with the reading of the permission prayers. In some parishes, a part of these prayers can be read the evening before.
Confession, as a rule, takes place during lent periods, given that fasting is the time of repentance. At this time, it is more convenient to prepare for the communion. Orthodox Christians who are preparing for the communion must pray either seven prayer-rules by the lestovka (prayer rope), read the Psalter or pray the rule canons seven times. All week they observe a very strict fast – a no oil, vegan diet. On the day of communion, it is necessary to pray the Rule to the Holy Communion, which includes the rule canons, the communion hours, the communion canon, prayers for the Holy Communion and also the whole service in church.
During the liturgy, with the opening of the Royal gates just before communion, the communicants approach the ambon and listen to prayers read especially for them. They come to the holy cup in order: readers, boys, girls, maidens, men and women. Approaching the cup, the communicant performs the sign of the cross (without a bow) with the Jesus prayer and folds his arms crosswise (that is, the arms are crossed over the chest, with the right arm over the left arm and each hand on the opposite shoulder, making the sign of the cross). Having accepted with the fear of God the Most Holy Gifts – the Body and Blood of Christ – the communicant performs the sign of the cross again with the Jesus prayer and kisses the edge of the base of the holy cup. After that, with arms still folded, the communicant goes to the table (usually placed behind the left choir) on which stands a vessel of warm water and a dish with prosphora (altar bread). Here the communicant takes a piece of prosphora, consumes it and drinks the warm water three times. After consuming the prosphora and warmth, the communicant is offered a towel to wipe their mouth. This towel cannot be used for other purposes.
At the end of the liturgy, all communicants must listen with deep attention to the thanksgiving prayers.
On this day, the meals should be modest and moderate, preferably without alcoholic beverages. In every possible way, try not to spit on this day and not allow involuntary discharges from the mouth, until when the communicant sleeps. Upon acceptance of the Holy Mysteries, it is fitting to remain more in silence, with grateful feelings and mindful prayer.