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The Russian Orthodox Old Believer Church

The official website of the Moscow Metropolitanate.

Address: Russia, Moscow, Rogozhsky Poselok street, 1A, 5.
Phone: +7 (495) 361-51-91

How worshipers stand in the Old Believer church

Upon entering the church, a worshiper completes the seven-bow entrance prayer and then they stand in an appropriate spot for the duration of the whole service. People who have been going to a church for a long time, as a rule, have their usual places inside the church, for example, near a certain icon. This long established custom should be respected. However, if a place is already occupied, no one should ask another person to move. It’s better to stand on an available, unoccupied place, not to press on anyone and especially not to push.

How worshipers stand in the Old Believer church

During prayer, it is fitting to stand upright, keeping your feet together. Arms should be folded on the chest horizontally, at the level of the elbows, one on top of the other, with the right arm on top of the left. According to one of the patristic interpretations, this positioning of the hands of the worshipers is similar to the positioning of the wings of the bodiless holy Heavenly Forces that are in front of the fearful Throne of the Lord of Glory. This was revealed in the vision of the holy prophet Isaiah who was in reverent awe of the greatness of God and the fiery Cherubims and Seraphims who had six wings – one pair of wings covering their faces, the other covering their legs and they flew with the help of a third pair (Isaiah 6: 1-4).

Speaking about the place for worshipers in church, it should also be mentioned that it is necessary for men and women to stand apart during the service, in different parts of the church. In parishes where there are many male worshipers, as a rule, they usually occupy the front, near the iconostasis, while the women stand behind. In other churches, men usually stand in front of the right half of the iconostasis and women on the left half of the iconostasis.