Ask An Eastern Orthodox Christian: How to dress for church

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By Nicholas Damascus

How should I dress when going to any Orthodox Church?

Orthodox Christians know that when they enter the church, it is where heaven and earth meet. They know they are stepping into an ark that joins them with that which is sacred and holy. That same majesty of God, which is in heaven, is also in His church. On this account, the Orthodox Christians should enter with respect, reverence, and awe. 

Why do we say this? Because the “Presence” of Christ is always on the alter table when you walk into an Eastern Orthodox Church.  In this house of God, there is no holier place for Eastern Orthodox Christians. Not even the presence of the Ark of the Convenient or the Holy Grail.  For it is there that we by receiving the Eucharist/Holy Communion (Christ Himself) is the holiest experience and place on earth.

All too often dress in church has become too casual.  One should dress modestly, not in a flashy, provocative, flamboyant, or distractive manner that would bring attention to ourselves.  Dress should be as reverent as possible within this holy house of God. 

1 Timothy 2:9  “In like manner also, that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing.”

2 Samuel 12:20  “So David arose from the ground, washed and anointed himself, and changed his clothes, and he went into the house of the Lord and worshiped..”

Exodus 40:32  “Whenever they went into the tabernacle of meeting, and when they came near the altar, they washed, as the Lord had commanded Moses.”

If you have the choice to wear clean and modest clothing, then anoint your head and wash your face and come with respect, honor, and modesty.  If you don’t have clean and modest clothing, then anoint your head and wash your face and come with respect, honor, and modesty. 

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