When to Make the Sign of the Cross

Fr Dimitri suggests appropriate times when we should make the sign of the cross. This article is one of a series of etiquette posts which will respectfully offer a guide to those who wish to learn more about the Greek Orthodox Church.

Greek Orthodox Church St George Brisbane

Photography by Andrew Porfyri

When to Make the Sign of the Cross:

  • Whenever you feel the need
  • Before and after any prayers
  • When you enter and leave the Narthex and Nave
  • Before you kiss an Icon, Cross, or the Gospel Book
  • When you pass the Altar
  • When you hear any of the following phrases; 
    • Father, Son, and Holy Spirit
    • Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal, Have Mercy on Us
    • The words Christ, Theotokos, Panayia or Virgin Mary
    • The Name of a Saint
  • After the reading of the Epistle or Gospel
  • Near the end of the Creed at the phrase In One Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church
  • Before and after the Consecration during the Divine Liturgy (when the Priest says ‘Your Own of Your Own we offer You, In every way and for every Thing’. This is the point when the Priest prays with the people for God to make the Bread and Wine into the Body and Blood of Christ.
  • At the end of the Lord’s Prayer while the Priest says ‘For Yours is the Kingdom, the Power and the Glory, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.’
  • Before and after receiving Holy Communion
  • Before receiving Antidoron (The blessed bread at the end of the service).

Do you have any questions about appropriate Church Ettiquite? 

Please share them the comments below.


The content of this post was originally published by Fr. Dimitri Tsakas on the Orthodox Research Institute.

The Reverend Father Dimitri Tsakas is the Archepiscopal Vicar for Queensland, Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia and the Dean of the Greek Orthodox Church of St George, Brisbane in Australia. You can connect with Fr. Dimitri on FacebookTwitter and Linked In.

What Should God Parents Buy For A Christening?

What Should God Parents Buy For A Christening?

My husband will be christening a baby boy this weekend and we will officially become his God Parents. I have been busy making the lambatha and the martyrika (which are available to purchase at the Greek Wedding Shop) but I still have a few things still to organise.

I have created a list of all the things that God Parents need to buy for a Greek Orthodox Baptism. Please let me know if I am missing anything by leaving a note in the comments.

What Should God Parents Buy For A Christening?

  • Baptismal Cross & Chain / Stavro
  • White Christening Outfit With Hat or Cap
  • White Shoes / Booties
  • Cloth Nappy – because a cloth nappy can be washed but a disposable nappy needs to be trashed
  • White Singlets (3)
  • Outfits for the baby (3 in total) – the christening outfit + pjs for the baby to wear after the christening + something for the baby to wear after bathing him/her on day 3
  • White Face Washer / Ladopana – used to wipe oil from the baby’s head after the ceremony
  • White Hand Towel – for the Priest to wipe his hands
  • Large White Towel – used with sheet to wrap the baby
  • White Cot Sheet – used with the towel to wrap the baby and protect the God parents
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil – in a nice bottle
  • Bar of Soap
  • Hair Brush
  • Commandaria – a donation for the Church
  • Witness Pins / Marityrika – for the guests
  • Favours / Bombonerie – for the guests
  • Decorated Candle / Lambatha
  • Decorated Box – to put everything in so that it is easy to take to Church

Please share a comment if you have anything else to add to this list!

I’d also like to hear your ideas for christening themes and decorations for the lambatha, the bombonerie and the box. 

Related posts you might love:


Sia Aristidou is fascinated by the rituals and traditions celebrated in Greek culture. She writes about love, marriage, family and tradition and she sells beautiful handmade wedding gifts at the Greek Wedding Shop.
Connect with Sia on Facebook or say hello on Twitter. You may also like to subscribe to the Greek Weddings & Traditions blog or join the Greek Cooking Challenge.

When To Sit, Stand or Kneel During The Divine Liturgy

Fr Dimitri discusses when we should sit, stand or kneel during The Divine Liturgy. This article is the first of a series of etiquette posts which will respectfully offer a guide to those who wish to learn more about the Greek Orthodox Church.

St George Greek Orthodox Church Brisbane

Photography by Andrew Porfyri

Stand and Sit during the Following Times:

  • Stand at the beginning of the Liturgy at ‘Blessed is the Kingdom of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, now and ever …’ until the end of the Great Litany at ‘For to You belong all glory, power and worship, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit …’
  • Sit after the Priest has finished this last phrase.
  • Stand when the procession with the Gospel begins (this is called the Small Entrance and symbolises the coming of Christ into the world).
  • Stay standing until the beginning of the Epistle reading, at the beginning of which we may sit.
  • Stand when the Gospel is to be read, stand when you hear the Priest say ‘ Wisdom. Attend. Let us hear the Holy Gospel. Peace be with you all’.
  • Stay standing after the Gospel and through the Procession with the Gifts for Holy Communion (this is called the Great Entrance and symbolises Christ coming to His Passion).
  • Sit after the Priest has placed the Gifts upon the Altar, when we hear him say ‘Let us complete our prayer to the Lord’.
  • Stand when we hear the Priest say ‘Commemorating our All-Holy, most pure, blessed, and glorious Lady, Theotokos and ever virgin Mary’ and ‘Through the mercies of Your only begotten Son with Whom You are blessed’.
  • Kneel when you hear the Priest saying ‘Your Own from Your Own we offer You in every way and for every Thing’ (On Sundays and between Pascha and Pentecost it is a custom to Bow instead of kneel at this time because these are periods of celebrating the Resurrection)’
  • Keep standing through the Creed and until the Priest says ‘Having commemorated all the Saints, again and again in peace let us pray to the Lord …’
  • Stand for the Lord’s Prayer when you hear the Priest say ‘And make us worthy Master …’ then the ‘Our Father’. Keep standing until you hear the Priest say ‘Let us attend. The Holy Things are for the Holy.’
  • Stand when the Priest comes out with Holy Communion.
  • While Holy Communion is being distributed some people like to keep standing out of respect for Christ’s physical presence in the Eucharist while others sit. You make a choice here.
  • Stand when Holy Communion is finished and keep standing until the end of the Service.
  • Sit when the Priest is preaching.

Do you have any questions about appropriate Church Ettiquite? 

Please share them the comments below.


The content of this post was originally published by Fr. Dimitri Tsakas on the Orthodox Research Institute.

The Reverend Father Dimitri Tsakas is the Archepiscopal Vicar for Queensland, Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia and the Dean of the Greek Orthodox Church of St George, Brisbane in Australia. You can connect with Fr. Dimitri on FacebookTwitter and Linked In.

Amygthalota Greek Almond Cookies : A Tradition To Welcome A New Baby

Amygdalota

A Sweet For Babies

The #GreekCookingChallenge for May was scheduled to be “A Sweet For Babies”. However I was a little busy baking a bun in the oven (so to speak) and I did not publish the challenge recipe. I’m sorry about that. 

Now it’s June and I’m finally at home with my new baby boy in my arms and I am attempting to type this blog post with one hand. It might take me a while to write the recipe but I am on a mission to get it done today.

A Tradition To Welcome A New Baby

It is tradition to offer friends and family a small gift when they visit a new mother and baby at the hospital or at home. This gift is usually a sweet that has been wrapped up in celophane and decorated with ribbon. Blue ribbon for boys or pink ribbon for girls – or whatever colour you like best. Continue reading

The Greek Tradition of Naming Your Child

Greek Tradtion of Naming Your Child

Introducing Baby Ari

My husband and I are very proud to introduce our baby boy to the world. Ari was born on Monday 18th May 2015 at 4.03pm weighing 2.8kg and was 49cm long. He is a healthy and happy little boy and we feel very blessed to be his parents.

We decided to follow tradition and name our baby after his Papou Aristidis Aristidou, who is my husband’s father. You will notice that the baby’s first name and our surname are the same. It is Greek tradition to name your children after your parents and it is a Cypriot tradition for the first-born son in the family to have the same first name and surname. Continue reading

Tsoureki Easter Bread – Greek Cooking Challenge Recipe 16

Tsoureki #GreekCookingChalllenge

Easter is just around the corner and it’s always a fun time to get in the kitchen and do some baking. Tsoureki is a traditional Greek bread that is made at Easter time. I have never made it on my own before – this year will be the first time for me.

Usually I bake Tsoureki with the help of my Aunty. However my Aunty always seems to do most of the cooking I tend to just watch from a distance or take photos. Making Tsoureki on my own this year will be a huge challenge because I know that it’s is not an easy task.

I do not suggest that you make Tsoureki on your own if this is the very first time for you (or unless you have a Thermomix). This recipe is best for people who are experienced bakers and bread makers or for those who have made Tsoureki before. 

Easter cooking can be lots of fun so ask a friend or family member to come over and cook with you. Remember to take a photo of your Tsoureki (whether you made it or even if you are just eating it!) and tag your post with the hash tag #GreekCookingChallenge. Continue reading

40 Days After The Birth Of A Child ~ Sarantismos

Anna & Her Baby 40 Day Blessing in an Orthodox Church40 Days After The Birth Of A Child 

A Greek mother is often “expected” to stay at home with her newborn baby for the 40 days after the birth of a child. She doesn’t leave the house, she doesn’t go grocery shopping and if she is lucky enough to have family support, she doesn’t cook or clean or do any of her normal household duties. 

The only time that a new mother can leave the house is if she needs to take the baby to the doctors. In fact, she is not even allowed/permitted to go to Church during these 40 days.  Continue reading

Marriage Is Not Allowed At Easter Time In The Greek Orthodox Church

Greek Orthodox Wedding - Nek Vardikos Photography

There are certain days throughout the year when marriage is not allowed to be performed in the Greek Orthodox Church. This includes the 40 days of Great Lent before Easter. 

Here are the calendar dates when a marriage can not be performed:

  • During Great Lent, Holy Week & Pascha – Easter
  • August 1-15 – Dormition Fast and Feast
  • August 29 – Beheading of St. John the Baptist
  • September 14 – Exaltation of the Holy Cross
  • December 13-25 – Nativity
  • December 24-25 – Christmas
  • January 5 & 6 – Theophany
  • Pentecost
  • The day before or on the day of any Great Feast
  • Not on any fast days or during fasting seasons

What Should You Do If You Want To Be Married During This Time? 

If a couple wishes to be married on any of these days they must first seek permission.

Here is what you can do:

  • Check your calendar and see if there are any other dates that might be suitable for your wedding.
  • Have 1 or 2 back up dates in your mind… just in case.
  • Speak to your Priest and check the availability of the date.
  • If your ‘ideal’ wedding date falls on a day when marriage is not permitted then you can seek special permission to do so.
  • Only some exceptions are granted. This is done on a case by case basis.
  • Have a list of reasons why you wish to have your wedding on the desired date.
  • If your Priest accepts your suggestion, he will need to write a letter on your behalf to the Hierarch to ask for permission. 
  • Permission can only be granted by the Diocesan Bishop.

For more information about marriage in the Orthodox Church please visit GOARCH

Photo Credit: Nek Vardikos Photography

Related posts you might love:


Sia Aristidou is fascinated by the rituals and traditions celebrated in Greek culture. She writes about love, marriage, family and tradition and she sells beautiful handmade wedding gifts at the Greek Wedding Shop.
Connect with Sia on Facebook or say hello on Twitter. You may also like to subscribe to the Greek Weddings & Traditions blog or join the Greek Cooking Challenge.

Fakes Lentil Soup – Greek Cooking Challenge Recipe 15

Fakes Greek Cooking Challenge

Fakes is Greek Lentil Soup. It is a dish that can be made all year round but it is especially popular during the cooler months and also during Nisteia (fasting days).

Vegetarians and vegans love Greek fakes because it is a very good source of protein and because it tastes so good.

I want to make Fakes this month for a few different reasons:

1. Easter is around the corner and we are officially in the fasting period of the Greek Orthodox Church – Great Lent.

2. Fakes is a really tasty dish to eat while fasting during Nisteia.

3. I am currently a little low on iron and need a good nutritional kick (this is because I’m pregnant and the baby needs lots of Iron to help grow and develop).

4. We call our unborn baby fakes. Ok, don’t laugh but it’s true. My husband and I have been trying to fall pregnant for a really long time. On the day that we found out that we were blessed with a baby in my belly the little embryo was the size of a lentil. The word for lentil in Greek is Fakes and so automatically we started calling our little one “Fakes” and the nickname has stuck.

How to Be A Good Greek Cook - Join the #GreekCookingChallenge in 2014

Learn How to Be A Good Greek Cook – Join the #GreekCookingChallenge in 2015

Are you an official challenger yet?

Join the mailing list here: Greek Cooking Challenge 

*Only official challengers will have the chance to win prizes or receive special offers.

Continue reading

Kollyva + Prosforo Recipe For Soul Saturday

Yiayia Eleni's Kollyva RecipeSoul Saturday is a special day in the Orthodox Church to remember those who have fallen asleep. There are several Soul Saturdays commemorated throughout the calendar year including today which falls on the Saturday of Meatfare Week (Tsiknopempti).

On this day, it is tradition to prepare Kollyva (boiled wheat) and Prosforo (bread) and to take it to Church. Yesterday, I received a phone call from Yiayia Eleni. She invited me over to help her cook and I was grateful for the opportunity to have another cooking lesson. (Here is a link to my first cooking lesson: We made Eliopitas – Greek Olive Bread!)

Yiayia Eleni wanted to make both Prosforo and Kollyva. We made both recipes at the same time so it did get a bit confusing for me when I tried to write down all of the steps. Yiayia Eleni doesn’t use a recipe from a book. She uses the ‘bitsa’ style of cooking – like most Yiayias tend to do. Bitsa style cooking stands for ‘a bit of this and a bit of that’. 

If you are looking for a Kollyiva recipe that has accurate measurement and instructions then you might want to take a look at another post i wrote: How To Make Koliva – Remembering Those Who Have Fallen Asleep.

Here is my best attempt to document the day: Continue reading