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.

The 12 Days of an Orthodox Christmas…

Christmas Apple

The 12 Days of Greek Orthodox Christmas

For me and my family, Christmas has always been celebrated on the 25th of December. But did you know that the Orthodox Church actually celebrates the 12 Days “After” Christmas?

On the 12th Day of Christmas My True Love Sent To Me…

The 12 Days of Christmas is the name of a song that children sing at Christmas time. You’ve heard it… On the first day of Christmas, my true love sent to me, a partridge in a pear tree. On the second day of Christmas, my true love sent to me, two turtle doves and a partridge in a pear tree. The song goes on and on, and the true love sends the singer 12 different gifts on the 12 days of Christmas. If you were to ask me about the 12 Days of Christmas, then I would immediately think about this song. Until now, I had no idea that the 12 Days of Christmas is a religious event that is celebrated in the Church.

Bob Flaherty from Our Orthodox Life, suggests that the song, the 12 Days of Christmas should not be taken literally. He says that each gift symbolic of something more religious. He decodes the symbols in his blog post: The Meaning Behind the Christmas Carol – The 12 Days of Christmas. 

12 Days of Christmas

12 Days of Christmas – From: ourorthodoxlife.blogspot.com.au

The 12 Days of Christmas in the Orthodox Church

According to John Sanidopoulos from the blog Mystagogy: The Twelve Days of Christmas are a festive period linking together two Great Feats of the Lord: The Nativity of Christ and Theophany.

The first day of Christmas begins on Christmas Day, the 25th of December and the celebrations continue until the 5th January. Those who follow the tradition of the 12 Days of Christmas, will wait until Christmas Day before beginning any celebrations. Often, the Christmas tree will be put up (at midnight on Christmas Eve) and then presents are given out on a daily basis on each day of the 12 days.

Leave Your Christmas Tree Up – Until The 6th January

They say that you should leave your Christmas tree up until the 6th of January. That is the day after the 12 days of Christmas celebrations. This date is always marked in my diary (because i can finally pack away all the Christmas decorations and get the house back to normal) however, i did not know that this date was directly linked to the tradition of the 12 Days of Christmas.

Learn More About The 12 Days Of Christmas

Presvassi from the blog In Service and Love offers tips and inspiration about how to celebrate the 12 Days of Christmas. Also, if you would like to read more about Orthodox Christmas then I recommend that you read Christmas 101: An Orthodox Christian Understanding – a very detailed article by Sylvia from the blog Adventures of an Orthodox Mom’s

My husband and I are interested in learning more about this tradition. I’m not sure if this is celebrated by all Orthodox Churches or by just some of them. I like the idea… perhaps we might try it one year.


Do you celebrate the 12 Days of Christmas?

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Sia Aristidou is fascinated by the rituals and traditions celebrated in Greek culture. Sia writes about love, marriage, family and tradition and sells beautiful handmade wedding gifts at the Greek Wedding Shop.
Connect with Sia on FacebookTwitter, Pinterest and Instagram or subscribe to the Greek Weddings & Traditions blog. If you want to learn more about Greek food and Greek cooking, then join the Greek Cooking Challenge.

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PK4A Catwalk to Compassion Fashion Parade ~ Help Feed the Children of Africa

PK4A Catwalk to Compassion Fashion Parade

Last week I had the opportunity to attend the PK4A Catwalk to Compassion Fashion Parade. This exciting charity event was hosted by my dear friend Jacqui Toumbas, a young 20 something, Greek woman with ambitious dreams to change the world and feed the children of Africa.

Continue reading

Panta Aksii – May You Be Worthy Koumbari

The Bride and Groom with their Koumbari at a Greek orthodox church

John & Anna’s Wedding ~ 1st June 2013 ~ The Bride and Groom with their Koumbari

My husband and I were honoured to be koumbari for John and Anna last weekend. We did all of the things that koumbari are expected to do: organise the stefana, the lambathes and the bomboniere (all beautiful products that I purchased from The Greek Wedding Shop).

We planed the pre wedding parties like the Kitchen Tea, the Hens Night and of course the boys had their Bucks Night too. We paid our fees to the Church, to the Priest and to the Pslalti. We pinned money on the bride and groom during their first dance and we prepared our speech for the night. The role of Koumbari carries with it a lot of responsibility (as well as a lot of expense). But it is all worth it, because as koumbari you hold an important part of the couple’s life. It is a role that is life long and one that you must be worthy of.

Stefana and wedding rings with Wine

Just after the Church ceremony, the Bride and the Groom along with the whole bridal party waited in line at the alter for the guests to come up and give their greetings. Each guest kissed us on both cheeks and then they would say “Panta Aksii”.

I didn’t know what this meant as I don’t speak much Greek and it had not been translated to English.  It was the first time that I have heard of the saying. After a little bit of research, I discovered that the saying Panta Aksii (πάντα άξιοι) means:

‘May you be worthy as Koumbari’

My husband and I replied with ‘Thank You’ and continued to kiss each guest on both cheeks as they went down the line.

Koumbari have an important role in the couple’s life together. It is a role that one must be worthy of.

In your opinion, what makes a koumbara/os worthy?

Please post your comments. I’d love to hear from you!

Related posts you might like:


Sia Aristidou is fascinated by the rituals and traditions celebrated in Greek culture. Sia writes about love, marriage, family and tradition and sells beautiful handmade wedding gifts at the Greek Wedding Shop.
Connect with Sia on FacebookTwitter, Pinterest and Instagram or subscribe to the Greek Weddings & Traditions blog. If you want to learn more about Greek food and Greek cooking, then join the Greek Cooking Challenge.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Kiss

A post for this week’s photo challenge of the Daily post.

You may see a lot of kissing at Greek Weddings.

The Kiss is one of the deepest symbols of love and respect that one person can offer to another.

bride kissing the father before thee wedding

~*~
My most precious kisses are for the most precious men in my life
my dad and my husband….
~*~

bride kissing the groom after the wedding

The photographs in this post are from the wedding of Nektarios and Sia – 28 May 2011 – Each of these moments have been captured by porfyri.com.au

Related posts you may like:


Sia Aristidou is fascinated by the rituals and traditions celebrated in Greek culture. Sia writes about love, marriage, family and tradition and sells beautiful handmade wedding gifts at the Greek Wedding Shop.
Connect with Sia on FacebookTwitter, Pinterest and Instagram or subscribe to the Greek Weddings & Traditions blog. If you want to learn more about Greek food and Greek cooking, then join the Greek Cooking Challenge.

Learn More About Greek Weddings & Traditions
Subscribe to the Blog and Follow Us:
            

Should I Wear My Engagement Ring on The Left Hand?

In the Greek Orthodox Church the Priest puts the rings on the right hand of the Bride and the Groom.

Some people then change the rings to their left hand and others keep the rings on their right hand.

I plan to keep my wedding ring on my right hand but what should i do about my engagement ring?

I have recently been told that you should only wear your wedding ring on your right hand and that your engagement ring should stay on the left.


So should i wear my Engagement ring on my left hand?

Related Topics That You Might Like:


Sia Aristidou is the fascinated by the rituals and traditions celebrated in Greek culture. Sia writes about love, marriage, family and tradition and sells beautiful handmade wedding gifts at the Greek Wedding Shop.
Connect with Sia on FacebookTwitter, Pinterest and Instagram or subscribe to the Greek Weddings & Traditions blog. If you want to learn more about Greek food and Greek cooking, then join the Greek Cooking Challenge.

Learn More About Greek Weddings & Traditions
Subscribe to the Blog and Follow Us:
            

Stuffing up the Stefana

Gold Stefana with Swarovski Crystals at the Greek Wedding Shop

Gold Stefana with Swarovski Crystals at the Greek Wedding Shop

It was my worst fear. I thought I was going to stuff up the Stefana…

I went to a Greek wedding a couple of weeks before my sister’s wedding and the Koumbara Stuffed up the Stefana. It was the Koumbara’s most important role in the whole wedding and she didn’t know what to do.

The Koumbara just couldn’t get her hands the right way. The Priest tried to help but for the thirty seconds of confusion, the entire room of guests broke into laughter.

It funny for the people who were standing inside the Church to watch but it was completely embarrassing for the Koumbara. She had stuffed up the Stefana.

For weeks, I kept playing this over in my mind. I didn’t want to stuff it up. I didn’t want everyone to laugh at me. So i watched a few Greek Wedding videos and I practiced the crossing of the Stefana.

How to properly cross of the Stefana:

  1. First, cross your arms. Use your right hand to hold the Stefana of the Bride and your left hand to hold the Stefana of the Groom.
  2. Then, here comes the tricky part… cross your hands over. Before you start, check which arm is on top. If you are right handed then you will probably have your right hand on top. If you are starting with your right hand on top, then simply cross your hands over so that the left hand is on top. Then cross it back and put your right hand on top.
  3. Do this 3 times.

The trick is to put the Bride’s Stefana back on the Bride’s head. It does not touch the Grooms head. This is the same for the Groom. The Grooms Stefana goes back to the Groom and never touches the Brides head.

This is the same practice for crossing the rings.

Here is a pic from my sister’s wedding. Have a look at how my hands cross over.

stuffing up the stephana


Did you Stuffed up the Stefana? What happened and what did you do?

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Sia Aristidou is the fascinated by the rituals and traditions celebrated in Greek culture. Sia writes about love, marriage, family and tradition and sells beautiful handmade wedding gifts at the Greek Wedding Shop.
Connect with Sia on FacebookTwitter, Pinterest and Instagram or subscribe to the Greek Weddings & Traditions blog. If you want to learn more about Greek food and Greek cooking, then join the Greek Cooking Challenge.

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Wedding Candles

wedding candles at the church alter
Lambades, originally uploaded by gestathi.

In this picture: 

The traditional lambades (or lampades) adorn each side of the table with the crown tray. The wedding candles are symbolic of the couples’ belief that Jesus is ”the light of the world and whoever believes in him shall never walk in darkness but have eternal life (gestathi).

Notice the beautiful beautiful flowers on these lambades…


What have you seen put on lambades to personalize or decorate them?

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Sia Aristidou is fascinated by the rituals and traditions celebrated in Greek culture. Sia writes about love, marriage, family and tradition and sells beautiful handmade wedding gifts at the Greek Wedding Shop.
Connect with Sia on FacebookTwitter, Pinterest and Instagram or subscribe to the Greek Weddings & Traditions blog. If you want to learn more about Greek food and Greek cooking, then join the Greek Cooking Challenge.

Learn More About Greek Weddings & Traditions
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Waiting for the bride…

groom waiting for the bride outside church Waiting for the bride…, originally uploaded by gestathi.

In This Picture:

This Greek Groom is waiting for his bride at the front of the church…

In Australia, Greek couples tend to follow the ‘Australian tradition’ of waiting for the bride at the alter. The groom and the groom’s men all line up at the front of the Church and wait for the bride to walk down the aisle with her father (or parents). This is different to the ‘Greek’ way but i don’t know why or when it changed.


Do all grooms in Greece wait for their bride at the front of the church?

Related Topics You Might Like:


Sia Aristidou is fascinated by the rituals and traditions celebrated in Greek culture. Sia writes about love, marriage, family and tradition and sells beautiful handmade wedding gifts at the Greek Wedding Shop.
Connect with Sia on FacebookTwitter, Pinterest and Instagram or subscribe to the Greek Weddings & Traditions blog. If you want to learn more about Greek food and Greek cooking, then join the Greek Cooking Challenge.

Learn More About Greek Weddings & Traditions
Subscribe to the Blog and Follow Us: