A jurisdiction within the canonical tradition of Eastern Orthodoxy

Eastern Apostolic Church



Synod Canons

& other Guidelines 

Administrative Canons





Canons are imperative for the well-functioning of the church, its communities and ministries. Questions about these Canons are to be addressed to the bishop, in whom rests the final authority of establishing, amending and interpreting these Canons.




Candidates, who have petitioned to enter the church, must direct their biographical details to the local bishop or his representative, including supporting documents and paperwork. This may either be completed in hard copy format and via electronic means. Upon review by the bishop or his delegate, who may request additional details, the candidate can be accepted as clergy of any rank; or the bishop may postpone the beginning of incardination pending further conditions, such as the removal of canonical impediments. Alternatively, the bishop may reject the Application. The bishop, in whom rests all final authority, is not obligated to state reasons for his decision.




Every candidate is received on a probationary period of time of no less than three months. The bishop may extend this time period or terminate the candidate without stating reasons.




Ordination cannot be given or accepted (if determined as validly ordained), when a candidate has not completed the appropriate training or obtained the respective theological or ministerial credentials. The bishop or his delegate may make accommodations depending on the individual’s background, spiritual formation and achievements.




All clergy shall uphold the integrity of the church and its ministry at large.  Confusion shall be avoided by referencing church publications, such the church website and the content therein, as representing the diocese rather than third-party hearsay or assumptions. 





Everyone subject to these Canons shall endeavor to treat others, whether they are members or not, with utmost respect in regards to their personal arrangements and relations as consistent with the stated policies of each Diocese, its spiritual practice as set forth in the Articles of Incorporation or as contained within the By-Laws on The Eastern Apostolic Church.




Right of privacy encourages fearless confession and therefore personal  growth. Clergy may never reveal the confidence of their spiritual children or community members, shared within the Seal of Confession,  except where these disclosures are authorized by the person involved. Confidences are those personal details of life and relationship that are revealed in one-to-one session in a private environment or specifically protected space, such as the Confessional.  Disclosures that are discussed by the parties in other, non-privileged circumstances (i.e. outside the Seal of Confession) are not privileged in the ethical sense, but any communication should still be treated with discretion.




(a) Priests and Deacons are permitted to administer the Sacraments to others upon request and under their respective canonical guidelines. Unless there are special circumstances, the format as approved by the bishop is to be used. The bishop will give further details and directions, if need be.

(b) Clergy are not permitted to administer the Sacraments outside their Diocese’s boundaries without prior consent of the bishop. A Celebret can be issued to a priest who may be on travel or elsewhere outside this jurisdiction, allowing him to temporarily celebrate the Liturgy at a place of worship outside this jurisdiction.




No parishioner or spiritual child may ever be required to give money or services to our clergy for receiving the Sacraments. No Parishioner or spiritual child shall be required to give time or labor that he or she deems to be detrimental to his or her well-being. This does not prohibit the exchange of money or services for value received (i.e., professional services provided by one member to another, payment for retreats, rent and such); nor does it prohibit the voluntary, free-will offering for services received.





The church shall never be held liable for any services provided by any of its clergy or lay members. 





A sexual relationship is never appropriate between clergy and those in their care. Hence, it is prohibited for all members of the church. During retreats, formal teaching and pastoral care, any intimation by the clergy of romantic or sexual nature is therefore inappropriate and in violation of our Ethical Guidelines.




All members of the Diocese are held to discuss possible breaches of these Canons promptly and directly:


(a) If the complaint is about a member of the diocese, who is not clergy or other position of authority, the individual should try to resolve it with the fellow member first. If the complaint cannot be resolved at this level, the matter should be brought to the attention of the immediate superior or the bishop, who will attempt to deal appropriately and reasonably with the issue or concern. The immediate superior will make a decision after either reviewing pertinent data and/or meeting with the parties involved.

(b) If the complaint is about a superior, and direct communication has not achieved a resolution, the matter will be brought to the bishop, who will establish the complaint procedure and make a final decision upon careful investigation.



Guidelines for Clergy

Compensation and Employment

(1) All parish clergy are compensated by their respective congregation, not by the diocese or any other jurisdictional entity.

(2) Administrative clergy are not salaried but can be compensated on a case by case basis as funds are available. Most of the administrative positions are honorary assignments.

(3) Each clergy person is required to give an account of his or her income and to pay income taxes according to local, State and federal law.

(4) Full-time and part-time paid clergy may ask their congregation to provide benefits, but the parish is not required to provide such, unless so required by applicable law. 

(5) Clergy may seek secular employment, but it must be: 

(a) compatible with the office and honor of a clergy person;

(b) free from interference with the duties and obligations of their pastoral position;

(c) an income that solely provides for living expenses, i.e. not for luxurious gain or profit;

(d) approved by the bishop.

NOTE:  Where possible, the bishop will assist in finding suitable employment. As so many small churches, which cannot afford to pay their priest, many of our clergy reflect more the biblical example, where even the holy apostles had to earn a living.

Clergy are asked to view earning their livelihood in terms of ministry. Thus, a teaching job or employment in the social or medical fields, for example, may well become part of a priest’s ministry in the real world.

(6) Clergy are prohibited to engage in the following:

  1. Gambling of any kind
  2. Activities that may be legal, but are incompatible with Orthodox teaching, practice and Holy Scriptures; e.g. adultery, abortion, homosexual acts, pornography, etc.
  3. Covert activities
  4. Indecent exposure
  5. Violent sports of any kind
  6. Public theatrical performances
  7. Any form of behavior that can be perceived as abuse

Any violation of these prohibitions, found to be true, will result in suspension or defrockment.

Canonical Requirements of Clergy Status

  1. There are two kinds of clergy in the Orthodox Church: Married and monastic, i.e. there is no such thing as a celibate clergyman outside the monastic Order.
  2.  Parish priests (pastors) and deacons must be married.
  3.  Monastic priests (and deacons) may serve or help out temporarily in parishes, but cannot become pastors.
  4. Marriage in the Orthodox Church is only recognized when both husband and wife have been married by an Orthodox priest.
  5. Heterodox married clergy, who are in the process of incardination, must first regularize their marriage by an Orthodox priest before final incardination.
  6.  Marriage after ordination is prohibited and subject to suspension.
  7.  Widowed clergy are encouraged to enter monastic life or remain in their status as married clergy, i.e. married beyond the bounds of the spouse’s departure from this life. Only in rare circumstances of oikonomia and under the pastoral advisement by the bishop may clergy marry after ordination. 


Code of Conduct for all Clergy



1) All clergy are deemed to visit the Church web site regularly, in order to remain updated about pertinent information. As a representative of our diocese all clergy will be expected by others to answer questions about the church.


2) Clergy will avoid mixing the clerical office with organizations, entities or agendas that are incompatible with spiritual aims and those of our jurisdiction in particular.  Clergy may not use their credentials and status for monetary gain or to solicit funds of a group, whose purposes are different from those of the church.  


3) Clergy should maintain regular contact with the bishop, who is available to support spiritual life by addressing any concerns and ministerial matters. If questions of starting a new ministry or leading a community arise, the bishop will direct.


4) Every member is advised to be very mindful when working with people.  There may be serious liability issues to be concerned about when and if one gives life-altering advice.  For instance: (a) We never suggest to anyone to divorce their partner or to resign from employment; (b) We never give advice that is reserved to other professions (beyond suggesting someone may wish to seek professional counseling, medical or legal advice).


5) Clergy should purchase clerical insurance, if they work with a high-risk group of people. There are several companies that handle this type of insurance. 


6) Clergy are expected to attend to their postal as well as electronic emails, weighing carefully what to say or how to respond. They keep in mind that written words can be misleading and easily misunderstood.  Different people may interpret the tone of an email in various ways. Clergy therefore should never write when struggling with anger, but meditate and pray until the mind is clear or calm. Additionally, clergy should refrain from using gadgets like texting, messenger and other apps, deemed unsuitable for conducting business or professional, pastoral work.


7) Clergy will keep their daily practice faithfully according to the Canons and Other Guidelines of this jurisdiction. Each clergy person must keep a beneficial spiritual balance towards others, who are in their care, as well as to the respective environment of all people.


8) Clergy will not engage in politics.  This does not mean they should not vote, but rather they are required to never mix their religious status with any form of political agenda.


9) Clergy are expected not to affiliate with another religious entity that is incompatible with the tenets, Canons and Other Guidelines of the Eastern Apostolic Church.  There is no need to contrast our faith with that of another.  They may adhere to different Bible interpretations or heterodox theology, which needs to be respected as such, but it is not appropriate to criticize or demean other people's belief system. This applies to all Christian branches and even other religions.  


10) Sometimes, concerns may arise within the Church as to the activities or behavior of other clergy.  They will bring such issues directly to the bishop and refrain from discussing matters with other clergy or individuals inside or outside the jurisdiction.


11) Any congregation or ministry may choose to form their own legal entity in the State, where they reside as a charitable, nonprofit, religious organization.  This may give better means in recruiting tax-deductible donations to support their local congregation or ministry. It may also help to obtain licenses for performing weddings, funeral services or operating ministries, such as in prison or hospitals. Clergy are asked to reference their respective local and State laws for detailed information on how to set up a religious non-profit organization.  Clergy are held to consult with the bishop for resources and assistance before making an Application.


(12) Our jurisdiction has taken the following steps to reduce the chances of abuse and to lessen its impact on survivors. 

(a) We insist that both, our married and monastic clergy, receive proper education.  In our mobile society this is an important opportunity to vet candidates for ordination.

(b) We support the implementation of programs in our educational venues that are designed to teach candidates how to maintain appropriate boundaries and how to minister effectively to community members who have been abused.

(c) We ensure that complete background checks are conducted, before candidates are ordained or before clergy from other jurisdictions are received.

(d) We support educational programs that address abuse for clergy, who are already serving. 

(e) We educate parishioners and their children about the importance of appropriate boundaries, as well as how to maintain them.  This is particularly important for those who have already been abused, wherever the harm may have occurred.

(f) We encourage discernment by listening to your inner voice. If something makes you uncomfortable or seems odd, pay attention to your feeling. Ask questions, and if you are not satisfied with the answers, bring it to the attention of the bishop.

(g) We ensure that children in a community are adequately supervised at all times when they are on the premises. 

(h) We require mandatory background checks for those, who will be working with children, including volunteers.

(i) We remove or put under disciplinary action anyone, who is found engaging in physical, verbal or psychological abuse.

(j) Clergy have no choice but to immediately report sexual abuse to the authorities and the bishop.


(13) All clergy are expected to conduct themselves in a manner conducive to their office keeping in mind that their ministerial duties and availability can be beyond regular working hours.  This includes proper attire when in public and professional clergy attire in carrying out pastoral functions. While there is no particular day-to-day “dress code”, priests are expected to wear more formal clothing, preferably of darker hue while in public. However, when in their pastoral capacity, all clergy are held to wear appropriate clericals.


Incardination Process

A sign of true vocation and seeking to be admitted into Holy Orthodoxy and in particular to our jurisdiction is loyalty to the teachings of Jesus Christ and the implicit fidelity to Holy Scripture, the Seven Ecumenical Councils and Holy Canons.

(I) Those who are already ordained are required to send:

(1) An official request to incardinate into this jurisdiction, including a brief explanation, why the applicant has left or wishes to leave his or her previous affiliation

(2) A short CV or Résumé

(3) Required submission of the following documents:

  (a) The document about ordination (and apostolic line, if known)

  (b) Documents relative to theological education and formation

  (c) A notarized letter of resignation from any previous church affiliation.

(II) Candidates who have not been ordained but wish to apply for incardination:

If a candidate has true desire to service in the ministry, he or she will enroll in a theological program, preferably at our seminary, Meister Eckhart Divinity School. Upon successful completion of the necessary training and requirements in spiritual formation he may be presented to the bishop for the first level of ordination, that of Hypodeacon (Subdeacon). After a period of parochial work or monastic life, he may be presented to the next level, that of deacon; and so on.


Communication Etiquette


The following is a guide for properly addressing Orthodox clergy. Most of the titles do not exactly correspond to the terms used in Greek, Russian or other native languages of various national Orthodox Churches, but they have been widely accepted for standard English usage.

Greeting Clergy in Person

When we address Deacons or Priests, we should use the title "Father". We should address bishops as "Your Grace". Though all bishops (including patriarchs) are equal in the Orthodox Church, they do have different administrative duties and honors that accrue to their rank in this sense. Thus, "Your Eminence" is the proper title for bishops with suffragans or assistant bishops; Metropolitans and most Archbishops …  - "Your Beatitude" is the proper title for patriarchs (except for the Œcumenical Patriarch in Constantinople, who is addressed as "Your All-Holiness"). When we approach an Orthodox Presbyter or Bishop (but not a deacon), we make a bow by reaching down and touching the floor with our right hand, place our right hand over the left (palms upward) and say: "Bless, Father" (or "Bless, Your Grace" or "Bless, Your Eminence", etc.). The priest or bishop then answers, "May the Lord bless you" as he blesses us with the Sign of the Cross, and places his right hand in our hands. We then kiss his hand.

We should understand that when the priest or bishop blesses us, he forms his fingers to represent the Christogram "ICXC", a traditional abbreviation of the Greek words for "Jesus Christ" (i.e., the first and last letters of each of the words "IHCOYC XRICTOC"). Thus, the priest's blessing is in the name of Christ, as he emphasizes in his response to the believer's request for a blessing. Other responses to this request are used by many clergy, but the antiquity and symbolism of the tradition, which we have presented, are compelling arguments for its use. We should also note the reason for a lay person kissing the hand of a priest or bishop is to show respect to his apostolic office. More importantly, however, since both hold the Holy Mysteries in their hands during the Divine Liturgy, we show respect to the Holy Eucharist when we kiss their hands. In fact, Saint John Chrysostomos once said that if one were to meet an Orthodox priest walking along with an angel, that he should greet the priest first and kiss his hand, since that hand has touched the Body and Blood of our Lord. For this latter reason, we do not normally kiss the hand of a deacon. While a deacon in the Orthodox Church holds the first level of the priesthood (deacon, presbyter, bishop), his service does not entail blessing the Mysteries. - When we take leave of a priest or bishop, we should again ask for a blessing, just as we did when we first greeted him.

In the case of married clergy, the wife of a priest or deacon is also informally addressed with a title. Since the Mystery of Marriage binds a Priest and his wife together as "one flesh", the wife shares in a sense her husband's priesthood. This does not constitute of course that she has the very grace of the priesthood or its office; but the dignity of her husband's service certainly accrues to her. The various titles used by the national churches are listed below. The Greek titles, since they have English correspondents, are perhaps the easiest to remember here in the West:

Greek: Presbytera (Pres—vee—té—ra)

Russian: Matushka (Má—toosh—ka)

Serbian: Papadiya (Pa—pá—dee—ya)

Ukrainian: Panimatushka (Pa—nee—má—toosh—ka) or Panimatka (Pa—nee—mát—ka)

The wife of a deacon is called "Diakonissa" [Dee-a-kó-nees-sa] in Greek. The Slavic Churches commonly use the same title for the wife of a deacon as they do for the wife of a priest. In any case, the wife of a priest should normally be addressed with both her title and her name (e.g., "Presbytera Mary", "Diakonissa/Presbytera Sophia", etc.).

Whenever speaking to lergy of priestly rank on the telephone, one should always begin the conversation by asking for a blessing: "Father, bless". When speaking with a bishop, one should say "Bless, Despota [Thés—po—ta]" (or "Vladika [Vlá—dee—ka]" in Slavonic, "Master" in English). It is also appropriate to say, "Bless, Your Grace" (or "Your Eminence," etc.). You should end your conversation by asking for a blessing again.

When we write to a clergyman (and, by custom, monastics), we should open our letter with the greeting, "Bless, Father". At the end of the letter, it is customary to close with the following line: "Kissing your right hand...." It is not appropriate to invoke a blessing on a clergyman, as many do: "May God bless you". Not only does this show a certain spiritual arrogance before the image of the cleric, but laymen do not have the grace of the priesthood and the prerogative to bless in their stead. Even a priest properly introduces his letters with the words, "The blessing of the Lord" or "May God bless you", rather than offering his own blessing. Though he can do the latter, humility prevails in his behavior, too. Needless to say, when a clergyman writes to his ecclesiastical superior, he should ask for a blessing and not bestow one.

Deacons are referred to as "The Reverend Deacon", if they are married deacons. If they are deacons who are also monks, they are referred to as "The Reverend Hierodeacon". If a deacon holds the honor of Archdeacon or Protodeacon, he is referred to as "The Reverend Archdeacon" or "The Reverend Protodeacon". Deacons hold a rank in the priesthood and are therefore not laymen. As members of the priesthood, deacons must be addressed as "Father Deacon". A deaconess in the Orthodox Church is referred to as "Reverend Deaconess", if she is a married deaconess. If she is monastic, she is referred to as "Reverend Sister/Mother". A non-monastic deaconess is usually addressed as “Deaconess (first name)”.

Orthodox priests are referred to as "The Reverend Father, if they are married priests. If they are Hieromonks (monks who are also priests), they are referred to as "The Reverend Hieromonk". Priests with special honors are referred to in this manner: an Archimandrite (the highest monastic rank below that of bishop), "The Very Reverend Archimandrite" (or, in the Slavic jurisdictions, "The Right Reverend Archimandrite"); and Proto-presbyters: "The Very Reverend Protopresbyter".


In personal addressing, as noted above, all priests are called "Father", usually followed by their first names (e.g., "Father John").

Bishops are referred to as "The Right Reverend (Bishop)", followed by their first name (e.g., "The Right Reverend Bishop John"). Archbishops, Metropolitans and Patriarchs are addressed as "The Most Reverend Archbishop" ("Metropolitan" or "Patriarch"), because they are usually monastics, all ranks of Archpastors (Bishops, Archbishops, Metropolitans or Patriarchs) are addressed by their first name or and See (e.g., "Bishop John of San Francisco"). It is not correct to use the family name of a bishop — or any monastic for that matter. Though some monastics and bishops may use their family name, even in Orthodox countries (like Russia and Greece), this is against ancient custom.

All male monastics in the Orthodox Church are called "Father", whether they hold the priesthood or not, and are formally addressed as "Monk (name)", if they do not have a priestly rank. If they are of priestly rank, they are formally addressed as "Hieromonk" or "Hierodeacon" (see above). Monastics are sometimes addressed according to their monastic rank; for example, "Rasophore-monk (name)", "Stavrophore-monk (name)", or "Schemamonk (name)". The Abbot of a monastery is addressed as "The Very Reverend Abbot", whether or not he holds priestly rank and whether or not he is an Archimandrite by rank. Under no circumstances whatsoever is an Orthodox monk addressed by laymen as "Brother". This is a Latin custom. The term "Brother" is used in Orthodox monasteries in two instances only: first, to designate beginners in the monastic life (novices or, in Greek, dokimoi ["those being tested"]), who are given a blessing, in the strictest tradition, to wear only the inner cassock and a monastic cap; and second, as an occasional, informal form of address between monastics themselves (including bishops).

A monk should never use his last name. This reflects the Orthodox understanding of monasticism, in which the monastic dies to his former self and abandons all that identified him in the world. Lay people are also called to respect a monk's death to his past. (In Greek practice, a monk sometimes forms a new last name from the name of his monastery. Thus, a monk from the Saint Gregory Palamas Monastery [Mone Agiou Gregoriou Palama, in Greek] may take the name Agiogregorites.)

The titles, which we have used for male monastics, also apply to female monastics. In fact, a community of female monastics is called a "monastery" as well (not a "convent" as often used in America). Women monastics are formally referred to as "Nun (name)" or "Rasophore-nun (name)", etc. - The Abbess of a monastery is referred to as "The Very Reverend Abbess".


Though traditions for informal address may vary, in most places Rasophore nuns are called "Sister", while any monastic above the rank of Rasophore is called "Mother". Novices are always addressed as "Sister".


 General Liturgical Guidelines



I. Latin (Western Rite)

1.1 In the Western (Latin) tradition, we follow the Catholic Calendar
1.2 Observance of Fasting Days according to Calendar.
1.3 Vestment color according to Calendar.
1.4 Color for Requiem Mass and Funeral is
black or purple
1.5 Color for Marian feasts is

II. Eastern (Byzantine and Oriental Rites)

2.1 In the Eastern tradition, we follow the Orthodox Calendar.

2.2 Observance of Fasting Days according to Calendar.
2.3 Vestment color according to Calendar and Style: Slavic or Greek.
2.4 Color for Panikhida and Requiem Liturgy and Funeral is
black or purple.

III. All Rites

3.1 Fasting from food and drink is advised one hour prior to receiving Holy Communion.
3.2 Communion is given in two species, either separately or by intinction.
3.3 Persons in Holy Orders are held to pray at least Morning Prayer (Lauds) and Evening Prayers (Vespers) of the Divine Office (Liturgy of the Hours or Breviary) to the best of their ability on a daily basis. No particular style or book is mandated, but the liturgical publications by the Church are recommended.

Approved Liturgical Books for the celebration of Holy Liturgy




We use the Liturgy of St. Gregory  (Tridentine Style Mass) in either Latin or English (or a combination thereof).


We use the Catholic Ritual (Rituale Romanum) for administering the Sacraments and Sacramentals. Appropriate changes for individual situations are permitted.





Byzantine Rite Liturgy

ISBN-13: 978-1519279767 

ISBN-10: 1519279760

Our Eastern (Byzantine) Liturgy in English has been formatted to foster congregational participation and easier understanding. It contains less repetition and a more easy-to-follow outline.

The Qurbana (Liturgy of the Holy Apostles)

ISBN-13: 978-1512301076 

ISBN-10: 1512301078


A complete list of liturgical books is listed on the Publication page.







Liturgical Guidelines for the

Latin (Western) Rite



The Sanctuary


The sanctuary or temple should be arranged according to these minimum rules: The church proper is the area within the building, separated into the Bema where the Altar is and where the clergy serve liturgy, and the Nave where the congregation gathers. The Altar is situated in the Bema in the Eastern quarter of the church, either freestanding or against the eastern wall, so that, in either case, the celebrant at the Altar is facing east, with the congregation behind. The clergy’s chairs are arranged to either side of the Altar, with the chair of the Bishop, flanked by his attendants’ chairs, to the left (north) side and the other clergy’s chairs to the right (south) side, west of the Credence.  In the case of a freestanding Altar, the chairs may be arranged along the eastern wall. The Bishop, for ordinations and similar occasions, may sit on a chair on the Ambo (the area between the Altar and the nave, sometimes raised a step or two). A pulpit may be used, but preaching normally is done from the Ambo (using a lectern on the Ambo is allowed). The Reader, the Deacon, and the Priest may read or chant from the Ambo. The credence table is placed close to the right (south) side of the Altar. The sacred images (icons, holy pictures, and statuary) may be arranged in accordance with traditional usages. There may be seating and aisles provided, as necessary. If there is a fixed baptismal font, it should be outside or just inside the western entrance to the nave. The congregation stands, kneels or sits in the nave during divine services.



The Altar


The Altar is a stone or wooden cube or rectangular table, at least one yard high (more often 39 to 44 inches high). The Altar is covered with at least one white linen cloth, and has two lights (candles or lamps) and a Cross or Crucifix, either on it or next to it. Holy Liturgy and other sacred services are celebrated at the Altar, therefore, the Altar table itself may be consecrated. If an unconsecrated table is used, a consecrated altar stone may be placed under the Altar linens and/or a consecrated Antimension cloth may also be placed under the Altar linens. A white linen Corporal is placed over the altar stone, before the linen is placed over the entire altar. Generally, only the sacred vessels with the Holy Gifts may be on the open Corporal. The white or red linen Purificator is placed on the Altar to the right of the Corporal; optionally, so may a little bell for the Sanctus-Benedictus be placed there (in case there is no acolyte or in private Masses). To the left or right side on the altar is the Missal on a bookstand or pillow. The Book with the Holy Gospels or the Lectionary is placed on the pulpit or reader stand facing the congregation. For private Mass, it may be placed on either side of the altar.



The Credence Table


The credence is a rectangular table, placed close to the right side of the Altar; it should be covered with at least one cloth. Since the origins in the Holy Mass i.e., of the bread consecrated as the Holy Eucharist, the credence may have on it, or above it on the wall, a sacred image of the Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ. The prepared Chalice and Paten are set up in the front center of the credence. The Lavabo ewer (i.e., pitcher or cruet of water) and the Lavabo bowl and the Lavabo towel, as well as the tray with the filled cruet of water for the ablutions, are set on the front right side. Towards the rear right side of the credence, the Paschal Candle may be placed. It is lit throughout Holy Mass during the Paschal season and at Holy Baptism throughout the year. It may also be lit during Requiem Liturgies. On the rear left side, the Censer is hanging from a bracket, the incense boat with spoon and the charcoal tongs are on a small table or wall shelf. Alternatively, a censer stand may be used. On the front left side is a handled Communion Paten, if one is to be used in communing the people.


Liturgical Colors


The Latin Rite rubrics for colors may be used as guidance. The Eastern Rite rule of lighter colors for joyous occasions and darker colors for more solemn or penitential occasions may be used as guidance. Neither is considered a binding rule. The practice of regulating liturgical colors for certain days or feasts dates only from the 13th century in the Western Church. White and the colors, which substitute for white, i.e. gold, silver, flax, etc., are always and everywhere correct. A Parish church should maintain one set of vestments in white, or gold, silver, and flax. A violet stole may be used for certain services, such as Confession, etc. – Maintenance of a complete set of vestments in other colors is advised. All altar linens should be white.

The traditional Western rules for liturgical colors:

  • White (gold, silver, flax): Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ & Christmastide.  Pascha Season. Feasts of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Feasts of Virgins. The Nativity of St. John the Baptist.
  • Green: Ordinary Sundays (after Epiphany, after Pentecost) and weekdays without a Saint’s Day, except during Advent and Lent.
  • Violet (Purple): Advent and Lent. All Requiems, funerals, and services for the dead (as alternative to black)
  • Red: Pentecost & week, Good Friday, Palm Sunday, Feasts of Martyrs.
  • Black: All Requiems, funerals, and Services for the dead.
  • Blue: Feasts of the Blessed Virgin Mary. (White or Blue are options)
  • Rose: Gaudete Sunday & Laetare Sunday (as an option only).



The symbolism attached to these liturgical colors:


  • White (gold, silver, flax): Joy, celebration. Purity, innocence. Victory, Resurrection.
  • Green: Hope. Life Everlasting. Fidelity. 
  • Violet (purple): Sorrow. Penance. Repentance. Mourning. Waiting.
  • Red: Holy Spirit (flame). Suffering of our Lord Jesus Christ; of the Apostles. Blood of the martyrs.
  • Black: Mourning. Death.
  • Blue: The Blessed Virgin Mary.
  • Rose: Subdued Joy.





The celebrant may exercise discretion in providing for hymns, psalms and chants to be sung or chanted at the entrance of the ministers at the Holy Mass at their recession; and during other parts of the Liturgy, such as the Gloria, Gradual, Offertory, Sanctus, Agnus Dei, Communion. Seasonal hymns (such as Christmas hymns) may be sung, but should not be allowed to unduly delay the service. The singing of hymns during the distribution of Communion to both, the clergy and the people, and during the post-Communion ablutions is desirable.



The use of bells in the Western Church began no later than the 8th century.  Therefore, while the use of bells is not required, it is permissible. The rubrics provide particularly for the use of a sacristy bell to signal the entrance and the recession of ministers; the use of a small single bell on the Altar by the celebrant to signal the beginning of Offertory, Sanctus-Benedictus, the Epiclesis (after “Te igitur”, the elevation of the host and chalice, and before the priest’s communion; and the use of chimes (multiple small bells, usually four) or a gong by the Altar Server or acolyte during Holy Mass to signal certain solemn moments (e.g., Words of Institution, Epiclesis, Domine non sum dignus, etc.). Generally, metal bells are to be used, but crystal and glass bells are not prohibited.





For Latin Rite Clergy


I. Attire


Clergy are best advised to always wear their respective attire; but such is not always possible, especially for the worker-clergy who take secular employment in order to support their ministries, missions and families. The preferred secular street attire is a common black “clerical suit", with all black accessories (pants, shoes, belt, etc.). Besides the coat and trousers, the suit may include a black vest. A black secular hat of a type considered common and conservative in the clergyman’s locality (e.g., a Fedora) is acceptable. Preferred shirts are black tab-collar clerical shirts or neckband shirts and long-sleeved white dress shirts. The use of rabats, shirt fronts, etc., using Roman or Anglican style clerical collars is permissible. We recommend the tab-collared shirt because it is today’s generic uniform for clergy and not specifically denominational.  Black secular overcoats, raincoats, umbrellas, etc., may be used. Use of colored clerical shirts is not prohibited, but discouraged. Some clergy may wear a pectoral cross, over their shirt or vest, if so awarded by the bishop.  Liturgical crosses and pectoral Icons are not to be worn with secular attire, i.e., suits.  These rules for street attire are guidelines, not canonical laws. The bishop may modify them for individual cases.


Ecclesiastical vesture, such as habit and cassock: The ancient Roman cassock, the Pellicia, dates from the 5th century. All clergy (minor & major) may wear a black cassock. Current styles of the Soutane or Roman cassock with clerical collars may be worn by all clergy. Clergy may also wear Anglican style cassocks with clerical collars. The close-sleeved Eastern cassock called the “Greek cassock” also may be worn; it does not require a clerical collar. However, a long-sleeved white dress shirt or a long-sleeved white clerical shirt may be worn under the cassock, showing white at the collar and at the sleeves. A priest’s cassock must always be black, regardless of rank.  A cassock may be worn by the major clergy (deacons, priests, bishops) as street attire. A cassock of light wool is a good idea for street attire. No cincture is required to be worn with a cassock for married clergy.  Headwear: All clergy may wear Birettas or Skufias; there are two styles: the western Biretta and the eastern Scufia or Skoufos. A western Biretta is a four-cornered brimless cap with three tabs and a pom. A Skufia or Skufos is a soft brimless cap, either Slavic or Greek style.


A priest dressed in the cassock may wear one cross on his breast, if this is so awarded to him by the bishop. A bishop, dressed in the cassock, may wear a Panagia or pectoral cross. Walking sticks for bishops are used, but old-fashioned. Commonly, a monastic cleric may carry a prayer rope or rosary around his wrist or hanging from the cincture or belt as a reminder of prayer at all times and places.




II. Liturgical Postures


The Celebrant extends his hands outward and palms slightly up, in the ancient orante posture, wherever so indicated in the rubrics.  Otherwise, he joins his hands at his breast unless his hands are otherwise occupied (e.g., giving a blessing, holding a book, holding the Holy Gifts, etc.).


Whenever any minister crosses over the centerline of the sanctuary (a line drawn from the center of the altar through the center of the Nave), he should turn towards the altar and make a reverence, i.e. either a deep bow, a prostration or genuflection (depending on Rite or tradition). The faithful should be taught to do the same.


III. Censing


The Holy Eucharist was originally celebrated in Greek; the most ancient of all liturgies, it dates from the first two centuries. Incense was not used during the first two centuries at Rome. Therefore, in the Latin Rite incense does not need not be used, except during High Mass. Likewise, bells were not used either and hence are not essential. If incense is used, the celebrant first spoons a little incense onto the coal and then blesses the incense, making the Sign of the Cross with his hand over the incense. The celebrant then censes those things, which are to be censed at that particular point in the liturgy.


The making of the Sign of the Cross is a reverent act, which is accompanied by prayer. It is a reminder that we are children of God and, by making the Sign of the Cross, we signify our desire to serve Christ.


IV. The Orthodox Sign of the Cross


In the Eastern tradition, joining the thumb and two fingers to make the Sign of the Cross symbolizes the Holy Trinity and indicates our belief in the triune God. The two fingers that are bent downward into the palm signify the two natures united within our Lord Jesus Christ, His human and His divine natures, and thus signify our true belief in the descent of the Son of God to earth. The two fingers indicate His heavenly and earthly existences – as true God and as mortal man. The forehead is touched to make our minds and thoughts holy; the breast is touched to make our hearts pure and kind; the shoulders are touched to give our arms and hands the power to do good works.


By the Sign of the Cross we give our minds, our hearts and our strength to the service of God. The Sign of the Cross is one of the most ancient devotional actions of the Christian people. It is a Sign to live by, a Sign to die for, the Sign of our salvation. When we bless ourselves with the Sign of the Cross, we show our true belief that the most Holy Trinity has sanctified our thoughts, feelings, desires and acts. We express our belief that Jesus Christ sanctified our souls and saved us by His sufferings on the cross. Proper attention to this simple but profound devotion is essential to acting and living as members of the Body of Christ, His Holy Church. 


Standing & Kneeling: We stand as a sign of respect. Christ is present in His Word and in the Holy Eucharist, and we must stand in the presence of the king. Thus, we stand for the reading of the Holy Gospel; but at other times we may also kneel, such as for the sacrifice of the liturgy and as guided by the rubrics of the Service books.


Sitting: Sitting is the least respectful attitude. Everyone is free to stand throughout the Service, but one also may be seated from time to time, as indicated by the rubrics. We especially expect that the very young, the very old, mothers with small children, the ill and the disabled, would often prefer to sit. Of course, everyone who is able should stand for the reading of the Holy Gospel and for the Anaphora (Eucharistic Canon). Sitting is particularly appropriate when listening to a sermon and/or to reading from the Holy Scriptures (except the Holy Gospel). Sitting is also appropriate when the ministers are performing ablutions, preparations (such as the Offertory), etc., which are not prayers in which the people participate. It was also the practice of the teacher to sit during instruction. Thus, the bishop may sit when giving an instructional sermon.  It is the ancient tradition of the bishop’s chair (the “cathedra”) which is the basis for the word “cathedral” in its various applications.

Hands: During Holy Mass, the people and clergy often pray with folded hands. This posture, with the palms of the hands folded together, is the usual manner of praying, both publicly and privately. Sometimes, especially at the Prayers of the Faithful, the people may pray in the ancient “orante” posture, that is, with their hands lifted up in prayer (a prayer posture more often assumed by the clergy); this posture is also often used by the people at the time of the Lord’s Prayer.

Facing East: To the extent at all possible, Christians should face east to pray, privately or in public worship. Places of worship, and even private prayer corners, should be arranged so that the people face East when praying.  The East, as the place of the rising sun, for the early Christians was the only fitting symbol of the last appearance of Christ in His parousia, as that Sun of Justice, sung of already in the Canticle of Zechariah. It is an apostolic tradition to pray either publicly or privately facing East. In this symbolism we express the eschatological expectation of the lasting day of eternity, in which the Christus Victor would appear as the rising sun which will never set.



V. Anámnesis


The use of the word anamnesis in the Canon of the Liturgy (e.g., as used in the prayer: “Now, therefore, making the anámnesis of His death and Resurrection...") deserves some brief explanation. The word anámnesis is Greek, meaning “to again call to mind” or “to make present past events". The word anamnesis in the above prayers is usually replaced today by phrases such as “do this in memory of Me” and “you make my commemoration". In our Rites, we use the original word anamnesis, because the substitutes do not convey the same meaning. The Holy Eucharist does not repeat the sacrifice of Jesus upon the Holy Cross; rather, it is an offering again and again of the sacrificed Body and Blood, which were offered once on the cross by our redeemer, Jesus Christ. The sacrifice on Golgotha and the eucharistic sacrifice can be distinguished from each other, but they are one single and inseparable sacrifice. That which distinguishes them is that the eucharistic sacrifice of the Holy Liturgy is a bloodless sacrifice, performed after the resurrection of Christ, our immortal king.  Thus, we bring the past events, the sacrifice of Jesus upon the holy cross and the glorious resurrection of Jesus Christ, into the present moment; that is, we make the presentation (anamnesis) of those events now, today. In a mystical way, time is overcome as we participate today by this anamnesis in the greatest events in human history: They are now present to us. This is central to the Holy Mystery of the liturgy and Holy Communion.


Women and girls are welcome in every part of the parish church; they are not to be excluded from chanting, reading or from assisting the celebrant.


The Host (Amnos) for Holy Communion is a leavened bread in the Eastern Rites, long before the West used unleavened communion Hosts. Hence, the Amnos for Holy Communion in Eastern Rites may be the leavened Prosforon or a Western Host. The Latin (western) Rite uses predominantly the unleavened Host.

The very ancient tradition of distributing blessed bread (Eulogia, Panis Benedictus, Antidoron) was widespread in the Church and is provided for in the Ordinary of the Byzantine Liturgy. Eulogia is NOT the holy Eucharist, but an Antidoron, i.e., the blessed bread instead of the Holy Gifts. All may receive it  –  more fittingly though, only those who did not receive Holy Communion.

Priests and bishops may call the congregation to sacred Services by use of a bell.

Duplication (celebrating two Liturgies in one day) is only permitted if pastorally so warranted. The celebration of a private Mass is also permitted and traditional in the Latin Rite, that is, when no congregation is physically present.



VI. Remarks on the Epiklesis


The Roman Canon contains already an Epiclesis, right before the words of institution in the “Hanc igitur” and following. Hence, it is nonsensical and utterly superfluous to add a Byzantine Epiclesis into the Western Canon. Furthermore, there is no teaching that the Epiclesis has to be after the words of institution (anamnesis); it is only an Eastern tradition or usage to do so. Thus, before the split in 1054, the West had the Roman Canon basically as it is today. Furthermore, the Epiclesis is not a magic ritual using Byzantine semantics. It is the intention of the church, celebrating the death and resurrection of Christ in the Holy Eucharist, to call down the Holy Spirit (Epiclesis) to change the elements.




VII. Liturgy is Proclaiming Christ’s Presence


There are many accounts, Scriptural references and readings of the Fathers to bring us all to the reality of the real, Holy and Divine Presence within the Holy Eucharist.

This Holy and Divine Presence of our Lord Jesus Christ within the Holy Eucharist is the core of Eucharistic theology. It will be that basic belief in the Holy and Divine real presence, that will eventually and hopefully bring all of us together in one way or another – especially since some appear to drift into the thinking and belief that the Eucharist is only a memorial.  Yet, it is universal (catholic) doctrine and faith that bread and wine actually are changed into the Body and Blood through the power and glory of God. After this moment, our earthly eyes still see bread and wine on the Holy Altar, in their appearance. Invisibly to our eyes, however, this is the true Body and the true Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ in essence, yet under the forms or species of bread and wine. The sanctified Gifts of bread and wine in the Holy Mystery of the Eucharist are changed or transubstantiated into the true Body and true Blood of Christ. This is confirmed in the Gospel of St. John, “For My flesh is meat indeed, and My Blood is drink indeed” (John 6:55).

Is this not our very reason for celebration of the Divine Presence within our joint and mutual Apostolic heritage?


VIII. The Traditional Mass


The Western Mass or Liturgy is often called the Tridentine Mass, a reference to the fact that it was codified by Pope St. Pius V shortly after the Council of Trent (1545-1563), from which is derived the term “Tridentine”. Contrary to what some people may believe, Pope Pius V did not issue a new Mass, but simply unified the already existing liturgy. The Latin Mass itself can rightly be called the Mass of the West, since it dates back to the time of the early church in Rome and was then unified by Pope Gregory I in the 6th century. The Latin Canon as we know it was finished by 399 A.D.; Latin ceased to be the vernacular language between the 7th and 9th centuries, as regional and what we call know Romance languages developed (Spanish, Italian, French, Rumanian, etc.). However, the Mass continued to be offered in Latin, because much of the liturgy had already been established in that language. The Fathers of the Church, both of East and West, at that time saw no reason to adopt to the new vernacular languages. This was a fortunate situation, since a language, although no longer spoken, served as a common bond of communication throughout the Church and the centuries.


The Orthodox Church has always favored the traditional way. This is not, because our clergy are old-fashioned and prefer the reverent atmosphere of the ancient liturgy. Rather, our Latin Rite clergy act in obedience to historic worship. They have kept the traditional Mass, because it is clearly recognized as Latin Rite orthodox.  Many church fathers have taught that sacred liturgy is intimately bound up with the teaching of the ancient faith and therefore must conform to and reflect these truths – so much so that the liturgy (Holy Mass) actually serves as a safeguard to the integrity of our faith. For this reason, the Church has always carefully protected the text of its liturgies, in order to prevent doctrinal errors from creeping into the Church. The traditional liturgies are thus a perfect expression of the unchanging truths of the Orthodox faith.


The Holy Liturgy, whether Eastern or Western, is the supreme act of worshipping God, who is above time, language and culture. The focus and aim of the liturgy is to give to God the honor and reverence due to Him.


We recall the four marks of the Church, by which we can recognize that she is one, holy, catholic (universal) and apostolic:

  1. She is one, because all of its members profess the same faith, the same sacramental life and are united under the same authority of Christ.
  • She is holy, because she was founded by Jesus Christ and thus teaches His holy doctrines as well as provides the means of living a holy life. 
  • She is catholic (or universal), because she is empowered to receive all men in all places and at all times.
  • She is apostolic, because she was founded by Christ upon the apostles and has always been governed by their valid successors.



 Commitment to the Traditional Rite


We are committed to the belief that the venerable Rite of the Traditional Latin Liturgy (either in Latin or the vernacular) in its reverence, its beauty and its richly symbolic reflection of two millennia of Christian experience, continues to have much to offer in the Church and to the world today.


Accordingly, we hold to these tenets:

1.      To uphold the teachings and practices of the Church as defined by the Ecumenical Councils in a compassionate and conciliatory approach.

2.      To promote the regular and frequent public celebration of Holy Liturgy, whether as High Mass or Low Mass in accordance with the Latin Rite, either in the Latin or English language; or in the traditional Byzantine or other Eastern Rite.

3.      To encourage the study, appreciation and use of the traditional music in divine worship: Oriental and Byzantine music, Gregorian chant and sacred polyphony, organ and hymns.

4.      To promote the regular and frequent prayer of the Holy Breviary (or various versions of the Liturgy of the Hours), the Eastern Horologion, whether privately or in community, either in a liturgical language (such as Greek, Latin) or in the vernacular.



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