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Home > Visitor Etiquette
Rules of Order for All Visitors and Worshippers

The Guidelines of the Monastery of St. Sabbas the Sanctified 

These are the rules of order and regulations followed at this monastery.

The purpose of this “ukaz” is to insure proper behavior and protocol on the premises of this monastery. All visitors and regular attendants are REQUIRED to acknowledge and respect the guidelines here set forth.

Should you have any questions and/or misunderstandings, please contact the Superior of the monastery for any further details or explanations.

It is very important to remember this is a Monastery and NOT a parish church.  The services are and will be conducted according to the monastic typikon or rule of order. This is a home for Orthodox monastics of St Sabbas community, all others are guests and MUST abide by the laws of this institution. If you are in conflict with any of the procedures, structure of services, language usage, or any other related issues, you are more than welcome to pray elsewhere. 

Please remember it is a privilege to be allowed the opportunity to pray in this PRIVATE monastic community of St Sabbas the Sanctified. 

The monastery is not governed by popular vote or democratic opinion, neither is it subservient to generous contributors and benefactors. Generosity to the monastery must be given sincerely and freely with no strings attached, or not given at all. 

The kindness and sincerity of those who love this holy place, who are serious Orthodox Christians, faithful to the call of the Gospel of Christ and good stewards of the gifts that God has given, are well appreciated and welcomed to pray within these walls. 

1. GENERAL ATTITUDE 

This monastery is a private institution under the canonical Patriarch of the Eastern Orthodox Church and solely governed by the Archimandrite in charge.

The purpose of this monastery is to profess and hold unchanged the ancient Orthodox Faith and remain true to the monastic way of life and reject secular influences of the outside world. 

  • It is not the right or privilege of the lay people to question service schedules, language usage, rules governing the churches sacraments or dress code.
  • Loud talking and conversation, children running unattended, radios, electronic devices are not permitted. 
  • No lingering after services.
  • Children must be attended to during services, no constant coming in and going out.
  • Leave your cell phones in your car.
  • Shorts, tank tops, low cut dresses, cigarettes and chewing gum are forbidden.
  • Women must wear head coverings inside the church during services.
  • Women may not wear short skirts above the knee, even with tights – absolutely not.
  • Women are forbidden to wear low-cut tight blouses inappropriate attire will prevent access to the monastery grounds and monastic services.
  • Please do not wear too much strong perfume or cologne.
  • No gum or candy.
  • Silk screen T-shirts, visible tattoos, body piercing are not welcome.
  • No personal conversation or communication allowed inside the church.
  • The monastery gardens exist for the benefit of the monastery’s tranquility and beauty. Flowers and herbs are not to be picked by the visitors. 

2. CHURCH SERVICES 

Please remember this is a monastery not a parish. Services are often longer and more intense than in a parish church. 

  • The language used for the Divine Services is at the discretion of the Superior.
  • Seating is for the elderly and infirm.
  • Electronic devices are forbidden.
  • Monastic benches are for monastics ONLY.
  • During periods of incensing the church, the people must move to the middle.
  • When incensing the church, the people should remain facing the altar.
  • The people are required to make the sign of the cross at every “Lord have mercy” and every doxology.
  • During periods of fasting, bows and prostrations are required, except for the elderly and infirm.
  • Women may not receive communion while wearing lipstick.
  • No walking around the church, opening and closing of doors or other physical distractions during the service.
  • If you arrive after the service has begun you MAY NOT receive the sacraments.
  • Women are strongly advised to refrain from slacks, Capri pants or sweat pants.  No shorts ever.
  • Men may not wear sweat pants, shorts, torn jeans.  For men, hats are forbidden!
  • Prayers ARE NOT recited together—congregational style - The Holy God-Our
  • Father.
  • Private prayers and personal devotions are not permitted during the public services. 

3. SACRAMENTS 

The sacraments of the church are for baptized Orthodox Christians only, no exceptions.

Holy Communion

  • To receive Holy Communion you must have made your confession at vespers the night previous.
  • You must be a regular attendant at the Monastery or have made prior arrangements with the Superior to receive the Communion.
  • You must fast from sunset the night before.

        - No alcohol
        - No television or radio
        - No theatre
        - No smoking
        - No secular periodicals
        - No physical relationships 

Holy Baptism

The monastery will baptize any infant whose parents or legal guardians promise allegiance to the Orthodox Church. 

  • Godparents must be Orthodox.
  • At least one godparent required, the same sex as the child.
  • Godparents may not be blood relatives.
  • The child’s name must be Orthodox.
  • The child will be immersed. 

Holy Matrimony

It must be clearly understood monasteries traditionally do not allow marriages to be performed on the premises. If the Superior should make an exception, which is his sole right, the following rules will apply. 

  • Both parties must be Orthodox Christians
  • The attendants must be Orthodox Christians
  • The candidates must be pious and practicing Orthodox, regular in Church attendance
  • The Sacrament of marriage may be performed during the week as permitted and Sundays.
  • Wedding attire must be modest and respectful.
  • Financial obligations must be met in advance.
  • Dancing and secular music forbidden on the property.
  • Liquor and beer are forbidden.
  • Wedding plans may not interfere with evening services. 

Holy Confession

Confessions are heard after all evening services. If you are under penance from another priest, your confession will not be heard without his written permission. 

  • Confession is for Orthodox Christians
  • Confession must be made BEFORE receiving the Holy Communion.
  • Your confession should be clear and to the point.
  • Mentioning other people’s names is forbidden.
  • “I really don’t have anything to confess” is a waste of your time and the priest’s so do not bother coming to confession.
  • You cannot make a confession at the monastery without your spiritual father’s permission. 

4. MONETARY OBLIGATIONS    

If you attend the services and receive the Sacraments, you are required to support the Monastery. It is the law of God that 10% of your income goes to the Church first. 

  • If you do not meet sacramental and/or monetary obligations, the monastery has the right to ask you to attend one of the many parishes in the area.
  • The monastery’s finances are overseen by the Superior and not the concern 
  • or business of the laity.           
  • The monastery does NOT charge a fee for the Sacraments. Your generosity should be proportionate to the attention and the needs of the Monastery.
  • The Superior of the monastery has the right to refuse anyone at anytime for misuse, abuse, apathy, or stirring up trouble amongst the monks or members of the community, or for any behavior contrary to the best interest of this holy institution. 

5. SOCIAL EVENTS ON THE PROPERTY OF THE MONASTERY 

Social events are not normal on monastery property. The monastery’s primary function is spiritual. If social events are permitted, it is under the strict and watchful eye of the Archimandrite. 

  • Coffee hours following the services are not a tradition of monasteries.
  • Following the Divine services the people are asked not to linger, so that the monastic community may relax and/or eat in peace, Trapeza.
  • Monastery grounds are not a public park or playground.  They may be enjoyed by all the faithful, young and old respectfully. 

6. MONASTERY PROPERTIES 

EVERYTHING at the monastery is the property of the monastic community under the supervision of the superior Archimandrite. Donated items become church property, freely given, freely received. 

  • No changes, additions or alterations of any kind are permitted without the Archimandrite’s blessing.
  • The church, icons, candles, benches, carpets, robes, vestments, bells and all church related properties exist for the use of the monastic community.
  • Kitchen, dining hall, bathrooms, Sunday school room are property of the monastery first and foremost.
  • Lay people are forbidden usage of any monastery facilities without permission from the Superior.
  • If the rules “No Entrance” or “Off Limits” are posted, it simply means no entrance and off limits.
  • If the gates are locked, it means that the grounds are not open to the public, closed to all non-monastics of this monastery
  • Upon entering the monastery grounds you are required to stop and make the sign of the cross (facing the church).  The same upon leaving. 

7. CHOIR 

In the Slavic Orthodox tradition choirs are the norm. If the Superior blesses the lay people to sing, they may do so under direct supervision. 

  • A lay choir director may be appointed.
  • The language is at the discretion of the Superior.
  • Members of the choir MUST regularly rehearse.
  • NO ATTENDANCE AT CHOIR REHURSAL- NO SINGING!
  • The choir assists the priest for the Glory of God and smooth execution of the Divine services.
  • Instruments are strictly forbidden.
  • Humming, clapping and whistling are strictly forbidden. 

8. CHURCH SCHOOL 

The superior may bless the use for church school to insure proper education for the young.  A director may be appointed from the laity under the strict supervision of the monastic community. 

  • Space will be provided for the children.
  • Permission must be asked to use products, materials, machines etc belonging to the monastery.
  • Allotted space must be left clean after use. 

9. MONASTERY RESTAURANT 

During the week the trapeze is used for a public restaurant to generate funds for the community.  The clothing requirements when visiting the restaurant are different from those when attending monastery church services.  Please visit the restaurant website for their attire guidelines.  The food service, pasteries, jams, breads and other homemade goods are the business of the community.  The lay people may be asked to help, only with the permission of the superior.  THE KITCHEN IS OFF LIMITS! 

  • Property of the dinning hall or kitchen may not be removed from the grounds.
  • Paper products, cups, napkins, plastic wear should be donated only with  permission.
  • Personal goods brought to the monastery must be marked and returned after use. 
  • The monastery IS NOT responsible for missing items left around the premises. 

The listing of these rules will provide all guests, visitors and regular attendants guidelines for proper behavior at the monastery.  The monastery is a spiritual center and not a social club.  To insure the dignity and proper respect of Holy Orthodoxy, everyone passing through the gates must acknowledge the rules of this institution.   The monastery does not force anyone to pray within these walls.  

If you choose to come here to pray you are OBLIGATED to follow the rules of this institution.  St Sabbas is a private Monastery under the spiritual guidance of the Archimandrite who answers only to the Holy Synod of Bishops. 

Jesus said unto them, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments….obey those who have authority over you…”

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