Patron Saint Troparion
Saint John Orthodox Church

The memory of the righteous is celebrated with songs of praise, but the Lord's testimony is sufficient for thee, O Forerunner. Thou wast shown indeed to be the most honorable of the prophets, for in the waters thou didst baptize him who had been proclaimed. After suffering in behalf of the truth, thou didst proclaim even to those in Hades the God who appeared in the flesh, who takes away the sin of the world and grants us the Great Mercy.

Antiochian Archdiocese


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Pastor's Message

Welcome to the official website of St. John Orthodox Church of Levittown NY. We intend to make it an educational tool to all who seek to use it. This website can be used for information on our church. We are located on a spacious private property with our own parking lot on 80 Water Lane North in Levittown, NY. Our Sunday Divine Liturgy begins at 10:30 AM. All are welcome.

- Pastor

Orthodox Church Etiquette

St John Church

Standing vs. Sitting
The traditional posture for prayer and worship in the Orthodox Church has been to stand. In the Orthodox “old countries,” there are usually no pews in the churches. Chairs or benches on the side walls are usually reserved for the elderly and infirm. In North America, we have tended to build our churches with pews, and since we have them, we need to figure out when we may sit and when we should stand. When should you definitely stand? First of all, it is fully acceptable (even preferable) to stand for the entire service. But always during the Gospel reading, the Little and Great Entrances, the Anaphora, the distribution of Holy Communion, whenever the priest gives a blessing, and the Dismissal. It is never wrong to stand in church.

Lighting Candles
Lighting candles is an important part of Orthodox worship. We light them as we pray, making an offering to accompany our prayers. Orthodox typically light candles when coming into the church, and that is usually the best time to light them, but there are times when candles should not be lit. It is not proper to light candles during the Epistle or Gospel readings, during the Little or Great Entrances, and during the sermon.

Entering the Church (Late)
Ideally, the time to arrive at church is before the service starts, but for some unknown reason, it has become the custom, or rather the bad habit, for some to come to church late. If you arrive after the Divine Liturgy begins, try to enter the church quietly, and observe what is happening. If the Epistle or Gospel is being read, or the Little or Great Entrance is taking place, or if the Celebrant is giving the sermon, stay in the back until it is concluded. Try not to interrupt the Liturgy with your entrance. By the way, the best way to avoid this problem is to arrive on time, and then you don’t have to wonder if it’s okay to come in or not. People who come late to the Liturgy should not partake of the Eucharist!

Crossing Those Legs?
In some Orthodox cultures, crossing one’s legs is taboo and considered to be very disrespectful. In our North American culture, while there are no real taboos concerning crossing one’s legs, we tend to cross our legs to get comfortable while sitting. Should we cross our legs in church? No! Not because it is wrong to ever cross legs, but rather because it is too casual, and too relaxed, for being in church. Just think about it, when you get settled in your favorite chair at home, you lean back, cross your legs, and then your mind can wander anywhere it wants. Remember that sitting in church is a concession, not the normative way of prayer. You do not want to get too relaxed and let your mind wander. In fact, when you do sit in church, you should sit attentively, and not too comfortably. When sitting in church, keep those feet on the floor, ready to stand at attention (which is what Let us attend means). Cross yourself with your fingers and hand, but don’t cross your legs!

In and Out
On some Sundays, it seems like we have a revolving door in the back of the church, and it is used by both children and adults. Use the restroom before coming to church. You shouldn’t need to get a drink of water during the service. Come to pray. Taking restless little ones out is a different matter. If a child is disruptive, take him/her quickly and quietly out of church, just long enough to settle him/her down, then return to the Liturgy. Follow the rules for entering late: not during readings, sermons, or Entrances.

Leaving Before Dismissal
Leaving church before the Dismissal, besides being rude, deprives us of a blessing. Worship has a beginning (Blessed is the Kingdom…) and an end (Let us go forth in peace…). To leave immediately after Communion is to treat church like a fast food restaurant where we come and go as we please. We live in a fast-paced world where we seem to be hurrying from place to place. But in God’s presence, we need to make every attempt to fight this pressure to move on to the next thing on the day’s agenda. We deprive ourselves of blessings by not being still and participating in God’s holiness. Stay in church and thank God for his precious gifts.

Have you ever looked at an icon in just the right light and seen the lip prints all over it? It’s disgusting, isn’t it? In fact, it’s downright gross. Lipstick may look fine on lips, but it looks horrible on icons and crosses. Icons have been ruined by lipstick; and even though the cross can usually be cleaned after everyone venerates it, it just isn’t considerate to others to impose your lipstick on them. What is the answer? If you insist on wearing lipstick to church, blot your lips well before venerating an icon or kissing the cross; even better, wait until after church to put it on. After all, God is not impressed with how attractive you look externally, your makeup or clothing, but how attractive you are internally, your adornment with good works and piety.

Talking During Church
Isn’t it great to come to church and see friends and family members? But wait until after the service is over to talk to them. It just is not appropriate to greet people and have a conversation with them during the services. Besides being disrespectful towards God, it is rude towards the other people in the church who are trying to worship. Talk to God while in church through your prayers, hymns, and thanksgiving, and to your friends in the hall afterwards.

Sunday Dress
Remember the time when people put on their “Sunday best” to go to church? In fact, dress clothes were often referred to as Sunday clothes. In some parts of the country, this is not common today. In fact, all too often, dress in church has become too casual. In all areas of our lives, we should offer Christ our best. And the same is true of our dress. We should offer Christ our “Sunday best,” not our everyday or common wear. And we should dress modestly, not in a flashy way that would bring attention to ourselves. Our dress should always be becoming of a Christian, especially at church. Here are some specific guidelines we use in our parishes:

Again, our Sunday best!

Dresses should be modest. No tank tops or dresses with only straps at the shoulders, no short skirts (mini-skirts), and no skintight dresses. Dresses should have backs and not be cut low in the front.

Men should also dress modestly. While coat and tie are not mandatory, shirts should have collars and be buttoned - two or three buttons undone is inappropriate. Slacks should be cleaned and pressed. Jeans (of any color) are usually too casual for church, especially ones with patches or holes. If you’re going somewhere after church where you need to dress casually, bring a change of clothing with you and change after service. Remember: Use your best judgment and good taste when dressing for church. After all, you do not go to be seen by everyone else, you go to meet and worship God.

To Cross or Not To Cross
Anyone who has looked around on a Sunday morning will notice that different people cross themselves at different times (and sometimes in different ways). To a certain extent, when to cross oneself is according to personal piety and not an issue of doctrine. But there are times when it is specifically proper to cross yourself and times when you should not. Here is a brief list of when to cross and when not to cross:

When you hear one of the variations of the phrase, “Father, Son, and Holy Spirit”; at the beginning and end of the liturgical service or your private prayers; entering or exiting the church, or when passing in front of the Holy Altar; before venerating in icon, the cross, or Gospel book.

Do not Cross
At the chalice before or after taking Communion (because you might hit the chalice with your hand); when the Priest or Bishop blesses saying, “Peace be to all,” bow slightly and receive the blessing.

Handling the Blessed Bread

After taking Holy Communion and at the end of the liturgy, it is traditional to eat a piece of blessed bread (called Antidoron in Greek, which means “instead of the Gifts”, the Gifts being those which we receive during Holy Communion). The Antidoron is the bread which was left over after Holy Communion. While the Antidoron is not Holy Communion, it is blessed bread and as such, should be eaten carefully and respectfully, not tossed in the garbage or thrown all over. Monitor your children as they take the Antidoron and teach them to eat it respectfully.

St. John Orthodox St. John Orthodox Church