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Saturday, May 21, 2005

On Orthodox Tradition

While it's no longer practiced everywhere, Orthodox Tradition is for the men to stand on the side of the church where the icon of the Saviour is on the iconostasis and for the women to stand in front of the Theotokos. Some people feel this discriminates, or that it breaks up families. But in practice, what it does it acknowledge that the whole parish is a family, and so while those without earlthy family members to join them in their pew might stand out or feel isolated, with all the men and boys old enough to be away from their moms on one side and all the women and girls of all ages on the other, these people are instead surrounded by a cloud of witness, the rest of the parishioners of their gender. Standing makes it easier to move around if small children squirm or fuss or need to be removed from church for a diaper change or to avert disaster, and it means more people can fit in the church, too! It also gives toddler boys an incentive to behave maturely enough to join Daddy and the men.

(Matushka) Ann Lardas