“If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honor.” John 12:26
All boys, starting with third grade, have an opportunity to become an Altar Boy. Altar boys have a very important role in the Orthodox Church services. They help priests and bishops better serve God and the Church. Altar boys represent the angels of the church because they are pure and are always ready to assist all those who need them. It is a great honor to serve as an altar boy.
Altar boys do many different jobs. They light candles, prepare the censer, carry the cross during processions, be familiar with the different vestments and sacred vessels, and follow the liturgy to participate in the Small and Great Entrances as well as other parts of the Services.
The most important thing young boys must realize is that when they are an altar boy, people are depending on them and look up to them to better reach God through prayer. Altar boys are an example to others so they must always be calm, pious, and ready to serve.
Altar boys wear special vestments: a tunic which represents purity of soul, happiness, and salvation.
When you are an acolyte, you have to realize that it is a privilege to serve God this way. You will have the chance to get first-hand exposure to the liturgy by participating in it. You will create many memories of your special role in the Orthodox family.
Altar boys must always behave in an exemplary way both inside and outside of the church. They must always be prepared for the service by reading the scripture so that they can follow the liturgy. Also, they need to know their prayers like Our Father, “The Creed” and the prayers before Holy Communion. They need to be familiar with the different parts of the church.
Altar Boy Rules
- No unnecessary talking.
- No eating or drinking in the Altar. NO GUM.
- The Sunday dress code is: shirt, tie and dress shoes. NO SNEAKERS.
- Walking behind the Altar Table should be kept to a minimum.
- No Altar Boys in the Vestry at any time. Vesting is the only exception. Altar Boys should stand at the Altar Table or the benches.
- Before leaving the Altar, ask Father for permission and his blessing.
- Accept your assignment without complaint.
- Always display good manners.
- BE ON TIME. Enter via the designated door. Please arrive five minutes before the start of any service.
- When offering or receiving something from the Priest, always kiss his right hand.
- When you vest, ask Father to bless your belt before putting it on.
- All Altar Boys must register and participate in Sunday Church School.