Pews vs. Standing: an Orthodox Controversy

February 17, 2010

Rod Dreher writes: “My family came into Orthodoxy in a parish without pews. St. Seraphim’s Cathedral in Dallas observes the traditional Orthodox custom of parishioners standing for the entire two-hour liturgy, though there are chairs lining the sides of the worship space for those who cannot or who don’t wish to stand for the service. There is no shame in sitting down; it’s just not done by most people. Small children typically sit at their parents’ feet for most of the service. When we first started attending St. Seraphim’s, this practice was so off-putting; we couldn’t imagine standing up for so long! But we did, figuring that something that has been done for so many centuries must have something to teach us. Before long, we came to appreciate standing, and it came to be the most natural thing in the world to us.”

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