ALTAR BOYS RULES AND REGULATIONS
Compiled by Rev. Demetrios N. Calogredes
An Altar Boy or Acolyte is someone who is privileged to serve in the Holy Sanctuary where the Holiest of the Holies are present and where the Lord dwells. The Altar Boy must receive a special blessing from the priest to serve in the Holy Altar. The Holy Sanctuary is a very sacred place in the Church, and only the clergy and the Altar Boys are permitted to enter. No laypersons are permitted entrance to the Holy Sanctuary. In order to assist the Altar Boy in the proper performance of his duties in the Holy Sanctuary, the following rules and regulations have been set forth:
ALL ALTAR BOYS MUST ATTEND THE ANNUAL HOLY WEEK SEMINAR
- Altar Boys must be clean and neat.
- All Altar Boys must be in the Sanctuary 10 minutes before the beginning of the Divine Liturgy or other scheduled services.
- Upon entering the Sanctuary, the Altar Boy gets his robe and belt. He then neatly folds these and presents them to the priest or the bishop (if he is present) to be blessed. The Altar Boy says, "Master, bless".
- He then goes to his assigned place in the Altar. When he crosses the large Crucifix behind the Holy Table, he always makes the sign of the cross.
- Only the clergy (Bishops, Priests and Deacons) are allowed to stand or walk in front of the Holy Table. Altar Boys must NEVER cross in front of the Holy Table but rather go behind it.
- Only clergy are allowed through the Royal Gates (Center Doors). Only clergy and altar servers are allowed through the side doors. Laypeople can only enter through the wooden doors.
- In the Divine Liturgy, after the choir completes the singing of the hymn " O Monogenes Ios ..." the captain of the Altar Boys assigns two boys with lighted candles for the Small Entrance.
- During the reading of the Epistle, two Altar Boys are to prepare themselves with the lanterns for the Gospel reading.
- While the Cherubic hymn is being sung, the captain of the Altar Boys assigns the candles, lanterns, exapteryga (fans), cross and thymiata (censers) for the Great Entrance.
- After the congregation rises from kneeling (No kneeling between Easter and Pentecost), an Altar boy will bring the Antidoron to the priest to be blessed. No Antidoron is to be eaten until after Holy Communion.
- After the recital of the "Our Father", one Altar Boy prepares the Zeon (boiling water for the Holy Communion).
- When the priest says, "Proskomen, ta Agia tis Agiis" (Let us attend The Holy Gifts for the Holy people of God), one Altar Boy brings the Zeon. The Altar Boy then says the following:
Altar Boy: "Evlogison, Thespota, To Zeon".
Priest: "Evlogemene E Zisis..."
- After the Divine Liturgy, one Altar Boy is assigned to hold the Antidoron for distribution by the priest. Another Altar Boy is assigned to extinguish all the candles in the Altar except the candle on the censer stand by the Proskomide (this candle on the censer the Priest extinguishes himself after the consumption of the Holy Communion).
- When the service is over, all Altar Boys must carefully and neatly hang their robes and fold their belts.
- When in the Holy Sanctuary, an Altar Boy is close to God Himself. Therefore no idle talking, laughing, chewing gum, eating or horse-play will be tolerated.
- An Altar Boy must prepare himself to receive Holy Communion at least once a month. He prepares himself by praying, fasting, and Holy Confession.
- Every Altar Boy will always kiss the hand of the Priest whenever he hands him something, or when the Priest returns something to him. We kiss the Priest's hand because 1. we show respect for him and his work and 2. because his hands hold the Holiest of the Holies, the Body and Blood of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.