Altar Boys

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 has received special permission to serve in the Holy Altar and to assist the priest in the celebration of the Divine Liturgy and other Holy Services. The Holy Sanctuary is a very sacred place in the Church and only the clergy and the Altar Boys are permitted to enter. No laymen or women 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:

  1. Altar Boys must be clean and neat. They must wear a tie, dress shirt, and good shoes which are polished. Hair must be neat, combed and finger nails cleaned.
  2. All Altar Boys must be in the Sanctuary 10 minutes before the beginning of the Divine Liturgy or other scheduled services.
  3. 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: "Evlogison Thespota To Stiharion Sin To Orario". (Master, bless the robe and the belt).
  4. He then goes to his assigned place and the Altar on the right or left of the Altar Table or behind it. When he crosses the large Crucifix behind the Holy Table, he always makes the sign of the cross.
  5. Only the clergy, the Bishop, 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.
  6. 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 Little Entrance.
  7. During the reading of the Apistle, two Altar Boys are to prepare themselves with the lanterns for the Gospel reading.
  8. 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.
  9. After the recital of the Creed, one Altar Boy prepares the Zeon (boiling water for the Holy Communion).
  10. 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..."
  11. 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).
  12. When the service is over, all Altar Boys must carefully and neatly hang their robes and fold their belts.
  13. When in the Holy Sanctuary, and Altar Boy is close to God Himself. Therefore no idle talking, laughing, chewing gum, eating or horse-play will be tolerated.
  14. An Altar Boy must prepare himself to receive Holy Communion at least once a month. He prepares himself by praying, meditation, fasting and Holy Confession.
  15. 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.