Russian Orthodox Liturgical Resources

Liturgical Handbook
of the Practices of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad
Return to Handbook IndexРусская версия
Handbook of Liturgical Practice of the Russian Church Abroad
Liturgical Question:
What vestments should be worn when receiving Holy Communion?
Handbook Category: Divine Liturgy (index)

It is important to understand and to follow the traditions of our Church as they relate to receiving Holy Communion by those in Holy Orders, of whatever rank:

  • Clergy who are serving: Complete vestments.
  • Priests who are not serving: Ryassa, epitrahil (stole), cuffs, and phelon.
  • Deacons who are not serving: Complete vestments.
  • Subdeacons and Readers (whether serving or not): Cassock and stikhar, orarion if blessed (Subdeacons and Readers never receive Holy Communion without being vested).
  • Altar servers (non-tonsured): Servers always commune without vestments; i.e. their stikhar is to be removed before Communion, and can be put back on afterwards (note: servers who have removed their stikhar to receive Communion may put it back on immediately afterwards without taking another blessing from the priest.)

Customs observed in other contexts (e.g. a non-serving Priest receiving Holy Communion in epitrahil and cuffs alone, without a phelon; a non-serving Deacon receiving in orarion and cuffs, without his stichar; Readers communing without vestments or Altar boys communing in stichars) are in no wise to be practiced in our Church. However, if visiting a temple of another Orthodox jurisdiction with a blessing to receive Holy Communion there, the practices as blessed by the Hierarchy of that place are to be followed while in thier temple.

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