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Question 135

A few years back in a christening my son ran off and went behind the priest in the church. I went to get him and everyone around me stopped me and said no, Only boys.  Could you please tell me about this. Thank you.          


Answer to Question 135


Your son must have entered the sanctuary which is behind the Icon screen (Iconostasi). By tradition women are not allowed to enter. In Old Testament times not even men were allowed to enter the Holy of Holies. Not even the priests themselves except the high priest who entered it once a year. In Christian times this continued with only the priests being allowed to enter the Sanctuary. Men believe that they are free to enter whenever they want, but in fact no one should enter unless they have something to do inside. We allow nuns to go in and out who have duties in cleaning or helping out with preparations for the Liturgy. I also have a nun who helps me out during the Liturgy by lighting the incense and cutting the antidoron and other duties. Also we give our blessing to the cleaning lady to enter to do what she has to do, but they are not allowed to touch the Holy Altar or the Prothesis.