Whenever we enter or leave the temple we should do so as quietly as possible, so as not to disturb the prayers of our brothers and sisters.
As we enter or leave the temple, we should first face the altar and cross ourselves. Before going to our place, we should venerate the icon of the Patron Saint or of current Feast in the center of the temple (and light candles, if we so desire). By itself a candle has no meaning. It becomes a symbol of our prayer when lit. For this reason the lighting of candle must be connected to a prayer either to the saint on the icon or to God for one's self or others.
It is best to avoid traffic in and out of the church during services. Especially do not enter or leave during a censing, an entrance, the Scripture readings, or the sermon; coming and going is especially distracting at these times. Being late for services is a common failing among Orthodox of all sorts, but it is not something we should be proud of. Leaving services early without a very good reason is just as bad. You must know that it is unseemly to reverence the icons on the iconostasis while the service is in progress.
While in the temple we should try to maintain an attitude of prayer and a spirit of humility, like the tax collector of the Gospels (Luke 18:10-14). Our purpose for coming is to approach our Lord and King in company with our brothers and sisters; we come together to constitute God’s Church. These facts should govern our attitudes and behavior.
We should avoid conversation in the church even if the service has not yet begun (and after it’s finished). We should spend the time before services preparing for worship; necessary conversation should be conducted quietly so as not to disturb the meditations of others. Children, of course, need direction during services and may struggle at times. If that direction becomes prolonged or disrupting to other worshippers that direction should be carried on either very quietly or outside. At the same time we should always remember Christ’s great love for the children, and the condemnation he had for those who prevent the children from coming to Christ.
We should be dressed decently when we come to worship. Chewing gum, eating or drinking in church, before, after or during services, is impermissible and blasphemous. If our thoughts stray from prayer, we should strive to bring them back and concentrate on the services. We should try to participate in the Liturgy with pious singing (without artificial or emotional trills), each one according to the possibilities of his/her voice. We should be aware that we participate in the service too, not just the priests. We will get more out of the services if we pray rather than merely attend them. Allow the hymns and prayers to enter your heart, and make their words your own. Remember that the services are not a time for private prayers but for sharing in the common worship of the Church.
Follow the service with your body as well as your mind. Orthodox piety is rich in actions which enable the whole person to worship. We should cross ourselves at the proper times (on hearing an invocation of the Trinity, and at any prayer or petition which personally affects you). At censings and blessings the proper response is to bow to the priest (crossing oneself is not necessary).
Regarding the antidoron (nafora), the proper and ancient way is to receive this gift from the priest, at the end of the Divine Liturgy. The one receiving Antidoron puts his right hand over his left, the cupped palms held face up. The Antidoron is placed reverently in the hand, then, following an ancient and pious custom, the one receiving bends down and kiss the priest’s hand as he places the antidoron in the hand.
Let us remember above all that the temple must be filled with an attitude of mutual love and respect. We have assembled to share in the Church’s worship, to unite with each other and our Lord, to anticipate the joyful time when we are gathered into His Kingdom. Our attitude toward one another should reflect that of the Lord, who loves us all and desires nothing more than our spiritual growth and our salvation.