St. John the Baptist Orthodox Church
Archdiocese of Western Pennsylvania
Orthodox Church in America
Crossing One's Arms at Holy Communion

The proper way to cross arms when receiving Holy Communion, and as we see in the picture of this well-trained girl to the right, we cross our arms over our chest with our right arm over our left, symbolizing the superiority of the sheep on Christ’s right (those who give food to the hungry, give drink to the thirty, harbor the stranger and foreigner, shelter the homeless, clothe the naked, and visit the sick and imprisoned) to the goats on his left (those who do not do all these things), as spoken about by Christ in Matthew 25.  Not only does this position seal the cross upon ourselves as we approach the precious Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, but it indicates our submission to Christ: that we are receiving His holy Gifts from him, not taking it for ourselves.  It also has the practical benefit of keeping our hands out of the way of the cloth, chalice, spoon, and priest, lest we accidently cause the precious Gifts to be spilled or fall.  On this final point, it is also important to know that we should not cross ourselves with our right hand (forehead, belly, right shoulder, and left) until we have departed from the chalice.  Some people, out of piety, wish to cross themselves, but we should avoid any such movements around the chalice; instead, we should keep our arms and hands out of the way of potential accidents with the holy things.

Media Recommendations


Paradise and Utopia 

Orthodoxy Live

Be the Bee (for all ages, focused Youth & Young Adult)

Daily Orthodox Scriptures (Fr. Alexis will be starting a podcast for Daily Orthodox Scripture Readings for Kids in 2022)


Bible Illustrated

Bible Illustrated Hands




Liturgical Lessons for Choir Directors & Readers

Instagram (Parenting)

Ascetic Life of Motherhood

Orthodox Mom


601 Boone Ave. Canonsburg, PA 15317 – Phone: 724-745-8216 (Rectory)– Email:
Rector, Fr. John Joseph Kotalik – Phone: 425-503-2891 – Email:
Saturday Vespers: 6:00 PM – Sunday Divine Liturgy: 9:30 AM – Weekday Evening Services: 6:30 PM – Weekday Divine Liturgy: 9:00 AM
Services in English – Ample Parking & Handicap Access

Service & Event Schedule
Amazon Smile
Support Us on Amazon Smile

Did you know? You can also support us everytime you buy something on Amazon!

When you shop at and add St. John's, the platform donates 0.5% of the purchase price of eligible products to the parish at no cost to you. AmazonSmile has the exact same prices and selection as, the only difference is that AmazonSmile will donate a portion of the purchase price to your selected charity.

All Prime members can also shop using AmazonSmile and better still - during Prime Day (21 & 22 June) Amazon will generate double donations on all eligible purchases!

Parish Life Amid COVID-19
As of March, the parishes of our archdiocese have been blessed to return to normal liturgical and social life as each parish has seen fit, and at our June parish council meeting we resolved to finally make this move for our parish.  What does this mean?
  • Masks are now optional; those who wish to continue wearing them are welcome to do so, and will receive the full support of the parish in this personal choice.
  • Regular veneration of icons and the Cross at the end of services will resume; those who wish to refrain out of caution are welcome not to venerate icons, and should simply bow their head and receive a blessing with the Cross as we have been doing
  • Normal use of the communion cloths will resume; paper towels will still be available for those who wish to continue to use them as we have been doing.
  • Kissing the chalice at Holy Communion will now resume; Fr. John and the deacons will hold up the chalice for veneration, but feel free to refrain if uncomfortable.
Parish Directory

If you need access to our parish directory, please email  for your family's code. 

Ancient Faith Radio