In the photo above, kids from infants to Kindergarten age are held by choir members even during the middle of Divine Liturgy. Orthodox children are fully participating members of the Orthodox Church.
Infants and Young Children
At St. Anthony, our kids - including newborns - are considered just as much a part of the Church Family as are the adults. Remember what Jesus said? "Suffer the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." As Orthodox Christians, we do what Jesus says. Sure, children can occasionally be a distraction (Jesus did mention suffering, right?), but we're the adults in the room. Speaking of rooms, we have a soundproof Viewing Room for parents, so if your little one is acting up or you need some privacy, you can take them there and still be part of the Liturgy.
We believe by Christ's example that children are especially beloved of God for their innocence and pure hearts. For 2000 years, the Orthodox Church has Baptized and Communed children of Orthodox families.
As children grow in the Church, we teach them to grow in service to the Church. Our kids learn to participate in the heartbeat of the church - in Altar service, as ushers, and in numerous other ways. Once a month, a "Children's Sermon" is offered by our priest in which the kids all come and sit up front to learn from sermons specifically designed to be understood by and participated in by our beloved youth.
During the Eucharist (Communion), by far the most important part of the Divine Liturgy, the children who have received Baptism and Chrismation (a.k.a. Confirmation, which occurs at Baptism) into the Orthodox Christian faith are the first to line up - they get "priority treatment." After they have partaken in the Eucharist, they leave with our Youth Director and Church School teachers for their Sunday School class or other seasonal activities. We welcome visiting children to join them for Sunday School. After the service is over, they rejoin the rest of the Church family for Coffee Hour for juice and lunch in the Fellowship Hall.