Christian Practices


Christian practices vary by denomination, but common elements include a Sunday worship service, private and corporate prayer, study and reading of the Scriptures, and participation in rites such as baptism and communion (known as sacraments).

Christian worship services generally include singing, prayer and a sermon. Most churches have a special ritual for ordination, or designating a person fit for a leadership position in the church. At home, most practicing Christians pray regularly and many read the Bible.

Many Christians will have been baptized, either as an infant or as an adult, and regularly participate in communion (also called the Lord's Supper and the Eucharist). Baptism and communion are considered sacraments - sacred rituals instituted by Christ himself. The Catholic Church recognizes five additional sacraments, as well as many other distinctive practices that are known as "sacramentals" or "devotions" and include praying the rosary and going on pilgrimages.

Distinctive Catholic practices include recognition of seven total sacraments, Sunday mass, devotion to the Virgin Mary and the saints, and veneration of relics and places associated with holy figures. Eastern Orthodoxy holds many practices in common with Catholicism, but is especially distinguished by the central role of icons: ornate images of Christ and the saints believed to provide a connection to the spiritual world.