The laity comprises all lay persons collectively. This means any person who is not a member of the clergy or of any monastic order.
In the Orthodox Church, the laity are the people of God and are responsible for preserving the integrity of the faith as much as the bishops. The example for this that is often given is that of bishops being refused entrance to their cities after the Council of Florence until they recanted of their signatures. The laity refused to accept that the Council's decisions were in accord with the Orthodox faith.
The laity are called to live by the same Christian moral standards as the clergy. They both are expected to participate in all the worship services and keep the various days and seasons of fasting and feasting. The clergy are the sacred priesthood, where the laity are among the royal priesthood. The clergy cannot conduct formal worship services without the participation of the laity, and the laity can not perform the same services without the clergy to lead them. Each play a very important role in the liturgical and administrative life of the Church.
- Hierarchy and Laity in the Orthodox Church – John Meyendorff
- Clergy and Laity in the Orthodox Church – Alexander Schmemann
- Ministry of the Laity in the Church - Nicholas Afanassieff
- St Benedict, His Rule and Orthodox Laity – Ukrainian Orthodoxy web site