A 1922 etiquette book explains how one should greet when in church:

People do not greet each other in church, except at a wedding. At weddings people do speak to friends sitting near them, but in a low tone of voice. It would be shocking to enter a church and hear a babel of voices!

Ordinarily in church if a friend happens to catch your eye, you smile, but never actually bow. If you go to a church not your own and a stranger offers you a seat in her pew, you should, on leaving, turn to her and say: “Thank you.” But you do not greet anyone until you are out on the church steps, when you naturally speak to your friends. “Hello” should not be said on this occasion because it is too “familiar” for the solemnity of church surroundings.

Source: Emily Post, Etiquette (1922).

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