Monday, October 17, 2005
light from light: more on facing east
Tertullian informs us that Christian churches are "always" oriented "toward the light".
Origen asserts that the direction of the rising sun obviously indicates that we ought to pray inclining in that direction, an act which symbolizes the soul looking toward the rising of the true light, the Sun of Justice, Jesus Christ.
Saint John Damascene says that, while waiting the coming of the Lord, "we adore Him facing East", for that is the tradition passed down to us from the Apostles. Other Church Fathers who confirm this usage are Clement of Alexandria, Saint Basil and Saint Augustine. To this day, the ancient Coptic Rite of Egypt retains in its eucharistic liturgy (just before the Sursum corda) the age-old exhortation of the deacon: "Look towards the East!"
Read the whole thing here. I like how in the Eastern rites the deacon issues all those commands and exhortations. "Let us attend!" "Pray!" "The doors!" Etc.
Posted by gwb at 11:31 PM