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Standing as a Sign of the Resurrection

The emphasis on the mystery of the resurrection clarifies the practice, observed in all Eastern Churches, of standing during the Qurbana. Among Jews, standing was the customary posture for prayer, a tradition adopted by the early Church from the time of the Apostles. In ancient times, it was common to stand for prayer, often with raised hands facing eastward. Kneeling, on the other hand, signified penitence and was reserved for public worship on fast days. A Syrian Father once remarked, 'Kneeling is a sign of our fall; standing, of our resurrection.' Therefore, it was customary to stand for public prayer on Sundays and during Paschal time, in reverence for the resurrection. This practice was so esteemed that it became the subject of a Canon at the Ecumenical Council of Nicaea in 325 AD, which decreed that 'on the Lord's day and the days of Pentecost' (from Easter to Pentecost), 'prayer should be made to God standing.' This tradition persisted throughout the Church, both in the East and the West, until the Middle Ages. In Eastern Churches, this tradition endures to this day, representing not only the joy of Christians in the Resurrection but also their active participation in the Sacrifice, offered collectively with the priest as members of the body of Christ.

Note: The practice of kneeling at Mass emerged in the Western Church during the late Middle Ages. This shift occurred as the Mass came to be viewed less as a sacrifice offered collectively by the people with the priest and more as one solely offered by the priest, with the congregation's role perceived as that of passive worshippers and observers rather than active participants.

holy_qurbono/standing_as_a_sign_of_the_resurrection.txt · Last modified: 2024/02/18 20:22 by smcc