Author Topic: Kneeling  (Read 1811 times)

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Offline Andrea

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« on: June 02, 2008, 01:28:13 PM »
HI! I hope this is the place to ask this...I did a search and didn't get an answer. 

I'm curious about kneeling.  The people in the Eastern Catholic church I attend some Sundays don't kneel, and of course the people in the Latin church I attend do. But I understand that an Ecumenical council forbade kneeling on Sundays? So do you never kneel in Orthodox churches, or just not on Sundays? And I understand the Western Rite Orthodox do kneel? Does this question even make sense? I'm so confused.  ??? ???  And I'm wondering if kneeling wasn't proper practice on Sundays then why and when did it start in the West?

I ask this because I am investigating Orthodoxy. My husband is not as interested and when I said something about kneeling, he said he felt like it's the only proper posture for the consecration? But then he said, of course unless you prostrate yourself... ;D   

Thanks for any clarification on this.  ;D

Offline Fr. George

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Re: Kneeling
« Reply #1 on: June 02, 2008, 01:43:48 PM »
Let's start with the ideal - a few references to the canons of the Ecumenical Councils, and one that was accepted by Canon 2 of Penthekte (all quotes taken from the CCEL website):

Canon XX of the Synod at Nicea (First).

Forasmuch as there are certain persons who kneel on the Lord’s Day and in the days of Pentecost, therefore, to the intent that all things may be uniformly observed everywhere (in every parish), it seems good to the holy Synod that prayer be made to God standing.

Canon XC of the Synod in Trullo (the 5th-6th Synod, Penthekte, or Quintisext).

We have received from our divine Fathers the canon law that in honour of Christ’s resurrection, we are not to kneel on Sundays.  Lest therefore we should ignore the fulness of this observance we make it plain to the faithful that after the priests have gone to the Altar for Vespers on Saturdays (according to the prevailing custom) no one shall kneel in prayer until the evening of Sunday, at which time after the entrance for compline, again with bended knees we offer our prayers to the Lord.  For taking the night after the Sabbath, which was the forerunner of our Lord’s resurrection, we begin from it to sing in the spirit hymns to God, leading our feast out of darkness into light, and thus during an entire day and night, we celebrate the Resurrection.

Canon XV of Peter Archbishop of Alexandria the Martyr.

Wednesday is to be fasted, because then the Jews conspired to betray Jesus; Friday, because he then suffered for us.  We keep the Lord’s Day as a day of joy, because then our Lord rose.  Our tradition is, not to kneel on that day.

So ideally, we don't kneel on Sundays because they are triumphant and joyful days.  However, kneeling is permitted (and encouraged) on the other days of the week.  In the modern days many do kneel on Sundays out of reverence to the Body and Blood of Christ during the epiklesis (the Consecration of the gifts), and the practice continues partially to not squash this reverence, and partially because people do not observe the daily cycle of services - and thus do not see the difference between a weekday and a Sunday.
« Last Edit: June 02, 2008, 01:44:18 PM by cleveland »
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Offline Sophie

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Re: Kneeling
« Reply #2 on: June 02, 2008, 01:51:16 PM »
There was also a thread some time ago although the above post gives a satisfactory reply:,12019.0.html
"Thoughts are like airplanes flying in the air. If you ignore them, there is no problem. If you pay attention to them, you create an airport inside your head and permit them to land!" (Priestmonk Christodoulos Aggeloglou, Elder Paisios of the Holy Mountain Mount Athos, Greece, 1998,pp. 29-30, 48)

Offline Andrea

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Re: Kneeling
« Reply #3 on: June 02, 2008, 02:04:35 PM »
Thank you Cleveland and Sophie.  That helps. It's so interesting! In reading the link, it sounds like there is a variety of practice.

I didn't come up with that thread in a search, but I have now figured out I should have capitalized!   :laugh:

Offline Simayan

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Re: Kneeling
« Reply #4 on: June 02, 2008, 02:41:39 PM »
I know that in our parish, the choir reaches a grand crescendo as the priest says, "We offer to you these gifts from your own gifts in all and for all," and it feels "right" to kneel at that point. Cleveland's response makes sense too.
"He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death, nor mourning nor crying nor suffering, for the old order of things has passed away."