Author Topic: Altar Facing West  (Read 3193 times)

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Offline Alveus Lacuna

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Altar Facing West
« on: December 11, 2009, 01:59:21 AM »
My parish is looking into buying an old Lutheran Church, and the altar faces west.  Remodeling is not an option, as the entire church is oriented west.  Is this the end of the world, or is it permissible by economy?

Hearing about it kind of bothered me, but the church is beautiful!

Offline SolEX01

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Re: Altar Facing West
« Reply #1 on: December 11, 2009, 02:02:47 AM »
My parish is looking into buying an old Lutheran Church, and the altar faces west.  Remodeling is not an option, as the entire church is oriented west.  Is this the end of the world, or is it permissible by economy?

Hearing about it kind of bothered me, but the church is beautiful!

At my Cathedral, the altar faces North.  At two other Churches, the altar faces West.  I feel a Bishop would give the OK if the altar faced West if the Community would save money by not remodeling / demolishing an existing structure.

Offline Cymbyz

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Re: Altar Facing West
« Reply #2 on: December 11, 2009, 03:14:52 AM »
I know of two Greek Orthodox churches in SoCal which were built oriented westward because the land situation favored it.  Also the Antiochian cathedral in Los Angeles is oriented south because the lot on which they built it was oriented that way.

Where we have a choice and the land is laid right, we build temples oriented eastward.
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Offline 88Devin12

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Re: Altar Facing West
« Reply #3 on: December 11, 2009, 03:16:50 AM »
Alveus, where is the old Lutheran Church? I hope it's one of those beautiful old churches Downtown!

It also isn't the end of the world, i've seen many Orthodox Churches w/o East-facing altars... I think it's almost always permissible when buying an existing building.

This is one of my favorites near DT on E 23rd St.:
http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=2804+e+23rd+st.+kansas+city,+mo&sll=37.0625,-95.677068&sspn=36.999937,86.572266&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=2804+E+23rd+St,+Kansas+City,+Jackson,+Missouri+64127&ll=39.084501,-94.549454&spn=0.001064,0.003664&t=h&z=19&layer=c&cbll=39.084495,-94.549581&panoid=lQyUcff6Qdw6oc8dPfXV_g&cbp=12,24.15,,0,-21.22

Other favorites of mine:
http://www.panoramio.com/photo/7718240
http://www.panoramio.com/photo/7718227
« Last Edit: December 11, 2009, 03:30:51 AM by 88Devin12 »

Offline HandmaidenofGod

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Re: Altar Facing West
« Reply #4 on: December 11, 2009, 03:17:08 AM »
My parish is looking into buying an old Lutheran Church, and the altar faces west.  Remodeling is not an option, as the entire church is oriented west.  Is this the end of the world, or is it permissible by economy?

Hearing about it kind of bothered me, but the church is beautiful!

This is more common than you think. I'm sure your Bishop will allow it. :)
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Offline Elisha

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Re: Altar Facing West
« Reply #5 on: December 11, 2009, 03:30:43 AM »
I was thinking about this concept a little while back and realized that in San Francisco, the OCA (Russian Missionary District) parish faces east, while the ROCOR Holy Virgin Mary Cathedral down the street faces....north!  OMG what scandal!!!!!   ;D  (as if I really care)


Offline Alveus Lacuna

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Re: Altar Facing West
« Reply #6 on: December 11, 2009, 04:39:10 AM »
Alveus, where is the old Lutheran Church? I hope it's one of those beautiful old churches Downtown!

There is nothing even in any was certain about the church.  It's just a possibility.  Those other two churches you posted are just down the street from the building we meet in now at Troost & 31st.

This Lutheran Church (St. Mark's) isn't as nice as that other one you posted, but it's just a few blocks from our current location, and the current Lutheran parish is old and dying and looking to get out from under the building.  I don't know if we could afford the utilities and repairs!

I think this link is right:

http://maps.google.com/maps?layer=c&cbll=39.057893,-94.572007&cbp=12,,,1,&ved=0CBMQ2wU&sa=X&ei=lgMiS72wDpW4owSeuN2oCQ

Offline Basil 320

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Re: Altar Facing West
« Reply #7 on: December 11, 2009, 05:17:47 AM »
In order for my parish to face East, the side wall of the church's nave faces the road the church is on.  This created the need to have the main entrance to the church from a side.  When the auxiliary bishop of our archdiocesan district (at the time) first visited the church, a very respected hierarch in the GOAA, now of blessed memory, he indicated that we should have advised him of this situation, as he would have approved a variation to the positioning of the sanctuary to face East practice, too avoid the clumsiness of the front entrance from the side.
« Last Edit: December 11, 2009, 05:18:51 AM by Basil 320 »
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Offline ialmisry

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Re: Altar Facing West
« Reply #8 on: December 11, 2009, 07:02:19 AM »
My parish is looking into buying an old Lutheran Church, and the altar faces west.  Remodeling is not an option, as the entire church is oriented west.  Is this the end of the world, or is it permissible by economy?

Hearing about it kind of bothered me, but the church is beautiful!

Yes it is allowed.

Btw, I was at the Bulgarian St. John of Rila last Sunday, built in a converted Lutheran church.  It is interesting what they have done, as the Lutheran church faced West.  They remodeled so now the Church faces east, converting the old sanctuary into a place for candles, a side shrine etc. and putting the iconostasis where the back doors were.

Btw, ours is an old Lutheran buildiing, and it faces south.  we would have to have the entire Church lifted and turned to face east.
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Offline AWR

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Re: Altar Facing West
« Reply #9 on: December 11, 2009, 10:10:39 AM »
My parish is looking into buying an old Lutheran Church, and the altar faces west.  Remodeling is not an option, as the entire church is oriented west.  Is this the end of the world, or is it permissible by economy?

Hearing about it kind of bothered me, but the church is beautiful!
You could just turn the alter table around like the romans did.   ;)

(I was just joking)


Many Orthodox churches are built in directions other than East around where I live, the building lot has more to do with it, I think.  But in the church, liturgically they call the  deacon doors by the north and south names even if they are not north and south. And they spit at the devil my turning around (at baptisms). So there is a sort of a logical East and West.  

If anyone is keeping score at home, my parish church faces west.
« Last Edit: December 11, 2009, 10:12:55 AM by AWR »

Offline LizaSymonenko

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Re: Altar Facing West
« Reply #10 on: December 11, 2009, 11:12:15 AM »

My church was built with the Altar facing West.  It was city ordinance due to the way the lot was zoned, etc.

...plus, it gives us something to blame all the discord on.

It's not the parishioners faults if they find a need to be argumentative, ...it's simply because the church is facing backwards !     ;)

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Offline Ortho_cat

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Re: Altar Facing West
« Reply #11 on: December 11, 2009, 11:34:12 AM »

You could just turn the alter table around like the romans did.   ;)

(I was just joking)



Too funny!  :D

Offline 88Devin12

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Re: Altar Facing West
« Reply #12 on: December 11, 2009, 12:10:08 PM »
wow, I was hoping that church was one of them!

Offline ChristusDominus

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Re: Altar Facing West
« Reply #13 on: December 11, 2009, 05:34:38 PM »
The Greek Church here has its altar facing south. The Western Orthodox Church I used to visit in Texas was formally an Old Catholic Church and its altar faced North.

The SSPX church here in town was also a former Protestant church, but its altar does face East. I guess they got lucky.
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Offline scamandrius

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Re: Altar Facing West
« Reply #14 on: December 11, 2009, 09:20:01 PM »
I know that a lot of parishes simply do not have money to buy their own land to build their own temple, but isn't the altar facing east a reflection of our theology as well as something defined by the canons?
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Offline Altar Server

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Re: Altar Facing West
« Reply #15 on: December 19, 2009, 03:53:47 PM »
My parish is looking into buying an old Lutheran Church, and the altar faces west.  Remodeling is not an option, as the entire church is oriented west.  Is this the end of the world, or is it permissible by economy?

Hearing about it kind of bothered me, but the church is beautiful!
You could just turn the alter table around like the romans did.   ;)

(I was just joking)

That is funny... not to mention the fact that the altar in the Latin Church I attend is facing the people and east...:-(


 


« Last Edit: December 19, 2009, 03:57:17 PM by Altar Server »
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