What's the point?

edited December 1969 in Coptic Orthodox Church
whats the point of the deacons going around the altar with the cross during, matins/vespers and pauline and catholic circuits?
i personally think its just for exercise  ;D


  • If it were exercise, it would not have worked too well.

    It is the remembrance and act of the taking down the walls of Jericho, in essence the barrier between us and the Lord.  It recalls the taking of the Ark, the staff of Aaron, trumpets, etc. around the walls by the Levites.
  • There are actually prayers the deacon is supposed to say as the go around. The first time they go around they say "pray for the Holy Univerisal and Apostolic Church", the second time they say "pray for our high priest Anba Shenouda the III", the third time they say "pray for our assemblies and our congregations". The last three times they say "amen". These are all responses to what the priest is saying throughout the processions around the alter, and the deacon says them quietly or inaudibly, not outloud.
  • all the reasons were mentioned, also it signifies the Gospel and the Cross reaching the ends of the world... so in vespers it happens three times, and in the matins it happens three times... and as mentioned before its the overcoming of the walls of Jericho, which they went around it seven times, that is why in the liturgy it will happen three times, and then once abouna by himself, and another three... which is seven circles around the walls of Jericho, to break the barrier between us and God for communion.

    neshkor Allah, Akhadna el baraka.
  • With all due respect:  "altar" is not "alter".  Sorry.

    The Litanies are supposed to be out loud.  It's just an abbreviation of time to say them inaudibly.

    A Litany, by definition, is:  a prayer and petition, a call to pray for that petition, and thereafter an affirmation. It requires an interaction.  The sequence, as outlined in the The Three Liturgy Book of Deir El-Muharraq is specific for an audible interaciton.  Actually there is an introductory Litany for the incense sacrifice that is about to be presented; most people do not even realize this exists or the given response by the deacon.  Most deacons do not realize that they are required to give an "Amen" affirmation at the different signings of the cross and the placement of the incense into the censer (which is usually not been cleaned by the same lazy deacons who do not know the above points) prior to starting this circuit around the altar.  Sorry, I had to get a nasty comment in there.  I could not disguise it so I just let it hang out in the open.
  • Also the movement of the sholia also has a meaning. abouna makes it go once to the left then to the right then to the middle then a circle. This symbolises the Holy Trinity one in essence.
  • Also, I heard that we go counter-clockwise to symbolize the timelessness of heaven
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