Resurrection Processtion, why 3+3+1?? Help please

edited December 1969 in Coptic Orthodox Church
Hi All,

I need some contemplation on the resurrection procession around the Altar & Chruch. Any idea why we have 3 rounds around the Altar, 3 around the church, & 1 around the Altar again? I know that they have to be seven to represent the Procession around Jerico, but any idea why it was divided into 3+3+1?

Are the 3+1 Altar rounds symbolise the idea of “Trinity in one & one in Trinity”

I need help ASAP please



  • number 7 is a perfect number.

    Jericho, symbol of Satan and his armies, fell after 7 encirclings.

    God created His creation in 6 and resurrection will occur on the 7th day when everything will be anew.

    Hope this helps.
  • Thanks, but why is the procession divided in this order? 3+3+1? why not 2+2+3  or any other number for example?
  • I think because of two factors: first, we don't use even numbers in our practice, and second: to resemble the Trinity and the One God.
  • I accept references to one God and the Trinity but what do you mean that we do not use even numbers in our practice? There are many instances throughout the Church year where Kyrie eleison is chanted 10, 12 and 100 times. However in regards to Processions then yes they are always odd numbers either 3 or 7.
  • Yes drewhalim you are right. I believe I was talking more about the "altar-related" stuff, e.g. censor hands, Communion, etc...
    Oujai qen `P[C
  • By looking at manuscript evidence, such as The Church Order manuscripts published by Bp. Samuel among others, you will see that the number of circuits was never a big issue loaded with symbolism. Manuscripts differ, and many times do not specify any set number at all. Many times it depends on the hymn being chanted (i.e. Go around long enough to finish the hymn/s)

    Modern books, clergy, cantors, and any other pseudo-authority can claim spiritual meaning for this or that number. However, in the face of sound historical scholarship, we are probably better off leaving somethings out of such elaborate numerological symbolism for the sake of honesty to history.
  • Thanks for such a brilliant insight and enlightenment dear RamezM. Very well explained; thanks
    Oujai qen `P[C
  • I do agree 100% with RamezM ...

    I want to add that sometimes we invent symbolism of the church rituals just because we do not know the reason the ritual and its origin. Unfortunately many of the modern writers on the rituals will go in detail of explaining a rite without citing any references. Often these explanations are personal reflections and should only be dealt with as such.

    I presented some meanings of the number 7 but I should have added that this is just my personal reflection and has nothing to do with the original rite.

    I am glad RamezM posted his post.
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