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MEDIEVAL-RELIGION  April 2008

MEDIEVAL-RELIGION April 2008

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Subject:

Re: Ad Orientam (sp?)

From:

Carlo Valdameri <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

medieval-religion - Scholarly discussions of medieval religious culture <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Mon, 21 Apr 2008 17:56:19 +0200

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medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture

Hi.
As far as I know, the earliest quotation of the orientation "ad Orientem" of the churches comes from the Nicean Fathers (325 a.D.) who stated that "ecclesiarum situs plerimque talis erat, ut fideles facie altare versa orantes orientem solem, symbolum Christi qui est sol iustitia et lux mundi interentur" (Carolus Kozma, De Papi, 1861); da A. Gaspani, "Astonomia e geometria nelle antiche chiese alpine", Priuli & Verlucca, Aosta, 2000, p. 25.
Another prescription can be found in the Apostolic Constitutions (Vth cent.) where they say that church edifices should be erected with their "heads" towards the East (Const. Apost., II, 7).
Anyway I think that the thematic is complex and the relationship between orientation "ad Solem Orientem" and the exact direction of East was interpreted in different ways during the Middle Ages.
Best.
Carlo Valdameri

> medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture
> 
> yes, my Latin is rusty, if it ever had shine at all, so I probably spelled that wrong.
> 
> I've managed to get myself into a situation where I need to do a bit of liturgical history research, specifically the history of celebrating Mass and other 
> Christian rituals while facing East.  I'm guessing the Collective will provide the usual bibliography of erudite and useful tomes - which will be highly 
> appreciated - but if anyone has some short answers to the following, it will be appreciated:
> 
>  - at what point does the practice of facing East become dominant?  I seem to recall some arguements that Christians ALWAYS faced east when celebrating 
> the liturgy, but cannot verify that.  I have heard some argue that even in context of the Passover at the time of Christ the practice was to sit/recline at table 
> facing east.  This sounds suspect, but again, I have no verification one way or the other.
> 
>  - It is my impression that while orienting churches, et al was standard practice in the East, it was not so in the West.  Bamberg Cathedral, for instance, I 
> seem to recall is aligned N/S, not E/W. . . I also seem to recall reading in Jansen's History of Art that even in pre-Christian "paganism" temples in the East 
> were oriented, while in the Roman west they generally were not.  Clarify my perceptions?
> 
>  - What sources are there which shed light on the character of the ante-Nicean Liturgy?  I obviously have a plethora of references on structure and practice 
> during that era, and yes, I am plodding through bibliographies looking for further resources, however thusfar I've not discovered specific description of how 
> the community would arrange itself during the various Liturgies.  My initial impression is that communal arrangement was relatively free-form, not unlike the 
> approach to early (again, ante-Nicean) anaphoras.
> 
>  - Finally, it is my impression that some developments in liturgical art and architecture emerge in direct continuity from the immediate past (Gothic out of 
> Romanesque, Early Byzantine out of Late Antique) but other times there is a conscious and almost radical break with the previous era (Renaissance from 
> Gothic).  Is there any basis for this impression or is that more the subject for a thesis/dissertation?
> 
> Thanks for whatever and all information provided.
> 
> George the Less
> 
> George R. Hoelzeman
> G.R.Hoelzeman Studios
> Liturgical Design Consultant
> grhstudios.com
> [log in to unmask]
> 
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