Placing chs. in such a way that the altar is in the E end, the main portal in the W end. The original basic concern may have been the direction in which the celebrant, rather than the people, faced; this would explain early chs. with the altar in the W end, but with the celebrant, officiating behind a freestanding altar, facing E. With the change to the altar in the E end (est. 5th8th c.), both celebrant and cong. face E.
Various reasons for facing E have been suggested, e.g., the orient was believed to be man's 1st home; Christ lived in the E and many believe that His final return will be from the E (cf. Mt 24:27); Christ is regarded as the Rising Sunday Imitation of pagan sun worship does not commend itself as a reason in light of Christian opposition to heathenism.
See also Church Architecture, 3.
Edited by: Erwin L. Lueker, Luther Poellot, Paul Jackson
©Concordia Publishing House, 2000, All rights Reserved. Reproduced with Permission
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The Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod
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