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Orientation of Churches.

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. 5th–8th 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.

Regardless of geographic position, it is good form to speak of the altar end of any ch. as the E in a liturgical sense, the opposite end as the W, and N and S transepts.

See also Church Architecture, 3.

Edited by: Erwin L. Lueker, Luther Poellot, Paul Jackson
©Concordia Publishing House, 2000, All rights Reserved. Reproduced with Permission

Internet Version Produced by
The Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod

Original Editions ©Copyright 1954, 1975, 2000
Concordia Publishing House
All rights reserved.

Content Reproduced with Permission

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