Wednesday, June 19, 2013

About (not) kneeling on Sundays

My translation of the 20th canon of the Nicea Council (325ac).

Canon 20th:
About the no necessity of kneeling on sundays or during the fifty days [ of Pentecost]

Because some kneel on Sundays or during the fifty days, and to the intent that all things may be done in the same way in every parish [ diocesis ], it seems good to the Holy Synod that glory [ prayer ] be made to God standing.

It is amazing! I didn't know about this cannon since not long ago. I even doubt that there are many christians (and specially catholics) aware of it. It would be interesting to have a discussion about the appropriateness of kneeling in worship. What to you think?

Bellow I add some comments I found on the cannon. 

Tertullian, in a passage in his treatise [ mentions that this observances] were universally practised upon the authority of tradition. "We consider it unlawful," he says, "to fast, or to pray kneeling, upon the Lord's day; we enjoy the same liberty from Easter-day to that of Pentecost." Many other of the Fathers notice the same practice, the reason of which, as given by Augustine; and others, was to commemorate the resurrection of our Lord, and to signify the rest and joy of our own resurrection, which that of our Lord assured. 

This canon, as Beveridge observes, is a proof of the importance formerly attached to an uniformity of sacred rites throughout the Church, which made the Nicene Fathers thus sanction and enforce by their authority a practice which in itself is indifferent, and not commanded directly or indirectly in Scripture, and assign this as their reason for doing so: "In order that all things may be observed in like manner in every parish" or diocese.

"All the churches did not, however, adopt this practice; for we see in the Acts of the Apostles(20. 36 and 21. 5) that St. Paul prayed kneeling during the time between Pentecost and Easter."

[HAMMOND and HEFFLE As cited by Henry R. Percival in here ]

As always your comments are very welcomed!

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