Your question: Do Catholic churches have to face east?

Chances are you will find that the church is built facing the east. This is no coincidence. Though it has not been possible on every occasion, many Catholic churches have been built to face the east. There are scriptural roots to this orientation.

Why are churches built facing east?

Liturgical east and west is a concept in the orientation of churches. … Traditionally churches are constructed so that during the celebration of the morning liturgy the priest and congregation face towards the rising sun, a symbol of Christ and the Second Coming.

Are all churches built facing east?

For those who do not have the time to immerse themselves… the answer is yes, churches do face east , but not perfectly and the discrepancy varies with location. … It is quite possible that all but the earliest extant churches were aligned and built with the help of a compass.

Do churches have to face a certain way?

Direction: churches are always rotated east to west with the chancel, sanctuary and altar in the east. This is because the east faces towards the holy city of Jerusalem which is where, in medieval writing, God’s presence was said to be strongest.

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Where should a Catholic altar face?

This is why in nearly every place and for almost all of Christian history, the priest has stood with his people on the same side of the altar so that, together facing the East of the sacred liturgy, they could offer the pleasing sacrifice of their lives (cf.

When did the Catholic church turn the altar around?

After years in which priests celebrated Mass with their backs turned to worshipers, altars were repositioned after the Second Vatican Council (1963-65) so that the priest could face the people. In recent interviews, the cardinal was quick to say he is not advocating an immediate change, but is taking a longer view.

Are churches built in a certain direction?

The orientation of Christian churches reflects the historically documented concepts that one should turn eastward to pray and the architectural and liturgical principle that temples and churches should be constructed facing east (often specified as equinoctial east).

What is the front of a cathedral called?

When you walk through the main front door of the cathedral, generally called the West Door, you enter into the narthex. The narthex is a congregating space, often separated from the main worship area by another set of doors. The narthex has changed quite a bit over the years.

Why are churches built on high ground?

Most Christian churches are built to stand out. For hundreds of years, churches, often placed on high ground and boasting a tower or steeple, were the most impressive structures around. They announced their permanence and dominance – important when they were in competition with earlier, pagan beliefs.

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Where is the front of the church?

nave, central and principal part of a Christian church, extending from the entrance (the narthex) to the transepts (transverse aisle crossing the nave in front of the sanctuary in a cruciform church) or, in the absence of transepts, to the chancel (area around the altar).

Why does St Peters face east?

There seems to be a simple reason for this: the burial ground on the Vatican hill, on which the basilica was built, was outside Rome. Rome lay on the other side of the Tiber in the east. The entrance to the basilica therefore faced the city.

What is a crossing in a church?

The bay at which the transept intersects the main body of the church is called the crossing. The transept itself is sometimes simply called the cross. The nave of a church with a cruciform plan usually extends toward the west from the crossing, the choir and sanctuary toward the east.

Do all Catholic church altars face east?

Though it has not been possible on every occasion, many Catholic churches have been built to face the east. There are scriptural roots to this orientation.

Do cathedrals face east?

Since the 8th Century churches have tended to be built facing towards the east. … All of the cathedrals shown above (apart from Liverpool) have been built (roughly) facing east, with the apse on most of them also to the east of the building. When early Christians prayed they would face towards the east.

Which way does an altar face?

Altar items

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According to Scott Cunningham, a popular Wiccan author, the left side of the altar should be considered the Goddess area; feminine or yonic symbols such as bowls and chalices, as well as Goddess representations and statues should be placed on the left.