What direction do Catholic churches face?

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 do cathedrals face east?

When early Christians prayed they would face towards the east. Hence the tradition of building churches with the alter towards the east. One theory for why Christians pray towards the east is that the beginnings of the organized church was in Europe and worshipers were praying towards the direction of Jerusalem.

Are churches always east to west?

1. 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.

Which direction do churches face the world and why?

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).

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Do churches face west?

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.

What direction should a church altar face?

Liturgical east and west is a concept in the orientation of churches. It refers to the fact that the end of a church which has the altar, for symbolic religious reasons, is traditionally on the east side of the church (to the right in a diagram).

Which part of a church faces east?

The east end is where the altar is placed, often within an apse. The façade and main entrance are accordingly at the west end. The opposite arrangement, in which the church is entered from the east and the sanctuary is at the other end, is called occidentation. Since the eighth century most churches are oriented.

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).

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.

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Should we pray to the east?

Byzantine Orthodox Christians, as well as members of the Church of the East, also face east when praying. Members of the Pentecostal Apostolic Faith Mission continue to pray facing east, believing that it “is the direction from which Jesus Christ will come when he returns”.

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 does St Peters face east?

It has been said that the reason the Pope always faced the people when celebrating Mass in St Peter’s was that early Christians faced eastward when praying and, due to the difficult terrain, the basilica was built with its apse to the west.