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Facing directions for the Cherubikon

cherubic hymn rubrics antiochian orthodox

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#1 Sbdn. Peter Simko

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Posted 29 July 2014 - 12:46 PM

Friends,

I have a question from my wife.  Whenever we visit an Antiochian Orthodox parish, the clergy raise their arms during the Cherubic Hymn, and--turning together--face south, north, and east (I am not certain in which order...). I believe that this is while they read the hymn and the choir is singing.  Why do they face these different directions together?  Thanks!

http://upload.wikime...ter16.11.08.jpg



#2 Sbdn. Peter Simko

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Posted 15 December 2017 - 09:50 PM

I wanted to point out that an Antiochian priest told me that he does not know the exact reason, but that it is an exclusively Antiochian practice which may be borrowed from the Liturgy of Saint James.



#3 Dcn Alexander Haig

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Posted 17 December 2017 - 03:01 PM

I do not believe it is uniquely Antiochian practice.  During the Cherubikon the priest reads a long prayer for himself -- asking that his unworthiness will not prevent the descent of the Holy Spirit.  It is a really beautiful prayer and worth reading.

 

No one who is bound with the desires and pleasures of flesh is worthy to approach or draw nigh or to serve minister thee, O King of glory: for to serve thee is great and terrible thing even to the Heavenly Powers. Nevertheless, through thine unspeakable and boundless love toward mankind thou didst become man, yet without change or alteration, and as Lord of all didst take the name of our High Priest, and deliver unto us the ministry of this liturgic and unbloody sacrifice. For thou alone, O Lord our God, rulers over those in heaven and on earth; who art borne on the throne of the Cherubim; who art lord of the Seraphim and King of Israel; who alone art holy and restest in thy Holy Place. Wherefore I implore thee who alone art good and art ready to listen: Look down upon me, a sinner, and thine unprofitable servant, and cleanse my soul and my heart from an evil conscience, and by the power of the Holy Spirit enable me, who an endued with the grace of the priesthood, to stand before this thy Holy Table, and perform the sacred Mystery of thy Holy immaculate Body and precious Blood. For I draw near unto thee, and bowing my neck I pray thee: turn not thy face from me, neither cast me out from among thy children; but vouchsafe that these gifts may be offered unto thee by me, thy sinful and unworthy servant: for thou thyself are he that offers and is offered, that accepts and is distributed, O Christ our God: and unto thee we ascribe glory, together with thy Father who is from everlasting, and thine all holy, and good, and life-giving Spirit: now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.

 

This is usually read with the priest bowing.  Then follows the priest with the deacon reading the Cherubic Hymn itself, 'We who in a mystery represent the Cherubim ...', which is where the priest raises his hands facing East (the deacon lifts his orarion).  This is an ancient position of prayer, the "orans" posture.  They then bow to each other, asking forgiveness and then to the people asking their forgiveness too.  Some priests, when serving alone, still bow to each side of the Holy Table as to all priests.

 

This is what I think you are describing, the first to the East to God (in orans) and then to the South and North of the Holy Table to the clergy, finally to the West to the people.

 

In Xp

Dcn Alexander



#4 Sbdn. Peter Simko

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Posted 18 December 2017 - 03:45 PM

Father Deacon,

 

See the video linked below, beginning at 51:20.  It is definitely the orans and not bows.  Thanks!

https://youtu.be/x0-X8kt2kJ4?t=51m20s



#5 Deacon John Martin

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Posted 22 December 2017 - 03:03 PM

From the video, it appears that the priest and deacons are reciting the Cherubic Hymn three times. The first time they face east, the second time they face south, and the third time they face north.







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