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#320038 04/26/09 03:53 PM
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This may be a bit off topic, but given the expertise on this forum, I think one of you may be able to provide an answer. Why do/did Anglicans celebrate their eucharist standing at the *north* side of the altar?

Where did this come from and is it still formally a practice somewhere?

Thanks much.

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I have read that it was because immediately after the Reformation, the Communion Table was set up in the aisle of the Nave (to remove it as far as possible from the place of the old sacrificial Altar and celebrate the Communion Service in the midst of the people). As It would not fit perpendicularly in the aisle (and perhaps also the make a clear distinction between it and the old Altar), the Communion Table was set up lengthwise. The minister was directed to stand at the north side of the Table (i.e. not true north, but on the side which would have been the north side of a proper Altar in its original place), but he still faced east. With the restoration of the normal position of the Communion Table to the chancel years after the Reformation, evangelicals clung to the "northward position" as a distinction from Catholic practice.

Anyway, that's my understanding.

Fr David Straut
(who, in ancient days, spent a year studying in Wycliffe Hall, Oxford - an Evangelical Anglican Theological School)

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Very interesting.

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I believe there is one remaining Anglican church in Toronto where they still hold the Communion service at the "North End".

Fr. Serge

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This was also the case in some buildings used jointly by Lutherans and German Reformed in which the pulpit stood in the center of the sanctuary and the altar (Lutheran term) or Communion table (Reformed parlance) was positioned beneath and against it. In some cases there was no space between the chancel rail and the altar table so the celebrant was forced to stand at one end or the other.

In some other cases there was sufficient space between the rail and altar table to allow the celebrant to stand at the center--ad oriens, of course.

Such sanctuary arrangements show the triumph of Zwinglianism.

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Christ is Risen!

Now that is a coincidence! The last time I wandered into a Church of Ireland Church, and encountered a 'north facing' celebration of Communion, was in the C. of I. Church at Gerrard's Cross in Dublin. A coincidence, because this is the Church currently used by the Russian Orthodox parish in Dublin, where I presume the observance is now discontinued.

the unworthy,
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The very powerful Archdiocese of Syndey is really Church of Ireland in Australia, so an Anglican vicar said to me some years ago. They have North End Communion Services. They also forbid the wearing of he chasuble, so the Anglo Catholics have their Mass in Copes. The Anglo-Catholic church of Christ Church St Lawrence in Syndey, has a chasuble in a glass case with a note that tells that it is forbidden to wear this vestment in the Archdiocese. The Archdiocese is very very Low Church and has ongoing arguments about lay presidency at communion services. It does not accept women in any leadership roles and is out of step with the other parts of the Anglican Church in Australia bt is the largest of the diocese and is very wealthy. When the Archbishop was taking his turn as Primate, the most he would wear was a Cope on occasions, otherwise he just wears choir dress in church. The current Archbishop wont even wear a clerical collar preferring to wear a tie. Naturally they dont have much contact with Cardinal Pell and his archdiocese of Sydney.

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It is my understanding that the Archdiocese also discourages
any type of fasting.

David


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