Direction to the east during praying

Looking towards the East during Prayer

Throughout our Coptic Church, it was settled many years ago, that when we pray, we should look towards the east.  Although we know that God exists everywhere, in all directions, there are a few reasons why we should look towards the east when we pray:

  1. Christ our Lord, whom we worship, is the sun of righteousness who rose from the east.  Christ is the dayspring from on high who gives light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace. (Luke 01:78)
  2. To look towards the crucified Christ, in whom we have our hope and redemption. St. Athanasius the apostolic said that God was crucified while His face was towards the west, for that we look towards the east when we pray, so that we may see His face. “They looked to Him and were radiant, and their faces were not ashamed” (Psalms 34:05)
  3. We look towards the east when we pray so that we can remember the Paradise that we lost because of sin.  Our hope is to return back to Paradise one day. “The Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden” (Genesis 02:08)
  4. Jesus Christ in His second coming will come from the east and we will wait for Him looking towards the east. God said: “For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be” (Matthew 24:27)
  5. There are many verses in the old testament about this subject, these include:

+ “Glorify the Lord in the dawning light” (Isaiah 24:15)

+ “Blessed be the name of the lord from this time forth and forevermore!” (Psalms 113:02)

+ “Afterward he brought me to the gate, the gate that faces toward the east. And behold, the glory of the God of Israel came from the way of the east. His voice was like the sound of many waters; and the earth shone with His glory … and I fell on my face and the glory of the Lord came into the temple by way of the gate, which faces toward the east... and the glory of the Lord filled the temple” (Ezekiel 43:1-5)

+ “Look to the east, Jerusalem, and see the joy that God is bringing to you” (Baruch4:36)

+ “But to you who fear My name the sun of Righteousness shall arise with healing in His wings” (Malachi4:2), the sun of Righteousness is Jesus Christ glory be to Him.

+ The star of Jesus Christ’s birth rose from the east. The wise men said:” we have seen His star in the east and have come to worship Him” (Matthew2:2)

+ From the Didascalia: “The church should face toward the east rectangle and its corridors should be aside similar to an ark. During prayer, the believers should face towards the east.”