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Priesthood, book by H. H. Pope Shenouda III

111- Is Prostration Only For Worship Or Could It Also Express Respect?

 

Question (3)

Is Prostration Only For Worship Or Could It Also Express Respect?

Is it appropriate for people to bow or prostrate to some ranks of the clergy? Dose such a behaviour have Scriptural proof?

Answer

[1] It Has Been Customary To Prostrate Before The Bishop As A Vicar Of God (Titus 1:7).

So such prostration is not for the bishop, but for the God in his person.

For example the bishop is received in the church by a procession while the choir chants Ep-Ouro which means O King Of Peace. While the King of Peace is Christ, they are welcoming Christ in the person of His vicar.

St-Takla.org Image: Deacons and Clergy kneeling before God and the Holy Altar, and H. H. Pope Shenouda III reading the absolution for the people during the Holy Liturgy صورة في موقع الأنبا تكلا: الشمامسة والكهنة يسجدون أمام الله والمذبح المقدس، وقداسة البابا شنوده الثالث يقرأ التحليل للشعب في صلاة القداس الإلهي

St-Takla.org Image: Deacons and Clergy kneeling before God and the Holy Altar, and H. H. Pope Shenouda III reading the absolution for the people during the Holy Liturgy

صورة في موقع الأنبا تكلا: الشمامسة والكهنة يسجدون أمام الله والمذبح المقدس، وقداسة البابا شنوده الثالث يقرأ التحليل للشعب في صلاة القداس الإلهي

Also when the bishop is present and while the Gospel is read, an introductory psalm is appended from a portion of (Psalm 110):

(Psa 110:4) The LORD has sworn And will not relent, "You are a priest forever According to the order of Melchizedek."

This psalm was a prophecy concerning Christ, but is chanted for the bishop, as the vicar.

An officer representing the President is usually received by the National Anthem, the anthem is played for the president, even if he is only represented by one of the officials.

[2] The Bowing Or Prostrating For The Bishop Is a sign of Respect And Not In Worship

Many bishops discourage people from prostrating in front of them, and in doing this, gain even more respect for their humility, as we have discussed this issue before here on st-takla.org in other sections. Such bishops recognise that he is dust and ashes, and becomes exceedingly humbled.

[3] Now Let Us Consider The Biblical And Theological Basis Of The Two Types Of Prostration.

Any prostration meant for worshipping any thing but God, is unreservedly prohibited by the Scriptures.

(Deu 5:9) you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me,

(Mat 4:10) Then Jesus said to him, "Away with you, Satan! For it is written, 'You shall worship the LORD your God, and Him only you shall serve.'"

Expressing respect through prostration has been repeatedly mentioned in the bible. This type of prostration was offered to holy people and faith heroes, whom were taken as models for many. Various examples also show these people accepted prostration from others.


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