You are here:

Eastern Orthodox/Veil Covering the Altar & Sabbath

Advertisement


Question
Hello,

I had a couple of questions about the Church.

1) Why is it that there is a veil covering the altar in a Coptic Orthodox Church when the veil was torn when our Lord Jesus Christ died on the Cross?

2) God commanded us to keep the Sabbath day holy. The Sabbath is celebrated on Sunday but isn't the Sabbath actually on Saturday? Also, can we work or do various things on the "Sabbath" or is it only for church and nothing else?

Thank you!

Answer
Happy new year and a blessed Christmas to u,

++ The Gateway to the Sanctuary is called the "Royal Gate" from which only the priests shall enter.
The Sanctuary is separated from the church by an iconostasis (carrier of the icons)
It is not a divider (like the veil of the tabernacle), but a means to enter into the Holy of Holies
(through the prayers of the saints)
The “Royal Door” is covered with a red curtain, to represent the Blood of Christ; It is through His
Blood that we are able to enter into the Holy of Holies once again.

++ The Sabbath is celebrated on Sunday because our real Sabbath is the Resurrection. In the early centuries, Christians everywhere worshipped on Sunday. We know that from Christian writers who described ancient worship, such as Justin Martyr, who died in 157. All ancient churches, from Gaul to Armenia, had their main worship service on Sunday. This practice was established by the apostles themselves "Now on the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread" (Acts 20:7).

The writings of the early church Fathers all point to the celebration of the Lord's Day on the first day of the week (Sunday):

Didache: "Christian Assembly on the Lord's Day: 1. But every Lord's day do ye gather yourselves together, and break bread

The Didascalia: "The apostles further appointed: On the first day of the week let there be service, and the reading of the Holy Scriptures, and the oblation, because on the first day of the week our Lord rose from the place of the dead, and on the first day of the week he arose upon the world, and on the first day of the week he ascended up to heaven, and on the first day of the week he will appear at last with the angels of heaven" (Didascalia 2).

St. Ignatius: "If, therefore, those who were brought up in the ancient order of things have come to the possession of a new hope, no longer observing the Sabbath, but living in the observance of the Lord's Day, on which also our life has sprung up again by Him and by His death (Epistle of Ignatius to the Magnesians, Chapter IX).

God's commandment says "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy" (Ex 20:8). Our Sabbath today is Sunday and what better way to keep it holy than to spend it with the Lord in the church. if you have something urgent u may spend sometime of Sunday out of church or away from serving the Lord. just don't do it often.

your questions and follow ups r always welcome.

in Christ,

ashraf

Eastern Orthodox

All Answers


Answers by Expert:


Ask Experts

Volunteer


Ashraf Nisseem

Expertise

Peace be with you. I am an Egyptian Coptic Orthodox. I can answer questions about the Eastern and Oriental Orthodox beliefs, especially Coptic beliefs.

Experience

I have the knowledge to say something useful.

Organizations
I teach children in my church how to read the Holy Book and other sacred books used in holy services.

©2016 About.com. All rights reserved.