celebration of mass


while celebrating mass in latin rite priests are facing the people full time but in syro-malabar and syro -mlankara rites most part of the mass priests facing alter .Is there any reason for this differance in the litragical aspect


In the Latin Rite, priests have the option of facing the apse or the people except at certain times when the GIRM indicates that the priest faces the people (e.g., when greeting them).

See also a response from the Congregation for Divine Worship on this issue.


Priests in the Latin Rite before Vatican II used to always face East (ad orietem), which was usually away from the people and towards the altar. Why? It is symbolic of Christ’s Resurrection, which will come from the East.

Priests today may still face East in the Novus Ordo Mass. Some churches still offer the Tridentine Mass, and several institutions only say these Masses including the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter (FSSP) and the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest.

For your information, here are some videos:

Mass from Priory of St. Pius X in Warsaw
Mass from Church of St. Nicholas in France
Mass narrated by Archbishop Sheen from 1941
Mass celebrated on the Feast of the Sacred Heart
Mass segments from a French priest


A priest who gave a series of talks on the history of the Mass, for my OCDS group, explained that the practice of the priest with his back to the people began back in the early days, after Constantine gave public buildings to the Church.

The buildings were formerly official goverment buildings, rectangular in shape, where the residing figurehead sat at the front and the other officials sat on either side, with the public in the pews. It was typical of a kings court. So the thinking in the west was, Christ being the King at Mass, resides at the front on the altar. However, this was incorrect, because the priest is Christ on the altar and at the Last Supper, Christ faced the Apostles. In the East, the church buildings were round, where the priest faced the people, who sat in a semi-circle around the altar, which would have been closer to the events of the Last Supper.

Anyway, this is the way I remember it, and I’m sure I’ll be repremanded.:smiley:



At my parish, the celebrant’s chair is behind the altar, so when he faces the people he also faces the altar.


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