[quote="Ora_et_Labora, post:1, topic:195936"]
Perhaps this is not the most apropriate sub-forum for this question, but given that the East has tended to maintain praxis more than the West, I thought someone here might be able to help me out.
I recently read a book called "Earthen Vessels: the Practice of Personal Prayer according to the Patristic Tradition", by Fr. Gabriel Bunge, OSB. He mentions that it is an ancient "custom" to raise one's hands in prayer. Now, I am familiar with the "orans" position, as well as stretching one's arms out like a cross. Are there other variants? Also, is what I see sometimes at Mass during the Lord's Prayer - when people turn their palms up - a valid variant?
The "orans" and turning palms upwards, in my experience, are one and the same. I've never seen someone raise their hands in prayer as though they're doing everything in their power to get a good stretch. usually it's simply hands held out in front, a little more than should length apart, and palms turned upwards. Sometimes people will hold their hands in this position, but also a little higher than their shoulders. It really depends on what the individual is comfortable doing.
As has been mentioned, the Melkites and Greeks maintain this position, especially during the Our Father. I've also seen Romanians pray in this position as well. It is also very typical of the Eritrean/Ethiopian Orthodox and Catholics.
Among Latins, it is very common to see members of the Charismatic Renewal praying in this way. St. Dominic, among other postures, also used the "orans" position, as did St. Francis of Assisi. So it is not unknown in Roman/Latin Catholicism even prior to the Charismatic Renewal.