Dear and Respected Brethren,
This refers to question of Mr. Thomas Daniel (Reji)
in the last Digest. According to the Eastern Church
Fathers (Orthodox), the days on which the Kumbideel
is not required are the 50 days from the Easter till
the Pentecost and on all days when and where the
faithful would attend the Holy Eucharist and would
partake the Holy Eucharist.
Suppose one has to attend and participate the Holy
Eucharist on a Sunday, he/she need not kneel down
during prayers from Sunday eve till Monday eve.
When a faithful would partake the body and blood of
our Lord, he/she becomes the part and parcel of the
body of Christ, our Lord God. The principle behind
such a teaching of restricting the kumbideel for
certain days is that `when our Lord is in us and with
us, we need not kneel down to adore/worship Him.
In my knowledge the kneeling down is not restricted
during the advent/25 days lent prior to the feast of
incarnation of our Lord, except on days when one has
to attend/participate the Holy Eucharist.
In Malayalam we call `Sashtanga Pranamam' for the
Kumbideel, which means worship with eight parts of
the body. Whenever we kneel down and touch the ground
with our forehead, we are supposed to remember and
honor all our departed beloved ones, who have joined
the ground as dust. It is worthy to remember that in
the early centuries, the departed faithful were buried
inside the churches and scarcity of space became a
problem, the place of burial was taken to the courtyards
of the Churches. In some of our old churches we could
see the tombs/at least the evidence of tombs in the
courtyards. Recently the scarcity of space in the
courtyards has compelled us to have graveyards, not far
away from the churches. So whenever we will kneel down
in the church, we are obliged to seek the intercession
of our departed ones.
Jose Kurian Puliyeril
St. George Orthodox Church