Sacred Texts  Christianity  Early Church Fathers  Index  Previous  Next 

Chapter XVIII.

How they do not kneel from the evening of Saturday till the evening of Sunday.

This, too, we ought to know,—that from the evening of Saturday which precedes the Sunday, 712 up to the following evening, among the Egyptians they never kneel, nor from Easter to Whitsuntide; 713 nor do they at these times observe a rule of fasting, 714 the reason for which shall be explained in its proper place in the Conferences of the Elders, 715 if the Lord permits. At present we only propose to run through the causes very briefly, lest our book exceed its due limits and prove tiresome or burdensome to the reader.



Quœ lucescit inm die dominicum. The phrase is borrowed by Cassian from the Latin of S. Matt. xxviii. 1.


Totis Quinquagesimœ diebus. See above on c. vi.


That this was the rule of the primitive Church is shown by Tertullian, De Corona Militis, c. iii. “We count fasting or kneeling in worship on the Lord’s day to be unlawful. We rejoice in the same privilege, also, from Easter to Whitsunday.” And even earlier, in a fragment of Irenæus, there is a mention of the fact that Christians abstained from kneeling on Sunday in token of the resurrection. For later testimonies see Ambrose, Ep. 119, ad Januarium. Epiphanius, on Heresies, Book III. (Vol. III. p. 583, ed. Dindorf). Jerome, Dial: Adv. Lucif. c. iv., and the Twentieth Canon of the Council of Nicæa, with Canon Bright’s notes (Notes on the Canons of the First Four General Councils, p. 72).


Cf. the Conferences XXI. xi.

Next: Book III. Of the Canonical System of the Daily Prayers and Psalms.