It"s not a completely Christian tradition. Various other religions practice this as well. There"s an post here top top ehow.com that gives review of the beginnings of the practice. Part highlights:
According to "Ethnicity and also the American Cemetery," the feet of the deceased confront east as well. This legacy is based upon the id that once Jesus returns, the departed will climb from the grave currently facing his direction.
According to Northumberland county Council, the tradition began when Pagans buried the dead so they would challenge the rising sun.
Also keep in mind that it"s no universal. We have actually a cemetery tied to a Church a few miles from right here where the graves all point to the North, and also several others I"ve visited have some dealing with one way, and others at best angles - those tombs are laid out to maximize usage of the land.
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answered Dec 31 "11 at 6:11
David StrattonDavid Stratton
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Most church are built with the altar at the east end, expecting the 2nd Coming the Christ to it is in from the East: new International version of Matthew 24:27 - "For as lightning that comes from the east is visible also in the west, so will be the resulting the kid of Man." Christian graves also tend to confront east, however the location of the cemetery have the right to be an ext influential.
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answered Apr 13 "18 in ~ 20:36
Joe atichurchJoe atichurch
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In the Judeo-Christian tradition the eastern was the direction that prayer because the time that Abraham. Genesis mentions at the very least once, that he obtained up in the beforehand morning facing east toward the climbing sun come pray (The sunlight being an early symbol that God benevolence). As others have noted this has also been the legacy when it comes to building sacred structures prefer churches, synagogues due to the fact that the time of the Tabernacle in the Old testimony onward and also in orientating your altars because that Jews, Catholics, Orthodox Christians and also a part High Church Protestants. Therefore it herbal that this kind of thing would be carried over to cemeteries due to the fact that those locations are taken into consideration sacred spaces and also facing east is an old liturgical custom for having reverence for God.
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reply Apr 14 "18 in ~ 1:25
Pavel MoskoPavel Mosko
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At one time, it to be true that Catholics need to be hidden facing the east. The is no much longer true, and it was part of the very same Church legislation which claimed that the human body of the faithful departed should face the altar in a Catholic Church thus facing the east. Throughout the Funeral massive of a priest, the corpse is reversed regarding be encountering his congregation.
As anywhere, you may find older Catholic cemeteries that still accommodate this tradition.
There is no requirement in church law regarding the place of burial. The just thing the comes nearby is a reference in the Roman ritual of 1950 (no much longer in effect) that proclaimed that in ~ the funeral mass the coffin was to be put so the the feet that the deceased should allude toward the key altar.
Presuming the church had actually been created so that a priest celebrate Mass would challenge the east, the deceased at the funeral would face in that same direction.
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Although there to be no canonical requirement, it to be in truth customary for people to be buried facing the east, showing the traditional Christian belief that, at the end time, Jesus would certainly return indigenous the east. (An even earlier pagan tradition had the deceased hidden facing the east because it was wherein the sun rose.)
Correctly, you imply that the exact same values guided the traditional placing the a church’s main altar, so that the priest celebrating Mass could challenge the east. This evoked the Christian expectation regarding Christ’s return. (See Mt 24:27: “For simply as lightning originates from the east and also is seen as far as the west, so will the resulting the child of guy be.”) - must one be buried facing east?
There is no fixed dominion nowadays and also I understand of some really traditional Catholic Benedictine cemeteries whereby the brethren are hidden facing the south due to limited burial space.