Dear Bishop Robert,
Why do some people in our Churches stand during the consecration?
As early as the second century, Christians celebrated the –eighth day as the joyous day of Christ’s resurrection. In the Eighth Century, St. Germanus, Patriarch of Constantinople, wrote in his book On the Divine Liturgy: –We do not kneel on Sunday as a sign that our fall has been corrected through the resurrection of Christ. We do not kneel until Pentecost because we observe the seven days after Easter seven-fold; seven times seven is forty-nine, and Sunday makes fifty. (Ukraine accepted Christianity from Constantinople in 988 A.D. therefore that is the source of the practice).
At the beginning of the Anaphora, the priest says, –”Let us stand well! Let us stand in awe! Let us be attentive that we may present the holy offering in peace.” Later he prays… –”We thank you for this Liturgy… even though there stand before you tens of thousands of angels…” Standing is a reverential position. Men stand when a woman enters the room. Congress stands when the President enters Congress. Therefore, like the angels we stand in praise of God who comes to us by the power of the Holy Spirit (Epiclesis) under the appearance of bread and wine. Kneeling is a penitential position reserved for the Great Fast and other times of fast.
Because the epiclesis (the invocation of the Holy Spirit) is such a sacred moment in the Divine Liturgy, there should be no movement during it. Even if an individual is kneeling, he or she should not stand up until the epiclesis is completed.
Yours In Christ,
+Bishop Robert (Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of Parma, OH)