Historical region of Country
B. In a theological sense, East indicated the attitudes, problems, mentality, special tendencies and characteristics of the Greek church, when Greek theology definitively detached itself from Latin. Ancient religions gave much importance to orientation: in prayer, in the construction of tombs, in the laying out of cities and of temples. Vitruvius writes that the temple should be oriented west-east, so that the statue of the god would look ad vespertinam caeli regionem, and the believers who look upon the statue would make sacrifices ad partem caeli orientis IV, 5,1-2. Houston Map The metaphorical meaning of the term east is closely connected with the symbolism of the sun. Some cults worshiped the sun, and spread throughout the Roman Empire F. Cumont, Les religions orientales dans le paganisme romain, Brussels 1929, 125-150. For Christians, the sun is Christ. The Holy Spirit loves the East, figure of Christ, writes Tertullian Adv. Val. 3; similarly Gregory of Nyssa De vita S. Macr.: PG 46, 984A; Or. in laud. Bas.: PG 46, 798C. Houston Map The idea recurs in the Roman liturgy in the antiphon of the third day before Christmas: O Oriens, splendor lucis aeternae et sol iustitiae . It was a very widespread custom to turn to the East, both in private prayer Basil, De Sp. eucharistic Apos. Con. II, 57. The Acts of Paul attest that Paul turned toward the east, raised his hands to heaven and prayed at length Martyrdom of Paul 5. Houston Map Already in the 3rd c., Origen wrote: Who would not admit that the East clearly indicates that we must pray turned to that region to indicate that the soul looks toward the rising of the true light On Prayer 32,1. Because of this gesture, observes Tertullian, the pagans think that Christians worship the sun, since they pray turned toward the East and celebrate their liturgy on Sunday, the dies solis Ad nationes 1,13. Clement of Alexandria also testifies to the practice of praying turned to the East Stromata 7,43,6, as does the Didascalia Apostolorum 2,57.