Saturday, March 15, 2008

Applause in the Alexandrian Church

It was a longstanding custom for the congregation to applaud in church, or to shout out signs of their disapproval, when bishops preached to them. There are several indications in the fifth century patristic homilies of the bishops strugling for control over their audience. In the Alexandrian cathedral one of Cyril's avid followers, the lay professor Hierax, had the function of leading the applause during Cyril's sermons. Hierax was a well-known figure, a prominent Christian and a highly visible member of Cyril's entourage. - pp 10-11, St Cyril of Alexandria and the Christological Controversy, John Mc Guckin

4 comments:

Michael said...

a clacque! I never knew the early Church had 'em!

Augustine said...

One wonders if some of the English bishops would get much applause...

Pastor in Valle said...

Another interesting homiletic custom was the practice in North Africa during the patristic period that the Bishop (the only one permitted to preach except in extraordinary circumstances) sat to deliver his words of wisdom, while the laity stood in respect to receive them. This would have been the manner in which Ss. Cyprian and Augustine preached.

Enbrethiliel said...

+JMJ+

It's a good thing I didn't know this last Sunday, or I would have made much more of a scene than I did! =P