Coptic Church · Rites & Rituals

Kissing the Sanctuary Curtain

Woman of Faith - Healed through the touch of a Saviors Hem!It is custom that when we enter the church that we bow down in front of the Sanctuary and kiss the curtain.

However people seem not to have the slightest clue as to what this ancient tradition handed down from generation to generation actually means.

So in an attempt to revive the tradition and its meaning, below is the reasoning behind kissing the curtain of the Sanctuary.

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The Gospel of Mark accounts the following,

“Now a certain woman had a flow of blood for twelve years, and had suffered many things from many physicians. She had spent all that she had and was no better, but rather grew worse. When she heard about Jesus, she came behind Him in the crowd and touched His garment. For she said, “If only I may touch His clothes, I shall be made well.” Immediately the fountain of her blood was dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of the affliction. And Jesus, immediately knowing in Himself that power had gone out of Him, turned around in the crowd and said, “Who touched My clothes?” But His disciples said to Him, “You see the multitude thronging You, and You say, Who touched Me?’ ”  And He looked around to see her who had done this thing. But the woman, fearing and trembling, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell down before Him and told Him the whole truth. And He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace, and be healed of your affliction.”

Mark 5:25-34

As we can see the touch of a faithful believer can cure illness. It is hopefully obvious now that when we come to kiss the Sanctuary curtain, we are emulating the very actions of this woman who had immense faith in Christ!

Further one must mention, that we need to do this in reverence, touching the curtain is touching the hem of Christs cloak. In the Gospel of Matthew 14:35-36, the crowd begs to touch the hem of Christ’s Garment.

“And when the men of that place recognized Him, they sent out into all that surrounding region, brought to Him all who were sick, and begged Him that they might only touch the hem of His garment. And as many as touched it were made perfectly well.”

It truly is a great blessing and privilege that we do not deserve.

It is also interesting to note that the correct way to kiss the Sanctuary curtain is at the bottom, just as was done by the Lady mentioned in the passage above!

May the blessings of the Hem of Christ’s Garment be with us all Amen.

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