Continuing on in our series, today’s word is Soged.

Prostrations are an essential part of the praxis of Orthodox Christians. It is a penitential act that humbles all of mankind. Orthodox worship is multidimensional and encompasses all aspects of an individual, both their physical and mental capabilities. Prostrations are intrinsically linked to fasting in the Syriac Orthodox tradition. As fasting empties our bodies, prostrations reminds us to return to the Creator.

St. Basil the Great writes, “Every time we fall upon our knees and rise from off them we shew by the very deed that by our sin we fell down to earth, and by the loving kindness of our Creator were called back to heaven.”

For a number of individuals, prostrations may be impossible, especially because of a physical handicap. This may be quite disheartening for an Orthodox believer with a disability. In the writings of the learned Maphrian-Catholicos Mor Gregorios bar’Ebroyo, we are told the obligations to prostrate are for those who do not have any physical impediments, and he strongly criticizes those healthy individuals who consciously choose not to prostrate in prayer; for he says, “and everyone who is sound in his body and capable of performing it, but neglects, will be judged with the unbelievers at the Judgement Day.”

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