East-West Burials?

I was­n’t aware until this week that there’s some Chris­t­ian tra­di­tion of bury­ing peo­ple in an east-west orientation.

Exam­ple from http://frojel.hgo.se/Report1.html :
The results from the last years’ exca­va­tions are show­ing that we to a high degree suc­ceed­ed to reach our goals, not at least when it comes to the ques­tion of the tran­si­tion between pagan­ism and Chris­tian­i­ty in the area. In the school­mas­ter’s yard, we inves­ti­gat­ed a part of a Chris­t­ian church­yard from the ear­li­est phase of Chris­tian­i­ty. Alto­geth­er, we found some 40 skele­tons, lay­ing in nar­row wood­en coffins, and ori­en­tat­ed in an east-west direc­tion, with their heads in the west and their feet in the east, in line with the Chris­t­ian cus­toms. There was one excep­tion from that. One of the per­sons was lay­ing inverse­ly, with her head in the east and her feet in the west.

I found oth­er exam­ples as well, but I could­n’t find an expla­na­tion of why it is or was cus­tom­ary. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/03071a.htm men­tions the prac­tice but does­n’t ful­ly explain WHY it was done.

Final­ly, I found a quote from Tom Kunesh in the arti­cle Sick­ness and Death in the Old South, which may or may not be credible:
Note that in Chris­tian­i­ty, the star (of the Jew­ish astronomers from Iraq [Baby­lon]) comes from the east. Then there is Matthew 24:27 (NKJ): “For as the light­ning comes from the east and flash­es to the west, so also will the com­ing of the Son of Man be …” thus for the Chris­t­ian believ­er in the res­ur­rec­tion of the dead, plac­ing the body fac­ing east will allow the dead to see the Sec­ond Com­ing of Jesus. 

Any­way, is the east-west bur­ial thing still done? I don’t vis­it ceme­ter­ies much.

Cur­rent Mood: 😕curi­ous
Category: LJ
Cyn is Rick's wife, Katie's Mom, and Esther & Oliver's Mémé. She's also a professional geek, avid reader, fledgling coder, enthusiastic gamer (TTRPGs), occasional singer, and devoted stitcher.
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