Book of the Gospels on the altar

In Paul Turner's Blog by Paul Turner

Q: I’m puzzled by what appears to be a new regulation about how one places the Book of the Gospels on the altar during the opening procession, a task that as a non-instituted lector I have had to undertake when our deacon isn’t present.

Our parish used to use a stand that held the book in place vertically on the altar, and I placed the book in the stand so that the decorated cover faced the congregation.

Now I’ve been told, and have been watching our deacon do this, to place the book flat on the altar. No one can really see that the book is there, and it certainly isn’t placed prominently. Why has that been changed? Does making an important sign of Christ’s presence invisible (or nearly so) during the Liturgy of the Word make sense? Please advise. Thanks!


A: Here’s a previous post:

I don’t think the rules have changed. I think the practice did. The Eastern Rites have a long practice of placing the book flat on the altar. It will be visible to some extent even lying down.