Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern United States
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Is it a sin to prostrate during the holy fifty days? I know it is forbidden, but will a person go to hell for prostrating? Does a person need to confess this or not?

On Saturdays and Sundays and during the holy fifty days and other joyful days, we refrain only from the prostrations of repentance. On these days, we can worship the Lord as we pray in the conclusion of every hour in the Agpeya, “Have mercy on us, O God, and Have mercy on us, who at all times and in every hour, in heaven and on earth, is worshiped and glorified."

Worship in Arabic and Coptic is literally prostration; so we say at all times and in every hour in heaven and on earth we prostrate to Him and glorify Him. Also, on Sundays, we prostrate several times during the liturgy. We bow down our heads and we get on our knees before the Lord. The only thing that is not allowed is the prostrations of repentance.

It is not a sin to prostrate during the holy fifty days, and there is no reason to confess about it as if it is a sin if you do, but you should share this information with your spiritual father so that the purpose and your intentions are clear and your spiritual father is in agreement with your spiritual practices. In general, you stand to gain more by living within the seasons of the Church, rather than on the margins. In the wisdom of the Church fathers, there are distinguished times for fasting, asceticism, service, and rejoicing, in which the Church collaboratively and simultaneously worships via the same means.

When Christ was asked regarding why the disciples of St. John the Baptist were fasting, but not His, He replied that the guests of the bridegroom cannot fast while the bridegroom is amongst them (Matthew 9:14; Mark 2:18; Luke 5:33). Thus, during these joyous fifty days, Christ is amongst us just as He was with His disciples and apostles after His glorious resurrection. We relive those days not just as a memory or reflection, but in reality. If you train yourself, with the guidance of your spiritual father, to live each day according to the life of the Church, you will enjoy and benefit from every season.
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