Hands Folded – PRAYING
In the famous stories – ILIAD and ODYSSEY – the ancient form of prayer is noted when Odysseus prays on ship; he outstretches his arms with palms open upward to the sky. The Roman Catholic priest when reading the oration at Holy Mass assumes this posture. In antiquity people prayed in this ‘orans’ position. Orans in Latin meaning – PRAYING.
In ancient Rome, prisoners had hands shackled with rope or vine. Joined hands came to symbolize submission. A captured soldier could avoid immediate death by joining his hands together; just like waving a white flag today, the message was clear, “I surrender.”
Centuries later, subjects demonstrated their loyalty and paid homage to their rulers by joining their hands together. In time, clasping the hands together communicated both an acknowledgment of another’s authority and one’s submission to that authority.
Folded hands in prayer was also a Judaic practice but discontinued, during a persecution, by the Rabbis, who decreed that the Jews cease folding their hands in prayer because their oppressors used folded hands.