Ancient Middle East
In Eastern countries adoration has been performed in an attitude still more lowly. The Persian method, introduced by Cyrus, was to kiss the knee and fall on the face at the prince's feet, striking the earth with the forehead and kissing the ground. This striking of the earth with the forehead, usually a fixed number of times, is the form of adoration usually paid to Eastern potentates even today.
The Jews kissed in homage, as did other groups mentioned in the Old Testament. Thus in 1 Kings 19:18, God is made to say, "Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him." And in Psalms 2:12, "Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way." (See also Hosea 13:2.)
In Western Europe the ceremony of kissing the sovereign's hand, and some other acts which are performed kneeling, may be described as forms of adoration.
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Adoration in the Catholic Church takes several forms. One is the simple adoration of God Himself. Adoration also takes the form of Eucharistic adoration. The Catholic belief in transubstantiation is that the bread and wine literally become the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, through which Catholics adore Jesus Christ in remembrance of what He gave. The host is usually placed in a monstrance, and reverently viewed at Benedictions and during adoration. Some churches contain "adoration chapels" in which the Eucharist is continuously on display that the faithful may observe their faith through it.
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press