Christian dating prayer
The orans posture was practiced by both pagans and Jews before it was adopted by the earliest Christians.
Christians saw the position as representing the posture of Christ on the Cross; therefore, it was the favorite of early Christians.
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An arcosolium in the Ostrianum cemetery represents an orans with a petition for her intercession: Victoriæ Virgini ... The earlier orantes were depicted in the simplest garb, and without any striking individual traits, but in the fourth century the figures become richly adorned, and of marked individuality, an indication of the approach of historic art.
One of the most remarkable figures of the orans cycle, dating from the early fourth century, is interpreted by Wilpert as the Blessed Virgin interceding for the friends of the deceased.
But the meaning of the orans of Christian art is quite different from that of its prototypes.
Numerous Biblical figures, for instance, depicted in the catacombs of Rome — Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, and Daniel in the lion's den — are pictured asking the Lord to deliver the soul of the person on whose tombs they are depicted as he once delivered the particular personage represented.