Author Topic: The Origin / Development of Belled Censers?  (Read 664 times)

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Offline LivenotoneviL

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The Origin / Development of Belled Censers?
« on: October 25, 2017, 12:13:09 AM »
I was wondering if anybody had any idea about how and when the bells on the censers were developed - and how early this addition came about, why this came about, etc; was it exclusively a Byzantine practice, or what?
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Offline LBK

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Re: The Origin / Development of Belled Censers?
« Reply #1 on: October 25, 2017, 12:31:01 AM »
I can't help you on the when, but I do know that the bells symbolize the apostles and their preaching. Hence in many cases, twelve bells are used.

The prokeimenon before the epistle reading for the feast of Pentecost is this: Their voice has gone out to all the earth, and their words to the end of the world.

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Offline Luke

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Re: The Origin / Development of Belled Censers?
« Reply #2 on: October 25, 2017, 12:36:33 AM »
An Orthodoxwiki article states there are twelve bells that represent the voices of the disciples proclaiming the Gospel: https://orthodoxwiki.org/Censer

Offline LivenotoneviL

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Re: The Origin / Development of Belled Censers?
« Reply #3 on: October 25, 2017, 01:04:02 AM »
I'm familiar with the symbolism of the censers - but the censers of the West, for example, are long chained censers with no bells. The bells of the censers add a distinct atmosphere to the Liturgy, and I wonder when this came about - if they were added by the East or removed by the West and for what reason this occurred.
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Offline xOrthodox4Christx

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Re: The Origin / Development of Belled Censers?
« Reply #4 on: October 25, 2017, 02:59:11 AM »
I'm familiar with the symbolism of the censers - but the censers of the West, for example, are long chained censers with no bells. The bells of the censers add a distinct atmosphere to the Liturgy, and I wonder when this came about - if they were added by the East or removed by the West and for what reason this occurred.

As far as I know, the other eastern rites don't have bells either. So it appears to be a distinctly Byzantine practice.
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Re: The Origin / Development of Belled Censers?
« Reply #5 on: October 25, 2017, 11:38:04 AM »
I'm familiar with the symbolism of the censers - but the censers of the West, for example, are long chained censers with no bells. The bells of the censers add a distinct atmosphere to the Liturgy, and I wonder when this came about - if they were added by the East or removed by the West and for what reason this occurred.

As far as I know, the other eastern rites don't have bells either. So it appears to be a distinctly Byzantine practice.

Nope.
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Re: The Origin / Development of Belled Censers?
« Reply #6 on: October 25, 2017, 11:52:12 AM »
I think all eastern and oriental traditions have belled censers.




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Re: The Origin / Development of Belled Censers?
« Reply #7 on: October 25, 2017, 04:06:00 PM »
Censing in certain moments has had four purposes: to wake up (especially during the vigils consited of all the services concluded with Liturgy), to show the respect/a kind of offering, avoid bad smells (that's what I suppose), expell demons.

The bells have been introduced to help with the waking up, their symbolism seems to have been added later.

I wonder if the West hadn't so long vigils, so only the East has these belled censers?...
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Offline Alpha60

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Re: The Origin / Development of Belled Censers?
« Reply #8 on: October 25, 2017, 04:21:55 PM »
I'm familiar with the symbolism of the censers - but the censers of the West, for example, are long chained censers with no bells. The bells of the censers add a distinct atmosphere to the Liturgy, and I wonder when this came about - if they were added by the East or removed by the West and for what reason this occurred.

As far as I know, the other eastern rites don't have bells either. So it appears to be a distinctly Byzantine practice.

I think all eastern and oriental traditions have belled censers.





The Assyrian Church of the East doesn't.  However, the Chaldeans compensate for this by using both cymbals and Latin style sacring bells. 

Other than that, bell equipped thuribles seem standard in the Orthodox Church.   In the Syriac Orhodox Church we also put bells on our liturgical fans, which lends a dramatic effect to climactic moments in the anaphora and really brings in a sense of divinity.
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Offline iohanne

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Re: The Origin / Development of Belled Censers?
« Reply #9 on: October 26, 2017, 09:48:16 AM »
As a Latin, I can confirm that I have never heard of the Latin Church in any part of her history having bells on her thurible as part of her traditions. What seems to be the case in the modern usus antiquior (the Tridentine Mass, lit. the Older Use) is that the priest or deacon or the acolyte, while incensing towards someone or something, will swing the thurible with enough force so that when it swings backwards towards the person doing the incensing, the thurible's body will clink against the chain. Sometimes this doesn't happen for various reasons but this seems to be an 'ideal.' This happens also occasionally at novus ordo Masses where the clergy are known to be more 'traditional.'

Here is a Youtube video where a priest is incensing the altar during the Midnight Mass on Christmas, while the choir sings the end of the Introit Dominus dixit ad me (lit. 'the Lord said to Me"), followed by a polyphonic Kyrie eleison. However, you can still clearly hear the clanking. Link : https://youtu.be/8zXLMazK8gA

In Milan, those who pray the Mass according to the traditions ascribed to St. Ambrose incense the thurible silently, without such clanking. Additionally, their thuribles have no tops on (  :o ! ) and the thurible is swing in circles, rather than swinging away from the priest or deacon or acolyte in a straight line. All of this, to a person used to the Roman rite, surrounds the Milanese practice of incensing with a strangely orientalising 'mystical' aura (despite the fact that the Orient with all its hesychastic mysticism and liturgical splendor doesn't have such a phenomena of so-called silent incensing). Some of you may all already be familiar with the Latin traditionalists' love for liturgical silence, whether in momentary glimpses at a missa solemnis or all throughout the liturgy at a missa lecta, perhaps the beauty of the silent incensing of the Ambrosian rite is just another facet of that love.

Here is an example : https://youtu.be/HYOWCD7IwCA

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Re: The Origin / Development of Belled Censers?
« Reply #10 on: October 26, 2017, 10:08:22 AM »
Here is a Youtube video where a priest is incensing the altar during the Midnight Mass on Christmas, while the choir sings the end of the Introit Dominus dixit ad me (lit. 'the Lord said to Me"), followed by a polyphonic Kyrie eleison. However, you can still clearly hear the clanking. Link : https://youtu.be/8zXLMazK8gA

IIRC, that's the end of Puer natus est nobis, the Introit from the Mass of the Day. 
How this relates to the coming Antichrist? I don't know...

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Offline iohanne

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Re: The Origin / Development of Belled Censers?
« Reply #11 on: October 26, 2017, 10:24:17 AM »
Here is a Youtube video where a priest is incensing the altar during the Midnight Mass on Christmas, while the choir sings the end of the Introit Dominus dixit ad me (lit. 'the Lord said to Me"), followed by a polyphonic Kyrie eleison. However, you can still clearly hear the clanking. Link : https://youtu.be/8zXLMazK8gA

IIRC, that's the end of Puer natus est nobis, the Introit from the Mass of the Day.

Thank you, Mor Ephrem, I went back and re-listened to it and I have realised I made a mistake! I don't know why I confused the two melodies, they're not even in the same mode. There must have been a musical gesture that was similar to Dominus dixit ad me that jumped out at as I was skipping through the video to make sure I heard the clanking.

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Re: The Origin / Development of Belled Censers?
« Reply #12 on: October 26, 2017, 10:37:27 AM »
Here is a Youtube video where a priest is incensing the altar during the Midnight Mass on Christmas, while the choir sings the end of the Introit Dominus dixit ad me (lit. 'the Lord said to Me"), followed by a polyphonic Kyrie eleison. However, you can still clearly hear the clanking. Link : https://youtu.be/8zXLMazK8gA

IIRC, that's the end of Puer natus est nobis, the Introit from the Mass of the Day.

Thank you, Mor Ephrem, I went back and re-listened to it and I have realised I made a mistake! I don't know why I confused the two melodies, they're not even in the same mode. There must have been a musical gesture that was similar to Dominus dixit ad me that jumped out at as I was skipping through the video to make sure I heard the clanking.

No worries...Dominus dixit ad me is one of my all time favourites, so I got excited to listen to it.  Puer natus est nobis just isn't the same.  :P
How this relates to the coming Antichrist? I don't know...

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Re: The Origin / Development of Belled Censers?
« Reply #13 on: October 26, 2017, 03:10:23 PM »
Here is a Youtube video where a priest is incensing the altar during the Midnight Mass on Christmas, while the choir sings the end of the Introit Dominus dixit ad me (lit. 'the Lord said to Me"), followed by a polyphonic Kyrie eleison. However, you can still clearly hear the clanking. Link : https://youtu.be/8zXLMazK8gA

This clanking is probably one of the most sentimental RC things for me.. I remember this sound while singing a carol by the whole congreagation during the Midnight Nativity Mass (in Polish called "Pasterka"), before the Gospel reading for this Mass and for the Rezurekcja (solemn, very early morning Easter Mass with processions across the housing estate).... Probably because of these festivities, of some RC people important for me that were attending/attend such ceremonies...

However, I thought it's something, let's say, "natural", not done on purpose. But the video from the Ambrosian rite service you posted indicates it's not...
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Re: The Origin / Development of Belled Censers?
« Reply #14 on: October 28, 2017, 06:50:01 AM »
Here is a Youtube video where a priest is incensing the altar during the Midnight Mass on Christmas, while the choir sings the end of the Introit Dominus dixit ad me (lit. 'the Lord said to Me"), followed by a polyphonic Kyrie eleison. However, you can still clearly hear the clanking. Link : https://youtu.be/8zXLMazK8gA

This clanking is probably one of the most sentimental RC things for me.. I remember this sound while singing a carol by the whole congreagation during the Midnight Nativity Mass (in Polish called "Pasterka"), before the Gospel reading for this Mass and for the Rezurekcja (solemn, very early morning Easter Mass with processions across the housing estate).... Probably because of these festivities, of some RC people important for me that were attending/attend such ceremonies...

However, I thought it's something, let's say, "natural", not done on purpose. But the video from the Ambrosian rite service you posted indicates it's not...

The Ambrosian thurible has no top and is moved in a circle; it produces incredible amounts of incense.  Google a YouTube video of their service on the exaltation of the Cross (Sept. 14th) where a 16th baroque Gondola carries clergy up to a reliquary in the ceiling, where the precious fragment of the Cross is normally kept (presumably for safekeeping from invaders or thiefs or Calvinist iconoclasts); there, the leading cleric places the fragment in a processional cross while two others hold candles, and then the gondola descends to the floor of the Cathedral while the Litany of Loreto is sung, and the Cross is venerated by the locals; the name of the service is Italian for "Rite of the Cloud" as the gondola, which was once lifted manually using ropes,  but which now has an electric motor, is a stylized cloud, but I would also note that it might just as well be named for the tremendous clouds of incense that ascend from the open-top Ambrosian thuribles as they are circled about in the Milanese manner.

A Tridentine thurible is usually enclosed and has to be swung to preserve airflow into the chamber to keep the incense burning.

The Dominicans view the swinging as a distraction and use a partially opened thurible like the Orthodox thuribles, which is normally held in place.   This is one of several instances where the Dominican Rite differs from the more splendid Tridentine, Ambrosian and Mozarabic Rites in order to maintain a bright clarity and simplicity that some might find wanting in mystical beauty.   The Dominican missal uses proper prefaces that closely match those of the Carthusian Rite, which also stresses a sort of simplicity, but for different reasons, mainly, to preserve an extreme solemnity; Carthusians in their daily conventual mass chant in a mournful manner, and the entire rite has a penitential feel to it, whereas the Dominican rite has a brighter sense to it, amd Dominican friars tend to wear beautiful, simple white chasubles with dark blue or purple cruciform shapes (the name for which I forget) across the back, in addition to white sulpices (hoods), which cover the head in the introit and are then lowered (much like the use of the Cope during the introit to the Tridentine Mass, solemn or missa cantata, with the Priest then removing this and donning the Chasuble with the assistance of the servers).
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Offline Bryan Paul

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Re: The Origin / Development of Belled Censers?
« Reply #15 on: November 27, 2017, 03:02:12 PM »
Google a YouTube video of their service on the exaltation of the Cross (Sept. 14th)

Whose service? Now I want to see this.
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Offline Volnutt

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Re: The Origin / Development of Belled Censers?
« Reply #16 on: November 27, 2017, 03:43:45 PM »
Google a YouTube video of their service on the exaltation of the Cross (Sept. 14th)

Whose service? Now I want to see this.

Anyone who practices the Ambrosian Rite, so mostly churches in Milan.
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Offline Bryan Paul

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Re: The Origin / Development of Belled Censers?
« Reply #17 on: November 30, 2017, 03:14:34 PM »
No I mean the gondola and the ceiling reliquary.
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Re: The Origin / Development of Belled Censers?
« Reply #18 on: November 30, 2017, 04:20:37 PM »
No I mean the gondola and the ceiling reliquary.

Oh, sorry. Then I don't know.
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