OrthodoxChristianity.net

Moderated Forums => Faith Issues => Topic started by: Meekle on February 08, 2006, 02:52:22 AM

Title: Blessings
Post by: Meekle on February 08, 2006, 02:52:22 AM
I read somewhere that people aren't supposed to bless those higher than them (i.e. a priest blessing a bishop). Why is that, and how is this rule applied to laity, or to non-Orthodox?
Title: Re: Blessings
Post by: Fr. George on February 08, 2006, 07:58:27 AM
Well, I don't like the idea of "higher" and "lower" - but that debate has already been hashed out (I think in the "Female Sub-Deaconate" thread).  As far as not blessing "up" - it depends; during liturgy, if the Bishop is in the pews and the priest is in the Altar, then the priest should bless when appropriate, especially if the priest doesn't know a bishop is there (I know, unlikely, but it has at least happened here, where some of the bishops show up incognito).  THere is no blessing for the Deacon, so it would be impossible for him to bless "up" the ladder.  But, like, if the priest were visiting the Bishop in the hospital, or something like that, then it would be appropriate.  Otherwise, the Bishop should be blessing, if only for the fact that he represents Christ, and the especially the entirety of the Church community.
Title: Re: Blessings
Post by: Meekle on February 08, 2006, 04:43:12 PM
So, then, are laity not allowed to bless?
Title: Re: Blessings
Post by: serb1389 on February 08, 2006, 05:10:44 PM
There is such a thing as a lay blessing.  You just put three fingers together as if you were going to cross yourself, and you make the sign of the cross with your three fingers over whatever it is you are blessing (ie. food). 
Title: Re: Blessings
Post by: Meekle on February 08, 2006, 05:12:34 PM
I mean to people. As in, is it ok to tell someone bless them or something similar?
Title: Re: Blessings
Post by: Fr. George on February 08, 2006, 05:32:55 PM
well, it's funny... the way I've had it explained, if one needed to, say, bless the food at the dinner table for the family, or some situation like that, the blessing is with one's right hand in the same form as you would use to do the sign of the cross (three fingers together).  The only one I've never seen a blessing for is Deacon.

So I guess it would probably be okay to bless a family member or stranger like that... but I've never had that clarified for me either.
Title: Re: Blessings
Post by: Asteriktos on February 08, 2006, 06:22:26 PM
I've heard of people who bless their children before they go off to school, and things like that.
Title: Re: Blessings
Post by: BJohnD on February 08, 2006, 08:22:46 PM
There is such a thing as a lay blessing.  You just put three fingers together as if you were going to cross yourself, and you make the sign of the cross with your three fingers over whatever it is you are blessing (ie. food). 

Many times I've come across passages in books about Stalinist Russia in which a lay person (usually a mother) "makes the sign of the cross over" someone else, usually a husband or child just before they take that last walk out the door and into the arms of the NKVD.  The above is always what I've envisioned.  Correct?
Title: Re: Blessings
Post by: Fr. George on February 08, 2006, 09:36:03 PM
I've heard of people who bless their children before they go off to school, and things like that.

Exactly.  The very simple blessing is good for that purpose.  I think we've always had in Orthodoxy the idea that anyone chrismated/sealed with the Holy Spirit can bless, and we see that especially in the persons of the head of the household and the mother (in the older paradigm of the family).  The head of house would bless the food, both parents would bless the kids, etc.
Title: Re: Blessings
Post by: serb1389 on February 09, 2006, 01:44:27 AM
Yah, plus if you think about it we could do emergency baptisms if it ever came down to it.  It seams to me that its the same kind of principle.  You are asking the Holy Spirit to bless that person.  As long as you dont abuse it I think its fine. 
Title: Re: Blessings
Post by: Meekle on February 09, 2006, 06:53:42 AM
Yah, plus if you think about it we could do emergency baptisms if it ever came down to it.  It seams to me that its the same kind of principle.  You are asking the Holy Spirit to bless that person.  As long as you dont abuse it I think its fine. 

Could a catechumen bless if they are not Baptised or Chrismated?

I'm wondering what would be abuse of a blessing?  ???
Title: Re: Blessings
Post by: Fr. George on February 09, 2006, 07:43:54 AM
I doubt that a catecumen would or should bless, but that's me...

And I really don't see how.... scratch that.  I do see how one can abuse blessing - if anyone has seen the movie Dogma, then the golf clubs explain this well enough.
Title: Re: Blessings
Post by: Asteriktos on February 09, 2006, 12:03:38 PM
While I think it's debatable, and don't mean to imply that Cleveland is wrong, I would lean in the opposite direction and say it is ok, with the following in mind: catechumens are encouraged to practice other Orthodox customs (praying canons, Jesus prayer, fasting, etc.), and it'd be good to get into the habit of it; and also that a catechumen who dies is buried in an Orthodox manner, so they are even as catechumens somewhat Orthodox (also, some of the greatest saints in Church history went straight from Catechumen to Bishop, such as Ambrose of Milan)
Title: Re: Blessings
Post by: serb1389 on February 10, 2006, 12:14:35 AM
i'm not so sure if saying a prayer, fasting, and all of the other things you mentioned are on the same level as INVOCATION of the Holy Spirit.  Plus then we get into the whole issue of Grace and who has it, and then we get into the semantics of the Holy Spirit "blows as it wills" and etc.  I think if people want to make the sign of the cross over someone else, or their food, go for it.  But if you expect to have the Holy Spirit at your disposition...think again. 
Title: Re: Blessings
Post by: Νεκτάριος on February 10, 2006, 01:30:39 AM
Monks (as in non-ordained) will often bless things (although I don't recall seeing a monk blessing a person) making the sign of the cross and says "δι' ευχών του Γερόντα" (Through the prayers of the Elder).  I would assume no monastics could just as easily do something of the sort "Through the prayers of my spiritual father/parish priest/ bishop"
Title: Re: Blessings
Post by: Thomas on February 10, 2006, 02:29:48 AM
Catechumen are encouraged to live the Orthdodox life as they prepare for  Holy Illuminatrion. They would thus be encouraged to make the sign of the cross, bless their food, atheir spouses and their children as wqould any layman.

In Christ,
Thomas
Title: Re: Blessings
Post by: Psalti Boy on February 10, 2006, 02:37:58 PM
Yah, plus if you think about it we could do emergency baptisms if it ever came down to it.  It seams to me that its the same kind of principle.  You are asking the Holy Spirit to bless that person.  As long as you dont abuse it I think its fine. 

What situation(s) would justify emergency baptisms?  If a family member refuses to have their child baptised because of a mixed marriage, could another family member baptise the child for his/her salvation? ???
Title: Re: Blessings
Post by: Fr. George on February 10, 2006, 03:16:06 PM
emergency baptism has the threat of loss of life as a necessary precursor; if someone is about to die and needs to be baptized, then any chrismated layman can do so; if they miraculously pull through, then they will need to go through the Church process (even though I think they modify the baptismal service in these cases - I'm not totally sure).
Title: Re: Blessings
Post by: Starlight on February 10, 2006, 03:35:47 PM
In Ukraine emergency baptisms were done in a case of any potential danger of a death of a baby. Any layperson could bless the baby with the Holy Water and read a prayer. Primarily, the Lord’ Prayer has been used in such an occasion. However, I know at least (1) case, when a little boy (actually he became a Mitred Protopriest later) had a real baptism after such a procedure.