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Author Topic: Deacons doing house blessings  (Read 3043 times) Average Rating: 0
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BasilCan
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« on: January 08, 2008, 03:46:34 PM »

Are deacons allowed to do house blessings? I know of a priest who as such a large parish that he couldn't possibly ever visit everyone who wants him to bless their homes. So, I suggested the deacon do some. The water used is already blessed, so to me, I think it would be okay. Deacons do take communion to the sick (at least in the church I attend). Is there any canonical or liturgical reason why a deacon couldn't bless homes during this Theophany season?  (and no, I don't know what his bishop said)

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« Last Edit: January 13, 2008, 10:58:15 AM by Anastasios » Logged
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« Reply #1 on: January 09, 2008, 01:26:28 AM »

I have never heard of this. As a matter of fact I know many parishes where the assistant priest aren't even allowed to do house blessings.

The house blessing is often the only one on one contact the pastor may have with some parishioners.
« Last Edit: January 13, 2008, 10:58:39 AM by Anastasios » Logged

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« Reply #2 on: January 13, 2008, 02:39:39 AM »

Deacons are not able to give a blessing or perform any sacraments. They are simply servants. A deacon cannot give a house blessing.
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« Reply #3 on: January 13, 2008, 02:59:18 AM »

Deacons are not able to give a blessing or perform any sacraments. They are simply servants. A deacon cannot give a house blessing.
I'm sure there must be, but I'm not aware of any prohibition against this in the Typikon or the canons (not that I know that much about either).  Can you cite the text of any such proscription?
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« Reply #4 on: January 13, 2008, 09:11:39 AM »

It is also possible for parishioners to bless their own homes. Piety leads the faithful to ask for what is needful in their particular situation.
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« Reply #5 on: January 13, 2008, 11:01:06 AM »

edits in post are due to me being hung up on grammar. sorry.

Deacons actually can give a blessing with their hands in the same position as we use to bless ourselves but they can't perform a sacrament. House blessings while not one of the "big 7" definitely qualify as a sacrament on some level (Holy Water blessing).
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« Reply #6 on: January 13, 2008, 06:39:32 PM »

I know that in the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese, bishops have given permission to Deacons to serve Holy Communion; serve, not consecrate. 

The rule of thumb I've been taught, a Deacon cannot conduct services on his own; he cannot intone, "Blessed is Our God.."
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« Reply #7 on: January 14, 2008, 01:07:32 AM »

I know that in the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese, bishops have given permission to Deacons to serve Holy Communion; serve, not consecrate. 

The rule of thumb I've been taught, a Deacon cannot conduct services on his own; he cannot intone, "Blessed is Our God.."

This is nothing new.  Deacons have served Communion back in ancient times.  They regularly serve Communion in the AOA.
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« Reply #8 on: January 14, 2008, 01:17:26 AM »

Basil,

(Holy Water blessing). 

Here is the crux: are they blessing the water there, or are they just bringing water from the Great Agiasmos and doing petitions?  I know of both practices being quite regular - to do an on-site blessing, and also to do no on-site blessing but just bringing the water from the Church and doing petitions for the family.  If they are doing the former, I've never heard of a deacon doing the blessing of the waters, and I don't think it can be done, so no.  If they are doing the latter, I cannot see why they wouldn't be able to lead that service - as others have pointed out, the deacons are empowered to distribute communion, and with that they are to say prayers and petitions for those receiving.  They are able to be major agents in baptism. 

Everything beyond this level seems to be speculation.
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« Reply #9 on: January 14, 2008, 11:35:58 PM »

This is nothing new.  Deacons have served Communion back in ancient times.  They regularly serve Communion in the AOA.

Consecrating and serving are two different things.
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« Reply #10 on: January 15, 2008, 12:22:08 PM »

Frequently for those of us who live  a long distance from the Church and have proble with getting a scheduel that will meet the pastor's ability to come out to the bless the home are given the Holy Theophany water and told to go through the house with the new Theophany water supplied bythe priest and bless the house using the water in the name of the Father and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

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« Reply #11 on: February 20, 2008, 02:47:26 PM »

When I was in college, our priest said there was "no way on earth" that he would go to a women's dormitory to bless it, but said I should take the holy water and bless the room myself, when my non-Orthodox roommate was out, so as not to scandalize or offend her.

Deacons can do some things but not others. They can bring Holy Communion to the sick, and they are supposed to help out with the Sunday School or other parish instruction, but for house blessings the only clergyman you can get to do it is the priest.

As a side note, a priest who visited China said that the Orthodox there, bereft of clergy for so long, would go down to the river and get bottles of water on Theophany because that's the day that all the waters are blessed. They considered that their holy water and used it as such all year long.

I know that one Old Calendar bishop encouraged his people to bless every room in the house on their own once a month. My Roman Catholic grandmother would get out the holy water during thunder storms and would bless the house, between shrieks, whenever there was lightning. I suspect it was a continuation of an ancient practice.

What we do is to divide our parish into regions, using a key map (ROCOR's engineer priests), and my husband blesses all the houses in each area on a set day, within two hours of a set time. The schedule goes into the bulletin, onto the web site, and is posted at the back of the church, plus he calls everyone the night before so he can give an estimated time of arrival to each household. Because he has a secular job teaching, it takes several weekends, but it's worth it because sometimes it's the only time all year when he gets to sit down alone with a family and hear their joys and sorrows and answer their questions.

While it's traditional to bless homes at Theophany, it can be done at any time. If you couldn't fit into the schedule for January, why not band together with several families in your area and ask the priest to bless everyone's homes after Pascha? A Spring house blessing is nice in its own way, and if several of you get together, the added benefit is that you meet the parishioners who live out your way.

Just a thought.
Hope this helps.

In Christ,
Matushka Ann Lardas

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