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Author Topic: How to respond to blessings?  (Read 3592 times) Average Rating: 0
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EofK
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« on: January 21, 2008, 12:09:02 PM »

What is the proper response when a priest says "God bless you"?  I always find myself wanting to say "God bless you too" or something, but I'm not sure if that's really something I should say.  I've taken to saying "thank you" but that doesn't seem right either.  Is there any proscribed response?
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« Reply #1 on: January 21, 2008, 12:47:45 PM »

What is the proper response when a priest says "God bless you"?  I always find myself wanting to say "God bless you too" or something, but I'm not sure if that's really something I should say.  I've taken to saying "thank you" but that doesn't seem right either.  Is there any proscribed response?

I don't know of any "standard" response, but I usually say "And may He bless you as well."
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« Reply #2 on: January 21, 2008, 12:56:13 PM »

I don't know of any "standard" response, but I usually say "And may He bless you as well."

I've heard, and may be corrected, that Orthodox laity shouldn't say anything along the lines of "God bless you" to a member of the clergy. As to the actual response, I don't know, but usually say "Thank you" even tho it seems off.
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« Reply #3 on: January 21, 2008, 12:58:16 PM »

What is the proper response when a priest says "God bless you"?  I always find myself wanting to say "God bless you too" or something, but I'm not sure if that's really something I should say.  I've taken to saying "thank you" but that doesn't seem right either.  Is there any proscribed response?

 I too have heard it said that, strictly speaking, it is not right to say "God bless you" to a priest, though others may have different takes on this.  Usually I don't say anything; I just kiss his hand, and if he is offering a formal blessing, this completes the blessing and its reception without any awkwardness at all.  If the priest is just saying "God bless you" in a less formal way, usually I just say something like "thank you" or if it doesn't seem too pompous in the moment "thank God" or "glory to God" or something like that.
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« Reply #4 on: January 21, 2008, 01:03:02 PM »

Interesting, I never heard about this prohibition before. Is this sort of an unwritten rule, or is it more formal?

Now that I think about it, I always give thanks and say "God bless you, Father" when I leave the confessional. I did it yesterday.
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« Reply #5 on: January 21, 2008, 01:14:09 PM »

Interesting, I never heard about this prohibition before. Is this sort of an unwritten rule, or is it more formal?
Oh, I don't know.  I think it's more of an Orthodox thing. Wink
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« Reply #6 on: January 21, 2008, 03:03:33 PM »

Yes, in our tradition you really are not supposed to bless a priest.  It is like you are saying you are somehow above him in authority.

We have this delusional guy who sometimes hangs around our church.  I mean he is really mentally ill and thinks he has been chosen by God for something.  He claims God visits him in the form of some 24 year old man and that saints visit him, etc.  Anyway, he believes God has placed him in a position of authority above the priests and bishops.  One of the things he does is he tries to bless our priest.  When our priest doesn't accept the blessing, he curses the priest, calls him by his first name without "Father," etc.  Anyway, it is just considered an arrogant thing to bless a priest.

In the Armenian Church, when you greet a priest, you are supposed to say "Orhniah Der," which roughly translated means, "Bless me, Father."  The priest responds "Asdvadz Orhneh," which means "May God bless you."  Then you don't say anything in response, accept to have whatever conversation you were going to have with him.
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« Reply #7 on: January 21, 2008, 09:32:59 PM »

I remember reading a post on caf that Father Ambrose wrote he said i hope im right that you never say God Bless you Father ...The priest gives the blessings to us ........Since Father is on this forum as irish hermit it should be easy to find out....every letter or pm to our good Father iv never gave him a God Bless You...after i read his post that it isn't proper....i just say Father Bless in my correspondence and thats it  ......... ... stashko
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« Reply #8 on: January 21, 2008, 11:57:16 PM »

In my personal opinion, many variants are appropriate. "Thank you" works for sure. Also, I have heard about the response "for the Glory of God".
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« Reply #9 on: January 22, 2008, 02:02:49 PM »

For those who think it is not appropriate to say "and God bless you too" to the priest - who is supposed to ask for God's blessings on the priest, if not the members of his flock?
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« Reply #10 on: January 22, 2008, 02:33:44 PM »

For those who think it is not appropriate to say "and God bless you too" to the priest - who is supposed to ask for God's blessings on the priest, if not the members of his flock?

Indeed! Priests are not demigods---they need our prayers and God's blessings too.
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« Reply #11 on: January 22, 2008, 03:58:26 PM »

For those who think it is not appropriate to say "and God bless you too" to the priest - who is supposed to ask for God's blessings on the priest, if not the members of his flock?

my post of the month pick.
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« Reply #12 on: January 22, 2008, 04:26:19 PM »

I was always advised to say " May God grant you many years, Holy Father ( Vladika/ Your Grace/Abouna, etc)! was the appropriate response with the kissing of the  hand if allowed by the priest.

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« Reply #13 on: January 22, 2008, 04:50:35 PM »

For those who think it is not appropriate to say "and God bless you too" to the priest - who is supposed to ask for God's blessings on the priest, if not the members of his flock?

His bishop?
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« Reply #14 on: January 22, 2008, 04:51:31 PM »

Definitely the response should be,

"You are a legit Orthodox priest from a canonical jurisdiction, right?"

If not....you should flee!!!

Wink
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« Reply #15 on: January 22, 2008, 06:08:37 PM »

For those who think it is not appropriate to say "and God bless you too" to the priest - who is supposed to ask for God's blessings on the priest, if not the members of his flock?

Excellent post.


I hardly think it would be out of line. Asking God to look favorably upon a priest is not usurping any authority, nor should the priest feel the person who said it is claiming to be any higher than he.

At Bible Study a few years back, we discussed what a blessing was. In the end, the consensus was "a gift of goodness," and I believe that all people would accept that greatfully.

Perhaps Fr. Chris can weigh in on what he thinks?
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« Reply #16 on: January 22, 2008, 06:26:26 PM »

Thanks for your thoughts, everyone.  Much appreciated!
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« Reply #17 on: January 23, 2008, 01:44:16 AM »

For those who think it is not appropriate to say "and God bless you too" to the priest - who is supposed to ask for God's blessings on the priest, if not the members of his flock?

Excellent summary!
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« Reply #18 on: January 23, 2008, 01:49:50 AM »

We Copts would reply "Thank you Abouna.  Remember me in your prayers."  We also have the restriction never to say to a priest "God bless you."

I mean we do pray for our priests, but when it comes to formality, we are taught to always humbly remember who your Father is, accept his authority, and kiss his hand.
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« Reply #19 on: January 23, 2008, 02:13:33 AM »

Thanks for your thoughts, everyone.  Much appreciated!
You know, EofK, I've always wondered the same thing.  Thanks for bringing this up!  I've always felt the same as you when it comes to saying 'thank you'; Fr. Andrew is soooo kind, loving and patient with hooligans like me. Cheesy 
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« Reply #20 on: January 23, 2008, 09:27:31 AM »

We Copts would reply "Thank you Abouna.  Remember me in your prayers."  We also have the restriction never to say to a priest "God bless you."

I mean we do pray for our priests, but when it comes to formality, we are taught to always humbly remember who your Father is, accept his authority, and kiss his hand.

This, I like.
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« Reply #21 on: January 23, 2008, 09:49:43 AM »

His bishop? 

The judgment of a priest comes down to his relationship with his flock more than the relationship with his Bishop, methinks.  A wish/blessing of "many years" is probably the best approach, since we do it in Liturgy already, it would be less controversial than "God bless you too," even though it really means the same thing.

But you're right - the Bishop should always be asking for blessings upon his priests.
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« Reply #22 on: January 23, 2008, 12:04:41 PM »

You know, EofK, I've always wondered the same thing.  Thanks for bringing this up!  I've always felt the same as you when it comes to saying 'thank you'; Fr. Andrew is soooo kind, loving and patient with hooligans like me. Cheesy 

He is indeed very kind and patient.  It's a good thing cause I feel like I have no idea what I'm doing half the time!   Tongue
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« Reply #23 on: January 23, 2008, 06:43:46 PM »

This came up in another thread.  I contacted my priest/spiritual father at the time about it and here is his reply: "Hi Jeff,
 
Glory to Jesus Christ!
 
I have always taken the blessing whenever and by whomever it is offered as a genuine gesture of love and respect. It never occurred to me that it would be inappropriate. But it is the case that I may not offer the blessing to the Bishop, nor may I bless either my vestments, the incense or the people in his presence. He is the one who blesses when he serves with us. So I guess the monk referred to in your email is thinking of the same practice extending to priest and laity. But honestly, it never bothered me; and, as I said, I'll take the blessing whenever it is offered!"


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« Reply #24 on: January 23, 2008, 11:15:35 PM »

Sometimes "Amen" slips out of my mouth.  Maybe that's not a good response either?  Doesn't "Amen" mean "So be it."?  Thus would be a fitting end to the prayer of "May God bless you"?  I dunno.
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« Reply #25 on: January 23, 2008, 11:50:01 PM »

I say AMEN as well.  It verifies the blessing and verifies that you accepted it.  That's my personal opinion. 

In Greek the priest says:  Η Ευλογἰα Κυρἰου to which I say και αυτοὐ εφ ημἀς. 

This translates "The blessing of the Lord" and "unto all of us"

You can figure out which way you want to conjugate it. 
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« Reply #26 on: January 24, 2008, 12:51:44 AM »

I guess it wouldn't be inappropriate to follow a priest's individual blessing upon you with the standard liturgical response, "And to your spirit."
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« Reply #27 on: January 25, 2008, 12:35:41 AM »

I guess it wouldn't be inappropriate to follow a priest's individual blessing upon you with the standard liturgical response, "And to your spirit."

Totally agree.

Also, I agree with other variants mentioned / recommended here. Thank you, everybody! I also have been thinking about this before.
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« Reply #28 on: January 25, 2008, 02:17:26 AM »

I guess it wouldn't be inappropriate to follow a priest's individual blessing upon you with the standard liturgical response, "And to your spirit."

To tell you the truth, I never seen liturgically anything where the priest says "God bless you all," and we repeat "and to your spirit."  I've seen "Peace be with all" or "The Lord be with you all."  In fact, in the Coptic Church there are parts of the liturgy where we ask the priest to "give us his blessings."
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« Reply #29 on: January 25, 2008, 02:49:22 AM »

To tell you the truth, I never seen liturgically anything where the priest says "God bless you all," and we repeat "and to your spirit."  I've seen "Peace be with all" or "The Lord be with you all."  In fact, in the Coptic Church there are parts of the liturgy where we ask the priest to "give us his blessings."

In the Armenian liturgy, there is something like that.  At certain times during the liturgy, the priest will kind of turn from the altar, make the sign of the Cross in the direction of the congregation and say "Khaghaghootyoon amenetsoon." ("Peace to all.")  The congregation (actually choir) responds "Yev unt hokvooyt koom." ("And with your spirit.")  I've never heard of using "And with your spirit" to be a response to a priest's blessing outside of the liturgy.  Is it used that way outside of the liturgy in any other Churches?
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« Reply #30 on: January 26, 2008, 09:01:44 AM »

To tell you the truth, I never seen liturgically anything where the priest says "God bless you all," and we repeat "and to your spirit."  I've seen "Peace be with all" or "The Lord be with you all."  In fact, in the Coptic Church there are parts of the liturgy where we ask the priest to "give us his blessings."

Mina, on the tasbeha website, the liturgy done at Saint Mark's Church in Washington, DC has a part that goes:

Abouna:  Peace be with all.

Choir:  And with your spirit.

Not sure if that's the same, though.
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« Reply #31 on: January 26, 2008, 11:54:29 AM »

This discussion has been informative.  Cleveland's Reply #9 made me think, because I've felt uncomfortable, having the nerve to "bless" he who is the Icon of Christ through his bishop," who blesses us.  I recall reading a traditionalist publication, which I think indicated laity shouldn't be blessing clergy in correspondence.

But, my inspiration to post herein, was Anastasios' Reply #14.  I got quite a laugh from that.  That's what we've come to, perhaps.
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« Reply #32 on: January 26, 2008, 05:50:39 PM »

I recall reading a traditionalist publication, which I think indicated laity shouldn't be blessing clergy in correspondence.


Yah...how would that work anyway...? 
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