Poll

How long do you leave icons on the altar before the priest blesses them?

A Week Or Two
5 (22.7%)
Forty Days
9 (40.9%)
Wait, A Priest Is Supposed To Bless Them!?
2 (9.1%)
This Poll Doesn't Have Enough Options!
6 (27.3%)

Total Members Voted: 22

Author Topic: Blessing Icons  (Read 9138 times)

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Offline Asteriktos

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Blessing Icons
« on: December 15, 2008, 06:53:43 PM »
I wasn't sure where to put this, but I figured since the question was about leaving the icons on the altar, it'd fit best in liturgy. So... how long do you leave icons on the altar before the priest blesses them?

Offline arimethea

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Re: Blessing Icons
« Reply #1 on: December 16, 2008, 02:12:46 AM »
In many traditions icons are not blessed, their holiness comes from their use. In the strictest sense the Antiochians follow this practice. Take a look in their official service books and see if you can find a prayer for blessing an icon. The common practice in places where there is no blessing is to have the icon in church for as little as a liturgy and as long as 40 days. I am not sure where the practice of placing the icon on the altar itself came about but I have seen this only in America.
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Offline LBK

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Re: Blessing Icons
« Reply #2 on: December 16, 2008, 05:54:04 AM »
The Slavonic Trebnik (Book of Needs) has a multitude of little rituals for blessing all sorts of things, from vehicles (originally chariots  :)), homes, altar vessels and related objects, and, yes, icons.
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Offline Asteriktos

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Re: Blessing Icons
« Reply #3 on: December 16, 2008, 07:17:40 AM »
Quote
In many traditions icons are not blessed, their holiness comes from their use. In the strictest sense the Antiochians follow this practice. Take a look in their official service books and see if you can find a prayer for blessing an icon.

Well, I don't know if he uses an official service book, but my priest definitely reads out of a book when he blesses our icons.

Quote
The common practice in places where there is no blessing is to have the icon in church for as little as a liturgy and as long as 40 days. I am not sure where the practice of placing the icon on the altar itself came about but I have seen this only in America

Interesting, I certainly didn't know that!

Offline VirSpeluncaeOrthodoxae

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Re: Blessing Icons
« Reply #4 on: December 16, 2008, 03:43:12 PM »
In many traditions icons are not blessed, their holiness comes from their use. In the strictest sense the Antiochians follow this practice. Take a look in their official service books and see if you can find a prayer for blessing an icon. The common practice in places where there is no blessing is to have the icon in church for as little as a liturgy and as long as 40 days. I am not sure where the practice of placing the icon on the altar itself came about but I have seen this only in America.

That's interesting since almost all of my icons were blessed by Antiochian priests.
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Offline Fr. George

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Re: Blessing Icons
« Reply #5 on: December 16, 2008, 03:49:09 PM »
I don't recall hearing about an origin for the practice of leaving the icons in the altar for 40 days, but that is what I grew up with.  Some of the Eucologia (Priest's Prayer Books) have a blessing of the icons, but don't state any sort of Altar/Sanctuary "sitting" period in them; they are merely blessings of the icons with Holy Water, asking for the prayers of the saint depicted upon the home of those using the Icon.
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Offline Asteriktos

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Re: Blessing Icons
« Reply #6 on: December 17, 2008, 06:41:18 PM »
Can any other non-American forum members chime in here about the customs outside the U.S. regarding icons?

Offline mike

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Re: Blessing Icons
« Reply #7 on: December 18, 2008, 07:28:42 AM »
I was told that if you're painting an icon by yourself for domestic use it's no need to bless it. The icon gets "sanctified" by painting personage's eye pupils. So it's almost the last thing to paint (subtitles are painted in the end).
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Offline Robert W

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Re: Blessing Icons
« Reply #8 on: December 18, 2008, 07:36:56 AM »
Can any other non-American forum members chime in here about the customs outside the U.S. regarding icons?
My priest blessed some of my icons with holy water and a prayer. No liturgy involved.
I have also seen icons blessed by beeing on the altar during a (single) liturgy. Might be that the priest blessed those icons with water also afterwards, I don't know.

I was told that if you're painting an icon by yourself for domestic use it's no need to bless it. The icon gets "sanctified" by painting personage's eye pupils. So it's almost the last thing to paint (subtitles are painted in the end).
My parish runs an icon painting class. All the icons they produce are blessed.

That's how we do things over here.  :)
« Last Edit: December 18, 2008, 07:45:01 AM by Robert W »

Offline HandmaidenofGod

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Re: Blessing Icons
« Reply #9 on: December 19, 2008, 08:27:47 PM »
Liturgical text for the blessing of icons:

http://www.goarch.org/chapel/liturgical_texts/icon_blessing
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Offline BasilCan

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Re: Blessing Icons
« Reply #10 on: December 20, 2008, 01:34:54 PM »
I was forwarded a great link to a good book on icons, available for free, by Father Christopher Klitou. Go to:

http://www.christopherklitou.com/front_cover.htm


In this book he mentions two occassion where Icons receive their santification:
Firstly,the icon is sanctified through its communion with Christ and the saints, through the image and the inscription that it bears. It is holy in the same way that the Cross and the Bible are holy. St. Basil the Great says that iconographers are equal in honour to the Gospel writers. He says this because what the Gospels explain by means of words, the painter explains by means of his works. The Bible is holy not because of the paper and ink, but because the words it contains are the words of God, written by men inspired by the Holy Spirit. These words of God are holy because they proceeded from the mouth of God and sanctify us each time we hear them. In the same way we are sanctified through the Icon because it also is the word of God represented in images, and to put it another way, as the Icon is the image of Christ, so likewise the Bible is the verbal image of Christ, Both inspire and teach us how to live so that we may find the narrow road that leads to salvation.

Secondly, an Icon must be a faithful interpretation of the prototype [original], showing a recognizable image and the name of the person it represents. The name identifies the person or persons and at the same time is a seal of sanctification, for as with the cross and the Bible, the Icon does not need to have special prayers read over it or receive any other form of blessing by a priest to make it holy. It cannot receive any additional benefit from a priest’s blessing or any application of Myron [holy oil]. Some icons have no inscription, which is contrary to the theology of the Icon, for it is the inscription that brings about its sanctification: without it, the Icon remains a common work of art.

Basil,

Thanks to Fr. P for this!

Offline LBK

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Re: Blessing Icons
« Reply #11 on: December 20, 2008, 04:08:33 PM »
Quote
Some icons have no inscription, which is contrary to the theology of the Icon, for it is the inscription that brings about its sanctification: without it, the Icon remains a common work of art.

One would hope that Fr Christopher does not regard icons such as the original Vladimirskaya, Andrei Rublyev's Holy Trinity and any number of old icons whose inscriptions have been obliterated through the ravages of time and/or physical damage as "common works of art".  ;)
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