Author Topic: Censing the faithful  (Read 1488 times)

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Offline deusveritasest

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Censing the faithful
« on: January 27, 2011, 12:08:18 AM »
It seems usually that censing something is a form of veneration. Yet I have a hard time believing that the censing of the congregation during the Liturgy is a form of veneration. What exactly is the meaning/purpose behind this censing?
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Offline orthonorm

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Re: Censing the faithful
« Reply #1 on: January 27, 2011, 12:32:30 AM »
It seems usually that censing something is a form of veneration. Yet I have a hard time believing that the censing of the congregation during the Liturgy is a form of veneration. What exactly is the meaning/purpose behind this censing?

Let's let the experts check my simple grasp of this:

We are all icons, that is made in the image of God.
The censing is not just an act of veneration of the persons present, but also realizes the Holy Spirit among us as well as the Cloud of Witness past, present, and future.

Please correct me. This is my rudimentary understanding.
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Offline LizaSymonenko

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Re: Censing the faithful
« Reply #2 on: January 27, 2011, 12:39:10 AM »

You are made in the image of God.

You have received the Holy Spirit through chrismation.

You are called to be holy.

If you have received the Holy Mysteries...Christ is truly within you.

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Offline deusveritasest

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Re: Censing the faithful
« Reply #3 on: January 27, 2011, 01:03:02 AM »
I was wondering about this in connection to what appears may be a related issue.

In my room I have put up pictures of HH Pope Shenouda III, HH Patriarch Ignatius Zakka I, and HH Catholicos Karekin II (because they are the three occupants of the three Sees to which "spiritual supremacy" is attributed within their respective domains) to honor their office and to be reminders to pray for them. When I pray I often cense the icons in my room but have previously avoided sensing these images because of what has been my understanding of veneration. So, would it be appropriate to cense these images along similar lines of thinking with which the faithful are censed?
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Offline Bruin5

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Re: Censing the faithful
« Reply #4 on: January 27, 2011, 01:06:15 AM »
I've heard some Priests say that we should not make the sign of the Cross when receiving incense but rather bow in acceptance.  I would think either is okay, but any thoughts on proper way to receive?

Offline Alveus Lacuna

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Re: Censing the faithful
« Reply #5 on: January 27, 2011, 01:09:24 AM »
Nobody crosses themselves when censed at my church, but I am starting to figure out that it's common in the "back home" thrice holy Orthodox lands. The books and clerics say don't do it, the yayas and babas say do it.

Offline deusveritasest

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Re: Censing the faithful
« Reply #6 on: January 27, 2011, 01:10:10 AM »
I've heard some Priests say that we should not make the sign of the Cross when receiving incense but rather bow in acceptance.  I would think either is okay, but any thoughts on proper way to receive?

I've also been told that about when the Priest blesses with his hand.
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Offline minasoliman

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Re: Censing the faithful
« Reply #7 on: January 27, 2011, 01:24:53 AM »
From what I understand at least in the Coptic Church, the censing of the faithful is done as a sort of absolution for the faithful, because traditionally, this was the time when the faithful were confessing their sins before the priest.  Notice how at the same time the priest is censing the people, we pray the "Hiten" prayers, which we ask for every saint's intercessions and prayers for the Lord to forgive us our sins.

The censing of both the faithful and the icons is also a way of uniting the faithful on earth with the heavenly as one Church.  But before that, there is a confession of sins, and then a censing theoretically speaking.  He prays before all this censing the Prayer of the Absolution, "May we be all absolved..."
« Last Edit: January 27, 2011, 01:28:33 AM by minasoliman »
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Offline Tony

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Re: Censing the faithful
« Reply #8 on: January 27, 2011, 01:28:08 AM »

You are made in the image of God.

You have received the Holy Spirit through chrismation.

You are called to be holy.

If you have received the Holy Mysteries...Christ is truly within you.




This is my understanding why it is done as well.

Offline Melodist

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Re: Censing the faithful
« Reply #9 on: January 27, 2011, 01:28:26 AM »
I've heard some Priests say that we should not make the sign of the Cross when receiving incense but rather bow in acceptance.  I would think either is okay, but any thoughts on proper way to receive?

I've also been told that about when the Priest blesses with his hand.

My parish must be unusual then.

When the priest is walking around the nave censing everything, then it is customary to cross yourself.

When the Priest censes or blesses the congregation as a whole from the front of the church, then everyone bows.
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Offline stashko

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Re: Censing the faithful
« Reply #10 on: January 27, 2011, 03:37:35 AM »
I do Both,Cross and Bow ,all bases covered........ :police:
ГОСПОДЕ ГОСПОДЕ ,ПОГЛЕДАЈ СА НЕБА ,ДОЂИ И ПОСЕТИ ТВОЈ ВИНОГРАД ТВОЈА ДЕСНИЦА ПОСАДИЛА АМИН АМИН.

Offline ozgeorge

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Re: Censing the faithful
« Reply #11 on: January 27, 2011, 09:10:23 AM »
Nobody crosses themselves when censed at my church, but I am starting to figure out that it's common in the "back home" thrice holy Orthodox lands. The books and clerics say don't do it, the yayas and babas say do it.
Mount Athos only bows.
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Offline Irish Hermit

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Re: Censing the faithful
« Reply #12 on: January 27, 2011, 09:21:56 AM »
These are the customary things in the Russian and Serbian Churches

1.  Cross yourself and bow when blessed by a holy object - the Cross in a
priest's hands, the Chalice with its precious contents, the Book of the
Gospels.

2.  Simply bow - to the hand-only blessing of a priest or bishop, when being censed.



Offline kijabeboy03

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Re: Censing the faithful
« Reply #13 on: January 27, 2011, 05:48:06 PM »
In most Orthodox churches I've been to in Russia and Ukraine (and their diasporas) it was customary only to bow when being blessed in the form of the cross, whether with a clergyman's hand or the Gospel or a cross (ditto in the Old Believer churches I visited). Things seem different in Middle Eastern heritage churches (Greek and Antiochian Orthodox), however.
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Offline Thankful

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Re: Censing the faithful
« Reply #14 on: February 10, 2011, 02:34:58 AM »
I crossed myself before I bowed once, when asking an abbot at a monastery for a blessing. He said, with a laugh, "I'm not dead yet!" When it comes to bowing before people, apparently you cross first before relics and icons (reposed) but not before a (living) servant of God? This is what our (Antiochian) priest also said when I asked him.

As to the OP, we do not cross ourselves, but just bow, when being censed. And the reasons I read above are what I've understood.
« Last Edit: February 10, 2011, 02:36:02 AM by Thankful »

Offline deusveritasest

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Re: Censing the faithful
« Reply #15 on: February 10, 2011, 04:14:11 AM »
I was wondering about this in connection to what appears may be a related issue.

In my room I have put up pictures of HH Pope Shenouda III, HH Patriarch Ignatius Zakka I, and HH Catholicos Karekin II (because they are the three occupants of the three Sees to which "spiritual supremacy" is attributed within their respective domains) to honor their office and to be reminders to pray for them. When I pray I often cense the icons in my room but have previously avoided sensing these images because of what has been my understanding of veneration. So, would it be appropriate to cense these images along similar lines of thinking with which the faithful are censed?

Still waiting for an answer...
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Offline kijabeboy03

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Re: Censing the faithful
« Reply #16 on: February 10, 2011, 04:30:07 AM »
It seems off to me, but I don't have a concrete reason for that feeling :-/. Sorry!
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Offline deusveritasest

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Re: Censing the faithful
« Reply #17 on: February 10, 2011, 04:52:25 AM »
Well, I'll continue sticking to the icons unless someone contributes good reason to show that it's ok.
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