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Author Topic: Come on Up for a Birthday Blessing!  (Read 1175 times) Average Rating: 0
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Christopher McAvoy
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« on: April 17, 2011, 12:42:59 AM »

I have on more than one occasion heard at a particular church at the end of it's liturgy if anyone would like to "Come on Up for a Birthday Blessing!".

I would like to know if it is a typical and or a traditional practice to receive a "Birthday blessing" at an Orthodox Church. This particular church followed the western rite, which may be part of the explanation for encountering this phenomenon. I mentioned to the particular priest that it should probably be discouraged and he suggested that it is not hurting anyone and I am too strict.

I am not going to name names so as to not embarrass anyone.

Now my experience with birthdays amongst certain zealous life-long Greek Orthodox immigrants has been that they are frowned upon (even called western custom) and name days are celebrated instead. Frankly I don't know what is the normal Orthodox practice. Even amongst some of my Latin Papal Catholic hispanic relatives Name days are still celebrated. Clearly, harmless as it may be, the birthday is a recent 19th to 20th century development from "our secular humanist" culture.

Ultimately I don't really care. I prefer name days, I dont know how "pagan" a birthday is, but for the record I do desire to know if anyone else has encountered this and if it means anything.


The below notice is taken from an Anglican Church bulletin, but it is nearly word for word what was said at the particular church I attended:

Quote
"Come on Up for a Birthday Blessing!
Since Sunday, September 16th, the Rector has been offering a time
for those celebrating birthdays and anniversaries during that week for
personal blessings. Following the post-communion prayer, those
wishing to receive that blessing will be invited to the front of the
church. Fr. Wrede will then lay hands upon each person and pronounce
the appropriate benediction.
So come on down for God’s blessing!!
If you would like your name included in the birthday list, please email
christriverton@juno.com or mail your name(s) and dates to the
Parish Office."
« Last Edit: April 17, 2011, 12:45:37 AM by Christopher McAvoy » Logged

"and for all who are Orthodox, and who hold the Catholic and Apostolic Faith, remember, O Lord, thy servants" - yet the post-conciliar RC hierarchy is tolerant of everyone and everything... except Catholic Tradition, for modernists are as salt with no taste, to be “thrown out and trampled under foot
Clare G.
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« Reply #1 on: April 17, 2011, 05:43:04 AM »

At my church we wait for coffee hour, and we all sing 'Many years' (no priestly blessing), on name days for those who are Orthodox and birthdays for visitors, enquirers and catechumens. No-one seeks it for themselves, but friends or family will know and insist on the day being marked in this way.
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ialmisry
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« Reply #2 on: April 26, 2011, 02:00:37 AM »

I have on more than one occasion heard at a particular church at the end of it's liturgy if anyone would like to "Come on Up for a Birthday Blessing!".

I would like to know if it is a typical and or a traditional practice to receive a "Birthday blessing" at an Orthodox Church. This particular church followed the western rite, which may be part of the explanation for encountering this phenomenon. I mentioned to the particular priest that it should probably be discouraged and he suggested that it is not hurting anyone and I am too strict.

I am not going to name names so as to not embarrass anyone.

Now my experience with birthdays amongst certain zealous life-long Greek Orthodox immigrants has been that they are frowned upon (even called western custom) and name days are celebrated instead. Frankly I don't know what is the normal Orthodox practice. Even amongst some of my Latin Papal Catholic hispanic relatives Name days are still celebrated. Clearly, harmless as it may be, the birthday is a recent 19th to 20th century development from "our secular humanist" culture.

Ultimately I don't really care. I prefer name days, I dont know how "pagan" a birthday is, but for the record I do desire to know if anyone else has encountered this and if it means anything.


The below notice is taken from an Anglican Church bulletin, but it is nearly word for word what was said at the particular church I attended:

Quote
"Come on Up for a Birthday Blessing!
Since Sunday, September 16th, the Rector has been offering a time
for those celebrating birthdays and anniversaries during that week for
personal blessings. Following the post-communion prayer, those
wishing to receive that blessing will be invited to the front of the
church. Fr. Wrede will then lay hands upon each person and pronounce
the appropriate benediction.
So come on down for God’s blessing!!
If you would like your name included in the birthday list, please email
christriverton@juno.com or mail your name(s) and dates to the
Parish Office."

It means absolutely nothing.  and yes, birthdays have been celebrated for quite some time, mostly it would seem in imitation of rulers.
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« Reply #3 on: April 26, 2011, 02:20:07 AM »

Both the Parishes I've been an active member of call people celebrating special days (birthdays, names days, anniversaries, etc) to the front and many years is sung for them (no special blessing is given), then they are the first to be allowed to venerate the cross. Nothing more.
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« Reply #4 on: April 26, 2011, 04:28:08 AM »

In days of old in our Russian parishes we did not bother with birthdays but a celebration was made of namedays in honour of the Saint..   Nowadays its seems that birthdays are being celebrated by the younger faithful as well, I guess in imitation of our surrounding society.
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« Reply #5 on: April 26, 2011, 08:48:21 AM »

In my parish, after the conclusion of the Liturgy, the priest will read the announcements, and will name and wish a "Happy Birthday" to any who are celebrating that week. Afterward, the parish will sing "Mnohaya Litya!/God Grant You Many Years!" as we go up to venerate the cross.

I was raised in a Ukrainian Orthodox parish. It was not until I was an adult and visited OCA, GOA, and Antiochian parishes that I even knew about "Names Days." I do not know if this is common for Ukrainians or is particular to my parish, but that is how my parish handled birthdays.
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"For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope." Jer 29:11
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