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:
"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
email@example.com or mail your name(s) and dates to the