article quotes multiple ante-Nicean Fathers condemning the use of incense. I don't know how trustworthy the author is in quoting these sources, but I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt.
How do the Orthodox reconcile these quotes from early church fathers with its use of incense in worship?We offer Thee incense, O Christ our God, for an odor of spiritual fragrance. Receive it upon Thy heavenly altar, and send down upon us in return the grace of Thine all-holy Spirit.
How does one reconcile that prayer with statements from the church fathers that incense is not used in Christian worship and that God is not pleased by aromas nor fragrances?
Didn't you just ask this yesterday?
The Christian use of incense is not an offering of a precious thing to God, but rather the incense symbolizes the rising of our prayers to God. This is how incense is depicted in Revelation and in the prayers used in censing. We offer Thee incense, O Christ our God, for an odor of spiritual fragrance. Receive it upon Thy heavenly altar, and send down upon us in return the grace of Thine all-holy Spirit.
I posted something, but my computer froze. Besides bringing up the fact that the language you cite from the DL is from Scripture. The original in the DL (btw, the lack of the Proskomedia in Liturgy Books is a serious defect to be decried):
Θυμίαμά Σοι προσφέρομεν Χριστέ ο Θεός εις οσμήν ευωδίας πνευματικής, ο προσδεξάμενος εις το υπερουράνιόν Σου θυσιαστήριον, αντικατάπεμψον ημίν την χάριν του Παναγίου Σου Πνεύματος.
Καὶ ἄλλος ἄγγελος ἦλθεν καὶ ἐστάθη ἐπὶ τοῦ θυσιαστηρίου ἔχων λιβανωτὸν χρυσοῦν, καὶ ἐδόθη αὐτῷ θυμιάματα
πολλὰ, ἵνα δώσει ταῖς προσευχαῖς τῶν ἁγίων πάντων ἐπὶ τὸ θυσιαστήριον τὸ χρυσοῦν τὸ ἐνώπιον τοῦ θρόνου.
Another angel came and stood over the altar, having a golden censer. Much incense
was given to him, that he should add it to the prayers of all the saints on the golden altar which was before the throne. Rev. 8:3
τότε ὁ Παῦλος παραλαβὼν τοὺς ἄνδρας τῇ ἐχομένῃ ἡμέρᾳ σὺν αὐτοῖς ἁγνισθεὶς, εἰσῄει εἰς τὸ ἱερόν διαγγέλλων τὴν ἐκπλήρωσιν τῶν ἡμερῶν τοῦ ἁγνισμοῦ ἕως οὗ προσηνέχθη
ὑπὲρ ἑνὸς ἑκάστου αὐτῶν ἡ προσφορά
Then Paul took the men, and the next day, purified himself and went with them into the temple, declaring the fulfillment of the days of purification, until the offering was offered
for every one of them. Acts 21:26
ἀπέχω δὲ πάντα καὶ περισσεύω· πεπλήρωμαι δεξάμενος παρὰ Ἐπαφροδίτου τὰ παρ' ὑμῶν, ὀσμὴν εὐωδίας
, θυσίαν δεκτήν, εὐάρεστον τῷ θεῷ
But I have all things, and abound. I am filled, having received from Epaphroditus the things that came from you, a sweet-smelling fragrance
, an acceptable and well-pleasing sacrifice to God. Phil. 4:18.
καὶ περιπατεῖτε ἐν ἀγάπῃ, καθὼς καὶ ὁ Χριστὸς ἠγάπησεν ὑμᾶς / ἡμᾶς καὶ παρέδωκεν ἑαυτὸν ὑπὲρ ὑμῶν / ἡμῶν προσφορὰν
καὶ θυσίαν τῷ θεῷ εἰς ὀσμὴν εὐωδίας
Walk in love, even as Christ also loved you, and gave himself up for us, an offering
and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling fragrance
. Ephesians 5:2.
ὅτι Χριστοῦ εὐωδία ἐσμὲν
τῷ θεῷ ἐν τοῖς σῳζομένοις καὶ ἐν τοῖς ἀπολλυμένοις,
For we are a sweet aroma
of Christ to God, in those who are saved, and in those who perish. 2 Corinthians 2:15
καὶ αὐτοὶ ὡς λίθοι ζῶντες οἰκοδομεῖσθε οἶκος πνευματικὸς εἰς ἱεράτευμα ἅγιον ἀνενέγκαι πνευματικὰς
θυσίας εὐπροσδέκτους [τῷ] θεῷ διὰ Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ.
You also, as living stones, are built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual
sacrifices, acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. I Peter 2:5
Εὐλογητὸς ὁ θεὸς καὶ πατὴρ τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ, ὁ εὐλογήσας ἡμᾶς ἐν πάσῃ εὐλογίᾳ πνευματικῇ ἐν τοῖς ἐπουρανίοις
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly
places in Christ. Ephesians 1:3.
ἐξ οὗ φαγεῖν οὐκ ἔχουσιν ἐξουσίαν οἱ τῇ σκηνῇ λατρεύοντες
We have an altar from which those who serve the holy tabernacle have no right to eat. Heb. 13:10.
Καὶ ἄλλος ἄγγελος ἦλθεν καὶ ἐστάθη ἐπὶ τοῦ θυσιαστηρίου
ἔχων λιβανωτὸν χρυσοῦν, καὶ ἐδόθη αὐτῷ θυμιάματα πολλὰ, ἵνα δώσει ταῖς προσευχαῖς τῶν ἁγίων πάντων ἐπὶ τὸ θυσιαστήριον τὸ χρυσοῦν τὸ ἐνώπιον τοῦ θρόνου.
Another angel came and stood over the altar
, having a golden censer. Much incense was given to him, that he should add it to the prayers of all the saints on the golden altar which was before the throne. Rev. 8:3.
ὁ δὲ παράκλητος τὸ πνεῦμα τὸ ἅγιον
, ὃ πέμψει
ὁ πατὴρ ἐν τῷ ὀνόματι μου ἐκεῖνος ὑμᾶς διδάξει πάντα καὶ ὑπομνήσει ὑμᾶς πάντα ἃ εἶπον ὑμῖν ἐγώ.
But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit
, whom the Father will send
in my name, he will teach you all things, and will remind you of all that I said to you.
Besides the fact that the Hebrews burned it, it is frequently burned in the Middle East today with no religious connotation: Muslims do not use it in worship but do burn it to ward off evil spirits. It is burned in the Mosque to give an atmosphere of their idea of paradise (it is mentioned in the Quran), and so is used in some Sufi rituals, and processions. And then there is the practical matter: I was just watching a History Channel show on the catacombs, and the archaeologist was commenting how she couldn't figure out how the Christians could tolerate the stench, as the catacombs were always full of decomposing bodies. The use of incense (which doesn't seem to have occured to her) would have gone a long way in taking care of that problem.
Btw, for those who claim that the Greek of the DL isn't a problem, the origianl
«Θυμίαμά Σοι προσφέρομεν Χριστέ ο Θεός εις οσμήν ευωδίας πνευματικής, ο προσδεξάμενος εις το υπερουράνιόν Σου θυσιαστήριον, αντικατάπεμψον ημίν την χάριν του Παναγίου Σου Πνεύματος».
is glossed as
Θυμίαμα σ' Εσένα προσφέρουμε, Χριστέ Ύψιστε Θεέ, ως οσμή ευωδίας πνευματικής· αυτό, αφού δέχθηκες στο υπερουράνιό Σου Θυσιαστήριο, στείλε πίσω σε μας τη χάρη του παναγίου Σου Πνεύματος