Author Topic: Sign of the Cross and Censing  (Read 145 times)

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Offline scamandrius

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Sign of the Cross and Censing
« on: August 23, 2015, 09:57:34 PM »
Before my priest began his homily today, he said he had a few "housekeeping" issues to take care of.  One of them was a reminder to not cross oneself when you are being censed.  His explanation was that he was censing you as an icon and that it was not appropriate.  I'm not sure I buy into that explanation. I have never done it myself, preferring to bow my head.  But if this is the correct practice, why is it so?

On another note, I have to wonder why an act of personal piety as this gets his attention for a few minutes during the homily while people talking incessantly during the service and particularly during the communion does not.
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Offline Hamartolos

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Re: Sign of the Cross and Censing
« Reply #1 on: August 23, 2015, 09:59:05 PM »
Before my priest began his homily today, he said he had a few "housekeeping" issues to take care of.  One of them was a reminder to not cross oneself when you are being censed.  His explanation was that he was censing you as an icon and that it was not appropriate.  I'm not sure I buy into that explanation. I have never done it myself, preferring to bow my head.  But if this is the correct practice, why is it so?

On another note, I have to wonder why an act of personal piety as this gets his attention for a few minutes during the homily while people talking incessantly during the service and particularly during the communion does not.

I've never heard of this before and the vast majority of people I have seen in multiple parishes cross themselves when being censed.  I've only ever been told not to cross when the priest is using his hand to bless you.

Offline hecma925

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Re: Sign of the Cross and Censing
« Reply #2 on: August 23, 2015, 10:06:11 PM »
I've only seen that at the Greek parish nearby, not the ROCOR or OCA parish (I see bowing).  Some people cross themselves so fast, it looks like they're just doing three circles in front of their chest.  Another thing I noticed at the Greek parish is people will turn to face the priest and censer as he goes about the church.  In my parish (OCA), my priest said it's important not to turn your back on the altar; the censing is going to happen whether you look at it or not.

I'm not sure what is more "correct", but you're right, there are more important housekeeping issues
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Offline scamandrius

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Re: Sign of the Cross and Censing
« Reply #3 on: August 23, 2015, 10:13:05 PM »
I've only seen that at the Greek parish nearby, not the ROCOR or OCA parish (I see bowing).  Some people cross themselves so fast, it looks like they're just doing three circles in front of their chest.  Another thing I noticed at the Greek parish is people will turn to face the priest and censer as he goes about the church.  In my parish (OCA), my priest said it's important not to turn your back on the altar; the censing is going to happen whether you look at it or not.

I'm not sure what is more "correct", but you're right, there are more important housekeeping issues

He reminded everyone of that, too, particularly during the Great Entrance.  I understand the reason, but I don't think it's anything close to the real elephant in the room.
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Online William T

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Re: Sign of the Cross and Censing
« Reply #4 on: August 23, 2015, 10:51:37 PM »
I've only seen that at the Greek parish nearby, not the ROCOR or OCA parish (I see bowing).  Some people cross themselves so fast, it looks like they're just doing three circles in front of their chest.  Another thing I noticed at the Greek parish is people will turn to face the priest and censer as he goes about the church.  In my parish (OCA), my priest said it's important not to turn your back on the altar; the censing is going to happen whether you look at it or not.

I'm not sure what is more "correct", but you're right, there are more important housekeeping issues


I usually go to Antochian / Greek parishes, that's what we do we always turn.  I'm not too sure if I/we make the  sign (ie: really fast circles) or not when that happens, but I think we usually bow when he walks by.   The past 2 years I normally attend a Russian Church....I can't even tell you when he does the censing, now that I think about it.  It's out of my "rhythm", I can't even follow what the alter boys are doing..I think that was our 3rd round out the door if I remember correctly, but I don't recall the Russian Church doing the procession the way I'm used to seeing it.

   I guess I'll have to pay more attention next time I attend a Russian Church.  I know the priest walks down the whole church, I almost certainly turn to face him, I never noticed if the other parishioner's do or don't.
« Last Edit: August 23, 2015, 10:55:26 PM by William T »
"While other animals look downwards at the ground, he gave human beings an upturned aspect, commanding them to look towards the skies, and, upright, raise their face to the stars. So the earth, that had been, a moment ago, uncarved and imageless, changed and assumed the unknown shapes of human beings."

Ovid, Metamorphosis Book I