Author Topic: Great Entrance censing  (Read 1194 times)

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Offline Schultz

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Great Entrance censing
« on: April 18, 2011, 10:22:48 AM »
Right after the priest enters the Doors after the Great Entrance, he wraps the veil around the censer, gives it a shake (at least that's how my priest does it) and then covers the Gifts with it and then censes the whole thing.

What's the reason for the wrapping of the veil around the censer?
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Offline arimethea

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Re: Great Entrance censing
« Reply #1 on: April 18, 2011, 12:16:29 PM »
To collect the smoke.
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Offline Subdeacon Michael

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Re: Great Entrance censing
« Reply #2 on: May 13, 2011, 02:45:27 PM »
Right after the priest enters the Doors after the Great Entrance, he wraps the veil around the censer, gives it a shake (at least that's how my priest does it) and then covers the Gifts with it and then censes the whole thing.

What's the reason for the wrapping of the veil around the censer?

Essentially, what arimethea said.

The Great Entrance, in origin, is simply nothing more than the transfer of the Gifts from the place of preparation, (originally a separate building) to the altar for the eucharistic rite.  However, all manner of symbolism later became attached to it, with the procession being seen as representative of Christ's triumphal entry into Jerusalem, the taking of the bread from the deacon's elevated hands as the taking down of the Saviour's Body from the Cross, and the laying of the Gifts on the Holy Table as the burial of the Saviour in the tomb.  The aer, at this point, takes on the role of the burial shroud of the Saviour, so it is censed before being placed over the Gifts, symbolising the spices with which the Saviour's body was honoured.  One of the troparia said quietly by the priest at this time is, "The Noble Joseph, when he had taken down thy Most Pure Body from the tree, wrapped it in fine linen, and anointed it with spices, and laid it in a new tomb".  This is why the Royal Doors and curtain are closed at this point, symbolising the sealing of the tomb, (for them to be later opened as a sign of the Resurrection, as the Holy Things are presented to the people). 

Tangential, but somewhat pertinent, is that the aer was originally much larger than it is today, and was carried over the Gifts during the Great Entrance procession.  When all of the symbolism of the passion and burial came to be attached to the entrance, the aer came to be decorated with more and more elaborate burial scenes of the Saviour, which is the origin of the plashchanitsa (epitaphios, for Greek speakers), and the Great Friday ceremonies surrounding it that we know today.
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Offline frjohnmorris

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Re: Great Entrance censing
« Reply #3 on: January 01, 2014, 01:01:39 AM »
Right after the priest enters the Doors after the Great Entrance, he wraps the veil around the censer, gives it a shake (at least that's how my priest does it) and then covers the Gifts with it and then censes the whole thing.

What's the reason for the wrapping of the veil around the censer?

I am not making this up. There is a book on the Divine Liturgy published by Holy Trinity Monastery Press that states that the Priest wraps the veil (aer) around the censer to get the bugs off of it.

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Re: Great Entrance censing
« Reply #4 on: January 01, 2014, 01:34:47 AM »
Right after the priest enters the Doors after the Great Entrance, he wraps the veil around the censer, gives it a shake (at least that's how my priest does it) and then covers the Gifts with it and then censes the whole thing.

What's the reason for the wrapping of the veil around the censer?

I am not making this up. There is a book on the Divine Liturgy published by Holy Trinity Monastery Press that states that the Priest wraps the veil (aer) around the censer to get the bugs off of it.

Fr. John W. Morris
Interesting, Fr. Makes sense if you think about it.

Offline frjohnmorris

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Re: Great Entrance censing
« Reply #5 on: January 01, 2014, 01:45:14 AM »
Right after the priest enters the Doors after the Great Entrance, he wraps the veil around the censer, gives it a shake (at least that's how my priest does it) and then covers the Gifts with it and then censes the whole thing.

What's the reason for the wrapping of the veil around the censer?

I am not making this up. There is a book on the Divine Liturgy published by Holy Trinity Monastery Press that states that the Priest wraps the veil (aer) around the censer to get the bugs off of it.

Fr. John W. Morris
Interesting, Fr. Makes sense if you think about it.

I used to think that the explanation of waving the aer over the gifts and the fans were to drive away insects seemed strange. Then suddenly for several weeks, we had lots of fruit flies flying in the Altar during the Divine Liturgy. We finally found that someone had left a pan of kibbee (A kind of Lebanese meatloaf) in one of the ovens for several months.

Fr. John W. Morris
« Last Edit: January 01, 2014, 01:45:58 AM by frjohnmorris »

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Re: Great Entrance censing
« Reply #6 on: January 01, 2014, 01:53:24 AM »
Ewwww i bet that was fun to clean up. We didn't have ac at church so doors would be open and screwnless tilting windows. Yup, bugs.

Offline Peacemaker

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Re: Great Entrance censing
« Reply #7 on: January 03, 2014, 07:19:14 AM »
My priest once told me a story about when he visited another parish and a fly landed in the Holy Gifts after communion and he had to eat it because it had been in the Body and Blood of Christ. My priest tells me the idea of why he censes the veil (aer) before he lays it over is for this reason. And he said it's the same reason they shake it over the Gifts during the reading of the Creed, is to keep the bugs away.
« Last Edit: January 03, 2014, 07:20:26 AM by Peacemaker »

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Re: Great Entrance censing
« Reply #8 on: January 03, 2014, 07:22:02 AM »
My priest tells me the idea of censes it before you lay it over is for this reason. And he said it's the same reason they shake it over the Gifts during the reading of the Creed, is to keep the bugs away.

The shaking of the Aer also symbolizes the earthquake which struck at the point of Christ's death, which tore the temple veil in two, and opened the tombs of the saints, who arose and appeared to many.
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Offline arnI

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Re: Great Entrance censing
« Reply #9 on: January 03, 2014, 08:51:09 AM »
My priest tells me the idea of censes it before you lay it over is for this reason. And he said it's the same reason they shake it over the Gifts during the reading of the Creed, is to keep the bugs away.

The shaking of the Aer also symbolizes the earthquake which struck at the point of Christ's death, which tore the temple veil in two, and opened the tombs of the saints, who arose and appeared to many.

I have also read that "the act of the Priest shaking the Aer over the gifts signifies the raised flag of victorious Christianity. The Church survived triumphantly after many struggles and persecutions." (Divine Liturgy, Ecumenical Publications 2001)
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Offline Jovan

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Re: Great Entrance censing
« Reply #10 on: January 03, 2014, 09:03:00 AM »
This theme is so interesting :D
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Re: Great Entrance censing
« Reply #11 on: January 03, 2014, 10:58:23 AM »
My priest tells me the idea of censes it before you lay it over is for this reason. And he said it's the same reason they shake it over the Gifts during the reading of the Creed, is to keep the bugs away.

The shaking of the Aer also symbolizes the earthquake which struck at the point of Christ's death, which tore the temple veil in two, and opened the tombs of the saints, who arose and appeared to many.

I have also read that "the act of the Priest shaking the Aer over the gifts signifies the raised flag of victorious Christianity. The Church survived triumphantly after many struggles and persecutions." (Divine Liturgy, Ecumenical Publications 2001)

Peacemaker is right.  The other reasons presented here for the shaking of the aer are just that: "other reasons", secondary, symbolic interpretations according to one or the other theme intended to assign meaning to what looks meaningless. 
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Offline frjohnmorris

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Re: Great Entrance censing
« Reply #12 on: January 03, 2014, 04:51:48 PM »
My priest once told me a story about when he visited another parish and a fly landed in the Holy Gifts after communion and he had to eat it because it had been in the Body and Blood of Christ. My priest tells me the idea of why he censes the veil (aer) before he lays it over is for this reason. And he said it's the same reason they shake it over the Gifts during the reading of the Creed, is to keep the bugs away.

I have no doubt that was the original reason for waving the fans and veil was to keep the insects away. I was shocked when I was a student in Germany and went on a missionary trip to give a series of lectures on Orthodoxy in the Philippines that it seems that window screens are an American practice.

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Offline xOrthodox4Christx

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Re: Great Entrance censing
« Reply #13 on: January 03, 2014, 05:15:41 PM »
My priest once told me a story about when he visited another parish and a fly landed in the Holy Gifts after communion and he had to eat it because it had been in the Body and Blood of Christ. My priest tells me the idea of why he censes the veil (aer) before he lays it over is for this reason. And he said it's the same reason they shake it over the Gifts during the reading of the Creed, is to keep the bugs away.

lol That fly is going to burn in hell.
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Re: Great Entrance censing
« Reply #14 on: January 03, 2014, 08:10:02 PM »
That fly is going to burn in hell.

Or, depending on the particular tradition, it will burn in the censer. 
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Offline frjohnmorris

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Re: Great Entrance censing
« Reply #15 on: January 04, 2014, 12:56:56 AM »
My priest tells me the idea of censes it before you lay it over is for this reason. And he said it's the same reason they shake it over the Gifts during the reading of the Creed, is to keep the bugs away.

The shaking of the Aer also symbolizes the earthquake which struck at the point of Christ's death, which tore the temple veil in two, and opened the tombs of the saints, who arose and appeared to many.

I have also read that "the act of the Priest shaking the Aer over the gifts signifies the raised flag of victorious Christianity. The Church survived triumphantly after many struggles and persecutions." (Divine Liturgy, Ecumenical Publications 2001)

I have read that it originated to keep the insects away, but that is now is interpreted as symbolizing the earthquake when Christ died on the Cross. The Priest stops waving the aer and makes circular motions over the gifts following the words of the Creed, "rose from the dead."

Fr. John W. Morris