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Author Topic: Pagan/non-Christian elements allowed into Catholic Mass  (Read 6304 times) Average Rating: 0
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« Reply #45 on: March 17, 2013, 05:36:42 PM »

Fashion abhors the stereotypes of tradition. City dwellers (such as the Corinthians) often tended to be more fashionable than traditional. So much so that Duris of Samos reports that at one time the men of Athens κόμας ἐφόρουν, αἱ δὲ γυναῖκες ἐκείροντο ("wore long hair, but the women were close cropped"). This is, of course, exactly the opposite of what St. Paul recommends.

There's another Apostle that asks Christian women to imitate the (Jewish) "holy women of old" in stead of the hairstyles and fashion of contemporary Greek ladies:

Quote
Do not adorn yourselves outwardly by braiding your hair, and by wearing gold ornaments or fine clothing; 4 rather, let your adornment be the inner self with the lasting beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in God's sight. 5 It was in this way long ago that the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves by accepting the authority of their husbands. 6 Thus Sarah obeyed Abraham and called him lord. You have become her daughters as long as you do what is good and never let fears alarm you. 7 Husbands, in the same way, show consideration for your wives in your life together, paying honor to the woman as the weaker sex, since they too are also heirs of the gracious gift of life--so that nothing may hinder your prayers. (1 Peter 3:3-7)


 
My guess is that it had to do with a Greek showing respect. Greek men showed respect with their heads uncovered, whereas Greek women showed respect with their heads covered.
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« Reply #46 on: March 17, 2013, 06:08:07 PM »

My guess is that it had to do with a Greek showing respect. Greek men showed respect with their heads uncovered, whereas Greek women showed respect with their heads covered.

But St. Paul wasn't Greek - neither was St. Peter. Their instructions to Gentile Christians clearly go against the Hellenistic culture of the day.

This doesn't mean that Greek ladies wouldn't have worn any kind of covering or that all Greek men had long hair and covered their heads inside temples. It just means that what could have been fashionable (though extravagant) among the pagans back then was not acceptable in "the Churches of God" which "did not have such customs". 
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« Reply #47 on: March 17, 2013, 06:17:25 PM »

But St. Paul wasn't Greek - neither was St. Peter.
However, Corinth was capital of Greece at that time?
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« Reply #48 on: March 17, 2013, 06:23:19 PM »

But St. Paul wasn't Greek - neither was St. Peter.
However, Corinth was capital of Greece at that time?

It was the capital of the Roman Province of Achaea.
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« Reply #49 on: March 17, 2013, 08:30:26 PM »

But St. Paul wasn't Greek - neither was St. Peter.
However, Corinth was capital of Greece at that time?

It was the capital of the Roman Province of Achaea.
In her book: Graecia Capta: The Landscapes of Roman Greece. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993, Susan Alcock says that Achaea is the area of the northern Peloponnese, but Achaia is the Roman province.
http://bmcr.brynmawr.edu/1993/04.06.14.html
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« Reply #50 on: March 17, 2013, 08:49:31 PM »

But St. Paul wasn't Greek - neither was St. Peter.
However, Corinth was capital of Greece at that time?

It was the capital of the Roman Province of Achaea.
In her book: Graecia Capta: The Landscapes of Roman Greece. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993, Susan Alcock says that Achaea is the area of the northern Peloponnese, but Achaia is the Roman province.
http://bmcr.brynmawr.edu/1993/04.06.14.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Achaea_%28Roman_province%29

Achaia and Achaea are alternative transliterations of Ἀχαΐα - in Latin the diphtong αι is usually transliterated ae.

It is true that both pre-Roman and modern Achaia are smaller than the Roman Province with the same name and do not include Corinth.
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« Reply #51 on: March 19, 2013, 07:36:12 AM »

What do Orthodox (and Catholics) think about the Catholic Mass allowing pagan/non-Christian elements into it?
I notice that the Orthodox Christians here don't say too much about  the  pagan elements that have been brought into the Orthodox Church.
I mentioned already the pagan custom of ancient Greece where a male removes his hat when entering a building as a sign of respect. This is contrary to the traditional Jewish custom for a male to wear a yarmulke in a religious setting.
As a second example of where Orthodox have introduced pagan elements into their Church I have noticed that around Christmastime, some of the Orthodox Churches have a Christmas tree inside the Church. But honoring a tree is a pagan custom.  According to the Encyclopædia Britannica, "The use of evergreen trees, wreaths, and garlands to symbolize eternal life was a custom of the ancient Egyptians, Chinese, and Hebrews. Tree worship was common among the pagan Europeans and survived their conversion to Christianity in the Scandinavian customs of decorating the house and barn with evergreens at the New Year to scare away the devil and of setting up a tree for the birds during Christmastime."[

To my way of thinking it doesn't matter, for e.g. if pagans had pews in their temples and that Orthodox now have pews in church and you or others might say that we've now got 'pagan elements' in the church.

It's not in any way comparable to the example I gave in the OP.

In Catholic churches they allow smoking ceremonies to purify the air and ward off evil spirits - THIS is according to Aboriginal lore, not (as I see it) Christian lore.

We use English which has pagan roots for words such as "Easter". Sunday is the 'day of the sun'. There are always going to be 'pagan' elements with us.

The chief difference as I see it would be if I went to church on Sunday BECAUSE it was the 'day of the sun'

Allowing Aboriginal rites into a church is quite worrying.


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« Reply #52 on: March 19, 2013, 07:43:25 AM »

The Christmas tree is a recent development in the Orthodox world - about 100 years old at the most. It has no liturgical function, so it doesn't really belong in church. It's a petty issue. I wouldn't call anybody a pagan because of it. 
If the Orthodox custom of following a pagan practice of celebrating a holiday by cutting down and decorating a tree and placing it in Church is a petty issue, then the same holds true when Catholics use smoke instead of incense in Church.

How many Christmas trees have you seen in Orthodox churches?

It is, as I noted above, irrelevant UNLESS they're saying "Worship this tree" or "This church is now more holy because of the tree"

Several people are confusing things here, I believe.

It's akin to the same mistake as if someone wears the clothes of a multi-national (with brands on them) to church and people saying "Orthodox churches are now being influenced by big business"

The clothes are incidental (practical, but incidental) to being Orthodox and Orthodoxy

The example I gave in the OP is where a pagan ceremony is let into a Catholic church where the purpose of that ceremony is to make the church 'pure' by ridding it of evil spirits.

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« Reply #53 on: March 20, 2013, 10:43:25 AM »

I don't see why some sort of rite of blessing using incense and prayers for God's protection/preence couldn't be developed and incorporated into the beginning of a liturgy.
I thought deacon or priest censes the church during proskomede. Your doesn't?
He does.
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« Reply #54 on: March 20, 2013, 04:25:32 PM »

What do Orthodox (and Catholics) think about the Catholic Mass allowing pagan/non-Christian elements into it?
I notice that the Orthodox Christians here don't say too much about  the  pagan elements that have been brought into the Orthodox Church.
I mentioned already the pagan custom of ancient Greece where a male removes his hat when entering a building as a sign of respect. This is contrary to the traditional Jewish custom for a male to wear a yarmulke in a religious setting.
As a second example of where Orthodox have introduced pagan elements into their Church I have noticed that around Christmastime, some of the Orthodox Churches have a Christmas tree inside the Church. But honoring a tree is a pagan custom.  According to the Encyclopædia Britannica, "The use of evergreen trees, wreaths, and garlands to symbolize eternal life was a custom of the ancient Egyptians, Chinese, and Hebrews. Tree worship was common among the pagan Europeans and survived their conversion to Christianity in the Scandinavian customs of decorating the house and barn with evergreens at the New Year to scare away the devil and of setting up a tree for the birds during Christmastime."[

To my way of thinking it doesn't matter, for e.g. if pagans had pews in their temples and that Orthodox now have pews in church and you or others might say that we've now got 'pagan elements' in the church.

It's not in any way comparable to the example I gave in the OP.

In Catholic churches they allow smoking ceremonies to purify the air and ward off evil spirits - THIS is according to Aboriginal lore, not (as I see it) Christian lore.

We use English which has pagan roots for words such as "Easter". Sunday is the 'day of the sun'. There are always going to be 'pagan' elements with us.

The chief difference as I see it would be if I went to church on Sunday BECAUSE it was the 'day of the sun'

Allowing Aboriginal rites into a church is quite worrying.



If so, it is then equally disturbing that the Orthodox Christians use incense in their services as did the pagans thousands of years ago. See:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religious_use_of_incense#Buddhism.2C_Taoism_and_Shinto_in_Asia
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« Reply #55 on: March 20, 2013, 05:33:22 PM »

It's almost as if someone were writing in the Roman alphabet.

Oh...  Huh   Tongue
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« Reply #56 on: March 20, 2013, 07:12:30 PM »

But St. Paul wasn't Greek - neither was St. Peter.
However, Corinth was capital of Greece at that time?

It was the capital of the Roman Province of Achaea.
In her book: Graecia Capta: The Landscapes of Roman Greece. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993, Susan Alcock says that Achaea is the area of the northern Peloponnese, but Achaia is the Roman province.
http://bmcr.brynmawr.edu/1993/04.06.14.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Achaea_%28Roman_province%29

Achaia and Achaea are alternative transliterations of Ἀχαΐα - in Latin the diphtong αι is usually transliterated ae.

It is true that both pre-Roman and modern Achaia are smaller than the Roman Province with the same name and do not include Corinth.

Romaios is for real.
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« Reply #57 on: March 23, 2013, 09:49:10 AM »

What do Orthodox (and Catholics) think about the Catholic Mass allowing pagan/non-Christian elements into it?
I notice that the Orthodox Christians here don't say too much about  the  pagan elements that have been brought into the Orthodox Church.
I mentioned already the pagan custom of ancient Greece where a male removes his hat when entering a building as a sign of respect. This is contrary to the traditional Jewish custom for a male to wear a yarmulke in a religious setting.
As a second example of where Orthodox have introduced pagan elements into their Church I have noticed that around Christmastime, some of the Orthodox Churches have a Christmas tree inside the Church. But honoring a tree is a pagan custom.  According to the Encyclopædia Britannica, "The use of evergreen trees, wreaths, and garlands to symbolize eternal life was a custom of the ancient Egyptians, Chinese, and Hebrews. Tree worship was common among the pagan Europeans and survived their conversion to Christianity in the Scandinavian customs of decorating the house and barn with evergreens at the New Year to scare away the devil and of setting up a tree for the birds during Christmastime."[

To my way of thinking it doesn't matter, for e.g. if pagans had pews in their temples and that Orthodox now have pews in church and you or others might say that we've now got 'pagan elements' in the church.

It's not in any way comparable to the example I gave in the OP.

In Catholic churches they allow smoking ceremonies to purify the air and ward off evil spirits - THIS is according to Aboriginal lore, not (as I see it) Christian lore.

We use English which has pagan roots for words such as "Easter". Sunday is the 'day of the sun'. There are always going to be 'pagan' elements with us.

The chief difference as I see it would be if I went to church on Sunday BECAUSE it was the 'day of the sun'

Allowing Aboriginal rites into a church is quite worrying.



If so, it is then equally disturbing that the Orthodox Christians use incense in their services as did the pagans thousands of years ago. See:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religious_use_of_incense#Buddhism.2C_Taoism_and_Shinto_in_Asia

As I noted several times already this only works as a parallel to the OP if the incense is used to ward off spirits.

It's not.

The example you give doesn't address this topic
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« Reply #58 on: March 23, 2013, 09:50:08 AM »

It's almost as if someone were writing in the Roman alphabet.

Oh...  Huh   Tongue

I already noted that our days of the week have pagan elements in their name.

You might want to read that post
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« Reply #59 on: March 23, 2013, 09:54:33 AM »

It's almost as if someone were writing in the Roman alphabet.

Oh...  Huh   Tongue

I already noted that our days of the week have pagan elements in their name.

You might want to read that post

Not in all languages, they don't.
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« Reply #60 on: March 23, 2013, 12:53:15 PM »

To be fair, pagans did give us a couple nice things. Take the pre-monotheist Egyptians, for example. Beer and flush toilets! I imagine not a coincidence, either. Wink
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« Reply #61 on: March 23, 2013, 03:42:03 PM »

What do Orthodox (and Catholics) think about the Catholic Mass allowing pagan/non-Christian elements into it?
I notice that the Orthodox Christians here don't say too much about  the  pagan elements that have been brought into the Orthodox Church.
I mentioned already the pagan custom of ancient Greece where a male removes his hat when entering a building as a sign of respect. This is contrary to the traditional Jewish custom for a male to wear a yarmulke in a religious setting.
As a second example of where Orthodox have introduced pagan elements into their Church I have noticed that around Christmastime, some of the Orthodox Churches have a Christmas tree inside the Church. But honoring a tree is a pagan custom.  According to the Encyclopædia Britannica, "The use of evergreen trees, wreaths, and garlands to symbolize eternal life was a custom of the ancient Egyptians, Chinese, and Hebrews. Tree worship was common among the pagan Europeans and survived their conversion to Christianity in the Scandinavian customs of decorating the house and barn with evergreens at the New Year to scare away the devil and of setting up a tree for the birds during Christmastime."[

To my way of thinking it doesn't matter, for e.g. if pagans had pews in their temples and that Orthodox now have pews in church and you or others might say that we've now got 'pagan elements' in the church.

It's not in any way comparable to the example I gave in the OP.

In Catholic churches they allow smoking ceremonies to purify the air and ward off evil spirits - THIS is according to Aboriginal lore, not (as I see it) Christian lore.

We use English which has pagan roots for words such as "Easter". Sunday is the 'day of the sun'. There are always going to be 'pagan' elements with us.

The chief difference as I see it would be if I went to church on Sunday BECAUSE it was the 'day of the sun'

Allowing Aboriginal rites into a church is quite worrying.



If so, it is then equally disturbing that the Orthodox Christians use incense in their services as did the pagans thousands of years ago. See:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religious_use_of_incense#Buddhism.2C_Taoism_and_Shinto_in_Asia

As I noted several times already this only works as a parallel to the OP if the incense is used to ward off spirits.

It's not.

The example you give doesn't address this topic
You are being overly legalistic and not looking at the whole picture.
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« Reply #62 on: March 23, 2013, 09:36:20 PM »

You are being overly legalistic and not looking at the whole picture.

What 'whole picture'?

As far as I see the Catholic church is allowing aboriginal smoking ceremonies into their church IN ORDER to ward off evil spirits - that' the purpose of these ceremonies.

They are not just merely burning incense.

Instead of dealing with this example there's been a raft of attempts at tu quoque argument (which is a logical fallacy).

Please tell me what 'whole picture' you're talking about.
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« Reply #63 on: March 23, 2013, 10:52:08 PM »

As far as I see the Catholic church is allowing aboriginal smoking ceremonies into their church IN ORDER to ward off evil spirits - that' the purpose of these ceremonies.

They are not just merely burning incense.

Instead of dealing with this example there's been a raft of attempts at tu quoque argument (which is a logical fallacy).

Please tell me what 'whole picture' you're talking about.
The whole picture is that your objection makes no sense at all because according to St. Spyridon Greek  Orthodox Church, 24301 Greater Mack Avenue, St. Clair Shores, Michigan, USA 48040 tel # 586-773-9750, Orthodox use incense to signify prayer lifted up to God and to drive off the influence of demons.  So I am not buying any attempt by an Orthodox Christian to condemn Catholics or any other religious group for doing the same.
See: My Orthodox Notebook: Question of offering incense in the home:
“Do we offer incense at home as well as in Church?
YES! It is important to realize that not only do we offer incense in Church, but we also offer incense in our homes, to sanctify our homes and daily activities, to lift up our minds to God, to calm family members when they are upset by problems and disagreements, and to drive off the influence of demons. “
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« Reply #64 on: March 24, 2013, 07:39:20 AM »

As far as I see the Catholic church is allowing aboriginal smoking ceremonies into their church IN ORDER to ward off evil spirits - that' the purpose of these ceremonies.

They are not just merely burning incense.

Instead of dealing with this example there's been a raft of attempts at tu quoque argument (which is a logical fallacy).

Please tell me what 'whole picture' you're talking about.
The whole picture is that your objection makes no sense at all because according to St. Spyridon Greek  Orthodox Church, 24301 Greater Mack Avenue, St. Clair Shores, Michigan, USA 48040 tel # 586-773-9750, Orthodox use incense to signify prayer lifted up to God and to drive off the influence of demons.  So I am not buying any attempt by an Orthodox Christian to condemn Catholics or any other religious group for doing the same.
See: My Orthodox Notebook: Question of offering incense in the home:
“Do we offer incense at home as well as in Church?
YES! It is important to realize that not only do we offer incense in Church, but we also offer incense in our homes, to sanctify our homes and daily activities, to lift up our minds to God, to calm family members when they are upset by problems and disagreements, and to drive off the influence of demons. “


So your argument is that Catholics are justified in doing one thing because Orthodox are doing something you think is similar? Is that correct - you're continuing with tu quoque?

Your argument further rests on trying to draw a parallel I don't see :

Orthodox Christians using smoke in a Christian setting with no direct correlation to any pagan ceremony with Catholic Christians importing a pagan ceremony - performed by 'medicine men' into a church to chase bad spirits. The Aborigines doing these ceremonies aren't necessarily Catholic, and are garbed in their traditional sacred paint.

I think that covers it.

For people interested in this; the Catholic church also offers a "welcome to country" acknowledgement in some places.

The "welcome to country" acknowledges the Aboriginal people as the 'traditional' owners of the land and as the sacred custodians of it.

One such welcome to country is worded:
"I would like to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land, the ______ people, and call on the Spirit Ancestors to walk with us today as we share and learn together."
http://www.jim.org.au/faq/

What some are trying to confuse are two DIFFERENT things. Note I am not criticising the Catholic Church for the burning of incense. It's a different matter.

Here's one site trying to show the 'similarities' between Aboriginal and Catholic ceremony
http://geckos.ceo.wa.edu.au/geckos/pdfs/symbols.pdf

Note they are similar; not the same.

Catholics importing a similar (but pagan) ceremony in is NOT the same as the burning of incense
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« Reply #65 on: March 24, 2013, 11:12:36 AM »

As far as I see the Catholic church is allowing aboriginal smoking ceremonies into their church IN ORDER to ward off evil spirits - that' the purpose of these ceremonies.

They are not just merely burning incense.

Instead of dealing with this example there's been a raft of attempts at tu quoque argument (which is a logical fallacy).

Please tell me what 'whole picture' you're talking about.
The whole picture is that your objection makes no sense at all because according to St. Spyridon Greek  Orthodox Church, 24301 Greater Mack Avenue, St. Clair Shores, Michigan, USA 48040 tel # 586-773-9750, Orthodox use incense to signify prayer lifted up to God and to drive off the influence of demons.  So I am not buying any attempt by an Orthodox Christian to condemn Catholics or any other religious group for doing the same.
See: My Orthodox Notebook: Question of offering incense in the home:
“Do we offer incense at home as well as in Church?
YES! It is important to realize that not only do we offer incense in Church, but we also offer incense in our homes, to sanctify our homes and daily activities, to lift up our minds to God, to calm family members when they are upset by problems and disagreements, and to drive off the influence of demons. “


So your argument is that Catholics are justified in doing one thing because Orthodox are doing something you think is similar? Is that correct - you're continuing with tu quoque?

Your argument further rests on trying to draw a parallel I don't see :

Orthodox Christians using smoke in a Christian setting with no direct correlation to any pagan ceremony with Catholic Christians importing a pagan ceremony - performed by 'medicine men' into a church to chase bad spirits. The Aborigines doing these ceremonies aren't necessarily Catholic, and are garbed in their traditional sacred paint.

I think that covers it.

For people interested in this; the Catholic church also offers a "welcome to country" acknowledgement in some places.

The "welcome to country" acknowledges the Aboriginal people as the 'traditional' owners of the land and as the sacred custodians of it.

One such welcome to country is worded:
"I would like to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land, the ______ people, and call on the Spirit Ancestors to walk with us today as we share and learn together."
http://www.jim.org.au/faq/

What some are trying to confuse are two DIFFERENT things. Note I am not criticising the Catholic Church for the burning of incense. It's a different matter.

Here's one site trying to show the 'similarities' between Aboriginal and Catholic ceremony
http://geckos.ceo.wa.edu.au/geckos/pdfs/symbols.pdf

Note they are similar; not the same.

Catholics importing a similar (but pagan) ceremony in is NOT the same as the burning of incense

Both the Orthodox Church and pagans have used incense in their religious celebrations. Pagans used incense a lot earlier than the Orthodox. Should we criticise the Orthodox Church for borrowing a practice that was used by pagans?
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« Reply #66 on: March 24, 2013, 11:27:34 AM »

Both the Orthodox Church and pagans have used incense in their religious celebrations. Pagans used incense a lot earlier than the Orthodox. Should we criticise the Orthodox Church for borrowing a practice that was used by pagans?

Jews used incense too. The archangel Gabriel appeared to Zacharias while he was incensing in the Temple. The Book of Revelation speaks of angels with censers when describing the heavenly liturgy, etc. 



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« Reply #67 on: March 24, 2013, 12:24:40 PM »

Early Christian (both Eastern and Western) Liturgies were very influenced by Roman/Hellenic/etc. symbolism and rituals, it's our heritage to be cared, not scared of.

What's really worth attention is carnival elements allowed into Catholic Mass.
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« Reply #68 on: March 24, 2013, 09:05:52 PM »

Both the Orthodox Church and pagans have used incense in their religious celebrations. Pagans used incense a lot earlier than the Orthodox. Should we criticise the Orthodox Church for borrowing a practice that was used by pagans?

Jews used incense too. The archangel Gabriel appeared to Zacharias while he was incensing in the Temple. The Book of Revelation speaks of angels with censers when describing the heavenly liturgy, etc. 




The Egyptians used incense about 1500 years before the archangel Gabriel appeared to Zacharias. Their kings are depicted holding censors.
Hindus or Chinese were perhaps the first to use incense in their religious services. After that came the Egyptians and several hundred years later, the Jews.
Approximate Timeline (not exact, very approximate):
Chinese use of incense: 4000 BC
Hindu use of incense: 3000 BC
Egyptian use of incense: 1200 BC
Isaiah and Jeremiah, mentioning incense:        700 BC
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« Reply #69 on: March 24, 2013, 09:14:39 PM »

The Christmas tree is a recent development in the Orthodox world - about 100 years old at the most. It has no liturgical function, so it doesn't really belong in church. It's a petty issue. I wouldn't call anybody a pagan because of it.  
You say it is a petty issue, but not so according to a Jewish rabbi here. Let me explain. Nearby on the university campus, there is a religious center for students. At the center there is a chapel and this chapel is used by Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Muslim and other relgious groups including infrequently the Orthodox. The Orthodox generally use a location off campus. During Christmastime the Catholic group got together and setup a Christmas tree in the chapel. As we were setting up the tree, the Jewish rabbi came by and objected to its location. He demanded that we place it far off in a corner where he could hide it by a screen during his services. He said that he did not want any pagan symbols to be visible during his religious services. BTW, there was no objection from the Muslim group or anyone else AFAIK.
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« Reply #70 on: March 24, 2013, 09:54:56 PM »

The Christmas tree is a recent development in the Orthodox world - about 100 years old at the most. It has no liturgical function, so it doesn't really belong in church. It's a petty issue. I wouldn't call anybody a pagan because of it.  
You say it is a petty issue, but not so according to a Jewish rabbi here. Let me explain. Nearby on the university campus, there is a religious center for students. At the center there is a chapel and this chapel is used by Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Muslim and other relgious groups including infrequently the Orthodox. The Orthodox generally use a location off campus. During Christmastime the Catholic group got together and setup a Christmas tree in the chapel. As we were setting up the tree, the Jewish rabbi came by and objected to its location. He demanded that we place it far off in a corner where he could hide it by a screen during his services. He said that he did not want any pagan symbols to be visible during his religious services. BTW, there was no objection from the Muslim group or anyone else AFAIK.

I also agree it is a petty issue.  One has to remember using and "interdenominational" chapel to respect other denominations belief systems.  If something offends one party then you 'screen' it off, otherwise it would be wise to seek another venue.
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« Reply #71 on: March 24, 2013, 11:42:54 PM »

the whole belief that the profane is cleansed to make one sacred again is pagan. 
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« Reply #72 on: March 25, 2013, 03:33:31 AM »

Both the Orthodox Church and pagans have used incense in their religious celebrations. Pagans used incense a lot earlier than the Orthodox. Should we criticise the Orthodox Church for borrowing a practice that was used by pagans?

Yours is at least the fourth post missing the point on this thread.

Catholics use incense. Orthodox use incense. Pagans use incense.

That they all do doesn't mean that they use it in the same context as each other.

However an Aboriginal 'Smoking Ceremony' is a pagan ceremony being used in their church.

It remains a pagan ceremony.

Try this from another angle: The Dalai Lama is invited to speak at a Catholic mass. He goes away at the end. Did he become Catholic during the time he was in the mass or did he remain non-Catholic, despite being in the church?

The smoking ceremony is the same thing, it remains 'pagan' and has NOTHING TO DO with incense.

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« Reply #73 on: March 25, 2013, 03:36:07 AM »

I also agree it is a petty issue.  One has to remember using and "interdenominational" chapel to respect other denominations belief systems.  If something offends one party then you 'screen' it off, otherwise it would be wise to seek another venue.

Interestingly ; near where I live is a major hospital that had an interdenominational prayer room. A group of Moslems wanted a separate venue, because they perceived the whole prayer room as 'Chrisitan'

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« Reply #74 on: March 25, 2013, 03:38:10 AM »

the whole belief that the profane is cleansed to make one sacred again is pagan. 

So if I use the word "Sunday" then it's pagan, therefore having Divine Liturgy then is pagan?

Where, to you, does the paganness of it end?
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« Reply #75 on: March 25, 2013, 03:43:01 AM »

Both the Orthodox Church and pagans have used incense in their religious celebrations. Pagans used incense a lot earlier than the Orthodox. Should we criticise the Orthodox Church for borrowing a practice that was used by pagans?

Jews used incense too. The archangel Gabriel appeared to Zacharias while he was incensing in the Temple. The Book of Revelation speaks of angels with censers when describing the heavenly liturgy, etc. 




The Egyptians used incense about 1500 years before the archangel Gabriel appeared to Zacharias. Their kings are depicted holding censors.
Hindus or Chinese were perhaps the first to use incense in their religious services. After that came the Egyptians and several hundred years later, the Jews.
Approximate Timeline (not exact, very approximate):
Chinese use of incense: 4000 BC
Hindu use of incense: 3000 BC
Egyptian use of incense: 1200 BC
Isaiah and Jeremiah, mentioning incense:        700 BC


So what? Are you now going to say, for eg. that because there's similarities drawn between Horus and Jesus that you're not worshiping Jesus, but Horus?

Where does the pagan-ness end?

For me, if the Catholic Church adopted an aboriginal smoking ceremony as part of the church, and removed the idea that it was to ward off evil spirits, it would cease being pagan

And when I say 'evil spirits' it's not the same as Christians praying to remove evil, because the Aboriginal belief system is DIFFERENT.

It'd be like saying "I wear this charm to ward of Loki" and you thinking "Well, he's evil, we have Satan, therefore it's really to ward off Satan"

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« Reply #76 on: March 25, 2013, 03:46:13 AM »

Early Christian (both Eastern and Western) Liturgies were very influenced by Roman/Hellenic/etc. symbolism and rituals, it's our heritage to be cared, not scared of.

What's really worth attention is carnival elements allowed into Catholic Mass.

This is it.

Many here, I believe, fail to understand a difference between a Christian adopting something and in effect making it Christian to allowing into the church fully pagan things, that remain pagan.

We all use incense.

But if you, for e.g. were to say "I burn incense so that my gods are appease by its aroma" and I use incense to say something else then the fact we both burn incense is not the same at all.

It's all to do with 'intent'.

If Orthodox here don't believe that then we should allow statues into worship.
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« Reply #77 on: March 25, 2013, 08:51:13 AM »

I also agree it is a petty issue.  One has to remember using and "interdenominational" chapel to respect other denominations belief systems.  If something offends one party then you 'screen' it off, otherwise it would be wise to seek another venue.

Interestingly ; near where I live is a major hospital that had an interdenominational prayer room. A group of Moslems wanted a separate venue, because they perceived the whole prayer room as 'Chrisitan'



When the Muslims have a problem they make it our problem.  What can I say?  Muslims have not heard the word "no" enough from our side.
If they want a separate room for their service then let them pay for it.
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« Reply #78 on: March 25, 2013, 02:13:10 PM »

I also agree it is a petty issue. 
Well, then you disagree with those Jewish rabbis who take the time and effort to preach against Christmas trees. As Christianity spread across the world, it has incorporated and adopted  many pagan symbols. According to John H. Newman (Essay on the Development of the Christian Doctrine  1878):
"The use of temples, and these dedicated to particular saints, and ornamented on occasions with branches of trees; incense, lamps, and candles; votive offerings on recovery from illness; holy water; asylums; holy days and seasons, use of calendars, processions, blessings on the fields, sacerdotal vestments, the tonsure, the ring in marriage, turning to the east, images at a later date, perhaps the ecclesiastical chant, and the Kyrie Eleison, are all of pagan origin..."
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« Reply #79 on: March 25, 2013, 03:55:36 PM »

I also agree it is a petty issue.
Well, then you disagree with those Jewish rabbis who take the time and effort to preach against Christmas trees. As Christianity spread across the world, it has incorporated and adopted  many pagan symbols. According to John H. Newman (Essay on the Development of the Christian Doctrine  1878):
"The use of temples, and these dedicated to particular saints, and ornamented on occasions with branches of trees; incense, lamps, and candles; votive offerings on recovery from illness; holy water; asylums; holy days and seasons, use of calendars, processions, blessings on the fields, sacerdotal vestments, the tonsure, the ring in marriage, turning to the east, images at a later date, perhaps the ecclesiastical chant, and the Kyrie Eleison, are all of pagan origin..."

So, whats your problem.  I don't have a problem with our church's traditions......Im not the one fighting this...
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« Reply #80 on: March 25, 2013, 04:04:15 PM »

I also agree it is a petty issue.  One has to remember using and "interdenominational" chapel to respect other denominations belief systems.  If something offends one party then you 'screen' it off, otherwise it would be wise to seek another venue.

Interestingly ; near where I live is a major hospital that had an interdenominational prayer room. A group of Moslems wanted a separate venue, because they perceived the whole prayer room as 'Chrisitan'



When the Muslims

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« Reply #81 on: March 25, 2013, 05:40:52 PM »

I also agree it is a petty issue.
Well, then you disagree with those Jewish rabbis who take the time and effort to preach against Christmas trees. As Christianity spread across the world, it has incorporated and adopted  many pagan symbols. According to John H. Newman (Essay on the Development of the Christian Doctrine  1878):
"The use of temples, and these dedicated to particular saints, and ornamented on occasions with branches of trees; incense, lamps, and candles; votive offerings on recovery from illness; holy water; asylums; holy days and seasons, use of calendars, processions, blessings on the fields, sacerdotal vestments, the tonsure, the ring in marriage, turning to the east, images at a later date, perhaps the ecclesiastical chant, and the Kyrie Eleison, are all of pagan origin..."

So, whats your problem.  I don't have a problem with our church's traditions......Im not the one fighting this...
Why are you on this thread which concerns pagan elements? You imply  that mentioning the pagan origin of Christmas trees is petty.  In the discussion, I give my opinion that  the question of what is and what is not petty is in the eye of the beholder.
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« Reply #82 on: March 25, 2013, 08:28:38 PM »

As to your second statement about having Christmas trees 'inside' the church, we do have a Christmas tree during the Christmas season But it is kept in the Narthex or Vestibule portion of the church building.  We decorate it with cards that list someone in need and those parishioners pick from the tree and buy that person what he or she wished for in the card.  
As far as wearing head gear, the arch priests and bishops do were head gear as a sign of their office. As to why men don't wear hats or head gear at Liturgy im not sure of.  But I would think it is a sign of respect to do so.  It could also be a sign of the separation from the old covenant and accepting the new covenant.  
But the pagans are the ones who first gave honor to the tree, and this practice has been incorporated into the Orthodox Christian tradition. Was it wrong to do so? If it was not wrong to incorporate this pagan tradition into Orthodox practice, then why would it be wrong for RCs to incorporate other pagan traditions into their practice?

Do you have any actual ancient source saying pagans used Christmas trees? I have never seen anything and I've read all the source material on ancient northern European religions. The closest we get are modern people saying it has to be an ancient Scandinavian or Germanic custom, "just cause" someone says so and they think their dictates change space, time and history (and they have no qualms about being a liar). There's not any actual ancient source either by ancient northern Europeans or anyone else saying diddly squat about it as far as I can find. In which case, it cannot be said to have derived from such sources.
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« Reply #83 on: March 25, 2013, 10:39:03 PM »

As to your second statement about having Christmas trees 'inside' the church, we do have a Christmas tree during the Christmas season But it is kept in the Narthex or Vestibule portion of the church building.  We decorate it with cards that list someone in need and those parishioners pick from the tree and buy that person what he or she wished for in the card. 
As far as wearing head gear, the arch priests and bishops do were head gear as a sign of their office. As to why men don't wear hats or head gear at Liturgy im not sure of.  But I would think it is a sign of respect to do so.  It could also be a sign of the separation from the old covenant and accepting the new covenant. 
But the pagans are the ones who first gave honor to the tree, and this practice has been incorporated into the Orthodox Christian tradition. Was it wrong to do so? If it was not wrong to incorporate this pagan tradition into Orthodox practice, then why would it be wrong for RCs to incorporate other pagan traditions into their practice?

Do you have any actual ancient source saying pagans used Christmas trees? I have never seen anything and I've read all the source material on ancient northern European religions. The closest we get are modern people saying it has to be an ancient Scandinavian or Germanic custom, "just cause" someone says so and they think their dictates change space, time and history (and they have no qualms about being a liar). There's not any actual ancient source either by ancient northern Europeans or anyone else saying diddly squat about it as far as I can find. In which case, it cannot be said to have derived from such sources.
See reply #27. 
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« Reply #84 on: March 25, 2013, 11:12:36 PM »

As to your second statement about having Christmas trees 'inside' the church, we do have a Christmas tree during the Christmas season But it is kept in the Narthex or Vestibule portion of the church building.  We decorate it with cards that list someone in need and those parishioners pick from the tree and buy that person what he or she wished for in the card.  
As far as wearing head gear, the arch priests and bishops do were head gear as a sign of their office. As to why men don't wear hats or head gear at Liturgy im not sure of.  But I would think it is a sign of respect to do so.  It could also be a sign of the separation from the old covenant and accepting the new covenant.  
But the pagans are the ones who first gave honor to the tree, and this practice has been incorporated into the Orthodox Christian tradition. Was it wrong to do so? If it was not wrong to incorporate this pagan tradition into Orthodox practice, then why would it be wrong for RCs to incorporate other pagan traditions into their practice?

Do you have any actual ancient source saying pagans used Christmas trees? I have never seen anything and I've read all the source material on ancient northern European religions. The closest we get are modern people saying it has to be an ancient Scandinavian or Germanic custom, "just cause" someone says so and they think their dictates change space, time and history (and they have no qualms about being a liar). There's not any actual ancient source either by ancient northern Europeans or anyone else saying diddly squat about it as far as I can find. In which case, it cannot be said to have derived from such sources.
See reply #27.  

The history channel is not a reputable source. A glaring example of how they get it wrong is there is nothing from ancient times (which are the only sources that could accurately describe what was happening then) saying anything about Celts or Norsemen decorating with wreaths or trees (and there is definitely no record of them decorating their temples with them, there's no written record of the Celts/Druids even having temples at all, we only know they had temples because we found them within the past 50 years - as for what went on there we know literally nothing). They certainly revered trees, however there is no record of them bringing them inside, or decorating them, or anything like that. I've read everythingthat is recorded of their religious practices and its not there. If you don't believe me, do it, you can do it in a week or less. All anyone can do is point back to someone else who claimed it, going back a few hundred years at most.
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« Reply #85 on: March 25, 2013, 11:25:01 PM »

As to your second statement about having Christmas trees 'inside' the church, we do have a Christmas tree during the Christmas season But it is kept in the Narthex or Vestibule portion of the church building.  We decorate it with cards that list someone in need and those parishioners pick from the tree and buy that person what he or she wished for in the card. 
As far as wearing head gear, the arch priests and bishops do were head gear as a sign of their office. As to why men don't wear hats or head gear at Liturgy im not sure of.  But I would think it is a sign of respect to do so.  It could also be a sign of the separation from the old covenant and accepting the new covenant. 
But the pagans are the ones who first gave honor to the tree, and this practice has been incorporated into the Orthodox Christian tradition. Was it wrong to do so? If it was not wrong to incorporate this pagan tradition into Orthodox practice, then why would it be wrong for RCs to incorporate other pagan traditions into their practice?

Do you have any actual ancient source saying pagans used Christmas trees? I have never seen anything and I've read all the source material on ancient northern European religions. The closest we get are modern people saying it has to be an ancient Scandinavian or Germanic custom, "just cause" someone says so and they think their dictates change space, time and history (and they have no qualms about being a liar). There's not any actual ancient source either by ancient northern Europeans or anyone else saying diddly squat about it as far as I can find. In which case, it cannot be said to have derived from such sources.
See reply #27. 

The history channel is not a reputable source. A glaring example of how they get it wrong is there is nothing from ancient times (which are the only sources that could accurately describe what was happening then) saying anything about Celts or Norsemen decorating with wreaths or trees. They certainly revered trees, however there is no record of them bringing them inside, or decorating them, or anything like that. I've read everythingthat is recorded of their religious practices and its not there. If you don't believe me, do it, you can do it in a week or less. All anyone can do is point back to someone else who claimed it, going back a few hundred years at most.
Jeremiah 10:2-4: "Thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them. For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe. They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not." (King James Version).
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« Reply #86 on: March 25, 2013, 11:41:12 PM »

Catholics use incense. Orthodox use incense. Pagans use incense.
Did God approve of the use of incense? It seems like He did not like it at least in the OT:

"[7] For so it was that the children of Israel had sinned against the Lord their God, who brought them out of the land of Egypt, from under the hand of Pharao king of Egypt, and they worshipped strange gods. [8] And they walked according to the way of the nations which the Lord had destroyed in the sight of the children of Israel and of the kings of Israel: because they had done in like manner. [9] And the children of Israel offended the Lord their God with things that were not right: and built them high places in all their cities from the tower of the watchmen to the fenced city. [10] And they made them statues and groves on every high hill, and under every shady tree:
[11] And they burnt incense there upon altars after the manner of the nations which the Lord had removed from their face: and they did wicked things, provoking the Lord."
2 Kings 17
Also there is reference to making groves, which I am not sure what exactly it means?
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« Reply #87 on: March 25, 2013, 11:41:21 PM »

As to your second statement about having Christmas trees 'inside' the church, we do have a Christmas tree during the Christmas season But it is kept in the Narthex or Vestibule portion of the church building.  We decorate it with cards that list someone in need and those parishioners pick from the tree and buy that person what he or she wished for in the card. 
As far as wearing head gear, the arch priests and bishops do were head gear as a sign of their office. As to why men don't wear hats or head gear at Liturgy im not sure of.  But I would think it is a sign of respect to do so.  It could also be a sign of the separation from the old covenant and accepting the new covenant. 
But the pagans are the ones who first gave honor to the tree, and this practice has been incorporated into the Orthodox Christian tradition. Was it wrong to do so? If it was not wrong to incorporate this pagan tradition into Orthodox practice, then why would it be wrong for RCs to incorporate other pagan traditions into their practice?

Do you have any actual ancient source saying pagans used Christmas trees? I have never seen anything and I've read all the source material on ancient northern European religions. The closest we get are modern people saying it has to be an ancient Scandinavian or Germanic custom, "just cause" someone says so and they think their dictates change space, time and history (and they have no qualms about being a liar). There's not any actual ancient source either by ancient northern Europeans or anyone else saying diddly squat about it as far as I can find. In which case, it cannot be said to have derived from such sources.
See reply #27. 

The history channel is not a reputable source. A glaring example of how they get it wrong is there is nothing from ancient times (which are the only sources that could accurately describe what was happening then) saying anything about Celts or Norsemen decorating with wreaths or trees. They certainly revered trees, however there is no record of them bringing them inside, or decorating them, or anything like that. I've read everythingthat is recorded of their religious practices and its not there. If you don't believe me, do it, you can do it in a week or less. All anyone can do is point back to someone else who claimed it, going back a few hundred years at most.
Jeremiah 10:2-4: "Thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them. For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe. They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not." (King James Version).


What we know of Canannites/Phoenician religion, this describes the creation of pillars that they worshipped. If cutting all the branches off a bole and wrapping it in precious metals is a Christmas tree to you, then you had a unique up bringing.
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« Reply #88 on: March 25, 2013, 11:48:46 PM »

Catholics use incense. Orthodox use incense. Pagans use incense.
Did God approve of the use of incense? It seems like He did not like it at least in the OT:

"[7] For so it was that the children of Israel had sinned against the Lord their God, who brought them out of the land of Egypt, from under the hand of Pharao king of Egypt, and they worshipped strange gods. [8] And they walked according to the way of the nations which the Lord had destroyed in the sight of the children of Israel and of the kings of Israel: because they had done in like manner. [9] And the children of Israel offended the Lord their God with things that were not right: and built them high places in all their cities from the tower of the watchmen to the fenced city. [10] And they made them statues and groves on every high hill, and under every shady tree:
[11] And they burnt incense there upon altars after the manner of the nations which the Lord had removed from their face: and they did wicked things, provoking the Lord."
2 Kings 17
Also there is reference to making groves, which I am not sure what exactly it means?

It is quite obvious from this passage that God did not like the children of Israel worshipping idols, not the fact that they used incense.
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« Reply #89 on: March 26, 2013, 12:17:30 AM »

As to your second statement about having Christmas trees 'inside' the church, we do have a Christmas tree during the Christmas season But it is kept in the Narthex or Vestibule portion of the church building.  We decorate it with cards that list someone in need and those parishioners pick from the tree and buy that person what he or she wished for in the card.  
As far as wearing head gear, the arch priests and bishops do were head gear as a sign of their office. As to why men don't wear hats or head gear at Liturgy im not sure of.  But I would think it is a sign of respect to do so.  It could also be a sign of the separation from the old covenant and accepting the new covenant.  
But the pagans are the ones who first gave honor to the tree, and this practice has been incorporated into the Orthodox Christian tradition. Was it wrong to do so? If it was not wrong to incorporate this pagan tradition into Orthodox practice, then why would it be wrong for RCs to incorporate other pagan traditions into their practice?

Do you have any actual ancient source saying pagans used Christmas trees? I have never seen anything and I've read all the source material on ancient northern European religions. The closest we get are modern people saying it has to be an ancient Scandinavian or Germanic custom, "just cause" someone says so and they think their dictates change space, time and history (and they have no qualms about being a liar). There's not any actual ancient source either by ancient northern Europeans or anyone else saying diddly squat about it as far as I can find. In which case, it cannot be said to have derived from such sources.
See reply #27.  

The history channel is not a reputable source. A glaring example of how they get it wrong is there is nothing from ancient times (which are the only sources that could accurately describe what was happening then) saying anything about Celts or Norsemen decorating with wreaths or trees (and there is definitely no record of them decorating their temples with them, there's no written record of the Celts/Druids even having temples at all, we only know they had temples because we found them within the past 50 years - as for what went on there we know literally nothing). They certainly revered trees, however there is no record of them bringing them inside, or decorating them, or anything like that. I've read everythingthat is recorded of their religious practices and its not there. If you don't believe me, do it, you can do it in a week or less. All anyone can do is point back to someone else who claimed it, going back a few hundred years at most.
In addition to the Encyclopedia Britannica and the History channel, there are other sources which claim the pagan origin of Christmas trees. For example:
http://www.prevailmagazine.org/the-origins-of-the-christmas-tree/
"The Nordic pagans and the Celtic Druids revered the evergreen tree as a symbol of everlasting life and hope for the return of spring. While other plants and trees died, the evergreen trees remained alive continually; hence, they were revered as manifestations of deity. As a symbol of prosperity, the Druids decorated the evergreen outdoors. It was the Scandinavian pagans who were the pioneers in bringing the decorated trees indoors; and the Saxons, a Germanic pagan tribe, who were the first to use candles to illuminate the tree....."
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