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Author Topic: Swinging incense full circle! O  (Read 2498 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: June 07, 2013, 04:08:29 AM »

I have sometimes noticed this in some oriental liturgies, but I also noticed it in a certain movie about the orthodox church and the schism of russia and old believers.


Is swinging inscense full circle an orthodox tradtion anywhere? Perhaps only in such as Alexandria? Or Antioch and such fallen after adopting Constantinople rite?


I am talking about when one swings the inscence in an entire circle. (as in it goes upside down while being swung!!)


some point I will add the point in the movie with it, but perhaps anyone can talk about it more



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« Reply #1 on: June 07, 2013, 06:43:55 AM »

I have seen both greek and russian clergy do it.
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« Reply #2 on: June 07, 2013, 07:27:12 AM »

I have seen both greek and russian clergy do it.

Ditto, but far more prevalent among Russians than Greeks.
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« Reply #3 on: June 07, 2013, 07:34:26 AM »

Some Finns do it too.
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« Reply #4 on: June 07, 2013, 07:37:28 AM »

Some Finns do it too.

Probably because of Russian influence.  Smiley
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« Reply #5 on: June 07, 2013, 07:40:40 AM »

Some Finns do it too.

Probably because of Russian influence.  Smiley

I don't know. Greek influences seem to be more fashionable these days.
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« Reply #6 on: June 07, 2013, 10:46:43 AM »

I have never seen it in Greek or Antiochian churches. I have seen it in a Russian (OCA) church. I like it.
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« Reply #7 on: June 07, 2013, 10:51:58 AM »

I don't know. Greek influences seem to be more fashionable these days.

LOL

BTW never seen this apart fromsome servers showing off.
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« Reply #8 on: June 07, 2013, 11:54:00 AM »

I see it every Sunday at my ACROD church.  2 of the 3 priests will swing the incense in a full circle.  And, they do it quite effortlessly, you can't quite tell if they are using extra effort.  They'll come out and incense the icons, the people, etc, and then right before they go through the holy doors they'll swing the incense in a full circle and go back into the Sanctuary.
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« Reply #9 on: June 07, 2013, 01:26:05 PM »

Is it intentionally a full circle, or does it just look like that?  My understanding is that those who cense in this manner are trying to make the sign of the cross, though it invariably looks circular with the typical hanging censer.  Copts do something like this when offering incense, though I haven't seen it in any other Oriental tradition.  Interestingly, it appears in the West, at least in the Ambrosian rite:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pNCykvdbXB8

Starting at around 5:05. 
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« Reply #10 on: June 07, 2013, 02:22:37 PM »

Is it intentionally a full circle, or does it just look like that?  My understanding is that those who cense in this manner are trying to make the sign of the cross, though it invariably looks circular with the typical hanging censer.  

Incensing the Gifts in the Roman rite:

« Last Edit: June 07, 2013, 02:24:40 PM by Romaios » Logged
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« Reply #11 on: June 07, 2013, 02:44:22 PM »

Incensing the Gifts in the Roman rite:

LOL. Why I'm not suprised RCs have detailed explanation even for this.
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« Reply #12 on: June 07, 2013, 02:52:16 PM »

Incensing the Gifts in the Roman rite:

LOL. Why I'm not suprised RCs have detailed explanation even for this.

You should have a look at the old Roman Missal. Those rubrics actually tell the priest where he should direct his eyes, how he should keep his hands, how many degrees he should bow, etc.

The Latin Mass Explained and Demonstrated for Priests

See, for instance, the esoteric explanation on how the Missal is positioned at 17'.
« Last Edit: June 07, 2013, 03:04:36 PM by Romaios » Logged
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« Reply #13 on: June 07, 2013, 06:30:55 PM »

I've seen our Deacons do it before, in my Serbian parish, but they were converts and might've picked it up from elsewhere. We have a fairly multi-traditioned parish. I was told it represents "censing the entire world." Our current Deacon doesn't do it.

We shouldn't be too quick to pick on the Romans' liturgical rubrics. Ours can be pretty definite too (though, ok, even I have to admit the bits about how far to bow and where ones' eyes should be is a bit much. Still, if you look at things like the Stowe Missal, or the rubrics for the pre-schismatic Ambrosian rite, they're pretty comprehensive, and that was all Orthodox). 
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« Reply #14 on: June 07, 2013, 10:30:05 PM »

Incensing the Gifts in the Roman rite:

LOL. Why I'm not suprised RCs have detailed explanation even for this.

I actually enjoy their diagrams for such things.  That which was posted here--the incensing of the gifts--is similar to the way our priests incense the gifts during our Proskomide. 

This is actually something for which I appreciate the Romans.  We can poke fun at them for the complexity of their rubrics, but in their defence, I think they include everything in the rubrics.  Romaios was just hinting at some of the specificity contained in the rubrics of the old Missal.  In my experience, it's not so much that our Liturgies have less rubrics, but a lot more seems to be passed along through a kind of oral tradition. 

For instance, when I was taught the liturgical rites, it was clear the rubrics in the priest's service book really only hinted at what to do.  For example, the rubric might say "Then the priest censes the gifts", but you have to know how the priest censes the gifts at that particular moment.  There's no Ritus Servandus to refer to in case you forget how to do it.  There are rules about how to hold your hands, how to elevate your arms, the proper way to ascend the step of the altar (including which foot to use first), how to turn towards the people for blessings vs. turning to distribute communion, etc.  Knowledge of how to execute these rites is all passed down from teacher to disciple, and when you actually celebrate the Liturgy the first time, he's there to watch you, correct any errors, help when drawing a blank, etc.  There isn't really any book to refer to, so you take good notes and practice, practice, practice.  I suspect the Byzantine rite is similar in this, based on the rubrics class I audited, and I suspect this is the reason why even to this day Copts and Armenians send a newly ordained priest on a retreat to a monastery before he can serve the Liturgy publicly.  There's a lot to learn if it's not all written down for you.           
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« Reply #15 on: June 07, 2013, 10:59:45 PM »

Is it intentionally a full circle, or does it just look like that?  My understanding is that those who cense in this manner are trying to make the sign of the cross, though it invariably looks circular with the typical hanging censer.  

Incensing the Gifts in the Roman rite:



I have self reservations on interpreting this diagram. Corrections desired.

This was my symbolic interpretation (and likely wrong):
Incense toward the alter.
While facing the alter incense 90 deg to the left.
Incense toward the alter.
While facing the alter incense 90 deg to the left.
Incense toward the alter.
While facing the alter incense 90 deg to the left.
Do a full revolution counter-clockwise perpendicular to and while facing the alter.
Do a full revolution counter-clockwise perpendicular to and while facing the alter.
Do a full revolution clockwise perpendicular to and while facing the alter.
Presumably enter the alter.
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« Reply #16 on: June 08, 2013, 04:18:42 AM »

I have self reservations on interpreting this diagram. Corrections desired.

This was my symbolic interpretation (and likely wrong):
Incense toward the alter.
While facing the alter incense 90 deg to the left.
Incense toward the alter.
While facing the alter incense 90 deg to the left.
Incense toward the alter.
While facing the alter incense 90 deg to the left.
Do a full revolution counter-clockwise perpendicular to and while facing the alter.
Do a full revolution counter-clockwise perpendicular to and while facing the alter.
Do a full revolution clockwise perpendicular to and while facing the alter.
Presumably enter the alter.

I got confused.  Tongue

This is for the priest standing at the holy table.  Imagine the diskos at center-west with the chalice above it at center-east.  Then, with the censer in the right hand and its handle (with the loop) in the left, use the right hand to trace the cross over the gifts, following the order of the numbers--you should get three crosses while reciting the words of the prayer "Incensum istud a te benedictum ascendat ad te Domine" (in the same order as the crosses, just follow the bands for the words).  Then, two counter-clockwise circles and one clockwise circle over the gifts with the words "et descendat super nos misericordia tua". 

After this, the altar cross and the altar table are censed.  Don't worry: there's a diagram for that too.  Smiley
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« Reply #17 on: June 08, 2013, 10:45:07 AM »

Incensing the Gifts in the Roman rite:

LOL. Why I'm not suprised RCs have detailed explanation even for this.

Why is that so bad? Oh wait, they're Roman Catholics. I forgot, because Orthodox people remember things perfectly and never need help.  Roll Eyes
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« Reply #18 on: June 08, 2013, 11:53:26 AM »

Incensing the Gifts in the Roman rite:

LOL. Why I'm not suprised RCs have detailed explanation even for this.

Why is that so bad? Oh wait, they're Roman Catholics. I forgot, because Orthodox people remember things perfectly and never need help.  Roll Eyes

To be fair, he didn't say that it necessarily was a bad thing.
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« Reply #19 on: June 08, 2013, 05:35:35 PM »

Incensing the Gifts in the Roman rite:

LOL. Why I'm not suprised RCs have detailed explanation even for this.

Why is that so bad? Oh wait, they're Roman Catholics. I forgot, because Orthodox people remember things perfectly and never need help.  Roll Eyes

To be fair, he didn't say that it necessarily was a bad thing.

Exactly. Sense of humour, anyone? Stereotypes are funny.
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« Reply #20 on: June 08, 2013, 05:36:40 PM »

Humous? What does this have to do with chickpea dip?
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« Reply #21 on: June 08, 2013, 05:42:46 PM »

Bloody touchscreen! I hate technology.
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« Reply #22 on: June 11, 2013, 04:23:34 AM »

anyway, this is what made me make the post:

http://youtu.be/fi8-d-OIIUo?t=35m15s

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« Reply #23 on: June 11, 2013, 10:45:10 AM »

anyway, this is what made me make the post:

http://youtu.be/fi8-d-OIIUo?t=35m15s

Looks interesting! A Russian series on the Raskol (schism of the Old Believers)... If only a merciful soul had put some subtitles on it!
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« Reply #24 on: June 11, 2013, 03:00:10 PM »

anyway, this is what made me make the post:

http://youtu.be/fi8-d-OIIUo?t=35m15s

Looks interesting! A Russian series on the Raskol (schism of the Old Believers)... If only a merciful soul had put some subtitles on it!

He is making the sign of the cross, this is actually the proper way to cense (although a little exaggerated).
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« Reply #25 on: June 11, 2013, 03:05:34 PM »

Looks interesting! A Russian series on the Raskol (schism of the Old Believers)... If only a merciful soul had put some subtitles on it!

He is making the sign of the cross, this is actually the proper way to cense (although a little exaggerated).

I got as much - I meant the whole series. It would be nice to have it subtitled on youtube. Smiley
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« Reply #26 on: June 14, 2013, 04:22:40 PM »

Thank you all for your replies!!!



Looks interesting! A Russian series on the Raskol (schism of the Old Believers)... If only a merciful soul had put some subtitles on it!

He is making the sign of the cross, this is actually the proper way to cense (although a little exaggerated).

I got as much - I meant the whole series. It would be nice to have it subtitled on youtube. Smiley

I agree, although I still found it interesting even though I could not understand a word. One can still sort of tell what is happening, with the greek bishops, a model of a church, changing to greek vestments, monks splitting between two who are arguing  (probably on whether to schism or not over the reforms)
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« Reply #27 on: June 17, 2013, 08:18:58 AM »

My priest swings the incense full circle.  The first time I visited the parish, I thought for sure that ashes were going to go flying, but he is quite adept at it.  I've just gotten used to it and thought all parishes do it that way.  Apparently not...
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« Reply #28 on: June 17, 2013, 10:24:35 AM »

My priest swings the incense full circle.  The first time I visited the parish, I thought for sure that ashes were going to go flying, but he is quite adept at it.

It also depends on what sort of charcoal is used to prepare the censer - the round compact ones or powder. One teaspoonful of charcoal powder I find much better, because it doesn't burn the incense so as to produce (nasty) smoke. It needs to be pressed a little bit around the grain(s) of incense (not too much or it won't catch fire) - also there should be a sufficient amount of ashes in the censer. I like the sparks that come out when the censer is swung, but no ash trail should be left behind or - worse - burnt carpets.

Censers are meant to be swung with confidence!  Smiley   
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« Reply #29 on: June 17, 2013, 10:42:48 AM »

An oldie but a goodie, from the time of the 2004 Athens Olympics:

Liturgical Olympics


Here are some of the top sports:

Russians are the favorites in the Censer Swing, a gymnastic sport of timing and grace, in which priests and deacons compete to make the most intricate formations with the smoke and movement of the censer. Points off for setting vestments or carpets on fire.

Georgians and Bulgarians are expected to be top competitors in the Long Note: a track and field event to see who can hold a note the longest. There are individual, team and relay heats. Points off for flatting.

Greeks are taking top odds in Speed Liturgy, another track and field event, in which priest, deacon and choir compete for the speediest liturgy. Judges will be listening carefully to see if anything is left out.

It's an open field in Altar Boy Synchronization, in which teams of altar servers move in synchronized motion with candles, icons, fans and censers. Nike and Adidas are in a bidding war over who will provide team shoes.

Americans are expected to be major contenders in Canon Tossing and the heavier-weight Anathema Hurling. There will be individual, team
and relay heats in this event as well, with points off for players hitting their own teams and fans.

Other events will include Bishop Vesting, High Note, Low Note and Countertenor, and Distance Sprinkling.

Excitement is building as Orthodox Olympians around the world prepare for these events.

 It is obvious there is a source for this material. You need to cite your sources when the material is not your own creation. Please provide a source for this material.
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« Reply #30 on: June 17, 2013, 11:06:40 AM »

Russians are the favorites in the Censer Swing, a gymnastic sport of timing and grace, in which priests and deacons compete to make the most intricate formations with the smoke and movement of the censer. Points off for setting vestments or carpets on fire.

Lol! This reminds me of Br. Leo, a massive Dutch Benedictine monk who is also a stone carver. He was the thurifer when I visited their Abbey (back in my RC days). He would swing the long Latin censer quite fast and almost continuously, sometimes even full circle, before it was used at Vespers. When the priest incensed the altar at Magnificat, all the church would be filled with a dense cloud of smoke. Just like the Glory of the Lord filling the Temple of Solomon!  Smiley
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« Reply #31 on: June 17, 2013, 11:14:58 AM »

My priest does this occasionally and I was told it was to help get a dying charcoal or one that was just lit some extra oxygen to get it nice and hot.
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« Reply #32 on: June 17, 2013, 11:17:30 AM »

Russians are the favorites in the Censer Swing, a gymnastic sport of timing and grace, in which priests and deacons compete to make the most intricate formations with the smoke and movement of the censer. Points off for setting vestments or carpets on fire.

Lol! This reminds me of Br. Leo, a massive Dutch Benedictine monk who is also a stone carver. He was the thurifer when I visited their Abbey (back in my RC days). He would swing the long Latin censer continuously, sometimes even full circle, before it was used at Vespers. When the priest incensed the altar at Magnificat, all the church would be filled with a dense cloud of smoke. Just like the Glory of the Lord filling the Temple of Solomon!  Smiley

Oh, I've been to Orthodox churches where the censing is prolonged, enthusiastic and vigorous, where the nave and altar are blue with smoke, and the whole church is filled with the fragrance of the incense. The glory of the Lord, indeed!  laugh
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« Reply #33 on: June 17, 2013, 11:21:39 AM »

I love it when the incense is really billowing.  Unfortunately, they have the HVAC system running every Sunday, I assume to get circulation so no one passes out. I love seeing a nice haze and then the sun shines in on the iconography.  No other religion has that kind of beauty IMHO.
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« Reply #34 on: June 17, 2013, 12:22:27 PM »

An oldie but a goodie, from the time of the 2004 Athens Olympics:

Liturgical Olympics


Here are some of the top sports:

Russians are the favorites in the Censer Swing, a gymnastic sport of timing and grace, in which priests and deacons compete to make the most intricate formations with the smoke and movement of the censer. Points off for setting vestments or carpets on fire.

Georgians and Bulgarians are expected to be top competitors in the Long Note: a track and field event to see who can hold a note the longest. There are individual, team and relay heats. Points off for flatting.

Greeks are taking top odds in Speed Liturgy, another track and field event, in which priest, deacon and choir compete for the speediest liturgy. Judges will be listening carefully to see if anything is left out.

It's an open field in Altar Boy Synchronization, in which teams of altar servers move in synchronized motion with candles, icons, fans and censers. Nike and Adidas are in a bidding war over who will provide team shoes.

Americans are expected to be major contenders in Canon Tossing and the heavier-weight Anathema Hurling. There will be individual, team
and relay heats in this event as well, with points off for players hitting their own teams and fans.

Other events will include Bishop Vesting, High Note, Low Note and Countertenor, and Distance Sprinkling.

Excitement is building as Orthodox Olympians around the world prepare for these events.

 It is obvious there is a source for this material. You need to cite your sources when the material is not your own creation. Please provide a source for this material.

I received this as an email several years ago. I have no idea who is the original author or creator of it.
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« Reply #35 on: June 17, 2013, 01:18:44 PM »

At my previous parish, the Priest there does this. As far as I know, he was taught by Archbishop Job and Priests in Chicago according to the Russian tradition, so that's where he probably gets it from.

http://youtu.be/PNmiA6zL6xc?t=2m50s
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« Reply #36 on: June 17, 2013, 01:42:11 PM »

At my previous parish, the Priest there does this. As far as I know, he was taught by Archbishop Job and Priests in Chicago according to the Russian tradition, so that's where he probably gets it from.

http://youtu.be/PNmiA6zL6xc?t=2m50s


 Fr. A. has done that ever since I can remember.  AFAIK, he's never lost any incense or hit anything.   
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« Reply #37 on: June 17, 2013, 02:26:52 PM »

I am an altar server and would be expected to leap on the hot coal and snatch it off the floor if the Deacon doesn't have good swing technique.

What is worse is the little timid half swings that many new deacons employ.. They need to man up
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« Reply #38 on: June 17, 2013, 03:23:42 PM »

At my previous parish, the Priest there does this. As far as I know, he was taught by Archbishop Job and Priests in Chicago according to the Russian tradition, so that's where he probably gets it from.

http://youtu.be/PNmiA6zL6xc?t=2m50s


 Fr. A. has done that ever since I can remember.  AFAIK, he's never lost any incense or hit anything.   

He's almost hit me in the face, but that was my problem, standing too close when he swung. I learned to stand back and wait to go and take it back.

He also hit the iconostasis once, and something else. But it wasn't when he swung it around like that, it was just a normal censing.
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« Reply #39 on: June 17, 2013, 03:25:23 PM »

I am an altar server and would be expected to leap on the hot coal and snatch it off the floor if the Deacon doesn't have good swing technique.

What is worse is the little timid half swings that many new deacons employ.. They need to man up

They need to understand that they can't really "go easy" because its the force that helps keep the charcoal in. Unless they keep the lid down, which should probably be done when you have to do a slow censing (like at the tomb during Lamentations).
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TheTrisagion
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« Reply #40 on: June 17, 2013, 03:25:58 PM »

Our deacons are quite timid, but when the priest gets ahold of it, watch out!  He could be like a martial artist with that thing.
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« Reply #41 on: June 17, 2013, 03:28:32 PM »

Our deacons are quite timid, but when the priest gets ahold of it, watch out!  He could be like a martial artist with that thing.

Give them an old school censer that weighs a lot, then switch back to a lighter one. Problem solved!

We have one that has no bells that we use for lent, and it's old and weighs as much as a cannonball (well that's a little bit exaggerated). I know the Priests always commented on how heavy it was. But they still wanted to use it since it didn't have bells and it was Lent.
« Last Edit: June 17, 2013, 03:29:57 PM by 88Devin12 » Logged
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« Reply #42 on: June 17, 2013, 07:40:00 PM »

Our deacons are quite timid, but when the priest gets ahold of it, watch out!  He could be like a martial artist with that thing.

Give them an old school censer that weighs a lot, then switch back to a lighter one. Problem solved!

We have one that has no bells that we use for lent, and it's old and weighs as much as a cannonball (well that's a little bit exaggerated). I know the Priests always commented on how heavy it was. But they still wanted to use it since it didn't have bells and it was Lent.

It's not hard to take the bells off, you know. Putting them back on is easy, too. laugh But I agree, some of those old censers are brutes. I had to repair one once, and finding chain that could stand up to the punishment that didn't look industrial was quite difficult.  Shocked Cheesy
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88Devin12
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« Reply #43 on: June 17, 2013, 08:52:02 PM »

Our deacons are quite timid, but when the priest gets ahold of it, watch out!  He could be like a martial artist with that thing.

Give them an old school censer that weighs a lot, then switch back to a lighter one. Problem solved!

We have one that has no bells that we use for lent, and it's old and weighs as much as a cannonball (well that's a little bit exaggerated). I know the Priests always commented on how heavy it was. But they still wanted to use it since it didn't have bells and it was Lent.

It's not hard to take the bells off, you know. Putting them back on is easy, too. laugh But I agree, some of those old censers are brutes. I had to repair one once, and finding chain that could stand up to the punishment that didn't look industrial was quite difficult.  Shocked Cheesy

The one we have with bells has the rings fused, so you can't take the bells off.
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Jason.Wike
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« Reply #44 on: June 17, 2013, 09:04:41 PM »

Its always amazing to see that happen and NOT hit the vigil lamp and spray flaming oil everywhere.
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