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Question: What is the Church's evaluation of King Solomon's Ring?  (Voting closes: May 03, 2016, 10:05:54 PM)
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« on: August 08, 2013, 10:05:54 PM »

Pilgrims to 6th century Jerusalem described clergy showing them the ring King Solomon used to control demons, and the vessels he put them in. What is the Church's position on the ring and Solomon's use of it?

Deuteronomy 18:10-12
warns:
  • There shall not be found among you any one... that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch.
    Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer.
    For all that do these things are an abomination unto the Lord: and because of these abominations the Lord thy God doth drive them out from before thee.
The story says that Solomon received the ring from God, but it still leaves a doubtful impression.

In the Wisdom of Solomon 7:17-21, Solomon writes:   
  • For he hath given me certain knowledge of the things that are, namely, to know how the world was made, and the operation of the elements:
    The beginning, ending, and midst of the times: the alterations of the turning of the sun, and the change of seasons:
    The circuits of years, and the positions of stars:
    The natures of living creatures, and the furies of wild beasts: the violence of winds[lit. of spirits], and the reasonings of men: the diversities of plants and the virtues of roots:
    And all such things as are either secret or manifest, them I know.
Knowledge of times seems to go against ban on "observers of times", and the mention of stars recalls the legend of there being a star on the ring. Plus, it says that Solomon knew "πνευμάτων βίας" - the ways of the spirits.

The Bible mentions Solomon using certain local heathens to build his Temple, including those who some consider partial descendants of the Nephillim (fallen gods in Genesis). But the legends about the ring can't be talking about them, since Solomon certainly didn't catch them in jars!

The Bible doesn't mention Solomon's ring,
although the Proverbs of Solomon 11:22 says: "As a ring of gold in a swine’s snout, So is a lovely woman who lacks discretion."
Swine were considered unclean, as were demons, called "unclean spirits." And a ring in an animal's nose was used to control it. But it seems like a jump to say that is related to Solom's ring.

Only after Solomon built the Temple did he turn to idolatry. 1 Kings 11:7 says: "Then did Solomon build an high place for Chemosh, the abomination of Moab, in the hill that is before Jerusalem, and for Molech, the abomination of the children of Ammon."

Two centuries later, the prophet Amos (5:26) complained about the Israelites: "But ye have borne the tabernacle of your Moloch and Chiun(Kiun) your images, the star of your god, which ye made to yourselves."
Some scholars consider Kiun or Moloch to be Saturn and that the star was a hexagram, like it is sometimes claimed was on Solomon's ring.
« Last Edit: August 08, 2013, 10:22:56 PM by rakovsky » Logged
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« Reply #1 on: August 08, 2013, 10:21:31 PM »

According to his vita (in St. Dimitri of Rostov's compilation) St. John of Novgorod trapped a demon and forced it to become a horse and carry him to Jerusalem.
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« Reply #2 on: August 09, 2013, 02:50:46 PM »

According to his vita (in St. Dimitri of Rostov's compilation) St. John of Novgorod trapped a demon and forced it to become a horse and carry him to Jerusalem.
Iconodule,

That is an interesting story, and it is a good parallel to the story of the ring. In both cases the saint enslaved a demon to work for him- and wasn't Solomon a saint, despite turning later to idolatry?
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« Reply #3 on: August 09, 2013, 04:05:46 PM »

Archeologists found many vessels from 300-150 BC in Jerusalem with a pentagram and the Hebrew letters Y R Sh L M, spelling Jerusalem (Yerushalem).

                       

Archeologists decided this was the seal of Jerusalem. It could be relevant that the Testament of Solomon, written later, describes Solomon's ring as having a pentagram and using the ring to put demons in vessels.

Flavius Josephus, the 1st century Jewish historian, wrote in Antiquities of the Jews (8:2:5):
Quote
God also enabled him to learn that skill which expels (or: enter into communication with) demons, which is a science useful and sanative to men. He... left behind him the manner of using exorcisms (or: magical formulas), by which they drive away (or: bind) demons, so that they never return; and this method of cure is of great force unto this day; for I have seen a certain man of my own country, whose name was Eleazar, releasing people that were demoniacal in the presence of Vespasian, and his sons, and his captains, and the whole multitude of his soldiers. The manner of the cure was this: He put a ring that had a root of one of those sorts mentioned by Solomon to the nostrils of the demoniac, after which he drew out the demon through his nostrils; and when the man fell down immediately, he abjured him to return into him no more, making still mention of Solomon, and reciting the incantations which he composed.
This passage is a translation by Protestant theologian William Whiston. The three alternate translations in parentheses are from a Russian translation. In the passage, Eleazar's touching the ring to the demoniac's nose has a similarity to Solomon's proverb about a ring in a swine's nose, although the two images are not the same.

The Talmud is a collection of rabbinic and pharisaic commentaries from the 6th century and earlier. It describes Solomon using a ring, with God's name written on it, to control demons. (eg. in tractate Gittin 68).

The Testament of Solomon was probably written in the 1st-4th centuries AD. It was written in Greek, exists only in Christian sources, and contains clearly Christian ideas, so it was probably either written or redacted by a Byzantine Christian. One example of such ideas occurs when the demon Ephippas says:
Quote
we shall lead astray the inhabited world for a long season, until the Son of God is stretched upon the cross. [His] mother shall not have contact with man [and His name] is Emmanuel.
http://www.esotericarchives.com/solomon/testamen.htm

In the Testament, Solomon writes:
Quote
grace was given to me from the Lord Sabaoth by Michael his archangel. [He brought me] a little ring, having a seal consisting of an engraved stone, and said to me: "Take, O Solomon, king, son of David, the gift which the Lord God has sent thee, the highest Sabaoth. With it thou shalt lock up all demons of the earth, male and female; and with their help thou shalt build up Jerusalem. thou [must] wear this seal of God. And this engraving of the seal of the ring sent thee is a Pentalpha."
A Russian commentor explains that a Pentalpha is a combination of five ancient Hebrew Alephs. The ancient Hebrew letter Aleph from Solomon's time (10th century BC) looked like a sideways "A":



And five A's combined looks like a pentagram:



Solomon ordered a youth suffering from a demon to throw the ring at him, saying: 'In the name of God, King Solomon calls thee hither.' The demon submitted, and followed Solomon's instructions to throw the ring at Beelzebub, the demons' leader, who in turn submitted to Solomon. Solomon enslaved more demons with the ring and after they built the Temple for him, he put them in vessels.


Solomon with the ring and the demons

In any case, it's questionable if the story to some extent suggests that the ring was detrimental to Solomon. In the middle of the Testament, for example, it says:
"Wherefore, O King Solomon, thy time is evil, and thy years short and evil"

And the Testament ends with Solomon marrying a follower of Moloch on the condition that he sacrifice 5 locusts to Moloch, after which he builds temples for idols. He concludes:
Quote
I then, wretch that I am, followed her advice, and the glory of God quite departed from me; and my spirit was darkened, and I became the sport of idols and demons. Wherefore I wrote out this Testament, that ye who get possession of it may pity, and attend to the last things, and not to the first.
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« Reply #4 on: August 09, 2013, 06:02:33 PM »

Would be VERY interested in hearing this as well.
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« Reply #5 on: August 13, 2013, 11:41:54 AM »

No one has a reply to this thread? Does the fact that Solomon "may" have constructed the temple with the aid of demons using his magic ring bother anyone? Would we venerate the ring if we found it?
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« Reply #6 on: August 13, 2013, 12:38:20 PM »

Does the fact that Solomon "may" have constructed the temple with the aid of demons using his magic ring bother anyone?
Me.

Would we venerate the ring if we found it?
Good question. I don't think the Byzantines "venerated" it, because it says the pilgrims only looked at it. On the other hand, it's interesting that they did not, since we usually kiss a priest's or bishop's ring, and something coming from Solomon could be considered holy.
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« Reply #7 on: August 13, 2013, 12:53:22 PM »

Matthew 12 mentions the pharisees saying about Christ: "This fellow doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils."

Jesus' response is: "if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your children cast them out? therefore they shall be your judges."

Jesus' question reminds me of Josephus' comment that some Jews were following Solomon's example in casting out demons, since the Testament of Solomon says the king used Beelzebub's power to control lesser demons.

Later in this passage, Jesus comments: "behold, a greater than Solomon is here." And Jesus follows it by talking a bit about demons. This order of things in Matthew 12 suggests that Jesus and his audience had ideas connecting Solomon with power over demons.

Origen says about Matthew 26:63 (a different verse):
"it is customary to adjure demons with adjurations written by Solomon. But they themselves who use these adjurations sometimes use books not properly constituted; indeed they even adjure demons wth some books taken from Hebrew."

You would expect Solomon's "proper" adjurations to be from Hebrew books because Solomon wrote in Hebrew. By saying that Solomon's proper books were in Greek, Origen must have had in mind certain books that Origen considered proper. And Solomon's Testament was in fact only in Greek, so he must have had in mind the Testament or a book like it.

In Revelations 13 you find the prophecy
you are familiar with:
that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.
Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man: His number is 666.


One of the two other Biblical stories mentioning the number is in 1 Kings 10:11,14:
Also, the ships of Hiram, which brought gold from Ophir, brought great quantities of almug wood and precious stones from Ophir
...
The weight of gold that came to Solomon yearly was six hundred and sixty-six talents of gold


Did all that gold come from Hiram or was it just the total amount of gold coming from anywhere? The context here the building of the Temple with Hiram's assistance. Revelations 13 is about buying and selling, which often uses gold. So perhaps there is a connection between the mark of the beast, exchange, the building of the Temple, and the amount of gold used for it?

You might have also considered the possibility that 666 refers to a hexagram, and noticed that Solomon's ring may have had a pentagram or hexagram. Yet Revelations 13 said that 666 is the number of a man. The Testament of Solomon says that 644 is the number of Emmanuel, and the name Emmanuel in Greek adds up to 644. Maybe Rev. 13 is about a name that matches 666, rather than a hexagram?
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« Reply #8 on: August 13, 2013, 01:24:29 PM »

Good question. I don't think the Byzantines "venerated" it, because it says the pilgrims only looked at it. On the other hand, it's interesting that they did not, since we usually kiss a priest's or bishop's ring, and something coming from Solomon could be considered holy.

No, we don't.  It is a Western custom for the faithful to kiss the bishop's ring because it symbolises his authority.  Western bishops are given episcopal rings at their ordinations.  Eastern bishops do not receive a ring at ordination.  And in both traditions, priests don't wear rings as priests (i.e., as a symbol of their authority).  If our priests have rings at all, it's usually their wedding ring.  So we don't have a tradition of kissing rings.  We kiss hands. 
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« Reply #9 on: August 13, 2013, 01:29:26 PM »

Good question. I don't think the Byzantines "venerated" it, because it says the pilgrims only looked at it. On the other hand, it's interesting that they did not, since we usually kiss a priest's or bishop's ring, and something coming from Solomon could be considered holy.

No, we don't.  It is a Western custom for the faithful to kiss the bishop's ring because it symbolises his authority.  Western bishops are given episcopal rings at their ordinations.  Eastern bishops do not receive a ring at ordination.  And in both traditions, priests don't wear rings as priests (i.e., as a symbol of their authority).  If our priests have rings at all, it's usually their wedding ring.  So we don't have a tradition of kissing rings.  We kiss hands. 
Hmm... I seem to remember bishops wearing a ring on their hands and being told to kiss on the ring, as opposed to, say, the forefinger, knuckle or back of the hand.

Besides, considering we kiss holy metal crosses, icons, people, garments (like the priest's robe at the Little Entrance) it would seem like if there was a holy ring, we might kiss that too...
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« Reply #10 on: August 13, 2013, 02:14:49 PM »


I don't think I would kiss it. 

This supposed ring doesn't "lead" us towards God...it captures demons.

What we kiss is items/people who lead us towards Christ and salvation - crosses, relics, icons, priests' hands, clergy robes, etc....all these shine with the Glory of God and and help us get closer to Him.

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« Reply #11 on: August 13, 2013, 03:02:01 PM »

The story of Solomon's Ring would definitely be an interesting backstory/lore for a fantasy video game.

Regardless, I can't help but be mesmerized every time I hear it.
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« Reply #12 on: August 13, 2013, 03:03:51 PM »

As for the ring itself, I wouldn't play around with it too much.  Such an artifact would be like a rattlesnake, interesting but dangerous.
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« Reply #13 on: August 14, 2013, 01:18:54 PM »

The story of Solomon's Ring would definitely be an interesting backstory/lore for a fantasy video game.

It's in Final Fantasy and a game called Guardian's Crusade
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oSsYxw2ymIs

Regardless, I can't help but be mesmerized every time I hear it.


I wonder where the idea for this came from?
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« Reply #14 on: August 14, 2013, 01:32:35 PM »

The Fourth Century pilgrim Egeria writes in her Diary about how she visited Jerusalem and how on Good Friday the clergy brought out the true cross, which was in the Martyrium of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. This was located over the area that included Golgotha.

She wrote:
Quote
When they have kissed the Cross and have passed through, a deacon stands holding the ring of Solomon and the horn from which the kings were anointed; they kiss the horn also and gaze at the ring... less than a second ... all the people are passing through up to the sixth hour.

One writer fills in the blanks in the manuscript this way: "the ring from more or less the second hour; and thus until the sixth hour all the people pass through," Another modern writer commented that based on Egeria's story people were not kissing the ring.

Then in the sixth century, the Breviarius de Hieroslyma, (Short Book about Jerusalem) written by another pilgrim, said that in Golgotha- where the Martyrium was
Quote
the horn is deposed, which David and Solomon are anointed by; further that ring, by which Solomon sealed demons, and which is made of amber. (“et ille anulus ibidem, unde Salomon sigillavit demones, et est de electro.”)
Elsewhere in the Basilica, pilgrims saw the vessels in which Solomon sealed demons.

There's an interesting interview clip with the Franciscans' Jerusalem Museum, showing the Testament of Solomon, early Christian medals showing Solomon conquering demons, and a church dedicated to Solomon, Subduer of Demons
http://www.fmc-terrasanta.org/en/archaeology-culture-and-other-religions.html?vid=3586
It says the Church of Solomon the Subduer of Demons had images and they were probably moved to the Basilica of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. That would be where the ring of Solomon was shown to pilgrims.

Later in the 15th century there was the Byzantine "Magical Treatise of Solomon" or "Hygromanteia",
which described the ring as made of beeswax, but one manuscript said it was silver. The treatise said the ring had a hexagram or pentagram.
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« Reply #15 on: August 14, 2013, 01:56:21 PM »

Wonder why it is presented for the faithful to view but not venerate?
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« Reply #16 on: August 17, 2013, 04:33:37 PM »

Wonder why it is presented for the faithful to view but not venerate?
Mor Ephrem's answer is that we don't kiss rings, but this answer does not fully satisfy me.

It's true they didn't want people stealing it - Egeria said they guard the True cross (which they showed not far from the ring) with two deacons because there was an attempt to steal it. So that could be the reason. They let people kiss the horn of anointing which was near the ring, although it's true it's easier to steal a ring.

I don't know the answer to your good question, because it's common for pilgrims to touch relics. The answer could actually be that it was used allegedly to control demons, so people might feel weird about kissing it - like Liza said!
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« Reply #17 on: August 17, 2013, 05:01:22 PM »

It seems that the proof the ring existed is rather weak. Granted, we have few materials outside the Bible about the Israelites dating from 1000-1 B.C., so it's not completely abnormal that a ring would not be mentioned in sources from that time. Still, that's a long gap that we have with no mention of it.

Supposedly the ring was used to build the Temple. But was that really necessary? The Bible says thousands of heathens were used and Lebanon's king helped. So why must we propose that the Bible's writers were thinking about a magical ring? Unclean spirits really aren't described as builders of people's cities from Israelite times in the Old Testament AFAIK.

Granted, the base of the Temple Mount is quite curious, and it deserves a separate thread. Suffice it to say that one could make a legend about the building based on how mind boggling it is. after Herod enlarged it, it was 5 times the size of the Acropolis, and had huge stones placed next to eachother with no gaps or cement. Those base rocks remind me a bit of the curious big block walls from the Andes. The stones around the corners are 100-150 tons, and there is a big stone inside the western wall that is 570 tons, the biggest one lifted in world history without powered machinery:


Naturally, the "ancient aliens" thinkers propose that the base of the Mount was built long before Solomon, while another hypothesis is that Solomon used some ingenious or very unusual technology to build it. It is similar to the surprising huge artificial base found at Baalbek in Lebanon, and this by the way can remind you that it was Lebanon's king who supposedly helped Solomon.

The second piece of the puzzle we have is the issue of demons
from David's and Solomon's time. Despite some commentators' claims that the issue of demons was nonexistent before the Babylonian captivity, we read several mentions of unclean spirits from before that time. For example, it's said that Saul had an unclean spirit that endangered David.

It's not a complete surprise then that the Psalms might have something to do with that topic. In the Qumran caves' scrolls there were 4 Psalms in a row dealing with demons, leading up to and including the Bible's Psalm 91, which talks about God's protection from dark forces. In the Greek Septuagint, Psalm 91 is ascribed to David, and in the Targums it is ascribed to him and Solomon.

The second of those four Psalms (the first three aren't in the Bible) is connected with Solomon. It doesn't talk about Solomon using the demons, but rather protection from demons. While the Talmud said Solomon's ring had God's name on it, you may notice that this second Psalm talks about God's name. It repeats it ("Yahweh"), which is unusual I think for the Old Testament. For example, this Psalm says:
  • healing [...] leans upon your name, and calls [...] He says to Israel, "Hold fast to YHVH, ... who made the heavens and the earth, and all that is in them, who separated light from darkness.

The full text is at:
judahgabriel.blogspot.com/2007/02/dead-sea-scroll-exorcism-psalms.html

However, while Wisdom of Solomon 7 talks about his knowledge of spirits, next to other things it's useful to know about, in this Psalm it is much more about protection than about using them.
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« Reply #18 on: August 17, 2013, 05:15:07 PM »

Whatever King Solomon's Ring is or was, it is useless compared to the Holy Cross.
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« Reply #19 on: August 17, 2013, 05:23:09 PM »

I'd not heard of the ring before this thread and find it strange. Although a lot of things from the Old Testament were kinda weird.
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« Reply #20 on: August 17, 2013, 05:33:18 PM »

Wonder why it is presented for the faithful to view but not venerate?
Mor Ephrem's answer is that we don't kiss rings, but this answer does not fully satisfy me.

My answer wasn't in response to your question about King Solomon's ring (which I also never heard of before this thread, so I wonder how important it is to warrant the Church's "evaluation"). 

You claimed that we kiss the rings of priests and bishops, and my response was that Orthodox priests and bishops do not wear rings as priests and bishops, and so we don't kiss them. 
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« Reply #21 on: August 18, 2013, 04:58:33 PM »

I'd not heard of the ring before this thread and find it strange. Although a lot of things from the Old Testament were kinda weird.
Shanghaiski,

Yes, me too. I read about it researching the roots of Orthodoxy in ancient Judaism. It is a carry-over from Jewish practices from the time. But are we to think it likely that a story about Solomon using a ring was passed down from the 10th century BC to the 1st century AD, with no written record about it from that millenium surviving?

Second, I do find the idea of demons being "used" to a good end to be weird (St. John of Novgorod riding the demon on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem notwithstanding), and I don't remember any Old Testament stories about catching or driving out demons - but I don't see why there wouldn't be any, since Jesus did.
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« Reply #22 on: August 18, 2013, 05:07:04 PM »

My answer wasn't in response to your question about King Solomon's ring (I wonder how important it is to warrant the Church's "evaluation").  

You claimed that we kiss the rings of priests and bishops, and my response was that Orthodox priests and bishops do not wear rings as priests and bishops, and so we don't kiss them.  
Mor Ephrem,

OK, that makes sense about there not being a special bishop's ring.

What about the idea that if they have a ring that is where we are supposed to kiss it? Or is it a coincidence that when they hold the cross to venerate they do it with the base of the fingers of the right hand facing toward you?

How could the issue of the ring be important if we don't have it? Some relics have a habit of supposedly reappearing after centuries. Besides, it can show us what attitude to take toward Byzantine artefacts dealing with Solomon's interactions with demons, as well as references to it in Orthodox countries and in other religions.
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« Reply #23 on: August 18, 2013, 06:40:35 PM »

Besides the claims that the ring (1) used demons to (2) build the Temple, the other common claim is that it had a pentagram or hexagram on it. But how likely is this?

One hypothesis is that the hexagram was called the Star of David in ancient times and that this is because David's name in his era was spelled in Hebrew  ΔYΔ , shapes that can be found in a hexagram:


But Wikipedia's Hexagram article says:
Quote
In antique papyri, pentagrams, together with stars and other signs, are frequently found on amulets bearing the Jewish names of God, and used to guard against fever and other diseases. Curiously the hexagram is not found among these signs.
One possibility is that even those pentagrams were only from 300-150 BC, like the jars mentioned earlier.

Fast forward to 100-400 AD, and you have the Nag Hammadi scrolls, including the Testament of Truth, which mention:
Quote
They are wicked in their behavior! Some of them fall away to the worship of idols. Others have demons dwelling with them, as did David the king. He is the one who laid the foundation of Jerusalem; and his son Solomon, whom he begat in adultery, is the one who built Jerusalem by means of the demons, because he received power. When he had finished building, he imprisoned the demons in the temple. He placed them into seven waterpots. They remained a long time in the waterpots, abandoned there. When the Romans went up to Jerusalem, they discovered the waterpots, and immediately the demons ran out of the waterpots, as those who escape from prison. And the waterpots remained pure thereafter. And since those days, they dwell with men who are in ignorance, and they have remained upon the earth.
The passage takes a pretty negative view of Solomon using the demons. And is it even true Solomon built Jerusalem? The idea about the demons being in waterpots the Romans found goes along with the Christian Romans (Byzantines) showing the pots to pilgrims in the 6th century, as the Breviary records.

There are other, later legends about the ring too: that it said "It will pass" instead of having a star and/or God's name; that a demon took it from Solomon, a fish ate it, and Solomon got it back; and that Solomon used it to understand animals.

I think the first of those might come from Sufi Muslim stories.

Father Maxim Kapsun said on his educational program that there was a phrase written on the inner side of the finger-ring, and that when there was a difficult situation, Solomon threw the ring and read it: "And this will pass too." Fr. Maxim said:
Quote
The idea is that whatever position he was in, however difficult it was, this will all pass. Every story has its end. Therefore you are in the world only temporarily and no sorrow, work, happiness, or anyting else does not happen constantly. It is always changing with opposing things, because sins are in this world and there is no stability.



http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=9zM5Yy-ZiF8
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« Reply #24 on: August 18, 2013, 07:52:17 PM »

OK, that makes sense about there not being a special bishop's ring.

What about the idea that if they have a ring that is where we are supposed to kiss it? Or is it a coincidence that when they hold the cross to venerate they do it with the base of the fingers of the right hand facing toward you?

Not only is it a coincidence, but it is also not the only way the cross is extended for the veneration of the people: it is just one of a few ways.  It has nothing to do with rings. 

If an Orthodox bishop happens to be wearing a ring, it probably has no significance other than that he likes wearing a ring.  If a priest happens to be wearing a ring, it is either for the same reason or, more likely, it is his wedding ring.  If you make a point of kissing other people's rings, go ahead I guess, but if you don't, there's no need to start with the clergy, and every reason not to.  What a weird thing to attempt.
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« Reply #25 on: August 20, 2013, 01:44:18 PM »

Not only is it a coincidence, but it is also not the only way the cross is extended for the veneration of the people: it is just one of a few ways.  It has nothing to do with rings. 
If you make a point of kissing other people's rings, go ahead I guess, but if you don't, there's no need to start with the clergy, and every reason not to.
Mor,

In cases where the priest or bishop is not holding a cross, what part of the person's hand are you supposed to kiss when it is extended to you?
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« Reply #26 on: August 20, 2013, 02:05:52 PM »

In other news, I was surprised to see that this June a group in the Russian city of Tyumen put a huge sculpture of Solomon's ring up with the words "And it will pass", that Fr. Kapsun discussed. The group raised the money and the huge ring cost 300,000 rubles. Is it unusual that a group in Russia could raise so much money for its project?

The news article said that people are to make wishes when they walk through it, and that the ring will reconcile people. It is supposed to improve people's attitudes in the city.

http://www.nashgorod.ru/news/news58955.html
http://www.nashgorod.ru/news/news58375.html

What do you think about the claims that pentagrams or hexagrams are supposedly used in traditional Christianity? Granted, these claims are not that the shapes come from the ring.

Several web articles claimed Christians used to see the pentagram as symbolizing the five wounds of Christ.

A historian named Hume wrote about the pentagram: "It was at one time used by the Greek Christians in lieu of the cross at the beginning of inscriptions". (Edward Hulme, The History of Principles and Practices of Symbolism in Christian Art. Detroit: Gale Research Company, 1969. p. 213)

A Christian website says:
Quote

Roman Emperor Constantine I, after his defeat of Maxentius and the issuance of the Edict of Milan in 312CE, ascribed his success to his conversion to Christianity (The Catholic Church) and incorporated the pentagram, one point down, into his seal and amulet as you can see from the picture above.
http://www.masters-table.org/pagan/pentagram.htm

A Masonic website claims:
Quote
Early Christians attributed the pentagram to... the doctrine of the Trinity plus that of the two natures of Christ.

[The historian] Becker refers to the pentagram as a symbol of Christ as Alpha and Omega, and as a symbol of the five wounds of Christ. The five-pointed star is also defined as a symbol of Christ, "the bright and morning star" and, inverted, one point down, it represents the descent of Christ — i.e., His Incarnation.
http://freemasonry.bcy.ca/anti-masonry/pentagram_notes.html#3.5

As in other icons of the Transfiguration, a five pointed star can be found in the Icon of the Transfiguration by Andrei Rublev (1405), at the Annunciation Cathedral in Moscow.


St. Nicholas' church in Krusevo in Macedonia has a six sided star in a Nativity scene, as do some other Balkan Orthodox churches:


However, these icons are not "pentalpha" pentagrams as described in the Testament of Solomon and as shown on the coin from Constantinian Rome, but rather they are stars that have been filled in with color. So perhaps some of the other above-mentioned pentagrams found in Christian use are not always pentalphas.
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« Reply #27 on: August 20, 2013, 10:39:06 PM »

In cases where the priest or bishop is not holding a cross, what part of the person's hand are you supposed to kiss when it is extended to you?

Most often, the top of the hand (i.e., the side opposite the palm). 

There is a "tradition" in India of kissing the priest's right index and middle fingers, a custom that supposedly goes back to the Apostle Thomas.  According to the tradition, he was called "the Twin" because those two fingers were joined together from birth and were separated miraculously at the moment they probed the wounded side of Christ eight days after his resurrection.  Even so, most often it's just the hand.       
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« Reply #28 on: August 21, 2013, 09:14:25 AM »

Most often, the top of the hand (i.e., the side opposite the palm).  
Thanks for explaining, Mor. I will keep it in mind for next time, although it can seem difficult if the base of the fingers is pointed right at me, and the top of the hand is down and away.
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« Reply #29 on: August 21, 2013, 09:48:47 AM »

Another issue is why the Pentagram is found in some western Christian medieval churches. According to one theory, the stonemasons of western Europe derived a special, secret or occult meaning from these symbols and used them when they built the churches.

For example, it appears in the 12th century church of St. John in Croatia:
Quote
An early depiction... from a carving on a wall in the Baptistory of St. John at Split in Yugoslavia is dated from the eleventh century. The site was originally the Temple of Aescielapius, a god of medicine
(Thorvi Eckhardt. Icons of Angels and Prophets. Aurel Bongers, Recklinghausen, West Germany: 1967. trans. Hermann Rosenwald. p. 44.
Undated, possibly 11th century: one of the earliest Benedictine monasteries was built in 852 near Split. )

http://freemasonry.bcy.ca/anti-masonry/pentagram_notes.html#3.5
In this case, there was a Roman Catholic influence at the site, and possibly a Benedictine one. And is there anything unusual about the Benedictine order?

Another site describes a strange-sounding ritual they have:
Quote
On the first of January, 1870, I saw in the great basilica of Saint Paul's without the walls at Rome, the ceremony known as the Profession of a Benedictine, that is the phrase meaning the reception of a monk into the Benedictine Order. At one point of the ceremony a black cloth was laid on the floor in front of the altar; on this the noviciate lay down and was covered with a black pall with silver lace on it.

A large candle stood at his head and another at his feet. There the man lay in semblance of death. The Abbot of the Order celebrated Mass, which occupied about half an hour. At the end of this the Deacon of the Mass came near to the prostrate figure, and reading from a book in his hand in Latin some words which were to this effect, " oh, thou that steepest arise to everlasting life." The man rose up and, if I remember right, received the sacrament. He then took his place amongst the Brethren of the Order, kissing each of them as he passed along. The proof that he is supposed to leave one state of existence and become a new individual is supplied by the fact that when I asked his name it was refused to me. I was told that henceforth he would be known as Jacobus—his old name went with the former existence. It is the same with nuns.

They all receive a new name and they also go through the semblance of death as a final ceremony of the Order.
http://www.phoenixmasonry.org/mackeys_encyclopedia/r.htm

Another church that has a pentacle is Westminster Abbey, and it's supposedly located in the western window of the southern aisle, although I didn't find a picture of it.

A third church is the Cathedral of Saint Peter at Exeter, that is, the bishop's church in Exeter:


But the church I find most strange in its star designs is the Market Church of Sts. George and James (Marktkirche St. Georgii et Jacobi) in Hanover. It is the cathedral for the Bishop of the Hanover region and was built in the 14th century. You can see the large inverted pentagram and hexagram on the tower, and the hexagram over the door. Doesn't it look odd?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yIimYfclxl0
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« Reply #30 on: January 16, 2014, 08:58:40 PM »

It puzzles me that the Church would show the pilgrims and crowds the ring together with the True Cross and Judean Kings' horn of anointment on Good Friday in Jerusalem.

It makes me really look for an explanation for why they would do this. What would the association be between the two? Normally I would feel very standoffish about such a ring.

I can see though that the ring may have had 5 points, drove away demons, and belong to David's Son. And this reminds me of the Good Friday Passion, as the pentagram was supposedly used as a symbol of the 5 wounds, the Cross drove away demons, and Christ is considered David's son. There are passages about David's son that are sometimes so much about Christ in their descriptions we sometimes relate them to Him instead of Solomon.
Finally, the Cross and the ring are both very unique in being objects that drove out demons.

However, it was considered that the ring had lost its power, I think. It was no longer used. The Cross however is used. Thus the ring could be seen as a prefigurement of the ring.

Am I overanalyzing this, or is this a real, possible explanation for why the Church would show people the two together on Good Friday- the idea of the two as an association of prefigurement and fulfillment?
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« Reply #31 on: January 16, 2014, 11:35:00 PM »

Am I overanalyzing this...?

Probably.  It could've just been "tourism". 
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« Reply #32 on: January 18, 2014, 05:23:33 PM »

Probably.  It could've just been "tourism".  
Mor,

I like writing with you and your soft sense of humor.

I don't understand how Solomon can be a saint in our Church if he ended up worshipping false gods, and making shrines to them- Moloch, etc. I don't want to go into the implication, but it's not so good from our viewpoint.

We have ikons of him and people in Byzantine times made ikons of him looking like St George defeating the dragon.
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« Reply #33 on: January 19, 2014, 08:16:39 AM »

we need to remember that there is nothing in the church's tradition about using objects to control demons or suggesting that it is permitted to do anything like this.
masons and other groups that like to 'play' with demons are always trying to find (usually inaccurate sources) to 'prove' that in fact messing around with demons is something Christians are allowed to do. it gives them a feeling of having a historical basis to their religions.

but this is not our religion.
we do not mess around with demons or accept that this is part of our tradition as orthodox Christians.
if there is a need for exorcism, we discuss this with the priest and deal with our problems in the church, not in any groups outside the jurisdiction of the church.
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« Reply #34 on: January 19, 2014, 08:29:51 AM »

According to his vita (in St. Dimitri of Rostov's compilation) St. John of Novgorod trapped a demon and forced it to become a horse and carry him to Jerusalem.

Man, I keep trying to get demons to do stuff like this for me. I can't get them to this, but to keep breaking the barriers of stupidity I can.
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« Reply #35 on: January 19, 2014, 01:04:19 PM »

According to his vita (in St. Dimitri of Rostov's compilation) St. John of Novgorod trapped a demon and forced it to become a horse and carry him to Jerusalem.

Man, I keep trying to get demons to do stuff like this for me. I can't get them to this, but to keep breaking the barriers of stupidity I can.

Common hagiographic topos:

Quote from: Life of St. Bernard of Clairvaux
In the spring of the year 1137, Bernard, accompanied by his brother Gerard, set out for Italy. 1 The devil, we are told, had a particular objection to this journey. He foresaw and hated what was to come of it [the end of the schism between a Pope and an anti-Pope]. Therefore, when Bernard was passing along the Alps, the demon broke the wheel of the carriage in which the abbot travelled, in order to hinder him as much as possible, or even pitch him over a precipice. The saint took a saintly and yet a fearful vengeance on his enemy. Careless and contemptuous of the intended injury, he ordered Satan himself to become a wheel, and replace the broken one. The fallen angel obeyed the words of the holy man ; the carriage moved on as before ; and the worsted and rotatory fiend, amid scorn and laughter, carried Bernard in safety to his destination.
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« Reply #36 on: January 19, 2014, 01:30:32 PM »

In cases where the priest or bishop is not holding a cross, what part of the person's hand are you supposed to kiss when it is extended to you?

Most often, the top of the hand (i.e., the side opposite the palm).

Father always leaves his wedding ring in the altar (on the Holy Table) when he serves. I don't think I've ever seen him wear it when he blesses the people at the end of DL or Vespers/Vigils.
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« Reply #37 on: January 21, 2014, 11:53:56 AM »

In other news, I was surprised to see that this June a group in the Russian city of Tyumen put a huge sculpture of Solomon's ring up with the words "And it will pass", that Fr. Kapsun discussed. The group raised the money and the huge ring cost 300,000 rubles. Is it unusual that a group in Russia could raise so much money for its project?

The news article said that people are to make wishes when they walk through it, and that the ring will reconcile people. It is supposed to improve people's attitudes in the city.

http://www.nashgorod.ru/news/news58955.html
http://www.nashgorod.ru/news/news58375.html

What do you think about the claims that pentagrams or hexagrams are supposedly used in traditional Christianity? Granted, these claims are not that the shapes come from the ring.

Several web articles claimed Christians used to see the pentagram as symbolizing the five wounds of Christ.

A historian named Hume wrote about the pentagram: "It was at one time used by the Greek Christians in lieu of the cross at the beginning of inscriptions". (Edward Hulme, The History of Principles and Practices of Symbolism in Christian Art. Detroit: Gale Research Company, 1969. p. 213)

A Christian website says:
Quote

Roman Emperor Constantine I, after his defeat of Maxentius and the issuance of the Edict of Milan in 312CE, ascribed his success to his conversion to Christianity (The Catholic Church) and incorporated the pentagram, one point down, into his seal and amulet as you can see from the picture above.
http://www.masters-table.org/pagan/pentagram.htm

A Masonic website claims:
Quote
Early Christians attributed the pentagram to... the doctrine of the Trinity plus that of the two natures of Christ.

[The historian] Becker refers to the pentagram as a symbol of Christ as Alpha and Omega, and as a symbol of the five wounds of Christ. The five-pointed star is also defined as a symbol of Christ, "the bright and morning star" and, inverted, one point down, it represents the descent of Christ — i.e., His Incarnation.
http://freemasonry.bcy.ca/anti-masonry/pentagram_notes.html#3.5

As in other icons of the Transfiguration, a five pointed star can be found in the Icon of the Transfiguration by Andrei Rublev (1405), at the Annunciation Cathedral in Moscow.


St. Nicholas' church in Krusevo in Macedonia has a six sided star in a Nativity scene, as do some other Balkan Orthodox churches:


However, these icons are not "pentalpha" pentagrams as described in the Testament of Solomon and as shown on the coin from Constantinian Rome, but rather they are stars that have been filled in with color. So perhaps some of the other above-mentioned pentagrams found in Christian use are not always pentalphas.

How does it not surprise me that Constantine use the Pentagram and Satanists.
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« Reply #38 on: January 21, 2014, 12:01:55 PM »

How does it not surprise me that Constantine use the Pentagram and Satanists.

It's like those "Christians" who use pagan worship rituals.
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« Reply #39 on: January 21, 2014, 01:34:58 PM »

Why have I opened this thread and read all that nonsense?
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« Reply #40 on: January 21, 2014, 01:42:30 PM »

Why have I opened this thread and read all that nonsense?

Ancestral sin.
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