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Author Topic: Liturgical Utensils: Secondary Uses  (Read 1781 times) Average Rating: 0
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Mor Ephrem
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« on: September 29, 2013, 06:26:43 PM »

So I was reading a book about a certain Romanian elder and came across a note explaining that the liturgical spear used in the Byzantine rite to cut the prosphora is used sometimes in exorcising devils (!), but no details as to the history of this practice or how it is done.

This reminded me of a curious practice I've witnessed at Coptic Liturgies, where the priest, having washed the Communion spoon at the altar after Communion, will apply it to his eyes and the eyes of some of the deacons at the altar (maybe others, I don't know). 

So I'm wondering if anyone knows anything more about these practices, or even has any information on other similar practices in various Orthodox traditions regarding the use of liturgical utensils or other implements for other than their primary purpose.  Off the top of my head, I know of some in my own tradition, but I want to try and verify what I contribute before I share those things. 
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« Reply #1 on: September 29, 2013, 06:39:08 PM »

Sounds like a village superstition to me, though I suppose a variety of sacred objects have been used in exorcisms throughout the ages.

Re. the Coptic practice. Do you know if it's applied to the eyes only? In the Mystagogical Lectures of St. Cyril of Jerusalem, he tells communicants, after having drunk from the chalice, to wipe the moisture from their lips and "hallow" their eyes, brow and other senses. Perhaps this was common practice beyond Jerusalem and that this is a remnant of it?
« Last Edit: September 29, 2013, 06:50:00 PM by Orthodox11 » Logged
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« Reply #2 on: September 29, 2013, 06:51:30 PM »

So I was reading a book about a certain Romanian elder and came across a note explaining that the liturgical spear used in the Byzantine rite to cut the prosphora is used sometimes in exorcising devils (!), but no details as to the history of this practice or how it is done.

This reminded me of a curious practice I've witnessed at Coptic Liturgies, where the priest, having washed the Communion spoon at the altar after Communion, will apply it to his eyes and the eyes of some of the deacons at the altar (maybe others, I don't know). 

So I'm wondering if anyone knows anything more about these practices, or even has any information on other similar practices in various Orthodox traditions regarding the use of liturgical utensils or other implements for other than their primary purpose.  Off the top of my head, I know of some in my own tradition, but I want to try and verify what I contribute before I share those things. 

My priest refuses to touch the spoon to people's eyes, since only a subdeacon is supposed to be allowed to handle the vessels with cloths, and only a deacon, priest, or bishop is supposed to touch the vessels. When my priest is away and there is a visiting priest, some of the very old people jump at the chance to run up and get it done. There seems to be a thought that it will lead to physical healing
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« Reply #3 on: September 29, 2013, 06:58:03 PM »

So I was reading a book about a certain Romanian elder and came across a note explaining that the liturgical spear used in the Byzantine rite to cut the prosphora is used sometimes in exorcising devils (!), but no details as to the history of this practice or how it is done.

It's easy to see why the exorcist would think the "Holy Lance" should frighten demons.

There is a "Prayer to be read over the sick with the Holy Lance" in our Euchologion.

Many a charlatan priest would use it as a sort of magic rod to diagnose illnesses and what not.

Also, sometimes people flock to have their heads touched with the Holy Chalice or, in some extreme cases, lie down so that the priest should step over them with the Holy Gifts. (I don't even want to think of what could happen if he trips!)
« Last Edit: September 29, 2013, 07:01:03 PM by Romaios » Logged
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« Reply #4 on: September 29, 2013, 07:01:19 PM »

There is a "Prayer to be read over the sick with the Holy Lance" in our Euchologion.

"Our" as in Romanian or Byzantine?
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« Reply #5 on: September 29, 2013, 07:02:10 PM »

There is a "Prayer to be read over the sick with the Holy Lance" in our Euchologion.

"Our" as in Romanian or Byzantine?

Romanian - IIRC Slavic, too. I haven't looked it up in the Greek Euchologia.

Here's an article about it in Romanian. I don't know if Google translate may render it intelligible in English (probably not). One of the comments mentions it being used in exorcisms. The priest who wrote the article argues against it.
« Last Edit: September 29, 2013, 07:17:09 PM by Romaios » Logged
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« Reply #6 on: September 30, 2013, 02:50:48 AM »

Also, sometimes people flock to have their heads touched with the Holy Chalice or, in some extreme cases, lie down so that the priest should step over them with the Holy Gifts. (I don't even want to think of what could happen if he trips!)

WOW.
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« Reply #7 on: September 30, 2013, 02:55:05 AM »

Also, sometimes people flock to have their heads touched with the Holy Chalice or, in some extreme cases, lie down so that the priest should step over them with the Holy Gifts. (I don't even want to think of what could happen if he trips!)

WOW.

Anything but Communion...  Sad
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« Reply #8 on: September 30, 2013, 05:54:44 AM »

Anything but Communion...  Sad

Matthew 31:17 comes to mind:
You blind fools! For which is greater, the gold or the temple that has made the gold sacred?
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« Reply #9 on: September 30, 2013, 08:52:56 AM »

So I was reading a book about a certain Romanian elder and came across a note explaining that the liturgical spear used in the Byzantine rite to cut the prosphora is used sometimes in exorcising devils (!), but no details as to the history of this practice or how it is done.

It's easy to see why the exorcist would think the "Holy Lance" should frighten demons.

There is a "Prayer to be read over the sick with the Holy Lance" in our Euchologion.

Many a charlatan priest would use it as a sort of magic rod to diagnose illnesses and what not.

Also, sometimes people flock to have their heads touched with the Holy Chalice or, in some extreme cases, lie down so that the priest should step over them with the Holy Gifts. (I don't even want to think of what could happen if he trips!)

We get our heads tapped after Holy Communion.

Sometimes, people who did not Commune will also join the crowd to be touched by God.`
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« Reply #10 on: September 30, 2013, 01:48:36 PM »

There was a story with a reference to the use of the lance by St. Nectarios here:


http://www.johnsanidopoulos.com/2013/09/an-interview-with-nun-who-knew-saint.html



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« Reply #11 on: September 30, 2013, 02:50:15 PM »

So I was reading a book about a certain Romanian elder and came across a note explaining that the liturgical spear used in the Byzantine rite to cut the prosphora is used sometimes in exorcising devils (!), but no details as to the history of this practice or how it is done.

This reminded me of a curious practice I've witnessed at Coptic Liturgies, where the priest, having washed the Communion spoon at the altar after Communion, will apply it to his eyes and the eyes of some of the deacons at the altar (maybe others, I don't know). 

So I'm wondering if anyone knows anything more about these practices, or even has any information on other similar practices in various Orthodox traditions regarding the use of liturgical utensils or other implements for other than their primary purpose.  Off the top of my head, I know of some in my own tradition, but I want to try and verify what I contribute before I share those things. 

So that's how that nun died...
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« Reply #12 on: September 30, 2013, 03:05:29 PM »

So that's how that nun died...

No.
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« Reply #13 on: September 30, 2013, 04:06:15 PM »

I was joking.
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« Reply #14 on: September 30, 2013, 04:21:19 PM »

I was joking.

Actually, it was a complicated and tragic story all around. The only people who cared about that poor woman ended up in jail for trying to help her. She had no family, no one to turn to. The psychiatrists who saw her at Iasi asked the nuns to take her to the monastery, because they couldn't keep her at the hospital. Immediately after she died, the Church just did away with the entire community, without further consideration: they defrocked the priest and laicized the nuns. Most of the barbaric exorcism story, with wooden crosses and nails and what not, was an invention of the media to sell yet another piece of sensational news from deep wild Moldavia. 
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Mor Ephrem
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« Reply #15 on: October 01, 2013, 12:20:44 AM »

Off the top of my head, I know of some in my own tradition, but I want to try and verify what I contribute before I share those things. 

Before I forget...

1.  I've come across references to a tradition of using the paten and chalice covers when praying over the sick (maybe demoniacs too?).

2.  According to some local traditions, a regular priest is not allowed to present the hand-cross for veneration to the people at the end of Liturgy because it is also a blessing (and use of a hand-cross to bless is limited to bishops and chorbishops).  The Gospel book can be used for this purpose, but these traditions also refer to use of the priest's right cuff for blessing: he would take it off his forearm, hold it in his right hand, and place it on worshipers' heads or allow them to venerate it with a kiss in the same way as a cross.  I saw it once and thought it was odd.  Most people just use a hand-cross anyway.  Tongue
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Apolytikion, Tone 1, by Antonis

An eloquent crafter of divine posts
And an inheritor of the line of the Baptist
A righteous son of India
And a new apostle to the internet
O Holy Mor Ephrem,
Intercede for us, that our forum may be saved.


"Mor is a jerk." - kelly
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