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Praying with icons


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#1 J. A. McIntyre

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Posted 03 November 2006 - 05:28 PM

Where does one start?

#2 Kris

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Posted 03 November 2006 - 06:59 PM

Where does one start?


I'm tempted to ask the same thing when trying to answer your question ;-)

As far as I know, there are not particular rules or methods as to how one uses icons in private devotion (unless you worship the image itself, which is naturally forbidden).

Basically, just get hold of some icons - there are many places on the internet where you can order them - one of Christ and one of the Virgin would be a good start.

Then put them in an appropriate place in your home; preferably facing east, which is the traditional direction of prayer.

Then just say your prayers normally, but in front of the icons - the daily prayers are also available online.

There's nothing more to it than that really.

In XC,
Kris

#3 Father David Moser

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Posted 03 November 2006 - 07:26 PM

Then put them in an appropriate place in your home; preferably facing east, which is the traditional direction of prayer.


To clarify, the icons would be placed in such a manner that when you are facing them you are facing east (thus on a generally eastern wall or corner)

Then just say your prayers normally, but in front of the icons - the daily prayers are also available online.

There's nothing more to it than that really.


And that's quite true - there's nothing more to it than that. The icon corner helps to create a "sacred space" which you enter so that you have not only a particular place in which to pray but there is a dedicated space which you enter when you pray. It is, in a manner of speaking, bringing the sacred space of the Church into your home so that you have a "home Church" which is spiritually connected to the parish Church. It helps the prayer just to be there.

Fr David Moser

#4 Sophronia

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Posted 03 November 2006 - 09:17 PM

Where does one start?


To what the others have said I suggest the following: choose an icon that has a special appeal to you; that seems to draw you. Ideally it would be hand painted by an Orthodox iconographer but a print is okay too if you cannot afford a hand painted one. Take it to Church and have it blessed for you.
Alexandra

#5 J. A. McIntyre

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Posted 03 November 2006 - 11:25 PM

Thanks guys, I have a few Icons already. Theotokos of Walsingham, Christ Blessing, another Theotokos with Infant Christ, St. Seraphim of Sarvo, Holy Trinity, 10 commanments and St. Nektarios. Christ Blessing is a prowerful Icon.

Peace,

jm

#6 Elzabet

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Posted 05 November 2006 - 06:44 PM

To what the others have said I suggest the following: choose an icon that has a special appeal to you; that seems to draw you. Ideally it would be hand painted by an Orthodox iconographer but a print is okay too if you cannot afford a hand painted one. Take it to Church and have it blessed for you.
Alexandra


What does having icons blessed entail? I'm only an inquirer but I attend Orthodox services when I can. I have some icons in the house and would like to have them blessed.

In Him
Beth

#7 Kris

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Posted 05 November 2006 - 08:09 PM

What does having icons blessed entail? I'm only an inquirer but I attend Orthodox services when I can. I have some icons in the house and would like to have them blessed.

In Him
Beth


Dear Elizabet,

Take your icons with you to the church and give them to the priest, who will place them in or near the altar.

It is customary to leave them for 40 days before you pick them up.

Perhaps one of the reverend fathers here could elaborate a bit.

In XC,
Kris

#8 J. A. McIntyre

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Posted 05 November 2006 - 09:11 PM

Is it possible to have a prayer rope blessed?

#9 Fr Raphael Vereshack

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Posted 05 November 2006 - 10:02 PM

Dear Elizabet,

Take your icons with you to the church and give them to the priest, who will place them in or near the altar.

It is customary to leave them for 40 days before you pick them up.

Perhaps one of the reverend fathers here could elaborate a bit.

In XKris


Some believe that it is not necessary to bless icons- from the way I have heard it described what is meant is that an icon is already blessed by the fact that it is an icon.

In our Russian tradition however we always bless icons with special prayers which come from the Trebnik (Book of Needs). Maybe part of the confusion is with the way in modern English at least that we use the word 'bless'. In Slavonic/Russian we can use the word благословение (blagoslovenie) for a blessing but often we also use the word освятить (osvyatit') which also has the connotation of consecrating something for the purpose of...

The prayers of the blessing refer to the theological meaning of the icons and that they may serve for the spiritual guidance and protection of those who pray before them.

The blessing then always ends or involves sprinkling with the holy water which I think also is as much a consecrating something for a holy purpose as much as a 'blessing'.

My Russian and Ukrainian people even when they learn English will always ask me to освятить or освящение дома (osvyaschenie doma); literally 'to bless' or 'the blessing of a home'. Do this enough times even if your first language is English and you begin to realize the what is meant involves much more the above set of ideas than just a 'blessing'.

I had not heard of 40 days before. That's interesting. Many times with us the icon is placed on the Holy Altar during the service perhaps from Vigil the night before or during Liturgy, then blessed & returned to the person afterwards. There's not an exact rule about this but it's mainly having had the icon on the Altar that seems to be the chief thing.

In Christ- Fr Raphael

#10 Fr Raphael Vereshack

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Posted 05 November 2006 - 10:06 PM

Is it possible to have a prayer rope blessed?


There are probably other ways of approaching this but I believe it is possible to bless a prayer rope. I would read the general prayer for blessing objects as found in our Book of Needs and then bless the rope with Holy Water.

For any questions about the meaning of this blessing please see the post above about blessing icons.

In Christ- Fr Raphael

#11 Kris

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Posted 05 November 2006 - 10:17 PM

Your blessing Father,

I had not heard of 40 days before. That's interesting.


Really?

That is the practice I've encountered in my own parish (Ecumenical Patriarchate) and the ROCOR monastery I occasionally visit.

I have had icons blessed "on the day" so to speak, but only when I've brought them to a Liturgy being celebrated at the Anglican cathedral here (which the Russian Orthodox use one tuesday a month) and haven't had any opportunity to leave them with the priest.

I guess its just one of those things ;-)

In XC,
Kris

#12 J. A. McIntyre

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Posted 05 November 2006 - 10:22 PM

I was told 40 days [GOC].

#13 Danilo Oden

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Posted 05 November 2006 - 10:38 PM

Those articles which are our means to sweet spiritual communion are the Icons, prayer ropes, bracelets, or amny other items. As a rule I believe if the item has been produced within a monastery or by the hands of someone tonsured for that purpose it may not require the formality of the blessing, ie. forty days, vigil, etc. However if is produced by someone other than a monk or sister then this blessing is prudent. The asking for and receipt of the blessing expresses our humility before God and our desire to consecrate all which we possess to Him. At least, this is the rule I try to follow for my own altar at home.

In Christ,
Danilo

#14 Fr Raphael Vereshack

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Posted 05 November 2006 - 11:04 PM

Your blessing Father,



Really?

That is the practice I've encountered in my own parish (Ecumenical Patriarchate) and the ROCOR monastery I occasionally visit.

I have had icons blessed "on the day" so to speak, but only when I've brought them to a Liturgy being celebrated at the Anglican cathedral here (which the Russian Orthodox use one tuesday a month) and haven't had any opportunity to leave them with the priest.

I guess its just one of those things ;-)

In XC,
Kris


The differences (and we can see them in the posts which have already appeared below yours') are really fascinating. My senior Reader was telling me today of his recent experience visiting a parish in Ukraine where a priest from Georgia (the country in the Caucasus, not the other one :) ) was serving. If I understood him correctly after the Dismissal the priest went with the Cross to where the people were standing and presented to each of them the Cross to kiss.

In Ukrainian parishes in Canada (even in the OCA) at the small entrance the Gospel is carried by the priest or deacon out the north door of the Altar, then west along the north side of the church, then up the middle of the church to the Royal Doors. Meanwhile all along the way the people kiss the Gospel.

Ukrainians from Bukhovina at a Panichida often place honey & fruit on a table & at Memory Eternal wave the table up and down. It is considered a great honour to be able to wave the table. While I was censing once at one of these Panichidas the fruit on the table rolled off during 'the waving' and part of the ritual now involved the faithful running after the fruit as it rolled in all directions across the church floor.

What would we do without the variety of tradition.

In Christ- Fr Raphael

#15 Father David Moser

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Posted 06 November 2006 - 03:36 AM

Ah yes, the rich variety of local tradition. I echo all the Fr Raphael said about the process of having something blessed - and I also will add that I know about the 40 days on the altar. That can be shortened to having lain on the altar during the divine liturgy as well (so that something like an icon could be blessed over the weekend.

But we can bless anything - well almost anything (I don't think, for example that it would be appropriate to bless porn.) So icons, prayer, ropes, homes, cars, train, fire engines, canoes, boats, tools, crosses (big and small), rings, whatever. When we bless something, it is then dedicated to the service of God - so you don't have the priest bless your lockpicks so you can go out and steal more easily. The general form of blessing is to set the item apart, say a prayer asking God's mercy and then sprinkling it with holy water.

Fr David Moser

#16 Elzabet

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Posted 07 November 2006 - 05:43 PM

Thank you all! I'm planning to attend liturgy again this month so I will call Fr Nicholas and make the arrangements.

In Him
Beth

#17 Olga

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Posted 10 November 2006 - 07:20 AM


I had not heard of 40 days before. That's interesting. Many times with us the icon is placed on the Holy Altar during the service perhaps from Vigil the night before or during Liturgy, then blessed & returned to the person afterwards. There's not an exact rule about this but it's mainly having had the icon on the Altar that seems to be the chief thing.

In Christ- Fr Raphael


Fr Raphael

I have only encountered the "40 day rule" in Greek churches, the Slavic churches seem to follow the procedure as you described it.

#18 Michael Du.

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Posted 31 March 2012 - 03:31 AM

If it is not practical or possible to place the icons so one is facing east, can they be placed anywhere else in the room? I assume that would be okay?

#19 Olga

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Posted 31 March 2012 - 08:13 AM

If it is not practical or possible to place the icons so one is facing east, can they be placed anywhere else in the room? I assume that would be okay?


Yes, Michael, they can. If the eastern corner is not practical, then whichever corner is first seen on entering the room is suitable.

#20 Paul Cowan

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Posted 31 March 2012 - 09:34 PM

As pagan temples are torn down and replaced with churches, I tore down my entertainment center and replaced it with my icon "wall". I don't really have any corners that would do justice, so I just use the north wall in my living room. ok, not the whole 20 foot wall, but perhaps a third of it. The only eastern facing wall I have is acutally our wet bar and though there is not a drop of alcohol over there, it just doesn't "feel" right to put icons in that space. Besides, there is a smoked mirror and I do NOT want to watch myself pray.




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