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Taking a blessing


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#1 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 05 March 2016 - 01:11 PM

I recently saw a comment by an American that the taking of a blessing from a priest or hierarch is by no means universal but is a 'Russification' of Orthodox practice. He said, 'in Greece one does not ask a blessing from a parish priest but only kisses his hand'; he adds that in his Carpatho-Russian parish the practice is unknown. He went on to say that others such as Antiochians who give blessings 'have Russified themselves'.

 

I find these comments odd but wonder if there is anything in them. This is in the context of my and some fellow parishioners this week having greeted the new Metropolitan for the British Isles and Ireland, Silouan, of the Antiochian Church (together with Metropolitan Savva and a priest); we asked for their blessing and it was clear this was usual practice for them.

 

Any comments?


Edited by Rdr Andreas, 05 March 2016 - 01:12 PM.


#2 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 05 March 2016 - 01:36 PM

I meant to ask also if there is a difference between kissing the priest's hand and receiving his blessing, and whether in some traditions this might be seen as one and the same thing?



#3 Loucas

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Posted 05 March 2016 - 03:02 PM

I am Greek Orthodox and we always ask the priest's blessing and kiss his right hand as well. There are many at my Church who have come to America from Greece, and they do the same. Others from other Orthodox Churches who come here do the same. This is part of the Orthodox tradition which Saint Paul told us to hold fast to.



#4 Rdr Daniel (R.)

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Posted 05 March 2016 - 03:58 PM

In my experience in our Archdiocese (Thyateira and Great Britain) it is customary to ask for a blessing from the priest (and not just the bishop); how this is given differs some priests make the sign of the cross upon a person's head others hold out there hand to be kissed. However we did once have a visiting priest from Australia (Greek Archdiocese) and he seemed quite perplexed about being asked for a blessing and simply said, 'God bless you'. In terms of the bishop the custom amongst us is to ask for a blessing by a short bow followed by holding out both hands (cupped with the right on top of the left) into which the Archbishop places his hand to be kissed. 

 

In Christ.

Daniel,



#5 Phoebe K.

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Posted 05 March 2016 - 04:21 PM

It is a common practice in the Romanian tradition to ask for the Priest or bishop's blessing when meeting them, we receive the blessing and kiss their hand.  Romanian Priests in my experience always give a blessing by making the sign of the cross on your head and then offer the had to be kissed.

 

I have met some priests who will give a blessing but will not let you kiss their hand, but on the whole in my experience with Priests from a range of jurisdictions that when you ask for a blessing you will normally be offed the hand to kiss after they have said the blessing. I even had a Antiochian Priest from New Zealand who asked me which way I preferred to have the blessing, most priest however I have found just bless as they have always done so.

 

When I was learning the faith before my baptism my Catechist tort me to ask for a blessing on meeting a priest or bishop, my Catechist was a Greek ordained by the Romanian diocese.

 

Phoebe



#6 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 05 March 2016 - 06:46 PM

Not a 'Russification', then, it seems. Thank you Loucas, Daniel, and Phoebe. Any more comments?



#7 Ben Johnson

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Posted 05 March 2016 - 09:11 PM

I know the Greek Orthodox etiquette is to greet a priest with, "Father bless!"



#8 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 05 March 2016 - 10:56 PM

Any Carpatho-Russian folks around to comment?



#9 Loucas

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Posted 06 March 2016 - 08:50 PM

I will add, we have 2 priest's @ my Church, our Presbyter is Greek and a second priest of the Russian Orthodox tradition also serves with him. The Russian Priest also is not objective to having his blessing's asked, as a matter of fact it is tradition as far as he is concerned as well, Orthodox Holy Tradition. Of course I know as many of you do, there are Orthodox Priests, convert or not, who do not follow Holy Tradition to the letter. Hmmmm, innovations try to creep in, but the faithful hold fast to the Traditions that have been from the beginning.



#10 Father David Moser

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Posted 07 March 2016 - 03:38 PM

I will add, we have 2 priest's @ my Church, our Presbyter is Greek and a second priest of the Russian Orthodox tradition also serves with him. The Russian Priest also is not objective to having his blessing's asked, as a matter of fact it is tradition as far as he is concerned as well, Orthodox Holy Tradition. Of course I know as many of you do, there are Orthodox Priests, convert or not, who do not follow Holy Tradition to the letter. Hmmmm, innovations try to creep in, but the faithful hold fast to the Traditions that have been from the beginning.

As an Orthodox priest, I will point out that I don't know ANY Orthodox priests who follow Holy Tradition to the letter.  Tradition is  living breathing thing and cannot be reduced to a static statement of "by the letter" - and it adapts to its surroundings, whether new or old world; whether Greek, Russian, American or whatever ethnic.  So when I, as a priest, "follow Holy Tradition to the letter" it will look different than it did yesterday and will look different than another priest in another locale in another ethnic environment.

 

Fr David Moser



#11 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 07 March 2016 - 04:02 PM

Thank you for your post, Father. I think most if not all of us would think it odd if there were parts of the Church where it was unknown for the faithful to ask for and priests to give a blessing. But what you say reminds me of variations I have seen; for example, when I first met an Old Rite priest in Moscow (well, near Kolomna at Mikhailovka Sloboda), he offered his forearm for kissing after giving his blessing, not his hand which is not kissed. (Old Rite faithful do not icons, either.)



#12 Loucas

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Posted 07 March 2016 - 08:58 PM

Very sorry about your misunderstanding me Father. Forgive me. "to the letter" not intended to insult or offend. Trying to make a very small and probably insignificant point about innovations to accepted rites and tradition. To the original point I have always asked the priest for his blessing and will continue as that is what I understand to be correct.



#13 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 07 March 2016 - 09:08 PM

'Correct' - 'needful': not the same thing.






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