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Difference in types of holy water?


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#1 Phoebe K.

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 03:58 PM

I am a bit confused about the celebration of Theophony.

I attended the service for the eve of Theophony, our Priest said that the water blessed today could be kept for the whole year, but the water blessed during the Divine liturgy tomorrow cannot be kept through the year. Why is this?

Phoebe

#2 Alice

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 05:08 PM

I just came back from the Divine Liturgy for the forefeast, and our priest said that the holy water blessed and taken home today is for the blessing of the house and not consumption--(therefore, I presume, it can be kept for the whole year).

He said that the water blessed tomorrow is for our consumption.

I hope this helps, dear Phoebe! Many years to you!

#3 Lakis Papas

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 07:17 PM

Unfortunately some priests/monks give incorrect instructions on the issue.

a) Both sanctification of water which takes place on the eve of Epiphany and the sanctification of water which takes place on the day of Epiphany are both intending for the Holy Water to be consumed by Christians. The service on the eve of Epiphany is no other but the service that takes place on the Epiphany Day, that is the Great Blessing of Water - there is no difference - so it is strange to support that Holy Water is to be used differently.

b) On both services we pray "For those who shall draw of it and take of it unto the sanctification of their homes, let us pray to the Lord. That it may be for the purification of the souls and bodies of all those who, with faith, shall draw and partake of it, let us pray to the Lord.". Thus, Holy Water of both days should be taken home both for the blessing of the house and for consumption. This is also supported by St Chrysostom who said in his homilie: "Because on this day all, having obtained the waters, do carry it home and keep it all year, since today the waters are sanctified;"

St. John Chrysostom: On the Holy Theophany : http://www.johnsanid...-theophany.html

St. John Maximovitch, On the Holy Water of Theophany: http://www.johnsanid...-theophany.html




#4 Alice

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 09:05 PM

Yes, Laki, but today (the forefeast) was the 'lesser' blessing of the water (μικρος αγιασμος/mikros agiasmos), atleast in my parish ,so my priest was indeed correct:

Lesser Blessing of Waters

Posted Image Posted Image
Fountain with Holy Water in Thessaloniki.


The Lesser Blessing is called "lesser" not because it is shorter (in fact, it isn't), but because it does not have the same solemnity as the Great Blessing, and does not necessarily change the nature of the water.
While much is the same, the rite begins with Psalm 142 (LXX) and the hymns to the Theophany of the Great Blessing are replaced in the Lesser Blessing with hymns to the Theotokos. The scriptural readings are different (Hebrews 2:11-18, John 5:1-4), and the special peitions at the Great Litany are different:

...http://en.wikipedia....ssing_of_Waters


Χρονια Πολλα!
Alice

#5 Lakis Papas

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 01:04 AM

Wikipedia is wrong.

Lesser Blessing is called lesser because has shorter duration and is performed on regular basis, while Great Blessing is performed on the eve and on the day of Theophany (which is a great feast). Lesser Blessing's Holy Water is as absolutely as Holy as Great Blessing's Holy Water.

It is wrong to say that "The Lesser Blessing is called "lesser" ... because it does not have the same solemnity as the Great Blessing, and does not necessarily change the nature of the water." Let me repeat: Lesser Blessing's water always becomes Holy Water just like Great Blessing's water.

( http://www.goarch.or...ts/lesser_water ) During the Lesser Sanctification of the Water service we ask: "That this water might be hallowed by the might, and operation, and descent of the Holy Spirit, let us pray to the Lord. That there may descend upon these waters the cleansing operation of the super substantial Trinity; let us pray to the Lord."

As for the service that took place at your parish, I think that it was the Great Blessing (as it is determined by Typikon) and it was wrongfully called "Lesser Blessing" as it is custom for some people to call it on Theophany eve, due to misunderstanding.

As for the differences in hymns, the Lesser Blessing has hymns to the Theotokos because it was historically shaped by the way it was performed at the church of Panagia (Mother of God) of Vlacherna in Constantinople, where was a sacred spring and Hagiasma (fountain of holy water).

#6 Olga

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 01:43 AM

Lesser Blessing is called lesser because has shorter duration


This is not the case. The service is much longer than the one for the Great Blessing, at least in Russian tradition.

But I quite agree with Lakis, in that there is no difference whatsoever in the sanctity of the water blessed in either form of the service. Holy water is holy water. In my experience of both Russian and Greek tradition, I have never detected any difference in the way holy water is regarded by clergy or laymen, whether through a "lesser" or "greater" blessing service.

My husband, who has served his parish in many capacities since childhood, shook his head in incomprehension that there could be a difference in the holiness or purpose of blessed water. From the purely practical aspect, the procedure he has followed in emptying and drying the holy water font and other containers in which water has been blessed is identical, irrespective of which form the blessing has taken.

#7 Angie

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 05:39 AM

According to my spiritual father, the small "agiasmo" which was yesterday, can be kept for a year and drink it first thing in the morning before you coffee or tea. You also bless your house with this.

The Holy Water of Theophany, which is todays, 6th January, can only be taken with fasting for a day. Also, not a drop of this one can be thrown on the floor, it is as big as Holy Communion.

The little one is for blessing the home etc, and todays is kept in with your Holy Icons, for if your not well and are sick etc throughout the year.

It is not the same. If it is the same, as some people think, then why is their a strict fast the day before?

Todays is very Holy. Please be careful with this.

#8 Olga

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 05:49 AM

The Holy Water of Theophany, which is todays, 6th January, can only be taken with fasting for a day. Also not a drop of this one can be thrown on the floor, it is as big as Holy Communion.


Angie, this is not true. The holy water blessed during the Theophany liturgy, is used to bless the church and the people at the four stops during the procession around the church. The same holy water is used to bless each person at the end of the Liturgy as they come up to the priest to receive the antidoron. In both the procession and the individual "anointing" with holy water, there's plenty that ends up on the floor or the ground.

And, here in southern Australia, it's a welcome refreshment to be struck on the head and shoulders with a horsehair brush soaked in holy water when it's 40C outside. :-)

#9 Lakis Papas

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 09:56 AM

It is not the same. If it is the same, as some people think, then why is their a strict fast the day before?


The fast the day before Theophany has nothing to do with the taking of the Holy Water. The fast was established in the ancient Church for two reasons:

a) As preparatory fasting concerning the baptism of catechumens, that was custom to take place on the day of Theophany. The day before baptism all Church fasted, not just the baptized and the baptizing.
b) As a preparation for the great feast of the Epiphany. This is the case with all major feasts.

Holy Water is the second mystery after Holy Communion. Holy Communion is intended only for humans, but while Holy Water is also consumed only by humans, it is used for blessing houses, farms, boats, wells and generally for the blessing of all nature, by spraying the Holy Water on objects/animals. The sanctification expels daemons from everywhere.

#10 Fr Raphael Vereshack

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 02:07 PM

The confusion perhaps is due to the fact that the Euchologion/Trebnik has two different services for blessing water- one called Great Blessing which is done at Theophany (on the eve and on the day) and Lesser (which as Olga says is actually much longer than the Great- possibly the words 'Great' and 'Lesser' relate to the liturgical season when these blessings are done- Great at the feast of Theopany, Lesser on lesser feast days, parish feast days, etc).

However let's say the priest does less of the Great Blessing service the first or second time around (ie on the eve of Theophany; or our parish does a very shortened version on the next Sunday after Theophany after Liturgy because most all of the water is by that time taken by the people). Then I could understand in that case the priest saying 'we do a lesser blessing of water' on that day, even though he means that less of the Great Blessing service is done.

Holy Water- it is drunk, sprinkled through the church, or one's house, and also outside. If you ever get to see Holy Water at the services in Russia being 'doused' on the people by the celebrants you'll see how much the faithful love their holy water.

In Addis Ababa at Theophany there's a huge pool which the faithful jump into right after the Patriarch blesses it. It's quite an amazing sight with everyone dressed in white and jumping into the blessed water. Besides the practice of jumping into the water to retrieve the Cross (done by both Greeks & Russians at Theophany) I don't know if any of our people have a practice quite like the Ethiopian.

In Christ
-Fr Raphael

#11 Olga

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 02:18 PM

Holy Water- it is drunk, sprinkled through the church, or one's house, and also outside. If you ever get to see Holy Water at the services in Russia being 'doused' on the people by the celebrants you'll see how much the faithful love their holy water.


Indeed! In my experience of both Greek and Russian traditions, Greeks are sprinkled with holy water using a sprig of basil or rosemary, Russians are doused with a horsehair brush soaked in it; Greeks take their holy water home in medicine or similar little bottles, Russians bring two-litre soft drink bottles. No wonder it runs out quickly! ;-) A little holy water is also often added to the water used to make prosphora.

#12 Kosta

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 07:53 AM

Regardless whether there is a difference, it was indeed taught in the greek tradition that the small ayiasmo was for blessing the home and other objects, while the Great blessing was strictly for consumption after a short fast.

#13 Angie

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 08:56 AM

Thank you Kosta, I agree.

I will continue as I was taught, as it is very sacred Holy Water, not to be treated as the small one.




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