Incense

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'''Incense''' is a product of aromatic plant matter, often with an oil or resin as a base. In the [[Orthodox Christianity|Orthodox Christian]] practice, incense is an important liturgical implement which is often considered distinctive to the Faith as well.
 
'''Incense''' is a product of aromatic plant matter, often with an oil or resin as a base. In the [[Orthodox Christianity|Orthodox Christian]] practice, incense is an important liturgical implement which is often considered distinctive to the Faith as well.
 +
 +
Incense is burned in a gold [[censer]] and ignited by burning charcoal. Customarily, the [[censer]] is suspended by chains and swung; however, a hand censer can be used when necessary. The censer is employed only by the [[priest]] and/or [[deacon]] to venerate all four sides of the [[altar]], the [[Eucharist|Holy Gifts]], the [[clergy]], the [[congregation]], [[icon|icons]], and the church structure itself.
  
 
== History and practice ==
 
== History and practice ==
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===Temple of Jerusalem===
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Incense was used as a perfumed offering on the [[w:Altar_(Judaism)#Altar_of_Incense|altar of incense]] in the time of the [[Tabernacle (biblical)|Tabernacle]] and in the First and Second Temple periods, being an important component of priestly liturgy in the Temple in [[Jerusalem]]. The incense offered in the Temple is described in the [[Exodus|Book of Exodus]] as a mixture of [[w:Stacte|stacte]], [[w:Onycha|onycha]], [[w:Galbanum|galbanum]] and [[w:Frankincense|frankincense]].
  
Incense is burned in a gold [[censer]] and ignited by burning charcoal. Customarily, the censer is suspended by chains and swung; however, a hand censer can be used when necessary. The censer is employed only by the [[priest]] and/or [[deacon]] to venerate all four sides of the [[altar]], the [[Eucharist|Holy Gifts]], the [[clergy]], the [[congregation]], [[icon|icons]], and the church structure itself.
+
:* "And the Lord said to [[Moses|Moyses]]: Take for yourself spices - oil of [[myrrh]], onycha, galbanum that is sweet and translucent frankincense, each shall be in equal proportion. And they will make it incense, perfumed work of a perfumer, mixed, pure, holy work. And you shall beat some of it small and place it before the witnesses in the tent of witness, there where I shall be known to you. It shall be a holy of holies for you. Incense according to this mixture you shall not make for yourselves. It is to you something made holy to the [[Lord]]. Whoever makes such as this, so as to be scented with it, shall perish from his people." [[Exodus]] 30:34-38 ([[Septuagint]]).<ref>''A New English Translation of the Septuagint (NETS).'' Albert Pietersma and Benjamin G. Wright (Eds.). Oxford University Press, 2007. ISBN 9780195289756</ref>
  
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Thus in accordance with [[Old Testament]] tradition, incense is used in every Church service. It is burned as an offering to [[God]] even as it was in the days of the First and Second Jewish temples.
  
In accordance with [[Old Testament]] tradition, incense is used in every Church service. It is burned as an offering to [[God]] even as it was in the days of the First and Second Jewish temples. Normally, the resin of the ''Boswellia thurifera'' plant (frankincense) is used as a base for incense manufacturing; however, resin from fir trees has also been used. The resin is often infused with a floral oil, producing a fragrant scent when burned. In the [[Mount Athos|Athonite]] tradition, incense is often sprinkled liberally with clay dust to prevent granules from clumping.
+
===Christian Worship===
 +
From an indication in Revelation 8:3-5 incense was used in [http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/subapostolic sub-Apostolic] Christian worship, however there is no clear evidence of its Christian use until about the year 500.<ref name=NICON>Rev. Nicon D. Patrinacos. "Incense (Greek: θυμίαμα)." In: ''A Dictionary of Greek Orthodoxy - Λεξικον Ελληνικης Ορθοδοξιας.'' Light & Life Publishing, Minnesota, 1984. p. 205.</ref> Censers may at first have been fixed, with the introduction of portable censers originating later. The incensing of the [[altar]], [[church]], and [[congregation]], is first recorded in the 9th century.<ref name="NICON"/>
  
== Theological significance ==  
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==Theological significance==  
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Incense represents prayers of the [[saint]]s lifting up into the heavens before [[God]]. This is evident from the blessing verse of the celebrant of the censer before incensing begins:
  
Incense represents prayers of the [[saint]]s lifting up into the heavens before God ([[Psalms|Psalm]] 141:2 (''Let my prayer be set forth before thee as incense; and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice...''){{ref|1}} [[Book of Revelation|Revelations]] 5:8, Revelations 8:4). Incense is also described as being used in heavenly worship, offering the faithful a foretaste of what is to come.  
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:* "We offer to Thee, [[Christ]] our God, this incense as a spiritual fragrance; receive it, we [[Prayer|pray]], to Thy heavenly altar and send down to us, in return, the [[grace]] of Thy [[Holy Spirit]]."<ref name="NICON"/>
 +
 
 +
And elsewhere:
 +
 
 +
:* [[Psalms|Psalm]] 140:2 - "Let my prayer be set forth before You as incense, The lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice."<ref>Psalm 140:2. ''The Orthodox Study Bible (SAAS).'' St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology, 2008. p.773.</ref>
 +
 
 +
Incense is also described as being used in heavenly worship, offering the faithful a foretaste of what is to come.
 +
 
 +
:* [[Book of Revelation|Revelation]] 5:8 - "Now when He has taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints."<ref>Revelation 5:8. ''The Orthodox Study Bible (NKJV).'' Thomas Nelson Inc., 1982. p.1722.</ref>
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:* Revelation 8:4 - "And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, ascended before God from the angel's hand."<ref>Revelation 8:4. ''The Orthodox Study Bible (NKJV).'' Thomas Nelson Inc., 1982. p.1726.</ref>
 +
 
 +
==Ingredients==
 +
Normally, the resin of the ''[[w:Boswellia sacra|Boswellia thurifera]]'' plant (frankincense) is used as a base for incense manufacturing; however, resin from fir trees has also been used. The resin is often infused with a floral oil, producing a fragrant scent when burned.
 +
 
 +
In the [[Mount Athos|Athonite]] tradition, incense is often sprinkled liberally with clay dust to prevent granules from clumping.
 +
 
 +
==See also==
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* [[Censer]]
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==References==
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<div><references/></div>
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==Sources==
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* Rev. Nicon D. Patrinacos. "Incense (Greek: θυμίαμα)." In: ''A Dictionary of Greek Orthodoxy - Λεξικον Ελληνικης Ορθοδοξιας.'' Light & Life Publishing, Minnesota, 1984. p. 205.
  
 
== External links ==
 
== External links ==
* [http://www.tcgalaska.com/ups/pages/Incense/holy_cross_incense.htm Holy Cross Hermitage's traditional Athonite incense]
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'''Wikipedia'''
* [http://www.msocp.com/incense.htm Mount Sinai Incense and Charcoal]
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* [[w:Incense offering|Incense offering]] (Ketoret, Jerusalem temple incense)
* [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Incense Wikipedia:incense]
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* [[w:Incense|Incense]]
* {{note|1}} King James Version, public domain. See [http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm%20141&version=9]
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'''Online Catalogs'''
* [http://www.thehtm.org/catalog/index.php?cPath=38&osCsid=d8fdf9cfc419ac85ec59a5ec88fa7b0b Holy Transfiguration Monastery Incense]
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* [http://www.holycross-hermitage.com/cgi-bin/commerce.cgi?search=action&category=NCNS&keywords=all&template=PDGCommTemplates/TopBotNav/Storebuilder_Type4.html Athonite Style Church Incense]. [[Hermitage of the Holy Cross (Wayne, West Virginia)|Holy Cross Hermitage]] - Online Catalog.
[[Category:Liturgical objects]]
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* [http://www.thehtm.org/catalog/index.php?cPath=38&osCsid=51a6099cd11dea6f898ae5b14affc277 Incense]. The [[Holy Transfiguration Monastery (Brookline, Massachusetts)|Holy Transfiguration Monastery]] Store.
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'''Other'''
 
* {{el icon}} [[Christodoulos (Paraskevaides) of Athens]]. ''"[http://www.ecclesia.gr/greek/archbishop/christodoulos.asp?id=163&what_main=1&what_sub=8&lang=gr&archbishop_heading=%C5%E3%EA%FD%EA%EB%E9%EF%E9 Ἡ Προσφορά τοῦ Θυμιάματος]."'' Εγκύκλιοι. ECCLESIA: ΔΙΑΔΙΚΤΥΑΚΟΣ ΟΙΚΟΣ ΕΚΚΛΗΣΙΑΣ ΤΗΣ ΕΛΛΑΔΟΣ. 11/10/2001.
 
* {{el icon}} [[Christodoulos (Paraskevaides) of Athens]]. ''"[http://www.ecclesia.gr/greek/archbishop/christodoulos.asp?id=163&what_main=1&what_sub=8&lang=gr&archbishop_heading=%C5%E3%EA%FD%EA%EB%E9%EF%E9 Ἡ Προσφορά τοῦ Θυμιάματος]."'' Εγκύκλιοι. ECCLESIA: ΔΙΑΔΙΚΤΥΑΚΟΣ ΟΙΚΟΣ ΕΚΚΛΗΣΙΑΣ ΤΗΣ ΕΛΛΑΔΟΣ. 11/10/2001.
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* {{el icon}} ''[http://el.wikipedia.org/wiki/%CE%9B%CE%B9%CE%B2%CE%AC%CE%BD%CE%B9 Λιβάνι].'' Βικιπαίδεια.
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* Immanuel Benzinger, Judah David Eisenstein. ''[http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/8099-incense INCENSE].'' Jewish Encyclopedia, 1906.
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 +
[[Category:Liturgical objects]]
  
 
[[ro:Tămâia]]
 
[[ro:Tămâia]]

Revision as of 16:48, November 4, 2011

Incense is a product of aromatic plant matter, often with an oil or resin as a base. In the Orthodox Christian practice, incense is an important liturgical implement which is often considered distinctive to the Faith as well.

Incense is burned in a gold censer and ignited by burning charcoal. Customarily, the censer is suspended by chains and swung; however, a hand censer can be used when necessary. The censer is employed only by the priest and/or deacon to venerate all four sides of the altar, the Holy Gifts, the clergy, the congregation, icons, and the church structure itself.

Contents

History and practice

Temple of Jerusalem

Incense was used as a perfumed offering on the altar of incense in the time of the Tabernacle and in the First and Second Temple periods, being an important component of priestly liturgy in the Temple in Jerusalem. The incense offered in the Temple is described in the Book of Exodus as a mixture of stacte, onycha, galbanum and frankincense.

  • "And the Lord said to Moyses: Take for yourself spices - oil of myrrh, onycha, galbanum that is sweet and translucent frankincense, each shall be in equal proportion. And they will make it incense, perfumed work of a perfumer, mixed, pure, holy work. And you shall beat some of it small and place it before the witnesses in the tent of witness, there where I shall be known to you. It shall be a holy of holies for you. Incense according to this mixture you shall not make for yourselves. It is to you something made holy to the Lord. Whoever makes such as this, so as to be scented with it, shall perish from his people." Exodus 30:34-38 (Septuagint).[1]

Thus in accordance with Old Testament tradition, incense is used in every Church service. It is burned as an offering to God even as it was in the days of the First and Second Jewish temples.

Christian Worship

From an indication in Revelation 8:3-5 incense was used in sub-Apostolic Christian worship, however there is no clear evidence of its Christian use until about the year 500.[2] Censers may at first have been fixed, with the introduction of portable censers originating later. The incensing of the altar, church, and congregation, is first recorded in the 9th century.[2]

Theological significance

Incense represents prayers of the saints lifting up into the heavens before God. This is evident from the blessing verse of the celebrant of the censer before incensing begins:

  • "We offer to Thee, Christ our God, this incense as a spiritual fragrance; receive it, we pray, to Thy heavenly altar and send down to us, in return, the grace of Thy Holy Spirit."[2]

And elsewhere:

  • Psalm 140:2 - "Let my prayer be set forth before You as incense, The lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice."[3]

Incense is also described as being used in heavenly worship, offering the faithful a foretaste of what is to come.

  • Revelation 5:8 - "Now when He has taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints."[4]
  • Revelation 8:4 - "And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, ascended before God from the angel's hand."[5]

Ingredients

Normally, the resin of the Boswellia thurifera plant (frankincense) is used as a base for incense manufacturing; however, resin from fir trees has also been used. The resin is often infused with a floral oil, producing a fragrant scent when burned.

In the Athonite tradition, incense is often sprinkled liberally with clay dust to prevent granules from clumping.

See also

References

  1. A New English Translation of the Septuagint (NETS). Albert Pietersma and Benjamin G. Wright (Eds.). Oxford University Press, 2007. ISBN 9780195289756
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Rev. Nicon D. Patrinacos. "Incense (Greek: θυμίαμα)." In: A Dictionary of Greek Orthodoxy - Λεξικον Ελληνικης Ορθοδοξιας. Light & Life Publishing, Minnesota, 1984. p. 205.
  3. Psalm 140:2. The Orthodox Study Bible (SAAS). St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology, 2008. p.773.
  4. Revelation 5:8. The Orthodox Study Bible (NKJV). Thomas Nelson Inc., 1982. p.1722.
  5. Revelation 8:4. The Orthodox Study Bible (NKJV). Thomas Nelson Inc., 1982. p.1726.

Sources

  • Rev. Nicon D. Patrinacos. "Incense (Greek: θυμίαμα)." In: A Dictionary of Greek Orthodoxy - Λεξικον Ελληνικης Ορθοδοξιας. Light & Life Publishing, Minnesota, 1984. p. 205.

External links

Wikipedia

Online Catalogs

Other

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