Difference between revisions of "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.
== History and practice ==
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.
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.
== Theological significance ==
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.
== External links ==
* [http://www.tcgalaska.com/ups/pages/Incense/holy_cross_incense.htm Holy Cross Hermitage's traditional Athonite incense]
* [http://www.msocp.com/incense.htm Mount Sinai Incense and Charcoal]
* [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Incense Wikipedia:incense]
* {{note|1}} King James Version, public domain. See [http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm%20141&version=9]
[[Category:Liturgical objects]]

Revision as of 11:18, June 10, 2008