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kissing icons - do's and dont's #246094
07/21/07 11:08 PM
07/21/07 11:08 PM
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searching east Offline OP
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So far what I think I understand is that you are not supposed to kiss icons on the face, but rather on the feet or hands? Is this correct? Or is it ok to just kiss a corner of the icon to be safe and still affectionate/respectful? Anything else I should know about entering a Byzantine Church? Is there an order it is better to kiss icons in? Does that matter much? Is it better to light candle before/after venerating icons? Do I need to make the sign of the cross before or after doing this? Thanks.
Brian

Re: kissing icons - do's and dont's [Re: searching east] #246095
07/21/07 11:20 PM
07/21/07 11:20 PM
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Torsten Offline
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Yes you are right - you wouldn't kiss the face of the depicted on the icon. It is considered disrespectful. Rather you kiss the hands or feet of the depicted. If it is rather impractical to do so kissing the corner of an icon can be seen as a substitute for that. It is customary to cross yourself twice each with a metanaia (a bow from the hip where your hand touches the floor) then kiss the icon and then do a third crossing with a metanaia. You normally venerate the icon first (as described above) and then light candle(s) for that icon. If you come into a church and there are three analogions with icons on it your normally go to the one in the center which has the patron saint or the feast icon of the day on it. then you venerate the right icon (christ) and then the left icon (theotokos) and then other icons that might also out there. It is normally not customary to venerate the icons on the iconostasis itself. this is why there are analogions with christs and theotokos icons out there for the veneration of the faithful.

All this is a rule of thumb and local customs might vary.

Re: kissing icons - do's and dont's [Re: Torsten] #246096
07/21/07 11:34 PM
07/21/07 11:34 PM
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searching east Offline OP
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So if I am hearing you correctly you would do this three times. Making 9 matanaia's and three kisses of three icons. Would a person always do this or some weeks would you just enter the church and not do this? Thanks for your help.

Re: kissing icons - do's and dont's [Re: searching east] #246097
07/21/07 11:40 PM
07/21/07 11:40 PM
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as a rule of thumb again you would always do this if one enters the church.

Re: kissing icons - do's and dont's [Re: Torsten] #246101
07/22/07 12:18 AM
07/22/07 12:18 AM
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searching east Offline OP
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I see a few people doing this bow you speak of. I tried searching for more info on the term but I did not find anything. Is it from another language? Is there another term? Do you touch the floor and then begin making the sign of the cross, or do you touch your forehead then the florr and then right to left shoulder? I think it is floor then forehead then shoulder? Also, is making the sign of the cross supposed to go from forehead to belly or foreghead to chest. I thought I first learned it to belly, but most people seem to just go to the chest.

Re: kissing icons - do's and dont's [Re: searching east] #246102
07/22/07 12:44 AM
07/22/07 12:44 AM
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Re: kissing icons - do's and dont's [Re: DAVIDinVA] #246103
07/22/07 01:05 AM
07/22/07 01:05 AM
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searching east Offline OP
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sorry but after reading I am still confused. Is the sign of the cross made before or after the touching of the ground? Also what of the sign of the cross, is it supposed to go to the abdomen or chest?

Re: kissing icons - do's and dont's [Re: searching east] #246104
07/22/07 02:09 AM
07/22/07 02:09 AM
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Before. Make the sign of the Cross, bow while sweeping your open hand down to the floor.
I see folks making the Sign of the Cross both ways; some go to the chest some further down, I don't think it makes a difference.

Re: kissing icons - do's and dont's [Re: DAVIDinVA] #246106
07/22/07 02:27 AM
07/22/07 02:27 AM
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Fr Serge Keleher Offline
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Do not, repeat, DO NOT, attempt to kiss an icon in an Old Rite church unless specifically invited to do so.

Fr. Serge

Re: kissing icons - do's and dont's [Re: Fr Serge Keleher] #246111
07/22/07 07:51 AM
07/22/07 07:51 AM
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searching east Offline OP
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What is an Old Rite church? Are all Byzantine churches old rite? From what I have observed and read they do encourage visitors or those comfortable with it to venerate icons.Plus I attend this church for Divine Liturgy regularly and I know the priest and some other people and am pretty sure I am more than welcome to venerate the icons.
Wait, are you referring to Orthodox Churches that I have heard referred to as Old Calendarist? The ones who follow the old calendar? I think that is what you are referring to? I just never heard the official title for them.

Last edited by searching east; 07/22/07 07:54 AM.
Re: kissing icons - do's and dont's [Re: searching east] #246125
07/22/07 01:57 PM
07/22/07 01:57 PM
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searching east Offline OP
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Also, would one follow these same practiced when kissing icons at home? Or is that more of a private thing and simply making the sign of the cross sufficient? Also, what of iconography printed on bulletins? I hate throwing sacred images away. They have not been blessed but, I still hate throwing the maway. Is it ok to kiss these or pictures of iconography in books? I currently pin the covers of the bulletins on my wall becasue I have not bought many icons yet. Is there any reasons I should not do this?

Re: kissing icons - do's and dont's [Re: searching east] #246142
07/22/07 06:37 PM
07/22/07 06:37 PM
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The young fogey Offline
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Originally Posted by searching east
Also, would one follow these same practiced when kissing icons at home? Or is that more of a private thing and simply making the sign of the cross sufficient? Also, what of iconography printed on bulletins? I hate throwing sacred images away. They have not been blessed but, I still hate throwing them away. Is it ok to kiss these or pictures of iconography in books? I currently pin the covers of the bulletins on my wall becasue I have not bought many icons yet. Is there any reasons I should not do this?


Practice is always freer at home - you can 'copy and paste' (adopt) practices from other rites there if you want to - but I'd say generally yes, you'd follow the same rules for kissing icons.

I hate throwing those things away too which is why I am very careful about taking them, usually only doing so if I intend ever to use them as icons, and the images I won't or can't use (like if they're damaged) I privately burn.

It's a perfectly good and widespread custom to use paper icons just like any other kind. It's always good to have the icons you intend to use blessed by a priest but some say the image itself makes it holy.

And if you have to throw away an image in a newsletter for example, to keep from feeling too bad I'm reminded of something Mother Thecla in England wrote, that these aren't icons but 'icons of icons'. (Rather like many countries don't consider paper representations of their flags to be true flags.) Still, I'm with you in treating all such images reverently.

Re: kissing icons - do's and dont's [Re: searching east] #246143
07/22/07 06:45 PM
07/22/07 06:45 PM
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Originally Posted by searching east
What is an Old Rite church?


Fr. Serge is referring to a Russian Orthodox Church following the pre-Nikonian traditions of the Russian Church. They are usually called "Old Believers" or "Old Ritualists". The "Old Calendarists" have the same traditions as the rest of us, but they are more conservative, more resistant to change, and more traditional in their practice and beliefs.

Timothy

Re: kissing icons - do's and dont's [Re: Tim Herman] #246146
07/22/07 06:57 PM
07/22/07 06:57 PM
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Quote
So far what I think I understand is that you are not supposed to kiss icons on the face, but rather on the feet or hands? Is this correct? Brian

This is the exact opposite of what I have been taught in the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. We are taught to
1) kiss the feet of an icon of Christ, because He is our God and Saviour.
2) kiss the hand of an icon of the Theotokos because she is our mother.
3) kiss the cheek of an icon of a saint because he/she is our brother or sister in Christ.

Re: kissing icons - do's and dont's [Re: searching east] #246147
07/22/07 06:58 PM
07/22/07 06:58 PM
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I've never been to an Old Rite church so of course I never knew that, Fr Serge. Спасибо!

searching east, by 'Old Rite' Fr Serge doesn't mean the Byzantine Rite in general but the Russian Old Believers, sects of Christians who left the official Russian Orthodox Church in the 1600s over small liturgical changes that church made. IIRC they think they are the last real Orthodox left on earth. The Old Believers retain the older Russian ways of doing those things. At least some are a kind of 'purity cult', not eating with non-members (and breaking the dishes they've used to serve non-members!) so this attitude towards strangers kissing icons is not surprising. Might be to do with the old rule of 'no praying with heretics'.

Some Old Ritualists (to use a more polite term for the Old Believers) have rejoined the official Russian Church, including a parish (cathedral?) in Erie, Pa. that belongs to the Russian Church Abroad, which is part of the Russian Church.

You're right that visitors are welcome to venerate icons in other Orthodox churches and in Byzantine Catholic churches.

There are Orthodox churches that use the Old Calendar - for example Russia, the world's biggest Orthodox church - and all Old Believers use the Old Calendar too.

And then there are Old Calendarists: churches formed since the 1920s by people who broke away from national Orthodox churches such as the Greek that have adopted the New Calendar.

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