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Re: Arms Folded Across The Chest Question [Re: Our Lady's slave] #297602
08/18/08 07:11 AM
08/18/08 07:11 AM
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somewhere betwixt the Alpha an...
ebed melech Offline
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Originally Posted by Our Lady's slave
I have to say that I have NEVER seen a lay person [ EEMHC] in the UK attempting to give a blessing.

We were all taught that this was something reserved for the priest and if someone approached us we were NOT to do it and quietly send them to the priest.

This does seem to be an americanisation


Well, you know we Americans are the "power to the people" types!

Back to the topic at hand, I wonder what the origin of the "folded hands" is?

ala...

[Linked Image]

I usually see folded hands and fingers now-a-days, except in more Latin traditional circles. I never have seen this gesture among the Byzantines, either in icons or in a liturgical setting.

Any ideas?

Fr. Deacon Daniel


Last edited by ebed melech; 08/18/08 07:12 AM.
Re: Arms Folded Across The Chest Question [Re: ebed melech] #297614
08/18/08 10:13 AM
08/18/08 10:13 AM
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theophan Offline
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ala...



I usually see folded hands and fingers now-a-days, except in more Latin traditional circles. I never have seen this gesture among the Byzantines, either in icons or in a liturgical setting.

Any ideas?

Fr. Deacon Daniel


Father Deacon Daniel:

Some years ago someone made the comment that this gesture comes from medieval court practice. Together with a bow to the sovereign or one's noble it was a secular practice taht was carried over to the Church's practice.

Of course, I have no other source to confirm this so I wait to be corrected.

BOB

Re: Arms Folded Across The Chest Question [Re: ebed melech] #297643
08/18/08 03:49 PM
08/18/08 03:49 PM
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Fr Serge Keleher Offline
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I do hope that that picture does not portray the good Deacon!

Fr. Serge

Re: Arms Folded Across The Chest Question [Re: Fr Serge Keleher] #297652
08/18/08 04:11 PM
08/18/08 04:11 PM
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Irondale,AL
Pani Rose Offline
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Originally Posted by Serge Keleher
I do hope that that picture does not portray the good Deacon!

Fr. Serge


Well Father we always suspected he was up to something. Just look at the grin biggrin

Re: Arms Folded Across The Chest Question [Re: Pani Rose] #297656
08/18/08 04:48 PM
08/18/08 04:48 PM
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ebed melech Offline
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Originally Posted by Pani Rose
Originally Posted by Serge Keleher
I do hope that that picture does not portray the good Deacon!

Fr. Serge


Well Father we always suspected he was up to something. Just look at the grin biggrin


Yes - I looked like I swallowed a bird! smile

Fr. Deacon Daniel

Re: Arms Folded Across The Chest Question [Re: ebed melech] #297661
08/18/08 05:51 PM
08/18/08 05:51 PM
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The folding of arms as a signal of only a blessing at the altar rail was (is) used at many of the Anglican churches I attended in my youth in the U.K. However it was just the right arm to left shoulder with the left arm hanging . That being said no one but the priest would give a blessing. I have always thought it strange when people are blessed by the (lay deacons?) (servers)?? who give out the eucharist at so many not so latin, latin parishes. I think that if rails were more common then this wouldnt happen so much.

Re: Arms Folded Across The Chest Question [Re: DewiMelkite] #297663
08/18/08 05:58 PM
08/18/08 05:58 PM
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Also just to clarify, it was just used by lay people not yet confirmed.

Re: Arms Folded Across The Chest Question [Re: Aunt B] #297673
08/18/08 10:12 PM
08/18/08 10:12 PM
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Our Rusyn tradition is to cross the forearms across your chest as a sign of repentance (so the nuns taught). There is also a practical side -- it allows the priest to hold the chalice closer to the communicant and also provide a "safety net" which prevents the Eucharist from accidentally falling to the floor.

As far as Western tradition goes, I recall when Pope John Paul II visited mainly Protestant Scandinavia (very early in his papacy) the non-Catholic dignitaries were instructed to approach the Pope in the Communion line in this way (I hope I recall this correctly.) Then the Pope knew that they were not to receive the Eucharist.

Re: Arms Folded Across The Chest Question [Re: Paul B] #297681
08/19/08 01:07 AM
08/19/08 01:07 AM
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Fr Serge Keleher Offline
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when Pope John Paul II visited mainly Protestant Scandinavia (very early in his papacy) the non-Catholic dignitaries were instructed to approach the Pope in the Communion line in this way (I hope I recall this correctly.) Then the Pope knew that they were not to receive the Eucharist.


It really is much better to have a non-Eucharistic service (such as a solemn Blessing of Holy Water) if one has reason to expect a significant number of people - dignitaries or mere mortals - to attend the service and to whom one should not give Holy Communion.

Fr. Serge

Re: Arms Folded Across The Chest Question [Re: Lawrence] #409304
11/10/14 10:13 PM
11/10/14 10:13 PM
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Tryzub Rurikid Offline
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A lay person can bless another in the Roman Catholic tradition of the Latin rite. A father can bless his children. This is a long-time tradition among the French Roman Catholics - especially, on New Year's Day ...'la bénédiction paternelle' [The paternal blessing] to mark the beginning of the year together as a family and be blessed in the name of God via the head of the household (the father) at this time. Any person can bless another as well - each time you say 'bless you' is a form of blessing as well. To people of faith, this is no small thing and truly has reach and meaning and is done through Christ and in his name as a mark of love to our fellow-beings on earth.

St Francis of Assisi blessed the animals even... as creatures of the creation of God. . .

So, yes, anyone (in the Roman Catholic tradition I know at least) can bless someone else. . .

Best

Re: Arms Folded Across The Chest Question [Re: ebed melech] #409305
11/10/14 10:21 PM
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Tryzub Rurikid Offline
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I truly think that the origin of the folded hands (at the time of burial ...crossed over the chest), came from the time of early Christians... folding their arms was like making a cross on their chest...

However, this can also be seen as far back as the Pharaohs of Egypt. Even effigies of Egyptian Pharaohs had their arms 'crossed over' on their chest ...it was likely a mark of themselves being portrayed as living 'deities' or 'Gods' - often, one hand is holding a scepter while the other is holding a whip-like object. I wish more people would 'weigh in' on this one. . . I sure would like to know more about occurrences of this. . .

Best

Re: Arms Folded Across The Chest Question [Re: Fr Serge Keleher] #409306
11/10/14 11:22 PM
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Tryzub Rurikid Offline
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Holy Communion should be given to those who have an ardent desire within themselves to receive it...

Let me tell you a little story:

As a child one Sunday morning I ran away from home and ran to the church at the end of our street. It was a hot summer day ...I was wearing a little blouse and a pair of shorts which had been dirtied from playing outside... I sat in the church as as with every Sunday before listened intently to the mass... Then came time when people lined up to receive Holy Communion. . . I lined up with them and advanced to the priest and with all the desire and intent in the world stood there without budging until he gave me my First Communion. He knew my parents well and that I had been raised in a Christian home but I was much younger than the 'proscribed' age for this sacrament - yet, on the spur of the moment, this priest decided to give it to me even without the 'preparation' one should have beforehand.

After the mass, I ran home in joy screaming at the top of my lungs that I had done my First Communion - I was bursting at the seams in joy! I never regretted it... When came time for the children in my class to make their Holy First Communion, I was not among the little girls with their fancy white dresses and veils ...I had done mine but I did not regret it. I think I had more joy as I had an ardent desire to receive Christ - I was READY for this in my heart and soul and this to me was more important than anything and it could not compare to the ceremony the other children had - I had a much better moment of it I shall recall my life entire. To me Holy Communion devoid of love for Christ and devoid of desire to receive Him is a travesty which is far worse. We 'commercialize' communion and put on a 'show' in a manner - even while 'traditions' are nice and the 'ceremonial' of it is important, what is MORE important is being READY and having a desire to receive this sacrament with your entire heart, soul as a being. I understood what communion meant - for me, it was important... I did not want to wait and I somehow as a child defied the priest before the entire community at mass - I was not going to budge and I wanted to receive Our Lord. This priest took one look at me and he saw this in me I am certain and this is no doubt why he decided I was ready and gave it to me. No one in the church complained and trust me I was bouncing with joy when I left the church! Joy is what a child should feel at this moment - joy is what each Christian should feel upon receiving Christ in communion. Quite ugly is the communion which is 'forced' or not desired when a child is not 'ready' nor their hearts and soul sufficiently prepared to arrive at this moment for this enough to understand truly its deeper meaning in receiving this sacrament and be filled with the desire that should be there.

We attach too much to the 'motions' of preparation while we forego preparing the heart and soul - which to me is far more important here.

Christ would not refuse anyone who ardently wanted to make their Holy Communion and in my view today churches should have the same mindset when they see a person has this ardent desire to receive Him through this sacrament. It matters not if a child steps up to receive Our Lord much in the same manner I did, what matters is if the person is 'ready' and this the priest can make the call on an individual basis if he so desires I feel. It is worse to churn out giving the First Communion to children while neglecting their true readiness to receive it - it is in my view disrespectful to Our Lord and this sacrament. Parents must instill the love of God in their children to prepare them for this and today many fail to do so. . . To bring children to the altar in large numbers for their First Communion like cattle at the trough is an ugly thing when it comes to this sacrament if we neglect to ensure they have the desire and that their hearts and souls are 'ready.'

Receiving the sacrament of Communion should be a tremendous joy to those who are ready and indeed it is something to celebrate as a family and with the Christian community and only then does all the 'ceremonial' have its place and be beautiful - otherwise, all the gestures are futile, devoid of sense and real meaning and we are fooling ourselves. . . Those pretty white dresses and veils mean nothing if inside the heart and soul is not ready - not prepared... - it actually looks very ugly to me to do so. While parents look at all the 'logistics,' for this day, they fail to do what is MOST IMPORTANT.

I hope my words have brought forth another perspective. . . Christians should not be omitted or deprived of receiving communion at an event where dignitaries attend. It is up to the celebrant to advise people who cannot and should not be receiving communion to refrain from coming forth out of respect for this sacrament. However, if a person's heart and soul is READY, they should not be refused either. I would rather see a new Christian among us step up to receive Communion if they feel 'ready' even if they feel 'called' at that very moment and their desire is THERE and feel the joy of coming into our Christian community and learn more later than to see a so-called Christian who goes to communion and the moment they step out of the church lead a life contrary to the religious tradition they have engaged in as a Christian and in so doing highly disrespect, defile and violate the sacrament they have received and the sacrifice of Our Lord for us by their actions and blatant hypocrisy mad . People can come up with all the rhetoric on this one they want but this shall never change my mind on this issue no matter the 'rules,' etc. Of course, it is best to have received baptism and confession before coming to take First Communion - but I could not see refusing someone who leads a good life, has a good heart and soul and comes to receive communion ...comes to Christ's table in this sacrament to join Christianity while we leave the soiled hearts and souls of hypocrites come to communion to defile Him! We are far more concerned with 'rules' and ceremonial than the quality of our hearts and souls today and this needs to change! It is our responsibility to see to the quality of our hearts and souls and to know if we are worthy of receiving Christ - if we know we are 'ready' in every way in the course of our lives. . . We must examine our 'conscience' before we approach the Altar... - we must be worthy and 'ready' to receive Christ in Holy Communion - otherwise, we cannot call ourselves Christians if we fail in this regard. . .

Food for thought. . .

Christine

Re: Arms Folded Across The Chest Question [Re: ebed melech] #409307
11/10/14 11:41 PM
11/10/14 11:41 PM
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Tryzub Rurikid Offline
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Also, the 'folded arms across the chest' could come from the ancient burial customs of Judaism and someone should look into this as well. . . Christ according to university professor in archaeology, Prof. John N. Lupia (now retired) in his book on the Shroud of Turin explains that he was buried in the Jewish customs of the period. This including the cutting of the tzitzit tassels on the garment cloth which they wore called a tallit which was then used to bury him ...which was his own vestment while he was living is perfectly in tune with the customs of Judaism and he explains this in his book: The Ancient Jewish Shroud At Turin (Regina Caeli Press, 2010). He explains how Christ's vestment was bought back and likely washed of the blood it had on it [from the whipping he received] in the hours while he was on the Cross to be ready to be used in accordance with Jewish tradition to bury a man in his vestments he wore each day - a 'sacred' vestment which tad tassels on it called tzitzit. When a Jewish man died, these were cut off... the body was laid in this garment, the arms were crossed, oils, flowers and incense and herbs were used in accordance with the rituals of the time.

You can see a video of one of John Lupia's presentations - pay close attention... he is one of the leading experts on the study of the Shroud of Turin and even showed that some people made wrong conclusions in the past (although it ends poorly as the quality is lacking in terms of videography) - here:

The Seamless Garment of Christ - by Archaeologist John N. Lupia

However, I highly recommend his book instead... it is a wealth of information and points out that the Shroud is authentic and truly the garment of Christ in which he was buried. He explains the errors in the carbon dating which was done years ago. He also talks about the particular plant residues which were found on the Shroud which bring it to the Holy Land. He makes some very strong arguments for this in his book based on science and more. . .

HOWEVER, on the Shroud of Turin, Christ has his arms folded over (hand over the other hand) on his lower abdomen. Early Christians soon began to bury their dead with their arms crossed on their chest or their fingers intertwined in a form of prayer (as we do today).

Christians continued many of these customs into their lives and I have every reason to think that the crossing of the arms over the chest is likely one of them... it is likely a long-standing tradition for which you may never find the ultimate answer WHEN it started and goes back to hundreds of years before Christ. Possibly, while Jews were in Egypt at one time, the Egyptians could have borrowed this from them as well... - but truly, one might never know. . .

For the living, to cross your arm across the chest is a sign of repentance, reverence, respect and devotion. While Roman Catholics of the Latin rite cross their right arm over their chest with their fist closed over their hearts [in a 'mea culpa' manner] and state that they are not worthy to receive Christ but ask for His forgiveness by asking that He speak His Word and they shall be healed... before communion, it is a sign of repentance and respect before going up to the altar to receive communion.

UPDATE: Last night (November 27, 2014), I attended a lecture by Professor Maureen Korp, PhD at the University of Ottawa on Comparative Religions where she stated that crossed arms over the chest is the 'Osiris Position' which dates back to pre-Christian times in ancient Egypt. Hope this helps. . .

Best

Last edited by Tryzub Rurikid; 11/28/14 05:19 AM. Reason: New Information
Re: Arms Folded Across The Chest Question [Re: Aunt B] #409327
11/12/14 12:35 AM
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This practice slowly died off and is no longer or very seldom used in the Roman Catholic Church of Latin rite here where I am - you simply never see it any more. People are asked to not come into the lines for receiving communion if they do not want to receive it and remain seated.

Best

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