Ritual Washing in Orthodoxy...?

Posted By: The Nikonian

Ritual Washing in Orthodoxy...? - 06/01/19 11:02 PM

Having risen from the bed and washed your face, stand before the holy icons, and looking upon them, turn your thoughts to the invisible God.-Old Orthodox Prayer Book

I found this Interesting Thing in the Morning Prayers of the Old Orthodox Prayer Book. It seems to mention a form of ritual washing of the face before prayer in the Old Believer tradition. does anyone on here now the history behind this practice or if this actually practiced.
Posted By: theophan

Re: Ritual Washing in Orthodoxy...? - 06/02/19 11:54 PM

Christ is Risen!!


I can only hazard a guess about this note. I don't see it as a "ritual washing," but taken from monastic practice. I read an instruction that was supposed to be given to novice monks. Given the idea that one should establish regular habits in one's life, it makes sense. I think it may also refer to Our Lord's instruction to those who are fasting where we are told to wash out faces and anoint our for heads so that no one would know we are fasting. Immediately on rising we have not broken the fast--breakfast. And, given that one is fasting when one rises and immediately goes to prayer, it suggests to me that we should take the attitude that we are glad to speak immediately to Our Lord.

Posted By: theophan

Re: Ritual Washing in Orthodoxy...? - 06/03/19 01:31 PM

Christ is Risen!!


I had another thought this morning when I looked in the mirror after rising. Would you go to meet the president of the United States or the Prime Minister of the UK or Canada the way you look on rolling out of the sack? How about your Creator?

If the icons are windows onto Heaven, why would you look out into eternity without making yourself presentable?

I wouldn't. I look like the wrath of God in the morning before washing, shaving and combing my hair.

Posted By: Deacon John Montalvo

Re: Ritual Washing in Orthodoxy...? - 06/04/19 12:00 AM

I can’t speak to the instruction in your prayer book, but I know what I pray from the Psalms:

Psalm 3:5
I lay down and slept;
I woke again, for the LORD sustained me.

Psalm 121:2-4
My help comes from the LORD,
who made heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot be moved;
he who keeps you will not slumber.
Behold, he who keeps Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.

So He who watches over you 24/7 is not put off by how you look or smell in the morning. Now if you’re a monk who has personal hygiene issues, your brother monks will no doubt have a great deal to say how you look and smell in the morning. Incense wasn’t used in the cell during person prayer.
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