Monday, January 7, 2013

Blessing of Homes

Why we bless our homes
We, as Christians, are engaged in a struggle to reclaim fallen nature for the Kingdom of God. We often talk about this in terms of our own salvation, but the Church, addressing all of creation in a wholistic manner, also reaches out and reclaims a bit here and a bit there of creation in general. We do this in order that we might restore the usefulness of creation for working out our own salvation. Hence we bless anything that might help us in our salvation - and by blessing it we reclaim it for the Kingdom of God.
There are few things more vital to our lives than our homes. In our homes we pray, we work, we talk to others, we order our lives, we work out our marriages, etc. What more important place to reclaim for the Kingdom of God - or is it better to continue living in a place which is occupied by the enemy. For the most effective working out of our salvation, we must drive the enemy out of our homes, and keep him at bay by our prayers, our righteous life, and the annual sprinkling by Holy Water at Theophany.

OrthodoxWiki on Blessing the Home
Sanctification of the home
The sanctification of the home takes place with prayer and the sprinkling of holy water. The priest, at this annual visit, asks God to have mercy on the house, to rid it of every evil and to fill if with every blessing. Everyone of the house, prays together for the living and the dead of the family, and all who live and have lived in the house. They all sing the hymn of salvation and process from room to room while the priest blesses the house.

Traditions of the ceremony differ according to local custom, but these general guidelines should are observed:
A candle with an icon and some holy water should be placed in a suitable place, such as kitchen or dining room table, or a home altar.
Also, a list of first names for whom prayers are to be offered, including members of the family and all those living in the house. The list should have a clear distinction between the living an the dead.
If it is the practice to give the priest a gift, it should not be placed with the holy objects on the table. It can be prepared in advanced, but given at the conclusion of the service.

The ceremony
When the priest comes, all who are present in the house should gather around the icon with the candle. They should, if they are able to join in, say theTrisagion Prayers and sing of the Troparion of the Feast of Epiphany. Then a family member leads the priest through the house with the candle. As he goes, he sprinkles holy water, and prays for a blessing upon each room and the activity that goes on there. When they have gone through the entire house, the family gathers again around the table and the priest blesses each person present.
Prayer for Blessing of Homes Priest: Blessed is our God always, both now and ever, and to the ages of ages.
Amen. Trisagion Prayer. All Holy Trinity ... Our Father. (see page 32).

For Yours is the Kingdom. . . Amen. Troparion, Tone I
When You in Jordan for Your baptism were come, O Lord, then was revealed unto us to worship the Trinity, for lo, the Father's voice spoke to bear witness of You, by Name, declaring You His well-beloved Son; and the Spirit in form like a dove appeared to confirm the sure truth of the spoken Word; O Lord made manifest and light of the world, we give glory to You, O Christ our God.

Let us pray to the Lord. Lord have mercy.
O God our Savior, the True Light, Who was baptized *in the Jordan by the Prophet John, and Who did deign to enter under the roof-tree of Zacchaeus, bringing salvation unto him and unto his house: do You, the same Lord, keep safe also from harm those who dwell herein; grant to them Your blessing, purification and bodily health, and all their petitions that are unto salvation and Life everlasting; for blessed are You, as also Your Father Who is from everlasting, and Your All; Holy, Good and Life; creating Spirit, both now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

And the Priest shall bless the whole house with Holy Water, saying:
When You in Jordan ...

May He Who condescended to be baptized in the river Jordan by the Forerunner and Prophet John, for our salvation, through the intercessions of His immaculate Mother, the Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary, and of all the Saints, have mercy on us and save us, for He is our good and loving Lord.

The Priest proclaims:
Grant, O Lord, a prosperous and peaceful life, health and salvation, and the furtherance of all good things to all Your servants (Names)who dwell herein, and preserve them for many years.

Reader: Many years! (3)
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