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Why Do We Have Our Homes Blessed?

by Phyllis Meshel Onest, M.Div.

Begin Everything with Prayer

Since we are reminded in Scripture to begin whatever we do with prayer, it has been the practice of Orthodox Christians for centuries to have new dwellings blessed either before or just after settling in. This has been extended to one's business or office, and even college dorm rooms. "The service performed by the priest to bless the new dwelling is somewhat similar to the consecration of a church [in the Russian practice] in that holy water, holy oil, and incense are used and a lesson from the holy Gospel is read. All the rooms of the house are sprinkled with holy water and each of the four outer walls are anointed with the sign of the Cross with holy oil, a candle placed before them, and after the censing of the house, the lesson from the Holy Gospel is read [in Greek practice the service of the Small Blessing of Waters is generally done]. At the conclusion of the blessing, the inhabitants are blessed with holy water: the husband first, followed by the wife and then the children - the oldest first. Relatives and friends present are then blessed." (Marriage and the Christian Home, by Rev. Michael B. Henning, p.24.)

Summer Liturgy

by Phyllis Meshel Onest, M.Div.

The summer will be upon us soon and I'm sure we're thinking about vacations, relaxing, fewer or no car pools, lots of sunshine (very important for those of us in Ohio and other parts of the Midwest), a slower lifestyle, ball games, visits to the zoo and amusement parks, short trips to places of interest, working around the house, gardening, summer sports leagues, and more.

It seems to me that regardless of the time of year, we all have much for which to thank God, and as His creations, we need to worship our Creator. As you begin to fill the calendar with activities, try not to let Sunday Liturgies fall by the wayside! For those whose parishes conduct Church School during Liturgy, this is the time to help our children learn to worship and reinforce what was learned "about" worship in class. For all of us summer should be less stressful which should, in turn, enhance our participation in Liturgy. Some parishes even go to earlier "summer hours" so that families can have more of the day for summer fun. This is also a good time to visit nearby sister Orthodox parishes.

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