Entering the house of the Virgin Mary, they bowed to the baby Jesus and gave gifts – frankincense, gold and myrrh. This is why frankincense has become one of the main components in the Christian church rituals.
When and why frankincense is used
Christians use frankincense in the following cases:
- during church services;
- praying at home;
- for the consecration of the dwelling.
In Russia, since ancient times, there was a custom to incense their homes. Nowadays a lot of believers have decided to revive this tradition. They use katseya – an incense burner with a small handle. Censer, which is used by priests in churches, doesn’t approach such cases. During this sacrament, believers should read the ninetieth and hundredth psalms and a prayer of the resurrection of the Lord.
The burning of frankincense is a symbol of the genuine belief and the duty of the Christian to the Savior. That is why it is used during the evening prayer.
The healing effect of incense
In ancient times, people cured different diseases and indispositions with herbs. Besides, the smoke of resins, flowers and some kinds of trees gave off the fragrant, healing smoke. This smoke had a positive effect on the human body:
- it made people feel better and cured the blues;
- it cheered up;
- it healed many diseases of the spirit and body.
This type of healing was used not only in Russia but in many other countries too. In addition, it was applied for sacrificial religious ceremonies. In gratitude for the health and life, given by the Creator, people burnt the frankincense. The smoke was a symbol of true faith and appreciation. The Lord protected Christians from diseases and dark forces in return.
Some words about the incense
The incense is nothing but the burning of frankincense. It was often mixed with other fragrances, herbs and resins. With the help of this rite Christians hoped to get the Lord’s help in worldly affairs and drive away evil spirits.
The ritual was conducted in the church and the open-air area. It was believed that the requests, sorrows and hopes of the believers went up along with the smoke in the direction of the Creator. The word “incense” means “smoke” in Greek. Hence the name of the rite.
Before clergymen start to burn incense, they read a special prayer to the Lord to send down grace on the believers. Fragrant smoke symbolizes the spirit’s purity in such cases.
Also, evangelist Mark stressed that burning incense is not only gratitude of the believers and a feasible sacrifice to God, but a plea for protection and patronage too. Because the devil and his servants never sleep.
In Russia, a priest performed a rite with an iron censer with chains. At the same time, he said a prayer that the Lord would give the parishioners his power and overshadow them with his light heavenly sign. And in response, the parishioners asked the Saviour to help them in their lives. In Russia this rite symbolized the vital power of the Holy Spirit and the Holy Trinity, helping people on the shady earthly path.
Putting the frankincense into the censer, people sacrifice to Jesus Christ the best they have in their lives – its fragrance. Moreover, this ritual symbolizes the love for God and positive forces and also humility over their will.
Safety regulations in the use of the frankincense at home
Performing a rite, connected to the burning incense at home, remember about the safety regulations. Otherwise, the rite can lead to fire or deterioration of health. You must not:
- leave the coal burning;
- continue smoking at the slightest signs of dizziness or nausea.
It is better to extinguish the coal with water. Do not buy substandard frankincense. Before buying it, you should sniff the incense. If the smell is unpleasant, you should refuse the purchase.