Tuesday, 12 October 2010

New Starts.

Psalm 100 (Masoretic numbering101)
Each morning I would slay all sinners in the land: that I might root out all evil doers from the city of the Lord.
I have met His Grace Bishop Angaelos of the Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Stevenage twice.  He is physically much smaller than I expected from his Wikipedia Photo but his charismatic presence is huge.  He was brought up in Australia, so his English is perfect, but I noticed that the Egyptians hold him is awe too.

His sermon at the last Liturgy I went to in Stevenage concerned New Starts, and finding excuses to start to get your life straight.  Every new year, and it was the start of a new Coptic church year on that particular Sunday, is a good place to start our relationship with God again.

There are many new start opportunities.  The last line of Psalm 100 reminds us that every new morning is a new opportunity to put sin behind us.   Just like Baptism, a good Confession is another good fresh start.

+Angaelos has a couple of good snippets on YouTube, I particularly like his 'Timeout' analogy.  If you love another Human you want to to spend all your time with them.  Why do you say you love God, but only want to spend an hour with him on Sundays?

Saturday, 4 September 2010

So what's with all the hand kissing then?

This from Wikipedia :

In the Eastern Orthodox Church, <snip> it is appropriate and common for laity to greet clergy, whether priests or bishops, by making a profound bow and saying, "Father, bless" (to a priest) or "Master, bless" (to a bishop) while placing their right hand, palm up, in front of their bodies. The priest then blesses them with the sign of the cross and then places his hand in theirs, offering the opportunity to kiss his hand. Orthodox Christians kiss their priest's hands not only to honor their spiritual father confessor, but in veneration of the Body of Christ which the priest handles during the Divine Liturgy as he prepares Holy Communion. The profound bow is frequently omitted. A similar ritual occurs when an Orthodox Christian approaches an icon he wishes to venerate. First the Christian makes a profound bow and makes the sign of the cross twice. Then he approaches the icon more closely, kissing the icon, usually on the representation of Christ's, or the saint's, hand or feet. Lastly, he will make a final profound bow and make the sign of the cross. Orthodox theology teaches that, honor given to the Virgin Mary, ascends to him who was enfleshed by her. This applies to saint's relics or icons and in this case, to the priest's hand. Lastly, it is a common practice when writing a letter to a priest to begin with the words "Father Bless" rather than "Dear Father" and end the letter with the words "Kissing your right hand" rather than "Sincerely."

I've tried kissing Anglican bishops hands, mostly they seem surprised.  My very good friend the late Bishop (Thomas) Richard Hare (1922-2010), had enormous fun with it.  I would kiss his hand, and he would say "but I haven't got my ring on", then I'd explain again that it was his hand I was kissing.  He was noted for his phenomenal memory, so I know he didn't need reminding.  One day he quickly reached into a drawer beside his chair and put his bishop's ring on just as I rose to leave - I deliberately missed the proffered ring, to kiss his hand.  We laughed.  My old profile photo is one that he took of me on the couch at his cottage.  Memory Eternal, Richard, and do pray for us.

Friday, 3 September 2010

Beginning to kiss your right hand

This is Kissing Your Right Hand. my little blog about Orthodox (and sometimes other) clergy.  It started as a joke when my priest, friend, and spiritual father, Fr John Musther, about whom more will be said later, told me that my newly customary email sign-off 'KYRH' was not discovered by a Google search.  I thought this should be corrected.
And what does 'newly customary' mean?  Just that, it's a custom that I have just begun.  Like this little amusement.
Oh, and if you just happen to be a member of the clergy,
Kissing your right hand,