All Saints of North America Orthodox Church (Hamilton, ON, Canada)

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Preparing for a House Blessing

The yearly blessing of homes at the Feast of the Theophany touches our daily lives with the sanctifying waters of the Jordan in which Our Lord was baptized. In blessing a home, the Church asks God to drive away every evil influence from our home and those who live in it, and to renew with extra vigor the influence of the Holy Spirit in our domestic lives. The Church Fathers speak of the home as a small church, and just as we must chase away the influences of the Evil One from our parishes and parish families, so too must we do so - at least annually - in our domestic family.

In preparing for a house blessing, the following should be noted:

1. A QUIET AND HOLY ENVIRONMENT: Turn off the television and radio before the priest arrives. Assemble all the family and friends in the home around the icon corner, or at an icon prepared for the occasion. Take the phone off the hook.

2. PREPARE THE TABLE: For the house blessing, the priest will require the following:

- a table covered with a clear white cloth
- an icon with a candle in front of it
- a censer, with incense and charcoal
- matches
- a small, clean bowl that will not be used for any future purpose
(i.e. just for holy water)
- a sprig of basil or cedar

3. CLEAR A PATH: Clear away objects and furniture to allow a clear path for the priest to walk as he moves throughout the house at the sprinkling of the holy water. Secure pets away from the area. If it is dark, turn on the lights throughout the house, and make sure all doors - including closets - are open or ajar.

4. FOOD AND DRINK: It is not necessary to provide food and drink for the priest at a house blessing. Often, if the priest is blessing many homes, it is better to save hospitality for another occasion, and to make special arrangements with the priest in advance of his visit. The faithful are reminded that the priest endeavors to the best of his ability to keep the fast days of the Church, and the support of the priest by the faithful in this regard is much appreciated.

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