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x. 6.* The advice which St Paul gives to the husband and wife, is the following: "Let every
one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself, and the wife see that she reverence her husband;" Eph. v. 33.†
* In the Slavonian, this verse is rendered: "From the beginning of the creation, God created them a man and a woman."
+ The ceremony of marriage is always performed in the church, and it consists of three parts. First, the betrothing, in which the parties exchange rings in pledge of their mutual love and fidelity. The second is the matrimonial coronation, and is properly the rite of marriage. In this, the priest having pointed out the duties of the matrimonial connection, and interrogated the parties in respect to their mutual consent, crowns the bridegroom first, saying, "The servant of God N. is crowned for the hand-maid of God M. in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost." Then taking the second crown, he puts it on the head of the bride, saying, "The hand-maid of God M. is crowned for the servant of God N. in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost." The third part is the dissolving of the crowns, in which the priest concludes with this prayer: "We thy servants, O Lord, having ratified the contract, and performed the office of marriage, as in Cana of Galilee, and laid up the symbols of it, give glory to thee the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost, now and for ever, even unto ages of ages."
Formerly the crowns used were garlands of flowers; but at present every church has two crowns either made of gold or silver.
All the three offices are now joined in one service; but they were formerly performed at different times. No marriages are solemnised in time of Lent, and a fourth marriage is altogether unlawful in the Greek church.
Of the Sanctified Oil. *
The sanctified oil is a mystery in which the servant of the church, in anointing the sick with oil, prayeth to God for his recovery from sickness, and for the forgiveness of his sins.
This ordinance is founded on the following words of St James, v. 14, 15, "Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him."+
* This mystery is called by the Greeks, Tó 'Eugéλator; and by the Russians, Eleosveschenie, the sanctified or holy oil.
+ Concerning this mystery, Dr King has the following judicious observations:-" This service, (says he,) the Latins, who are desirous to make all the ceremonies of the Eastern church coincide with their own, consider the same as, or equivalent to, extreme unction; but though the Greek church reckons it in the number of her mysteries, yet it is certain, there is nothing throughout the whole office which implies that it should be administered only to persons periculosè ægrotantibus, and mortis periculo imminente, as is prescribed in the Romish church. On the contrary, it may very consistently be used in any illness, as a pious and charitable work, but not of necessity; and thence, I presume, the doctors of this church maintain, that this mystery is not obligatory or necessary to all persons."
According to the ritual of this mystery, it properly requires
Of Traditions and Ceremonies.
Exclusive of the above-mentioned mysteries, our church preserveth certain traditions and ceremonies, which either serve to moral edification, or are founded on propriety.
In the church there are many ceremonies which have descended from the days of the apostles themselves, or were instituted by their immediate successors, and have been observed by all holy antiquity; and though our salvation does not consist in them, yet they possess their own share of usefulness, and we are bound, with all due respect, to observe them. Such, for instance, are the traditions following: In performing divine service, the servants of the church use becoming robes and garments;* we use candles in
seven priests to perform it, who, each of them in the course of the prayers, with a twig, upon the end of which there is a little cotton, anoints the sick person with oil on the chief parts of the body. In doing this, they make use of seven small twigs, one for each priest. But this mystery is now administered by fewer priests, for in the country it is difficult to collect the number stated in the regulations.
* The robes in which the priests perform divine service, are made of the most costly silks and velvets, and are generally of gay colours, sumptuously embroidered with gold, and many of them studded with pearls and precious stones. These sacerdotal garments belong to the churches, and are usually presents from the nobility and merchants. Many of them
our churches as a mark of our burning faith; we incense with a censer as a mark of the offering up of our prayers; † we cross ourselves, thereby, testifying our faith in the crucified Saviour; we consecrate the waters, in remem
are also made of the palls that are used to cover the coffins at funerals, which the wealthy prepare of the richest materials, and after the interment bestow as a present to the church to which the deceased belonged.
* There is scarcely any rite or ordinance performed in the Greek church, whether by day or by night, without lighted candles or lamps. Almost every worshipper, on holidays, devoutly approaches and places his wax candle or taper before the holy Ikons or pictures of the saints. In many of the churches, lamps and candles are kept continually burning; particularly before the pictures of the Saviour, the Virgin, and the Saint to whom the church is dedicated.
+ The censer is made of silver in the form of a small cup, and slung upon three small chains of the same metal. In this, incense is put, with a little live coal; and in the course of the service the priest, at stated times, perfumes the worshippers, the Ikons, and the altar, by waving it to and fro.
Prostration and crossing, are external signs of religious worship, which are very frequently practised by Greek as well as Roman Christians. Thus, the Russian always crosses himself before and after meat; when about to undertake any thing of importance, to pass a river, or begin a journey, on passing a church, when the thunder roars or the lightning flashes. On every such occasion, he devoutly uncovers his head, crosses himself, and repeats an ejaculation, applicable to his circumstances. The Russians also cross and prostrate themselves very often in the time of prayer, whether in public or private; and people of all classes usually wear a small cross made of gold or silver, or some other less valuable metal, suspended from the neck, which they receive at baptism.
brance of the Lord's baptism, as well as of our own;* we adorn our churches with honourable pictures, that in beholding them we may be excited to imitate those whom they represent; we keep different holidays, in remembrance of the gracious acts of God, or of the holy lives of his favourites, and thereby we are the more excited to godliness. These, and such like ceremonies, our church preserveth holy; however, she disclaimeth all superstition, that is, such traditions as are contrary to the word of God, and unknown in holy antiquity.
Of the Resurrection of the Dead. All those who preserve the faith inviolate, and do good, shall arise in the resurrection of life; and those that do evil in the resurrection of condemnation.
The ceremonies of consecrating or sanctifying of the waters, are two, the great sanctification, which is usually performed upon a river or stream, and is done in "remembrance of our Lord's baptism, as well as of our own," as stated above. Hence, the place where this ceremony is performed, is called Jordan. In most churches, this ceremony is celebrated once a year, and in St Petersburgh it takes place on the sixth of January, with great pomp. The lesser sanctification is performed when the priests are in need of water for baptism, or any other holy purpose; but in general the Russians make little use of holy water. For a particular account of the prayers and ceremonies of the benediction of the waters, see Dr King's Work.