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||    Pope Shenouda    ||    Father Matta    ||    Bishop Mattaous    ||    Fr. Tadros Malaty    ||    Bishop Moussa    ||    Bishop Alexander    ||    Habib Gerguis    ||    Bishop Angealos    ||    Metropolitan Bishoy    ||

The Blessing

What is the Blessing?

What is the blessing? What is its importance? How

old is it in history? What are its sources, methods and

types? That’s what we will talk about…

From the point of view of the age of the

blessing, God blessed our first parents…

He said to them: “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the

earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of

the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every

living thing that moves on the earth.” (Gn 1:28). And

with the same blessing He blessed Noah and his sons

after ark landed (Gn 9:1,2).

And we see that the blessing here was the

multiplicity, authority or domination.

􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

We can see the blessing as multiplicity in the

Lord’s blessing of the five bread loaves that filled

thousands (Mk 6). And in His blessing for the bin of

flour and the jar of oil in the widow’s home through

Prophet Elijah during the whole famine time (1 K

17:14). Also in blessing the fruit of the land of the

sixth year because they used to let the land rest on

the seventh year and thus God used to bless the fruit

of the land of the sixth year so that it suffices till the

eighth year.

􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

And blessing means consecration like when

God blessed the seventh day and consecrated it

(Ex 20:11).

And so God blessed all the Lord’s seasons and

feasts and made their celebrations in holy

convocations (Lv 23). And that became a statute


Also in blessing firstborns meaning consecrating

them as He said to Prophet Moses: “Consecrate to Me

all the firstborn, whatever opens the womb among

the children of Israel, both of man and beast; it is

Mine” (Ex 13:2). And thus the firstborn preceded his

father in heading the family and in priesthood (before

establishing Aaron’s Priesthood) and had the share or

two of his brothers…

􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

And the meaning of blessing also includes


Like when God blessed the Righteous Joseph “the

LORD made all he did to prosper in his hand” “the

LORD blessed the Egyptian's house for Joseph's sake;

and the blessing of the LORD was on all that he had

in the house and in the field.” (Gn 39:3,5).

And He mentions this in the first psalm about the

righteous man so He says about him: “He shall be like

a tree Planted by the rivers of water, That brings

forth its fruit in its season, Whose leaf also shall not

wither; And whatever he does shall prosper.” (Ps


And regarding the army, blessing means success,

meaning winning. The Lord says in the blessing

chapter (Dt 28) “The LORD will cause your enemies

who rise against you to be defeated before your face;

they shall come out against you one way and flee

before you seven ways.” (Dt 28:7).

And from here, not giving the blessing meant

failure and defeat.

􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

There is also the blessing in a general and

comprehensive meaning.

Like it came in (Dt 28): “Blessed shall you be in

the city, and blessed shall you be in the country.

Blessed shall be the fruit of your body, the produce of

your ground and the increase of your herds, the

increase of your cattle and the offspring of your

flocks. Blessed shall be your basket and your

kneading bowl. Blessed shall you be when you come

in, and blessed shall you be when you go out… The

LORD will command the blessing on you in your

storehouses and in all to which you set your hand…

The LORD will open to you His good treasure, the

heavens, to give the rain to your land in its season”

(Dt 28:3-12).

And this comprehensive blessing used to be said

to people in general, to everyone who obeys the Lord

and follow His commandments…

Therefore blessing is important. If you have only

one thing to ask from God, then ask Him for the

blessing in your life and the blessing carries


The blessing was a commandment. The bible

says: “bless and do not curse” (Ro 12:14). And says:

“bless those who curse you” (Mt 5:44). Also says:

“The mouth that blesses does not curse”.

􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

Sources of the Blessing

The main source of course is God the source of all

blessings. And God, may His name be blessed,

allowed for sources that lead to His blessing.

So, there is the Parents’ Blessing. And we saw

in the Old Testament how Jacob and Esau were

competing over getting the blessing of their father

Isaac (Gn 27). And how the righteous Joseph brought

his sons Ephraim and Manasseh to his father Jacob to

bless them (Gn 48).

􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

There is also another blessing from the church,

from prophets and from the priesthood ranks:

Like when Joseph was a blessing in Potiphar’s House

and Elijah was a blessing in the widow’s house, And

like when God blessed Abraham and said to him: “I

will bless you” “And in you all the families of the earth

shall be blessed” (Gn 12:1,2).

And the church is a source of blessing: either

through the place or clergymen. People take blessing

from the altar, icons or from reverend fathers.

They also take blessings from monasteries, from


Saints’ feasts and their bones, and from the holy

spices that touch the tubes containing their remains.

􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

􀂙 There is another blessing that we take from

every giving we give to the poor and needy.

Because the Lord said: “inasmuch as you did it to

one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to

Me” (Mt 25:40).

And so we take a blessing from paying the

tithes. And the Lord said: “10Bring all the tithes into

the storehouse… And try Me now in this… If I will not

open for you the windows of heaven And pour out for

you such blessing That there will not be room enough

to receive it.” (Mal 3:10).

We can get another blessing from visiting the

sick. The Lord said “I was sick and you visited Me”

(Mt 25:36). Then, he who visits the sick becomes as

if he visited the Lord Jesus Christ and thus will get a

blessing by this visit.

There is also another blessing that can be taken

from elders and aged people. And in some

countryside villages when they greet an elder they

kiss his hand.

􀂙 And St Antony says: “Make everybody bless

you” meaning take a blessing from everyone, or

make every person pray for you… As you can get

a good prayer from the poor, from fathers and

from all people you have done good with.

􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

Ways of Granting the Blessing

􀂙 You get the blessing through a prayer by one of

the reverend priests. He may pray for you a

prayer in which he blesses you, a psalm or just

say: “May The Lord blesses you”.

􀂙 Blessing also comes through making the sign of

the holy cross on you. As we notice in the Divine

Liturgy that the reverend father blesses the

congregation more than once by making the sign

of the Holy Cross towards them.

􀂙 And the blessing is also given through laying of

the hands as our Lord Jesus Christ did when he

laid His hands on children and blessed them.

􀂙 And the blessing comes through a certain phrase

like what the father of fathers Isaac said as he

blessed his son Jacob: “may God give you Of the

dew of heaven, Of the fatness of the earth, And

plenty of grain and wine… Be master over your

brethren, And let your mother's sons bow down to

you…” (Gn 27:28,29).

􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

􀂙 And there is a blessing that is granted through

sprinkling prayed upon water. And this happens

all the time in the church like after the prayer on

the Laqqan water.

􀂙 Another bless comes through anointing with oil

like what happens in the Joyous Saturday eve

(Aboughalmsis), on the End of Fast Friday, after

the prayer of Unction of the sick or in a visit to

any patient.

􀂙 And at the end of each meeting the reverend

priest blesses the whole congregation and says:

“May God have compassion upon us, bless us,

manifest His face upon us and have mercy upon

us through the prayers of … and …” and ends it

with “The Love of God the Father and the grace of

the only begotten Son, our Lord, God and Savior

Jesus Christ, and the communion and the gift of

the Holy Spirit be with you all. Go in peace. The

Lord’s peace be with you all.” And no person

should leave before getting this blessing and


􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

Types of the Blessing

There are many types or occasions for the

blessing, among which:

1. Blessing the Food: Meaning praying on the food

to bless it before eating or distributing it. Of a priest

is present then he is the one who blesses. Otherwise,

the eldest among the present people blesses or the

person himself if he is eating alone.

And blessing the food in general has its

importance. And a single loaf of bread taken from the

monastery is a blessing because in all the stages it

went through in making as wheat, in pasting and

baking, it was always mixed with praying. And so is in

preparing all types of food.

􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

2. Blessing New Houses: No one lives in a new

house before the reverend pries comes to it and prays

a blessing prayer that may be an incense offering or


And I remember that every time I visited a new

house in the Land of Immigration I used to say first:

“The Lord Jesus said: “whatever house you enter, first

say, ‘Peace to this house.’”… Then I ask for a glass of

water and I pray a lot on it saying many prayers or

psalms that are about blessing the water.

Then I sprinkle the water on the house walls while

saying, from the prayer for the congregations,:

“Houses of prayer, houses of purity, houses of

blessing, grant them unto us, O Lord, and Your

servants who hall come after us forever…”.

􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

3. Blessing Engagement, marriage and new

born children:

People used to ask the reverend priest of the

reverend bishop to bless the engaged, newly weds or

new born children so that the Lord make their life

blessed and happy… This is in addition to the known

ritual prayers.

􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

4. Blessing clothes before praying the

Divine Liturgy and Ritual Services.

So no bishop, priest or deacon wear his service

clothes before having it first blessed by the higher in

rank. And this is done through making the cross sign

with the name of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit

along with certain prayers.

Also blessing clothes in every new ordination and

in addition to making the cross sign and anointing

them the reverend bishop says: “Peace and

edification to God’s Sacred Church. Amen.” And no

deacon, priest or bishop can wear his service clothes

before it is blessed and prayed upon.

􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

5. There is a general blessing and a private


A general blessing for the whole congregation and

a private to a specific person in a special occasion…

􀀿 􀀿 􀀿

As for the phrase “Bless the LORD, O my soul” (Ps

103) and similar ones… It means either praise the

Lord, O my soul or thank. It should not be taken

literally but in its idiomatic meaning…

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