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
And blessing means consecration like when
God blessed the seventh day and consecrated it
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
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”
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
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
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
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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