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A thymiaterion (from Ancient Greek: θυμιατήριον from θυμιάειν thymiaein "to smoke"; plural thymiateria) is a type of censer or incense burner, used in the Mediterranean region since antiquity for spiritual and religious purposes and especially in religious ceremonies.
The Ancient Greek language includes the forms of Greek used in Ancient Greece and the ancient world from around the 9th century BCE to the 6th century CE. It is often roughly divided into the Archaic period, Classical period, and Hellenistic period. It is antedated in the second millennium BCE by Mycenaean Greek and succeeded by medieval Greek.
A censer, incense burner, perfume burner or pastille burner is a vessel made for burning incense or perfume in some solid form. These vessels vary greatly in size, form, and material of construction, and have been in use since ancient times in many cultures, in both secular and religious contexts. They may consist of simple earthenware bowls or fire pots to intricately carved silver or gold vessels, small table top objects a few centimetres tall to as many as several metres high. Many designs use openwork to allow a flow of air. In many cultures, burning incense has spiritual and religious connotations, and this influences the design and decoration of the censer.
Incense is aromatic biotic material that releases fragrant smoke when burned. The term refers to the material itself, rather than to the aroma that it produces. Incense is used for aesthetic reasons, and in therapy, meditation, and ceremony. It may also be used as a simple deodorant or insectifuge.
The term is used not only for the censers of ancient Greece, from where the term comes, but also to describe the censers of other peoples of the ancient world, such as the Phoenicians and Etruscans.
Ancient Greece was a civilization belonging to a period of Greek history from the Greek Dark Ages of the 12th–9th centuries BC to the end of antiquity. Immediately following this period was the beginning of the Early Middle Ages and the Byzantine era. Roughly three centuries after the Late Bronze Age collapse of Mycenaean Greece, Greek urban poleis began to form in the 8th century BC, ushering in the Archaic period and colonization of the Mediterranean Basin. This was followed by the period of Classical Greece, an era that began with the Greco-Persian Wars, lasting from the 5th to 4th centuries BC. Due to the conquests by Alexander the Great of Macedon, Hellenistic civilization flourished from Central Asia to the western end of the Mediterranean Sea. The Hellenistic period came to an end with the conquests and annexations of the eastern Mediterranean world by the Roman Republic, which established the Roman province of Macedonia in Roman Greece, and later the province of Achaea during the Roman Empire.
Thymiateria could take a wide variety of forms, ranging from simple earthenware pots to elaborate carved, moulded or cast items made from clay or bronze.
Clay is a finely-grained natural rock or soil material that combines one or more clay minerals with possible traces of quartz (SiO2), metal oxides (Al2O3, MgO etc.) and organic matter. Geologic clay deposits are mostly composed of phyllosilicate minerals containing variable amounts of water trapped in the mineral structure. Clays are plastic due to particle size and geometry as well as water content, and become hard, brittle and non–plastic upon drying or firing. Depending on the soil's content in which it is found, clay can appear in various colours from white to dull grey or brown to deep orange-red.
Bronze is an alloy consisting primarily of copper, commonly with about 12–12.5% tin and often with the addition of other metals and sometimes non-metals or metalloids such as arsenic, phosphorus or silicon. These additions produce a range of alloys that may be harder than copper alone, or have other useful properties, such as stiffness, ductility, or machinability.
Various types of thymiateria are still used in the Greek Orthodox rituals in churches, homes, cemeteries etc. They are commonly known also as "livanisteria" (from the w. Livanos, incense).
The Eastern Orthodox Church, officially the Orthodox Catholic Church, is the second-largest Christian church, with approximately 200–260 million members. As one of the oldest religious institutions in the world, the Eastern Orthodox Church has played a prominent role in the history and culture of Eastern and Southeastern Europe, the Caucasus, and the Near East. It operates as a communion of autocephalous churches, each governed by its bishops in local synods. The church has no central doctrinal or governmental authority analogous to the Pope of Rome, but the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople is recognised by all as primus inter pares of the bishops.
The highest-ranking bishops in Eastern Orthodoxy, Oriental Orthodoxy, the Catholic Church, and the Church of the East are termed patriarchs.
Divine Liturgy or Holy Liturgy is the Eucharistic service of the Byzantine Rite, developed from the Antiochene Rite of Christian liturgy which is that of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. As such, it is used in the Eastern Orthodox, the Greek Catholic Churches, and the Ukrainian Lutheran Church. Although the same term is sometimes applied in English to the Eucharistic service of Armenian Christians, both of the Armenian Apostolic Church and of the Armenian Catholic Church, they use in their own language a term meaning "holy offering" or "holy sacrifice". Other churches also treat "Divine Liturgy" simply as one of many names that can be used, but it is not their normal term.
The name Greek Orthodox Church, or Greek Orthodoxy, is a term referring to the body of several Churches within the larger communion of Eastern Orthodox Christianity, whose liturgy is or was traditionally conducted in Koine Greek, the original language of the Septuagint and the New Testament, and whose history, traditions, and theology are rooted in the early Church Fathers and the culture of the Byzantine Empire. Greek Orthodox Christianity has also traditionally placed heavy emphasis and awarded high prestige to traditions of Eastern Orthodox monasticism and asceticism, with origins in Early Christianity in the Near East and in Byzantine Anatolia.
An acolyte is an assistant or follower assisting the celebrant in a religious service or procession. In many Christian denominations, an acolyte is anyone who performs ceremonial duties such as lighting altar candles. In others, the term is used for one who has been inducted into a particular liturgical ministry, even when not performing those duties.
A thurible is a metal censer suspended from chains, in which incense is burned during worship services. It is used in Christian churches including the Roman Catholic, Maronite Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Armenian Apostolic and Oriental Orthodox, as well as in some Lutheran, Old Catholic, United Methodist, Reformed, Presbyterian Church USA, Anglican churches. In Roman Catholic, Lutheran, and Anglican churches, the altar server who carries the thurible is called the thurifer. The practice is rooted in the earlier traditions of Judaism in the time of the Second Jewish Temple.
A place of worship is a specially designed structure or consecrated space where individuals or a group of people such as a congregation come to perform acts of devotion, veneration, or religious study. A building constructed or used for this purpose is sometimes called a house of worship. Temples, churches, synagogues and mosques are examples of structures created for worship. A monastery, particularly for Buddhists, may serve both to house those belonging to religious orders and as a place of worship for visitors. Natural or topographical features may also serve as places of worship, and are considered holy or sacrosanct in some religions; the rituals associated with the Ganges river are an example in Hinduism.
The Holy of Holies is a term in the Hebrew Bible which refers to the inner sanctuary of the Tabernacle where God's presence appeared. The area was defined by four pillars which held up the veil of the covering, under which the Ark of the Covenant was held above the floor. The Ark according to Hebrew Scripture contained the Ten Commandments, which were given by God to Moses on Mount Sinai. King Solomon built the Temple in Jerusalem, where the Ark of the Covenant was supposed to be kept.
The Liturgy of Preparation, also Prothesis or Proskomedia, is the name given in the Eastern Orthodox Church to the act of preparing the bread and wine for the Eucharist. The Liturgy of Preparation is done quietly before the public part of the Divine Liturgy begins, and symbolizes the "hidden years" of Christ's earthly life.
Panagia in Medieval and Modern Greek, also transliterated Panayia or Panaghia, is one of the titles of Mary, the mother of Jesus, used especially in Eastern Catholicism and Orthodox Christianity.
A prosphoron is a small loaf of leavened bread used in Orthodox Christian and Greek Catholic (Byzantine) liturgies. The plural form is prosphora (πρόσφορα). The term originally meant any offering made to a temple, but in Orthodox Christianity it has come to mean specifically the bread offered at the Divine Liturgy (Eucharist).
The Botafumeiro is a famous thurible found in the Santiago de Compostela Cathedral. In the past, similar devices were used in large churches in Galicia; one is still used in the Tui Cathedral. Incense is burned in this swinging metal container, or "censer".
Eastern Orthodox worship in this article is distinguished from Eastern Orthodox prayer in that 'worship' refers to the activity of the Christian Church as a body offering up prayers to God while 'prayer' refers to the individual devotional traditions of the Orthodox.
The icon corner, or red corner, is a small worship space prepared in the homes of Eastern Orthodox and Greek-Catholic Christians. The analogous concept in Western Christianity is the home altar.
Religious use of incense has its origins in antiquity. The burned incense may be intended as a symbolic or sacrificial offering to various deities or spirits, or to serve as an aid in prayer.
The ancient Egyptian Incense burner: arm is a horizontal hieroglyph representing various types of horizontal tools used to offer, and burn incense. In tomb scenes it is often shown with an attached small box, or cup region, for holding incense, located on the upper surface; the offering individual is sometimes holding a grain-pellet of incense, with lines of incense, or connected grains-in-a-line equal to wafting smoke.
The ancient Egyptian Censer pot, is most commonly seen in Ancient Egyptian iconography as an offering, held in hand by the offering person or god. Many pots are offered in hands, or a single hand with offerings of oils, a liquid-(water), or other item in the pot.
Incense in China is traditionally used in a wide range of Chinese cultural activities including, religious ceremonies, ancestor veneration, traditional medicine, and in daily life. Known as xiang, incense was used by the Chinese cultures starting from Neolithic times with it coming to greater prominence starting from the Xia, Shang, and Zhou dynasties.
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