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Dedication is the act of consecrating an altar, temple, church or other sacred building. It also refers to the inscription of books or other artifacts when these are specifically addressed or presented to a particular person.[1] This practice, which once was used to gain the patronage and support of the person so addressed, is now only a mark of affection or regard. In law, the word is used of the setting apart by a private owner of a road to public use.

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Feast of Dedication

The Feast of Dedication also called "Feast of the Maccabees" was a Jewish festival observed for eight days from the 25th of Kislev (i.e. month of December). It was instituted by Judas Maccabeus, his brothers, and the elders of the congregation of Israel, in the year 165 B.C. in commemoration of the reconsecration of the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem, and especially of the altar of burnt offering, after they had been desecrated in the persecution under Antiochus Epiphanes (168 BC). The significant happenings of the festival were the illumination of houses and synagogues, a custom probably taken over from the Feast of Tabernacles, and the recitation of Psalm 30:1-12 HE.[2] J. Wellhausen suggests that the feast was originally connected with the winter solstice, and only afterwards with the events narrated in Maccabees.

The Feast of Dedication is also mentioned in John 10:22.

Dedication of churches

Churches under the authority of a bishop (e.g. Orthodox, Roman Catholic, or Anglican) are usually consecrated by the bishop but in nonconformist churches a service of dedication would normally be held. The distinction may only be important in some contexts; in the Church of England a consecrated church may only be closed for worship after a legal process (a "pastoral scheme").

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Early customs

The custom of solemnly dedicating or consecrating buildings as churches or chapels set apart for Christian worship must be almost as old as Christianity itself. When we come to the earlier part of the 4th century allusions to and descriptions of the consecration of churches become plentiful.

This service is probably of Jewish origin. The hallowing of the tabernacle and of its furniture and ornaments (Exodus 40); the dedication of Solomon's Temple (I Kings 8) and of the Second Temple by Zerubbabel (Ezra 6); its rededication by Judas Maccabaeus (see above), the dedication of the temple of Herod the Great[3], and Jesus' attendance at the Feast of Dedication (John 10:22-23). All these point to the probability of the Christians deriving their custom from a Jewish origin.

Eusebius of Caesarea[4] speaks of the dedication of churches rebuilt after the Diocletian persecution, including the church at Tyre in 314 AD. The consecrations of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre at Jerusalem in 335, which had been built by Constantine I, and of other churches after his time, are described both by Eusebius and by other ecclesiastical historians. From them we gather that every consecration was accompanied by a celebration of the Holy Eucharist and a sermon, and special prayers of a dedicatory character, but there is no trace of the elaborate ritual of the medieval pontificals dating from the 8th century onwards.

The separate consecration of altars is provided for by Canon 14 of the Council of Agde in 506, and by Canon 26 of the Council of Epaone in 517, the latter containing the first known reference to the usage of anointing the altar with chrism. The use of both holy water and of unction is attributed to St. Columbanus, who died in 615.[5]

There was an annual commemoration of the original dedication of the church, a feast with its octave extending over eight days, during which Gregory the Great encouraged the erection of booths and general feasting on the part of the populace, to compensate them for, and in some way to take the place of, abolished pagan festivities.[6]

At an early date the right to consecrate churches was reserved to bishops, as by a canon of the First Council of Bracara in 563, and by the 23rd of the Irish collections of canons, once attributed to St Patrick, but hardly to be put earlier than the 8th century.[7]

Medieval Western customs

The manuscripts and printed service-books of the medieval church contain a lengthy and elaborate service for the consecration of churches in the pontifical. The earliest known pontifical is that of Egbert, Archbishop of York (732-766), which, however, only survives in a 10th-century manuscript copy. Later pontificals are numerous and somewhat varied. A good idea of the general character of the service can be obtained from a skeleton of it as performed in England after the Reformation according to the use of Sarum. The service is taken from an early 15th-century pontifical in the Cambridge University Library as printed by W. Makell in Monumenta ritualia ecclesiae Anglicanae.[8]

There is a preliminary office for laying a foundation-stone. On the day of consecration the bishop is to vest in a tent outside the church, then proceed to the door of the church on the outside, a single deacon being inside the church. There he blesses holy water, twelve lighted candles being placed outside, and twelve inside the church. He then sprinkles the waIls all round outside and knocks at the door. He then sprinkles the walls all round outside a second time, then a third time, knocking at the door each time. He may then enter, all laity being excluded. The bishop then fixes a cross in the centre of the church, after which the litany is said, including a special clause for the consecration of the church and altar. Next the bishop inscribes the alphabet in Greek letters on one of the limbs of St Andrews cross from the left east corner to the right west corner on the pavement cindered for the purpose, and the alphabet in Latin on the other limb from the right east corner to the left west corner. He then genuflects before the altar or cross, blesses water, mingled with salt, ashes and wine, and sprinkles it on all the walls of the church inside three times, beginning at the altar. He next sprinkles the centre of the church lengthwise and crosswise on the pavement and goes round the outside of the church sprinkling it three times. Next, reentering the church and taking up a central position, he sprinkles holy water to the four points of the compass, and up towards the roof. Next he anoints the twelve internal and twelve external wall-crosses with chrism before walking around the church three times inside and out and censing it.

Then there follows the consecration of the altar. First, holy water is blessed and mixed with chrism. With the mixture the bishop makes a cross in the middle of the altar, then on the right and on the left, then on the four horns of the altar. The altar is then sprinkled seven times or three times with water not mixed with chrism and the altar table is washed, censed and wiped with a linen cloth. The centre of the altar is next anointed with the oil of the catechumens in the form of a cross. After the altar stone has been anointed with chrism, the whole altar is rubbed over with oil of the catechumens and with chrism. Incense is next blessed, and the altar censed, five grains of incense being placed crosswise in the centre and at the four corners On the grains, five slender candle crosses are placed and lit. Afterwards the altar is scraped and cleansed. The altar cloths and ornaments are sprinkled with holy water and placed on the altar, which is then to be censed.

All this is subsidiary to the celebration of mass, with which the whole service is concluded. The transcription and description of the various collects, psalms, anthems and benedictions which make up the order of dedication have been omitted.

The Sarum order of dedication described above is substantially identical with the Roman order. There is, however, one very important and significant piece of ritual, not found in the English church order, but always found in the Roman service, and not infrequently found in the earlier and later English uses, in connection with the presence and use of relics at the consecration of an altar. According to the Roman ritual, after the priest has sprinkled the walls of the church inside three times all round and then sprinkled the pavement from the altar to the porch, and sideways from wall to wall, and then to the four quarters of the compass, he prepares some cement at the altar. He then goes to the place where the relics are kept, and starts a solemn procession with the relics round the outside of the church. There a sermon is preached and two decrees of the council of Trent are read together with the founder's deed of gift or endowment. Then the bishop, anointing the door with chrism, enters the church with the relics and deposits them in the cavity or confession in the altar. Having been enclosed they are censed and covered in, and the cover is anointed. Then follows the censing and wiping of the altar as in the Sarum order.

This use of relics is very ancient and can be traced back to the time of St Ambrose. There was also a custom, now obsolete, of enclosing a portion of the consecrated Eucharist if relics were not obtainable. This was ordered by cap. 2 of the council of Celchyth (Chelsea) in 816. But though ancient the custom of enclosing relics was not universal, and where found in English church orders, as it frequently is found from the pontifical of Egbert onwards, it is called the Mos Romanus as distinguished from the Mos Anglicanus (Archaeologia, liv. 416). It is absent from the description of the early Irish form of consecration preserved in the Leabhar Breac, translated and annotated by Rev. T. Olden[9].

The curious ritual act, technically known as the abecedarium, i.e. the tracing of the alphabet, sometimes in Latin characters, sometimes in Latin and Greek, sometimes, according to Menard, in Latin, Greek and Hebrew, along the limbs of St Andrews cross on the floor of the church, can be traced back to the 8th century and may be even older. Its origin and meaning are unknown. One explanation was suggested by Rossi and adopted by the bishop of Salisbury. This interprets the St Andrew's cross as the initial Greek letter of Christus, and the whole act as significant of taking possession of the site to be consecrated in the name of Christ, who is the Alpha and Omega, the word of God, combining in himself all letters that lie between them, every element of human speech. The three languages may then have been suggested by the Latin, Greek and Hebrew, in which his title was written on the cross.

The disentangling the Gallican from the Roman elements in the early Western forms of service was undertaken by Louis Duchesne, who shows how the former partook of a funerary and the latter of a baptismal character[10].

Eastern Orthodox form

The dedication service of the Eastern Orthodox Church is likewise long and elaborate. At the beginning of construction, the bishop or his deputy blesses a cornerstone for the church. Relics may be placed inside the cornerstone, and it will be topped with a plate giving the name of the patron saint of the new church, the names of the saints whose relics were deposited in the cornerstone (if any), the name of the ruling bishop, and the date.

After all construction on the building is finished, preparations are made for the solemn consecration of the church. The relics which will be placed in the Holy Table (altar) and the antimension are to be prepared and guarded on the previous day in some neighboring church (if there is no neighboring church, the relics are placed on a small table in front of the icon of Christ on the iconostasion). The night before the consecration, an All-Night Vigil is celebrated; however, no one will enter the altar (sancturary) of the new church yet, and the Holy Doors remain closed.

On the morning of the consecration, everything needed for the consecration, the sacred vessels, and all of the appertenances of the sanctuary (altar cloths, candlesticks, etc.) are prepared on a table placed in front of the Holy Doors, together with a Gospel Book and blessing cross. The bishop (or his representative) and clergy vest and proceed to the church. The clergy carry the table into the sanctuary and literally construct the Holy Table: the mensa (table top) is placed on the four pillars and four nails are driven in with stones. A prayer of dedication is said, followed by an ektenia (litany). Warm water is poured thrice upon the Holy Table, and it is wiped down by the priests, and then washed with a mixture of rose water and red wine (signifying baptism). It is then anointed with chrism in the form of a cross (signifying chrismation). The altar, the Gospel Book, and the altar cloths are then censed, every pillar is crossed (anointed in the sign of the cross) with chrism, while various hymns and psalms are chanted. The sanctuary lamp is then filled with oil and lit, and placed on or above the altar, while clergy bring in other lamps and other ornaments of the church.

Then, the bishop and clergy go to the neighboring church where the relics have been kept and guarded. A procession is formed and advances thence with the relics, which are borne by a priest in a diskos (paten) on his head; the church having been entered, the relics are placed by him with much ceremonial in the confession (the recess prepared in or under the altar for their reception) which is then anointed and sealed up. After this the Divine Liturgy is celebrated both on the day of dedication and on seven days afterwards.

Anglican forms

There is no authorized form for the dedication of a church in the reformed Church of England. A form was drawn up and approved by both houses of the convocation of Canterbury under Archbishop Tenison in 1712, and an almost identical form was submitted to convocation in 1715, but its consideration was not completed by the Lower House, and neither form ever received royal sanction.

The consequence has been that Anglican bishops have fallen back on their undefined jus liturgicum, and have drawn up and promulgated forms for use in their various dioceses, some of them being content to borrow from other dioceses for this purpose. There is a general similarity, with a certain amount of difference in detail, in these various forms. In the Diocese of London the bishop, attended by clergy and churchwardens, receives at the west door, outside, a petition for consecration; the procession then moves round the whole church outside, while certain psalms are chanted. On again reaching the west door the bishop knocks thrice with his crozier, and the door being opened the procession advances to the east end of the church, where prayers are said and the first Eucharist celebrated.

References

  1. ^ Definition of "dedicating" from Merriam-Webster's dictionary. Retrieved 15 November 2008.
  2. ^ The biblical references are 1 Maccabees 1:41-64, 4:36-39; 2 Maccabees 6:1-11; John 10:22. See also 2 Maccabees 1:9, 18; 2:16; and Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews XII. v. 4.
  3. ^ Josephus, Antiqities of the Jews, XV. c. xi. 6.
  4. ^ Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History X. 3.
  5. ^ Walafrid Strabo, Vita S. Galli, cap. 6.
  6. ^ Sozomen, Ecclesiastical History II. cap. 26; Venerable Bede, Ecclesiastical History I. cap. 30.
  7. ^ Haddon and Stubbs, Councils, &c., vol. ii. pt. 2, p. 329.
  8. ^ W. Makell, and ed. Monumenta ritualia ecclesiae Anglicanae, Vol. I. pp. 195-239.
  9. ^ Transactions of the St Pauls Ecclesiolog. Soc. vol. iv. pt. ii. p. 98.
  10. ^ Christian Worship (London, 1904), cap. xii.

See also

External links


Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Quotes on the subject of Dedication

  • "A man can be as great as he wants to be. If you believe in yourself and have the courage, the determination, the dedication, the competitive drive and if you are willing to sacrifice the little things in life and pay the price for the things that are worthwhile, it can be done." ~ Vince Lombardi
  • "Confidence is the result of hours and days and weeks and years of constant work and dedication." ~ Roger Staubach
  • "Determine what specific goal you want to achieve. Then dedicate yourself to its attainment with unswerving singleness of purpose, the trenchant zeal of a crusader." ~ Paul J. Meyer
  • "In order to excel, you must be completely dedicated to your chosen sport. You must also be prepared to work hard and be willing to accept destructive criticism. Without 100% dedication, you won't be able to do this." ~ Wilson Mizner
  • "It's awesome to be surrounded by talented people and know you earnt it through hard work." Gwen Stefani
  • "Most of us serve our ideals by fits and starts. The person who makes a success of living is the one who sees his goal steadily and aims for it unswervingly. That is dedication." ~ Cecil B. de Mille
  • "No steam or gas drives anything until it is confined. No life ever grows great until it is focused, dedicated, disciplined." ~ Harry Emerson Fosdick, D.D.
  • "The concentration and dedication ~ the intangibles are the deciding factors between who won and who lost." ~ Tom Seaver
  • "The condition of an enlightened mind is a surrendered heart." ~ Alan Redpath
  • "The winning team has a dedication. It will have a core of veteran players who set the standards. They will not accept defeat." ~ Merlin Olsen
  • "True strength lies in submission which permits one to dedicate his life, through devotion, to something beyond himself." ~ Henry Miller
  • "We all have dreams. But in order to make dreams come into reality, it takes an awful lot of determination, dedication, self-discipline, and effort." ~ Jesse Owens
  • "What does it take to be a champion? Desire, dedication, determination, concentration and the will to win." ~ Patty Berg

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Source material

Up to date as of January 22, 2010

From Wikisource

Dedication
by Algernon Charles Swinburne
This poem is from the collection Astrophel and Other Poems, Book I of The Collected Poetical Works of Algernon Charles Swinburne, Vol. VI.


1893

     The sea of the years that endure not
       Whose tide shall endure till we die
     And know what the seasons assure not,
       If death be or life be a lie,
     Sways hither the spirit and thither,
       A waif in the swing of the sea
     Whose wrecks are of memories that wither
           As leaves of a tree.

     We hear not and hail not with greeting
       The sound of the wings of the years,
     The storm of the sound of them beating,
       That none till it pass from him hears:
     But tempest nor calm can imperil
       The treasures that fade not or fly;
     Change bids them not change and be sterile,
           Death bids them not die.

     Hearts plighted in youth to the royal
       High service of hope and of song,
     Sealed fast for endurance as loyal,
       And proved of the years as they throng,
     Conceive not, believe not, and fear not
       That age may be other than youth;
     That faith and that friendship may hear not
           And utter not truth.

     Not yesterday's light nor to-morrow's
       Gleams nearer or clearer than gleams,
     Though joys be forgotten and sorrows
       Forgotten as changes of dreams,
     The dawn of the days unforgotten
       That noon could eclipse not or slay,
     Whose fruits were as children begotten
           Of dawn upon day.

     The years that were flowerful and fruitless,
       The years that were fruitful and dark,
     The hopes that were radiant and rootless,
       The hopes that were winged for their mark,
     Lie soft in the sepulchres fashioned
       Of hours that arise and subside,
     Absorbed and subdued and impassioned,
           In pain or in pride.

     But far in the night that entombs them
       The starshine as sunshine is strong,
     And clear through the cloud that resumes them
       Remembrance, a light and a song,
     Rings lustrous as music and hovers
       As birds that impend on the sea,
     And thoughts that their prison-house covers
           Arise and are free.

     Forgetfulness deep as a prison
       Holds days that are dead for us fast
     Till the sepulchre sees rearisen
       The spirit whose reign is the past,
     Disentrammelled of darkness, and kindled
       With life that is mightier than death,
     When the life that obscured it has dwindled
           And passed as a breath.

     But time nor oblivion may darken
       Remembrance whose name will be joy
     While memory forgets not to hearken,
       While manhood forgets not the boy
     Who heard and exulted in hearing
       The songs of the sunrise of youth
     Ring radiant above him, unfearing
           And joyous as truth.

     Truth, winged and enkindled with rapture
       And sense of the radiance of yore,
     Fulfilled you with power to recapture
       What never might singer before--
     The life, the delight, and the sorrow
       Of troublous and chivalrous years
     That knew not of night or of morrow,
           Of hopes or of fears.

     But wider the wing and the vision
       That quicken the spirit have spread
     Since memory beheld with derision
       Man's hope to be more than his dead.
     From the mists and the snows and the thunders
       Your spirit has brought for us forth
     Light, music, and joy in the wonders
           And charms of the north.

     The wars and the woes and the glories
       That quicken and lighten and rain
     From the clouds of its chronicled stories,
       The passion, the pride, and the pain,
     Whose echoes were mute and the token
       Was lost of the spells that they spake,
     Rise bright at your bidding, unbroken
           Of ages that break.

     For you, and for none of us other,
       Time is not: the dead that must live
     Hold commune with you as a brother
       By grace of the life that you give.
     The heart that was in them is in you,
       Their soul in your spirit endures:
     The strength of their song is the sinew
           Of this that is yours.

     Hence is it that life, everlasting
       As light and as music, abides
     In the sound of the surge of it, casting
       Sound back to the surge of the tides,
     Till sons of the sons of the Norsemen
       Watch, hurtling to windward and lee,
     Round England, unbacked of her horsemen,
           The steeds of the sea.


1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

DEDICATION (Lat. dedicatio, from dedicare, to proclaim, to announce), properly the setting apart of anything by solemn proclamation. It is thus in Latin the term particularly applied to the consecration of altars, temples and other sacred buildings, and also to the inscription prefixed to a book, &c., and addressed to some particular person. This latter practice, which formerly had the purpose of gaining the patronage and support of the person so addressed, is now only a mark of affection or regard. In law, the word is used of the setting apart by a private owner of a road to public use. (See Highway.) The Feast of Dedication (mm; ra E-y?caivta) was a Jewish festival observed for eight days from the 25th of Kislev (i.e. about December 12) in commemoration of the reconsecration (165 B.C.) of the temple and especially of the altar of burnt offering, after they had been desecrated in the persecution under Antiochus Epiphanes (168 B.C.). The distinguishing features of the festival were the illumination of houses and synagogues, a custom probably taken over from the feast of tabernacles, and the recitation of Psalm xxx. The biblical references are 1 Macc. i. 41-64, iv. 36-39; 2 Macc. vi. 1-11; John X. 22. See also 2 Macc. i. 9, 18; ii. 16; and Josephus, Antiq. xii. v. 4. J. Wellhausen suggests that the feast was. originally connected with the winter solstice, and only afterwards with the events narrated in Maccabees.

Dedication of Churches

The custom of solemnly dedicating or consecrating buildings as churches or chapels set apart for Christian worship must be almost as old as Christianity itself. If we find no reference to it in the New Testament or in the very earliest apostolic or post-apostolic writings, it is merely due to the fact that Christian churches had not as yet begun to be built. Throughout the ante-Nicene period, until the reign of Constantine, Christian churches were few in number, and any public dedication of them would have been attended with danger in those days of heathen persecution. This is why we are ignorant as to what liturgical forms and what consecration ritual were employed in those primitive times. But when we come to the earlier part of the 4th century allusions to and descriptions of the consecration of churches become plentiful.

Like so much else in the worship and ritual of the Christian church this service is probably of Jewish origin. The hallowing of the tabernacle and of its furniture and ornaments (Exodus xl.); the dedication of Solomon's temple (1 Kings viii.) and of the second temple by Zerubbabel (Ezra vi.), and its rededication by Judas Maccabaeus (see above), and the dedication of the temple of Herod the Great (Josephus, Antiq. of the Jews, bk. xv. c. xi. § 6), and our Lord's recognition of the Feast of Dedication (St John xi. 22, 23) - all these point to the probability of the Christians deriving their custom from a Jewish origin, quite apart from the intrinsic appropriateness of such a custom in itself.

Eusebius (Hist. Eccles. lib. x. cap. 3) speaks of the dedication of churches rebuilt after the Diocletian persecution, including the church at Tyre in A.D. 314. The consecrations of the church of the Holy Sepulchre at Jerusalem in A.D. 335, which had been built by Constantine, and of other churches after his time, are described both by Eusebius and by other ecclesiastical historians. From them we gather that every consecration was accompanied by a celebration of the Holy Eucharist and a sermon, and special prayers of a dedicatory character, but there is no trace of the elaborate ritual, to be described presently, of the medieval pontificals dating from the 8th century onwards.

The separate consecration of altars is provided for by canon 14 of the council of Agde in 506, and by canon 26 of the council of Epaone in 517, the latter containing the first known reference to the usage of anointing the altar with chrism. The use of both holy water and of unction is attributed to St Columbanus, who died in 615 (Walafrid Strabo, Vita S. Galli, cap. 6).

There was an annual commemoration of the original dedication of the church, a feast with its octave extending over eight days, during which Gregory the Great encouraged the erection of booths and general feasting on the part of the populace, to compensate them for, and in some way to take the place of, abolished heathen festivities (Sozomen, Hist. Eccles. lib. ii. cap. 26; Bede, Hist. Eccles. lib. i. cap. 30).

At an early date the right to consecrate churches was reserved to bishops, as by canon 37 of the first council of Bracara in 563, and by the 23rd of the Irish collections of canons, once attributed to St Patrick, but hardly to be put earlier than the 8th century (Haddon and Stubbs, Councils, &c., vol. ii. pt. 2, p. 329).

When we come to examine the MS. and printed service-books of the medieval church, we find a lengthy and elaborate service provided for the consecration of churches. It is contained in the pontifical. The earliest pontifical which has come down to us is that of Egbert, archbishop of York (732-766), which, however, only survives in a loth-century MS. copy. Later pontificals are numerous; we cannot describe all their variations. A good idea, however, of the general character of the service will be obtained from a skeleton of it as performed in this country before the Reformation according to the use of Sarum. The service in question is taken from an early 15th-century pontifical in the Cambridge University Library as printed by W. Makell in Monumenta ritualia ecclesiae Anglicanae, 2nd ed., vol. i. pp. 195-239.

There is a preliminary office for laying a foundation-stone. On the day of consecration the bishop is to vest in a tent outside the church, thence to proceed to the door of the church on the outside, a single deacon being inside the church, and there to bless holy water, twelve lighted candles being placed outside, and twelve inside the church. He is then to sprinkle the walls all round outside, and to knock at the door; then to sprinkle the walls all round outside a second time and to knock at the door again; then to sprinkle the walls all round outside a third time, and a third time to knock at the door, by which he will then enter, all laity being excluded. The bishop is then to fix a cross in the centre of the church, after which the litany is said, including a special clause for the consecration of the church and altar. Next the bishop inscribes the alphabet in Greek letters on one of the limbs of St Andrew's cross from the left east corner to the right west corner on the pavement cindered for the purpose, and the alphabet in Latin on the other limb from the right east corner to the left west corner. Then he is to genuflect before the altar or cross. Then he blesses water, mingled with salt, ashes and wine, and sprinkles therewith all the walls of the church inside thrice, beginning at the altar; then he sprinkles the centre of the church longwise and crosswise on the pavement, and then goes round the outside of the church sprinkling it thrice. Next reentering the church and taking up a central position he sprinkles holy water to the four points of the compass, and toward the roof. Next he anoints with chrism the twelve internal and twelve external wall-crosses, afterwards perambulating the church thrice inside and outside, censing it.

Then there follows the consecration of the altar. First, holy water is blessed and mixed with chrism, and with the mixture the bishop makes a cross in the middle of the altar, then on the right and the left, then on the four horns of the altar. Then the altar is sprinkled seven times or three times with water not mixed with chrism, and the altar-table is washed therewith and censed and wiped with a linen cloth. The centre of the altar is next anointed with the oil of the catechumens in the form of a cross; and the altar-stone is next anointed with chrism; and then the whole altar is rubbed over with oil of the catechumens and with chrism. Incense is next blessed, and the altar censed, five grains of incense being placed crosswise in the centre and at the four corners, and upon the grains five slender candle crosses. which are to be lit. Afterwards the altar is scraped and cleansed; then the altar-cloths and ornaments having been sprinkled with holy water are placed upon the altar, which is then to be censed.

All this is subsidiary to the celebration of mass, with which the whole service is concluded. The transcription and description of the various collects, psalms, anthems, benedictions, &c., which make up the order of dedication have been omitted for the sake of brevity.

The Sarum order of dedication described above is substantially identical with the Roman order, but it would be superfluous to tabulate and describe the lesser variations of language or ritual. There is, however, one very important and significant piece of ritual, not found in the above-described English church order, but always found in the Roman service, and not infrequently found in the earlier and later English uses, in connexion with the presence and use of relics at the consecration of an altar. According to the Roman ritual, after the priest has sprinkled the walls of the church inside thrice all round and then sprinkled the pavement from the altar to the porch, and sideways from wall to wall, and then to the four quarters of the compass, he prepares some cement at the altar. He then goes to the place where the relics are kept, and starts a solemn procession with the relics round the outside of the church. There a sermon is preached, and two decrees of the council of Trent are read, and the founder's deed of gift or endowment. Then the bishop, anointing the door with chrism, enters the church with the relics and deposits them in the cavity or confession in the altar. Having been enclosed they are censed and covered in, and the cover is anointed. Then follows the censing and wiping of the altar as in the Sarum order.

This use of relics is very ancient and can be traced back to the time of St Ambrose. There was also a custom, now obsolete, of enclosing a portion of the consecrated Eucharist if relics were not obtainable. This was ordered by cap. 2 of the council of Celchyth (Chelsea) in 816. But though ancient the custom of enclosin&? relics was not universal, and where found in English churcif orders, as it frequently is found from the pontifical of Egbert onwards, it is called the "Mos Romanus" as distinguished from the "Mos Anglicanus" (Archaeologia, liv. 416). It is absent from the description of the early Irish form of consecration preserved in the Leabhar Breac, translated and annotated by Rev. T. Olden in the Transactions of the St Paul's Ecclesiolog. Soc. vol. iv. pt. ii. p. 98.

The curious ritual act, technically known as the abecedarium, i.e. the tracing of the alphabet, sometimes in Latin characters, sometimes in Latin and Greek, sometimes, according to Menard, in Latin, Greek and Hebrew, along the limbs of St Andrew's cross on the floor of the church, can be traced back to the 8th century and may be earlier. Its origin and meaning are unknown. Of all explanations we like best the recent one suggested by Rossi and adopted by the bishop of Salisbury. This interprets the St Andrew's cross as the initial Greek letter of Christus, and the whole act as significant of taking possession of the site to be consecrated in the name of Christ, who is the Alpha and Omega, the word of God, combining in himself all letters that lie between them, every element of human speech. The three languages may then have been suggested by the Latin, Greek and Hebrew, in which his title was written on the cross.

The disentangling the Gallican from the Roman elements in the early Western forms of service is a delicate and difficult task, undertaken by Monsignor Louis Duchesne, who shows how the former partook of a funerary and the latter of a baptismal character (Christian Worship (London, 1904), cap. xii.).

The dedication service of the Greek Church is likewise long and elaborate. Relics are to be prepared and guarded on the day previous in some neighbouring sacred building. On the morning following, all ornaments and requisites having been got ready, the laity being excluded, the bishop and clergy vested proceed to fix in its place and consecrate the altar, a long prayer of dedication being said, followed by a litany. The altar is then sprinkled with warm water, then with wine, then anointed with chrism in the form of a cross. The altar, the book of the gospels, and all cloths are then censed, every pillar is crossed with chrism, while various collects are said and psalms recited. One lamp is then filled with oil and lit, and placed on the altar, while clergy bring in other lamps and other ornaments of the church. On the next day - if the service cannot be concluded in one day - the bishop and clergy go to the building where the relics have been kept and guarded. A procession is formed and advances thence with the relics, which are borne by a priest in a holy vessel (discus) on his head; the church having been entered, the relics are placed by him with much ceremonial in the "confession," the recess prepared in or about the altar for their reception, which is then anointed and sealed up. After this the liturgy is celebrated both on the feast of dedication and on seven days afterwards.

There is no authorized form for the dedication of a church in the reformed Church of England. A form was drawn up and approved by both houses of the convocation of Canterbury under Archbishop Tenison in 1712, and an almost identical form was submitted to convocation in 1715, but its consideration was not completed by the Lower House, and neither form ever received royal sanction. The consequence has been that Anglican bishops have fallen back on their undefined jus liturgicum, and have drawn up and promulgated forms for use in their various dioceses, some of them being content to borrow from other dioceses for this purpose. There is a general similarity, with a certain amount of difference in detail, in these various forms. In the diocese of London the bishop, attended by clergy and churchwardens, receives at the west door, outside, a petition for consecration; the procession then moves round the whole church outside, while certain psalms are chanted. On again reaching the west door the bishop knocks thrice for admission, and the door being opened the procession advances to the east end of the church.

He there lays the keys on the table "which is to be hallowed." The Veni Creator is then sung kneeling, followed by the litany with special suffrages. The bishop then proceeds to various parts of the church and blesses the font, the chancel, with special references to confirmation and holy matrimony, the lectern, the pulpit, the clergy stalls, the choir seats, the holy table. The deed of consecration is then read and signed, and the celebration of Holy Communion follows with special collects, epistle and gospel.

The Church of Ireland and the episcopal Church of Scotland are likewise without any completely authorized form of dedication, and their archbishops or bishops have at various times issued forms of service on their own authority. (F. E. W.)


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A term which, though sometimes used of persons who are consecrated to God's service, is more properly applied to the "setting aside" of places for a special and sacred purpose (cf. Hastings, Dict. of the Bible). The Christian, indeed, believes that God is everywhere and that the Divine Immensity fills all space; but this faith does not exclude the idea of reserving a special spot in which the creature may hold communion with his Creator and worship Him. That the setting aside of this hallowed place was ever done with a certain show and ceremony is evident from the examples of Jacob (Gen., xxviii, 18), of Moses (Lev., viii, 10), and above all, of Solomon (III Kings, viii). This precedent of the Old Law was too obvious to be overlooked in the New, and we may be sure that the modern custom was consecrated by Apostolic usage. In a fragment of a martyrology ascribed to St. Jerome (cf. D'Achéry, Spicilegium IV) this passage occurs: "Romæ dedicatio primæ Ecclesiæ a beato Petro constructæ et consecratæ". It is not strange, however, that owing to the persecutions of the first three centuries, references to the dedication of churches are extremely rare. The first authentic accounts of this kind are furnished by Eusebius (Hist. Eccl., X, iii, iv; De Vitâ Const., IV, xliii, in P. G., XX), and Sozomen (Hist. Eccl., II, xxvi in P. G., XLVII) in regard to the cathedral of Tyre (314) and Constantine's church at Jerusalem. The well-known historical document entitled "Peregrinatio Silviæ" (Etheria) has a full description of the celebration of the dedicatory festival of the church of Jerusalem as it was witnessed by our pilgrim-authoress in the fourth century (cf. Cabrol, Livre de la prière antique, p. 311). Here it will suffice to emphasize, in connexion with the dedication of churches, (1) the ritual employed, (2) the minister, (3) necessity and effects, and (4) festival and its days.

(1) In the beginning the dedication ceremony was very simple. A letter of Pope Vigilius to the Bishop of Bracara (538) states: "Consecrationem cujuslibet ecclesiæ, in quâ non ponuntur sanctuaria (reliquiæ) celebritatem tantum scimus esse missarum" (We know that the consecration of any church in which shrines (relics) are not placed consists merely in the celebrations of Masses). That the primitive ceremonial consisted mainly in the celebration of Mass, where there were no relics, is also shown from the old "Ordines Romani" (cf. Mabillon, "Museum Italicum", II in P. L. LXXVIII, 857). Where relics were used the ceremony of translating and depositiing them under the altar formed a notable feature of the dedication rite (cf. "Ordo of St. Amand" in Duchesne, "Christian Worship", London, 1903, Appendix; "Ordo of Verona" in Bianchini, ed., "Lib. Pont.", III). The first complete formulary is found in the Gelasian Sacramentary (in P. L., LXXIV), which embodies the Roman liturgical usages of the seventh century. Here the rite consists of prayers, sprinklings with holy water, and blessings. So quickly, however, was this ritual elaborated that in the ninth century it attained the completeness which it enjoys at the present time (cf. the eighth- century "Liber Sacramentorum" in P. L., LXXVIII; "Ordines Romani", ed. Martène, "De Ant. Eccl. Rit.", III; Daniel, "Cod. Lit.", I). The modern dedicatory ceremonial assumes two forms according as a church is simply blessed or solemnly consecrated. In the former case the function consists of prayers, sprinklings of holy water, and Mass (cf. Roman Ritual; Schulte, "Benedicenda", p. 155, etc.). The solemn rite of consecration is described in the article CONSECRATION.

(2) The solemn ceremony of dedication, or consecration is found in the Roman Pontifical and is performed de jure by a bishop (see CONSECRATION). The simpler rite, which is given in the Roman Ritual, is generally reserved to bishops, but may be also undertaken by a priest with episcopal delegation.

(3) All churches, public oratories and semi-public, if destined for Divine worship in perpetuum, must be at least blessed before the Sacred Mysteries can be regularly celebrated in them (Cong. of Rites, Sept., 1871). Purely private or domestic oratories may not be thus dedicated, but simply blessed with the Benedictio loci (cf. Roman Ritual or Missal) on each occasion Mass is said in them. As a rule the principal churches in every district should be consecrated in the solemn manner, but as certain conditions are required for licit consecration that are not always feasible (cf. Irish Ecclesiastical Record, April, 1908, p. 430) the ordinary simple dedication rite is regarded as practically adequate. Both forms render the place sacred, and contribute, as sacramentals, to the sanctification of the faithful, but they differ in this that while a church that is consecrated must, if polluted, be reconciled by a bishop, a church that is simply blessed may be reconciled in similar circumstances by a priest (cf. Roman Ritual).

(4) Another difference in the effects of the two forms of dedication is that a consecrated church is entitled to celebrate each year the anniversary feast of its consecration, which is to be held as a double of the first class with an octave, by all the priests attached to the church. A church that is only blessed has no right to this anniversary feast unless per accidens, that is, when it is included in the special indult granted for the simultaneous celebration of the anniversaries of all the churches in a district or diocese. In this case the Office and Mass must be celebrated in every church, within the limits of the indult independently of their consecration (Cong. of Rites, n. 3863). Though any day may be selected for the dedication of a church, yet the Roman Pontifical suggests those "Sundays and solemn festive days" which admit the dedicatory Office and Mass, as well as the anniversary celebration.

Portions of this entry are taken from The Catholic Encyclopedia, 1907.
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Simple English

Dedication can mean: the act of consecrating (making holy) a religious building such as a temple or church.

Dedication can also mean the writing at the beginning of a book or piece of music in which the author or composer says that it was written for a particular person. For example: a composer may write a piece of music for a particular musician and dedicate it to them. An author may dedicate a book to someone they love or respect. A book or a piece of music may be dedicated to the person who has paid them to write it. This may be a rich person such as king.

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