Religion – Holyart.com Blog http://192.168.99.122/com Holyblog Fri, 08 Jun 2018 15:56:30 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.4.14 http://192.168.99.122/com/wp-content/uploads/sites/10/2018/02/cropped-cropped-Holyart-Logo-32x32-32x32.png Religion – Holyart.com Blog http://192.168.99.122/com 32 32 The different uses of incense http://192.168.99.122/com/religious-items/different-uses-incense/ Thu, 03 May 2018 15:55:39 +0000 http://192.168.99.122/com/?p=613 Incense has always been linked to the idea of ​​the sacred, and the divine. Since the earliest times, its use has been attested in ancient civilizations, almost always for religious purposes. Their intense and aromatic scent was considered to be appreciated by the Gods, as it […]

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Incense has always been linked to the idea of ​​the sacred, and the divine. Since the earliest times, its use has been attested in ancient civilizations, almost always for religious purposes. Their intense and aromatic scent was considered to be appreciated by the Gods, as it was by men, and the custom of burning the bark and wood of particularly scented plants has always been widespread.

Incense was burnt during religious celebrations, as well as in houses, to purify them and keep away evil spirits. Its aromatic vapours created a communication channel with the divine, and with the kingdom of the dead.

olibano incenses
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Incenses display box 36 pcs – various fragrances

In addition to religious uses, incense was recognised very early on, particularly in Arab countries, as a precious and useful ingredient in the treatment of many diseases and discomforts.

Even in a Christian context, incense was immediately given enormous consideration. Just think – it appears among the gifts that the Magi brought to Jesus (in reality it appears twice, because Myrrh is nothing but another kind of incense). The Jews used it for fumigation, a practice that allowed them to approach God by burning incense and inhaling the fumes, and so Christians continued to use incense in the Churches, burning it during the ceremonies and sprinkling it onto the faithful, but also to disinfect rooms and purify the air.

It is worth discovering more about this ancient product, which is full of hidden virtues.

Where does incense come from?

The term “incense” generically refers to oleoresins produced by various plants from the Burseraceae family, originating mainly from the Arabian Peninsula and the Horn of Africa, an area located at the edge of the desert, composed mainly of earth and stones, which takes name of the “incense belt”.

In particular, the Boswellia sacra, from which it is obtained, produces the incense oliban, and Commyphora, from which the incense myrrh is produced. The bark of these plants is cut, and the resin that comes out from it is collected. Some plants secrete the resin directly, without needing to be cut. In both cases, the resin is then crystallized: this normally takes a month to harden sufficiently. The collection of resin can be carried out up to 12 times a year, which ensures a constant production to the men who dedicate themselves to it, in arid and rocky areas from which it is difficult to obtain other forms of sustenance. In fact, these plants are capable of growing, even in very barren and less fertile areas, and their leaves offer shade and nourishment to humans and animals. Indeed, too much water would be fatal for the plants that produce incense.

The incense road

The collection and trade in incense has spread since ancient times. All of the civilizations of the Mediterranean basin, as well as those of Asia Minor, and many more to the East, used it, and the demand was such as to give rise to a dense network for commercial traffic. The “Via dell’Incenso“, which has existed since Roman times, connected the Arabian Peninsula with the Mediterranean. The caravans that ran through it carried goods that came from India and the Far East across the sea. In addition to fabrics, precious metals, precious stones, rice, sugar and cereals, and countless other products, merchants brought incense, spices like pepper, nutmeg, cloves and cinnamon, and fragrant essences like sandalwood, musk and camphor. The latter often served as ingredients for pharmacopoeia and were also used in cosmetics.

The Assyrians, Egyptians, Chinese and Indians used incense for both medicinal and devotional purposes. In Egypt it was the basis for a particular type of Kajal, which was used not only to adorn the eyes, but to protect them from infections.

Immersing yourself in the smoke of incense helped combat joint pains and rheumatism, with a powerful anti-inflammatory action.

In India, Guggul incense was used as a remedy in Ayurvedic medicine, to promote sleep and to allay anxiety and nervousness. Also in the context of Ayurveda, incense was used to prepare ointments for sores and skin rashes. It was also burnt as an accompaniment for yoga and meditation.

Traditional Chinese medicine used the technique of fumigation with incense.

Wherever it was used, it was believed that incense purified the internal environment and at the same time kept diseases and evil spirits away. It helped concentration and meditation, allowing one to come into contact with one’s inner self and with the Divine.

How incense is used

How can we use incense in our homes? There are many types of incense on the market, in various forms, and it is not easy to navigate round them. Above all, we must ensure that the incense we buy is pure, and not cut with sand or chemical additives, which distort its quality.

The oldest and most original form used is resin beads.

The incense is burnt on charcoal, which can be lit directly with a lighter or a candle and then placed on a saucer with sand in it, or on a plate incenser. There are also terracotta incense burners, which are used to burn incense charcoals over which beads of incense are then poured. But a simple saucepan or a metal plate filled with sand is also good as a base for burning charcoals. The charcoals last about 40 min. and can be re-ignited.

Alternatively you can use a ‘bruciaresine’, a kind of tripod under which a candle is placed to heat crystals placed in the dish, turning them into aromatic smoke, in a similar way to diffusers for essential oils. Just a few grains of incense are needed at a time, to achieve a pleasant and effective diffusion.

Various types of incense

Besides olibano, or Franchincenso incence obtained from Boswellia sacra, there are different varieties of incense, that have been used in different eras according to their characteristics and properties.

gedda frankincense myrrh
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Incense with Myrrh Fragrance

Let’s take a look at just a few:

Myrrh incensex

Even the Myrrh plant grows in the desert. Its name is Mirra Commyphora. Brought as a gift from the Magi to baby Jesus, the incense of Myrrh has always been traded like oliban incense. According to the Egyptians, it proscribed insanity, calmed the spirit and relaxed the nervous. In general, it is considered to be rich in a beneficial and useful energy to combat fatigue and mental confusion.

Benzoin incense

Originally from the Far East, and especially from Indochina, Benzoin incense is the resin extracted from the Benzoe Siam tree. Too intense and irritating on its own, it is usually mixed with cinnamon and sandalwood for a calming effect, or with incense and cedar to elevate the mind and access other spiritual planes.  Shakti, a blend obtained from benzoin, has stimulating properties on creativity, love and sensuality

Cedar wood incense

Originally from Mesopotamia, cedar was considered to be the tree of revelations and was associated with the tree of Eden. The fumes of cedar incense brought supernatural suggestions, inner strength and self-esteem, as well as purifying the environment of negative energies.

Ladan incense 

Obtained from the Cistus reticus, a resinous shrub, the incense of Ladan originated in the Mediterranean basin, particularly from Crete. It strengthens sensitivity and self-perception, amplifies memories and nurtures the imagination. In general, it helps us to find inner stability and solidity.

Storace incense

A native bush of Mesopotamia that secretes a liquid balsam, Storace was considered to be perfume of feasts, because it infused energy, vigour and sensuality. The aroma of Storace incense is like amber, and is nowadays sold in the form of a “gum”.

Sandalwood incense

This is the wood of the Santalum album tree, originally from eastern India. When burnt, the incense of Sandalwood strengthens vital energies, combats stress and neurosis and is effective against headaches.

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Church devotions for every month of the year http://192.168.99.122/com/religious-items/church-devotions-for-every-month-of-the-year/ Tue, 01 May 2018 15:47:58 +0000 http://192.168.99.122/com/?p=604 At the time of the ancient Roman civilization in situations of extreme gravity, a commander could decide to sacrifice his life to ensure the victory of his own troops and the salvation of his men. To do so, he pronounced a vow to the gods […]

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At the time of the ancient Roman civilization in situations of extreme gravity, a commander could decide to sacrifice his life to ensure the victory of his own troops and the salvation of his men. To do so, he pronounced a vow to the gods of the underworld, with which he pledged to offer himself to them, and the enemy army. This act had the name of devotion, from the Latin deuouere, meaning “to make a vow”.

Devotion can therefore be summarised in an act of love and trust pronounced by man towards God.

In a Christian context, it is not necessarily an extreme sacrifice, with which the faithful offers his own life, but a religious practice addressed to God, to Our Lady, to a Saint, composed of spiritual love and fervent prayer. Indeed, devotion becomes a form of prayer that is optional, compared to the official Liturgy and that of the Hours, but which has spread over time in various forms, giving rise to celebrations and moments of prayer that have now entered the life of every Christian. RosaryLet’s think about the recitation of the Rosary, the Way of the Cross, at the Angelus, but also about processions, pathways of prayer and spiritual meditation, such as the Sacred Mountains, devotional walks through sacred scenarios that offered to the fifteenth-century pilgrims a less expensive and more viable alternative to pilgrimage to the Holy Land.

Devotional practices are a way in which the Church celebrates every day of the year with solemnity and fervour, turning her attention and her love to one saint, then to another, then to a particular characteristic of Mary or of Jesus. Although in some cases devotional practices have, over time, assumed a folkish dimension, it would be profoundly wrong to limit the importance of this phenomenon to picturesque festivals and popular processions alone. On the contrary, the popular feasts dedicated to the Saints, to Jesus and to Our Lady, as well as the main festivities such as Christmas and Easter, risk making us forget the true devotional and ascetic spirit from which they were born, which has been overwhelmed by consumerism and a culture that depletes these occasions of their solemnity. Instead, they are celebrations closely linked to the history and social development of the communities in which they developed, and were created to enrich the spiritual life of those who celebrate them, to make every day of every month, special and pleasing to God.

Let’s look at a few of them, sub-divided by the months in which they are celebrated.

January

The month of January is dedicated to the baby Jesus and in particular to the Most Holy Name of Jesus. Eight days after Christmas, the devotion of the Most Holy Name of Jesus is honoured, to celebrate the day when St. Joseph made circumcised him and gave him the name. This devotional cult has been celebrated since the origins of the Church. In fact it seems Saints Peter and Paul contributed to its spread, and later, in the Middle Ages, Saint Francis of Assisi was a proponent. San Bernardino and his confreres made it a liturgical feast. The devotion of the Most Holy Name of Jesus is focused on the power of the name of Jesus, as a defence and ornamentation for the faithful, a protection against evil and a precious talisman against demons, diseases and infirmities. Jesus revealed to Sister Saint-Pierre, the Carmelite of Tour, the Apostle of Reparation, the devotion to the Holy Name of Jesus of Jesus, which is recited on this occasion as a way of offering her unconditional love to Jesus:

Always to be praised, blessed, loved, adored and glorified, the Most Holy, the Most Sacred, the most adored – yet incomprehensible – Name of God

In heaven, on earth or in the underworld, from all the creatures that come out of the hands of God.

For the Sacred Heart of our Lord Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament of the altar.

Amen

February

The month of February is dedicated to the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Most Holy Trinity. The Holy Spirit is God, and at the same time, the gift of love that God gives to his devoted children. It descends on believers like a burning flame and makes their words winged, so that they can reach the Father. February   devotions also include those to the Holy Family, the family par excellence, the one composed of Jesus, Joseph and Mary. The prayers and litanies are all dedicated to this perfect example of Love and Faith, to which everyone should look to live in serenity and fullness. The devotions to the Holy Family express the will to do what pleases Jesus, Mary and Joseph and to avoid what could displease them.

March

The month of March is dedicated to devotion to Saint Joseph, which is celebrated on March 19th. St. Joseph is an example of a good and loving father par excellence, of a faithful and caring husband, but also of humble servant of the Divine Will, as he accepted his role as the husband of Mary and putative father of Jesus without questioning the design of God. St. Joseph is greatly honoured by the Catholic Church and enjoys a role of great importance in many prayers of the Roman rites.

He is also the protagonist of many devotional practices, such as the “practice of the Seven Sorrows and Joys of St. Joseph”, as well as many Litanies, such as the Cingolo or Cordone di San Giuseppe, the Coroncina di San Giuseppe, the Scapular of San Giuseppe, Sacred Mantle, the Perpetual Novena, the Perpetual Crown, the Perpetual Court. We turn to him to ask for graces and intercessions.

April

April devotions are addressed to the Eucharist, to the Divine Holy Spirit and to Divine Mercy. The Eucharist symbolises the sacrifice of Jesus, which is renewed at every Mass, and His being descending on those He loved to protect them and guide them after His death. The Eucharist contains in itself all the love of Jesus, in all its forms: crucified, unitive, adoring, contemplative, praying, intoxicating. To reserve time and attention to this devotion leads to the attainment of many graces and a sense of closeness to the priceless love of God. Jesus dictated the Chaplet of Divine Mercy to Saint Faustina Kowalska in 1935, promising that whoever recites this prayer would have the certainty of dying in peace and grace, and of letting those who   have listened to them die peacefully. This devotion guarantees forgiveness even to the most hardened and recidivist sinners, showing the immensity of Jesus’ mercy.

May

The month is dedicated to Mary, the Mother of Jesus, who is blessed among women and mothers. Mary is a symbol and a role model for all women, of sacrifice, of humility and immense love. Wherever you go you will find statues of the Madonna in all her grace. In May, Mary is the protagonist of many festivals: on May 13th, Our Lady of Fatima, May 31st, Visitation, Mother’s Day. With devotion to Mary we turn to her as an intermediary between man and God, a sweet and loving spokesman for the troubles of humanity, a receptacle of dreams, desires, hopes. In this, Mary is the only one able to bring together those who have been lost to God, accepting prayers and repentance and raising it to heaven with the power of his love.

June

The Great Promise made by Jesus in Santa Margherita Maria Alacoque in 1620 started the devotion from the Sacred Heart of Jesus, which sees June as its reference month. Jesus said to the Saint:

My divine Heart is so passionate about love for men, that since it can no longer contain the flames of its burning charity  …I have chosen you to fulfill this great design.

The devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus is therefore addressed to the merciful Jesus, reaching out to men, ready to forgive their sins, their weaknesses. Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus protects from evil and purifies the heart of every sinner. Litanies and prayers celebrate this devotion, besides observing the three rules imposed by Jesus on the Saint with the Great Promise:

  1. Coming to Communion in the grace of God: If one is in mortal sin, confession is necessary.
  2. Devotion must be continued for nine consecutive months. For those who omit even one communion, must start all over again.
  3. Pious practice can start on the first Friday of any month.

The Sacred Heart of Jesus guarantees that none of those who have done the Nine First Good Friday will die in mortal sin.

July

Month dedicated to Precious Blood of Our Lord, the true salvation of the world, symbol of the sacrifice made by Jesus to cleanse humanity of all sins. The first Sunday of the month is consecrated to the Most Precious Blood of Our Lord, which should be honoured by showing repentance, temperance, moderation in passions, to prove worthy of the sacrifice of Jesus and the immense saving power of his Blood. This festival, is in some ways the crowning of the month of the Holy Heart that has just ended (June), as established by Pope Pius IX.

August

The month of August is dedicated to God the Father, to which a feast is dedicated during the liturgical year.

It was through mother Eugenia Elisabetta Ravasio (1907-1990) that the Father asked for a feast to be established in his honour. In this month, we should turn to God the Father, renewing his Will to entrust ourselves completely to him, consecrating ourselves to his will and invoking grace for ourselves and those we love.

September

September is the month dedicated to angels, the messengers between God and men, custodians and guides of our every step, in day dreams. We turn to them, invoking their protection and help, because they watch over us and give us the strength to believe and love God with all the strength we are capable of.

Octoberstatues of Mary

The month of October is dedicated to the Holy Rosary. The recitation of the Rosary has always been connected to the promise of obtaining a plenary or partial indulgence. Reciting the Rosary allows us to obtain graces and consolations through the intercession of the Virgin Mary. The name rosary derives from “crown of roses”. The rose is the symbolic flower of Mary. In fact, in the Middle Ages statues of Mary were decorated with rose crowns as a sign of love and devotion. The crown of the Rosary was born from these crowns, and used to pray and meditate. It was the Cistercians in the thirteenth century who contributed the devotion to the Virgin with the prayers to be recited using the Rosary. In 1571, on the occasion of the battle of Lepanto, Pope Pius V invited all Christians to pray with the Rosary to invoke the victory of Christians against the Ottomans. The victory of the Madonna della Vittoria festival originated in this victory, and later came the feast of the Madonna del Rosario (October 7th).

Other devotees and blessed, like Alano della Rupe, St. Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort and Blessed Bartolo Longo gave vigour to devotion, just as, more recently, the apparitions of Mary at Lourdes and to Fatima did.

The Holy Rosary is the most effective prayer against Satan.

November

November is the month dedicated to Souls of the Dead, and their memory. The devotion manifests itself through actions of suffrage for deceased loved ones, but also for the dead in general, and with a profound meditation on the transient nature of human life, and on its frailty before God. The prayers recited in the context of this devotion not only allow access to plenary indulgences, but also contribute towards purifying the souls of the dead, and saving them from Purgatory.

December

The month of December is naturally focused on preparations for Christmas, which celebrates the birth of Jesus, but also the Immaculate Conception of Mary, born without sin, pure and unique among women. For Christians the week of Advent represents a period of greater spiritual meditation, in view of the renewal of the birth of the Saviour, and offers numerous occasions for common prayer with the family and other faithful.

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The Egg as a symbol of Easter http://192.168.99.122/com/religious-items/egg-symbol-easter/ Thu, 26 Apr 2018 15:40:11 +0000 http://192.168.99.122/com/?p=595 Whenever we think of Easter, apart from the religious significance of this festival for Christians, the first thought that probably comes to mind is chocolate eggs, which we give away as gifts for the occasion. The Easter egg is a form gluttony covered with coloured, shiny […]

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Whenever we think of Easter, apart from the religious significance of this festival for Christians, the first thought that probably comes to mind is chocolate eggs, which we give away as gifts for the occasion. The Easter egg is a form gluttony covered with coloured, shiny paper, decorated with ribbons and often accompanied by gifts and surprises inside or applied externally, to bring a smile to both young and old. A festive tradition, it only appears to be commercialised, because in fact an Easter cake par excellence also egg-shaped and it’s certainly not just a coincidence.

In fact, the symbolism of eggs is one of the oldest there is, and has unified countless cultures and religions since the dawn of time. As often happens, Christianity has done

russian egg madonna
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Russian Egg Madonna of the streets Faberge Style

nothing more but take this symbol, strip it of all the pagan declensions and re-offer it in a Christian way. For Christians, the egg becomes a symbol of Christ rising from the dead, coming out of the sepulchre, rolling away the stone, which was in the shape of an egg, in fact. Furthermore the egg, apparently inert and inanimate, holds a new life inside it. This dual symbolism, of the stone of the tomb of Jesus and of the hidden life ready to hatch, make the egg a symbol of the Resurrection, of the Life and Salvation represented by Christ, and the hope of everyman. It is no coincidence then, that the egg was taken over by many artists as the protagonist of their works; first of all the famous ones, hand painted Russian eggs, small masterpieces depicting different religious subjects. Painted Russian eggs depicting the Madonna or Russian eggs depicting the Holy Family or many other Christian symbols.

We started with the meaning of the egg in Christianity, but it is certainly of interest to go back in history a little, and discover what this particular and unique object represented in antiquity, how it evolved over time and through cultural traditions, and ended up coming to us.

The egg as a symbol of life

The egg-life association is, of course, immediate, and must also have been so for our predecessors.

The symbolism of the egg has very ancient origins. Many civilizations identified it as the very origin of the world. The cosmic egg, or egg of the world, was considered by the ancients as a vital and energetic nucleus that floated in nothingness, in the primordial chaos. By closing itself it would generate the cosmos as we know it.

This interpretation occurs in many civilizations, from the Sumerian and Assyrian Babylonians, to the Egyptians, to the Greeks, to the Hindus, then assuming particular characteristics and differentiated in different cultures.

For the Egyptians, the two parts of the egg shell born from the beak of the big Knef duck, breaking away, gave rise to heaven and earth. Also according to Egyptian religion, the symbolism of the egg as an emblem of life goes back to the myth of the Phoenix, which cyclically dies, and then rises from its ashes that give rise to an egg fed by the Sun and the Air. Again, the Egyptians placed the egg at the centre of the four elements: earth, air, fire and water.

In Greek mythology the egg represented the creation, played by Castor and Pollux, the children conceived by Leda and Zeus, the latter in the form of a swan, and born from an egg. Also for the Greeks Eros, the god of love was born from a silver egg laid by Night and fertilized by the North wind. An even older myth, dating back to the pre-Hellenic people of Greece, tells a version of a similar story, in which the goddess Eurinome, fertilized by the snake Ofione, deposited the universal egg into the whirling womb of chaos.

According to the Celts, an egg called Glain was the origin of the cosmos. In northern Europe there was a custom of rolling eggs from the top of a hill to Beltane, to imitate the movement of the sun in the sky.

For the Hindus too, the two parts of the shell of the cosmic egg, one of gold, the other of silver, gave rise to the heaven and earth. The same egg was Brahma, the emanation /creation of the material universe, enclosed in the golden heart of the Egg of the World and in this form slept long in the darkness, before exploding in a golden and burning light, which generated life, in a sort of predecessor of the Big Bang.

The Egg of the World also appears in the Chinese Taoist religion, where Pangu, the creator of the world, was born from the cosmic egg, in which Chaos coagulated, and which contained within it the primordial principles Yin and Yang. These two principles, stabilised until they reached a perfect equilibrium, gave rise to Pangu, who later, with his axe split the Cosmic Egg in two, creating the Earth (Yin) and the Sky (Yang) and placed himself between them to keep them separated, with the help of a turtle, Qilin (a kind of Chimera  of the Phoenix and a dragon).

The egg as the origin of the world, therefore, is a symbol of eternal life, which is renewed cyclically, and regenerates itself, throughout time and the seasons. The Greeks, the Chinese, the Egyptians and the Persians exchanged eggs, sometimes decorated and coloured, as a gift for spring festivals, like the spring equinox, to greet the beginning of the new season.

The egg is also a symbol associated with the Female, in all the cults of the Mother Goddess, since it is the role of women to generate the egg, and with it, life.

The egg also featured in Orfism, in Mithraism and in the Dionysian mysteries, always as a symbol of life and creation, and in Alchemy too, where the Philosopher’s Egg can be interpreted as the Egg of the world.

Giving eggs at Easter

We’ve already seen how the custom of giving eggs was widespread in antiquity, especially in conjunction with the arrival of spring, as a symbol of the ‘rebirth’ of nature.

Like the Egyptians before them, Christians also decorated hen’s eggs with crosses or other symbols, and painted them red to recall the blood of Christ. This tradition may have had a considerable boost from the ban, during Lent, of eating eggs. This meant many hen’s eggs were laid that were not eaten. So as not to waste them entirely, Christians may have begun to boil and decorate them. Over time, the tradition of bringing these eggs to church to bless them began. In the Middle Ages, especially in Germany, it was customary to give away simple or decorated eggs for Easter.

Throughout the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries they continued to give children coloured and decorated eggs and hen, or egg-shaped toys, while it was only at the beginning of the nineteenth century that chocolate eggs made their appearance. The first empty chocolate egg that contained a surprise was produced by the English company Cadbury in 1875. Previously, full chocolate eggs had already been manufactured in France and Germany. The first ones would have been made in the times of King Louis XIV, the Sun King. It was the Dutch chemist and master chocolate maker Coenraad Johannes van Houten who discovered, in the early nineteenth century, how to treat cocoa beans with alkaline salts to make them sweet and easier to dissolve in water, and how to extract the butter from them. Subsequently, other discoveries led to the extraction of pure chocolate powder that could easily be modelled and used in moulds. In 1819, François Louis Cailler created the first Swiss factory where chocolate was made into a mouldable dough thanks to a particular machine. Other sources however state that there were already prototypes for making empty chocolate eggs containing small surprises in Turin in the eighteenth century.

russian egg madonna faberge style
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Russian Egg Madonna del Prato Faberge Style

Also at the end of the nineteenth century the fashion for making eggs of gold, silver and platinum, covered with precious stones began to spread. In reality, this custom was already widespread in the Middle Ages, and was only taken up at the end of the nineteenth century. The first person to commission an egg similar to those of the famous jeweller Carl Faberge was the Tsar Alexander III Romanov, as a gift for his wife Marija. Fabergé created an enamelled platinum egg, which contained a second egg, conceived as a golden yolk, inside which there was a golden chick with ruby ​​eyes, wearing a reproduction of the imperial crown on its head. The Fabergé collection of Russian imperial eggs now consists of 52 eggs. Most of these eggs contain others that are smaller, just as precious, as a matrioske. One egg made by Fabergé in honour of the Trans-Siberian railway was decorated with a metallic band engraved with the railway route, and contained   a small train made of pure gold.

Returning to chocolate eggs, nowadays, those hand made by confectioners are flanked by large-scale production on the industrial scale. The manufacture and distribution of eggs begins more than a month before Easter, and eggs of all types and sizes, are offered for sale on the market.

Elsewhere, particularly in the Orthodox countries, they continue to prefer giving a hard-boiled hen’s egg   coloured with natural colours. The eggs have to be cooked for a long time, until they are very firm. To dye them you can use onion skins or tea leaves to get a brown colour; ivy and nettle leaves give a green colour; saffron and cumin for yellow; red beets for red. You just cook the eggs in the boiling water to dye them, and then fix the colour with a few drops of vinegar.

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How to explain Confession to your child http://192.168.99.122/com/religious-items/546/ Tue, 17 Apr 2018 14:07:30 +0000 http://192.168.99.122/com/?p=546 It isn’t easy to explain what a Confession is to a child. It isn’t easy because it isn’t easy to explain what the concept of Sin is to them. Yet it is fundamental for a child’s growth as a human being, and as a Christian, that they understand what […]

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It isn’t easy to explain what a Confession is to a child. It isn’t easy because it isn’t easy to explain what the concept of Sin is to them. Yet it is fundamental for a child’s growth as a human being, and as a Christian, that they understand what it means to sin, and even more, what it means to be able to confess one’s sins to God, who is infinitely kind and merciful.

In fact, the fundamental question of Confession resides in this: to be aware that, although we may be marked by large and small faults, God the Father is ready to forgive us if we show genuine repentance. This isn’t trivial. Children who grow up with threats like: “Don’t do this because it is a sin”, but without anyone taking the trouble to explain to them what a genuine sin is, and what consequences entail, may pick up an incorrect vision of God, imagining him as a cruel presence who is ready to arbitrarily punish anyone who makes a mistake. In fact, some children tend to exaggerate their sense of guilt, even for the tiniest of shortcomings, and to live their own age badly.

God loves us all.

Probably the first thing that you can make a child understand is that God is good, He created everything beautiful and perfect for us, and sacrificed his only son Jesus for our sakes. How could such a good and generous Father condemn us without the possibility of appeal?

Indeed, God is always ready to welcome us back into his arms, in the same way the father welcomed his younger son back in the Parable of the Prodigal Son, proving that no fault was really serious in the face of Love.print on wood rembrandt prodigal son

God is love, and therefore, God forgives. In the hearts of men there is a seed of Evil that cannot be destroyed by anyone, not even by God. Yet he has never given up on us, since the dawn of time. He tried to cleanse the world of evil people with the Flood, but seeing that it was useless, sent his prophets to preach about Goodness, and in the end, sent his own Son, Jesus, to show men the pathway to Love. Because the only way to help men to be better is to show them the way of goodness, and convert them to it. God has done, and continues to do, everything for us, even if we continue to offend him with our bad deeds, and our bad thoughts. Fortunately for us, his Mercy is infinite, and his ability to forgive is endless.

Sin is the evil of the world.

Sin exists, and we are all subject to it. Adam and Eve committed it first, and transmitted it to all their descendants. Unfortunately, because of this first mistake, we are all born marked by sin, and the sin of turning away from God. It is important to learn to recognise it, and to be aware of its effects in the world.

To do this, you can show a child how everything bad that happens in the world is the fruit of sin, and that these bad deeds bring terrible consequences, not only for individuals, but for everyone. A good system could be to start from a vision of how the world was before sin, by illustrating to a child the uncontaminated nature, harmony and happiness that reigned among all of God’s creatures, the happiness and the absence of the pain that Adam and Eve experienced. Later, you can show him or her how the real world actually is, perhaps by quoting news stories, explaining what is going on in the world, how much suffering afflicts human beings everywhere: wars, violence and accidents. By bringing these two worlds, which are so different, into comparison, a question will arise spontaneously: why does God allow all of this to happen?

The answer is in the Bible: Evil has arrived in the world because of man.

A man who lives in sin, and who shows that he does not appreciate the gifts of God, and proclaims that he wants to be God himself. That is what Adam and Eve did. The original sin was not in the theft of the forbidden apple, but in openly challenging God, not limiting himself to listening to his warnings, but pretending to be on his own, to being like him. That is what we do every time we commit a sin. We believe ourselves to be smarter than God, we believe ourselves to be superior to him, and we behave badly, and in full knowledge that we are wrong. When we do it we are not happy, we are not comfortable with ourselves, because we are perfectly aware that certain things are wrong. It’s like when we tell a lie and then we are afraid of being discovered, or when we do a bad deed and we live in the anguish that our mother will find out and punish us. God is much better than our own mother at knowing when we have done something wrong, and even if he loves us as much, or more than she does, and is willing to forgive us, he wants us to admit our guilt first, and to sincerely apologise.

That is why he created Confession.

What is the purpose of Confession?

Once a child has understood the existence of sin, and the goodness of God, we must make them understand how they can deserve forgiveness. This can be achieved by teaching a child how to perform an examination of conscience. Or, after a day of studying, games and activities, when the child is alone in their room, to invite them to consider their actions during the day that has just ended, what they have done, what they have not done, and what they should have done.  It is an examination that must be made with sincerity and honesty, in full awareness that God knows very well how we have behaved. But this is a thing we need, to understand if and where we were wrong, to realize that we could have done more. At this point we apologise to the Lord with a prayer, and the next day we try to do better, and so on, day after day.

That is the first step towards a Confession.

Confession is in fact a kind of examination of conscience, but done aloud in front of a priest, at the end of which you admit your mistakes and declare that you do not want to make any more of them. It isn’t enough just to say that we are sorry: we must show that we have a heart full of repentance and the willingness to do well, in the future; only in this way will God forgive us.

Confession is essential for obtaining God’s forgiveness, and for getting closer to him. It is a sacrifice, an act of humility. It isn’t easy to admit our mistakes. It is not easy to recognise that we are wrong, even when it is very obvious. Men are made like that, they are proud, big guys. But God loves them for this as well, and precisely because he knows them well, and knows how they are made, he appreciates it even more when they are willing to give in, and to ask for forgiveness. God doesn’t want to punish us, he doesn’t want to condemn us: he just wants to forgive, and to save us. He doesn’t stop loving us even when we’ve behave badly, let alone when we recognise it and we apologise! Then he is the proudest and the happiest of Fathers! He embraces us, comforts us, and our life suddenly becomes even more beautiful and special. It is as if the wind sweeps away the grey clouds from the sky, and everything turns blue, bright and luminous. That is how we are after a Confession.

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Who your Guardian Angel is and what they do: 10 things you should know http://192.168.99.122/com/religious-items/who-your-guardian-angel-is-and-what-they-do-10-things-you-should-know/ Thu, 12 Apr 2018 13:47:39 +0000 http://192.168.99.122/com/?p=540 According to Christian tradition, every one of us has a guardian angel, who accompanies us from the moment we’re born until the moment  of our death, and stays at our side at every moment of our life. The idea of ​​a spirit, of a supernatural entity […]

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According to Christian tradition, every one of us has a guardian angel, who accompanies us from the moment we’re born until the moment  of our death, and stays at our side at every moment of our life. The idea of ​​a spirit, of a supernatural entity that follows and supervises every human being, was already present in other religions and in Greek philosophy.  In the Old Testament, we can read that God is surrounded by a genuine court of heavenly figures who worship Him and perform actions in His name. Even in these ancient books, there are frequent references to angels sent by God as protectors of people and individuals, as well as messengers. In the Gospel, Jesus invites us to respect even the smallest and humble, in a reference to their angels, who watch over them from heaven and contemplate the face of God at every moment.

The Guardian Angel, therefore, is linked to anyone who lives within God’s grace. The Fathers of the Church, like Tertullian, Saint Augustine, Saint Ambrose, Saint John Chrysostom, Saint Jerome and Saint Gregory of Nyssa, maintained that a guardian angel existed for each person, and although there was not yet a dogmatic formulation concerning this figure, already during the Council of Trent (1545 – 1563) it was stated that every human being had their own angel.

From the seventeenth century onwards, the spread of popular devotion increased and Pope Paul V added the festival of guardian angels to the calendar.

Also in sacred representations and above all, in the images of popular devotion, Guardian Angels began to appear, and were usually depicted in the act of protecting children from harm. In fact, it is especially by children that we are encouraged to talk with our Guardian Angels, and to address our prayers to them. As we grow up, this blind trust, this unconditional love towards an invisible yet extraordinarily reassuring presence, fades.

The guardian angels are always near to us

Here’s what we should remember whenever we want to find it near to us:Guardian Angel

  1. Guardian angels exist.

The Gospel affirms this, the Scriptures support it by countless examples and episodes. The Catechism teaches us from an early age to feel this presence on our side and to trust in it.

  1. Angels have always existed.

Our Guardian Angel is not created with us at the time of our birth. They have always existed, from the instant at which God created all of the angels. It was a single event, a single moment in which Divine Will generated all the angels, by the thousands. After this, God no longer created any other angels.

  1. There is an angelic hierarchy and not all angels are destined to become Guardian Angels.

Even the angels differ from each other in their tasks, and above all in their positions in heaven compared to God. Some angels in particular are selected to take a test and, if they pass it, they are qualified for the role of Guardian Angels. When a child is born, one of these angels is chosen to stand by his side until death and beyond.

  1. We all have one
angel with lyre
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Statue of an Angel with a Lyre

… and only one. We cannot sell it, we can not share it with anyone. In this regard also, the Scriptures are full of references and quotations.

  1. Our Angel guides us on the pathway to Heaven

Our Angel cannot oblige us to follow the path of goodness. He cannot decide for us, impose choices on us. We are and remain free. But his role is precious, important. As a silent and trustworthy advisor, our angel stays by our side, trying to advise us for the best, to suggest the right path to follow, to obtain salvation, to deserve Paradise, and above all to be good people and good Christians.

  1. Our Angel never abandons us

In this life and in the next, we will know that we can count on them, on these invisible and special friends, who never leave us alone.

  1. Our Angel is not the spirit of a dead person

Although it might be nice to think that when someone we love died, they became an Angel, and as such returned to be by our side, unfortunately, this isn’t so. Our guardian angel cannot be anyone we have known in life, nor a member of our family who has died prematurely. It has always existed, it is a spiritual presence generated directly by God. This does not mean that it loves us less! We should remember that God is Love first and foremost.

  1. Our guardian angel has no name

… or, if he has, it is not our job to establish it. In the Scriptures, the names of some angels are mentioned, such as Michael, Raphael and Gabriel. Any other name attributed to these celestial creatures is neither documented nor confirmed by the Church, and as such it is inappropriate to claim it to use for our Angels, especially by pretending we’ve determined it using a fanciful method like the month of our birth, etc.

  1. Our Angel fights on our side with all his strength.

We must not think of having a tender plump cherub at our side playing the harp. Our Angel is a warrior, a strong and courageous fighter, who ranks at our side in every battle of life and protects us when we are too fragile to do it alone.

  1. Our guardian angel is also our personal messenger, charged with bringing our messages to God, and vice versa.

It is to the angels that God addresses himself in communicating with us. Their job is to make us understand his Word, and move us in the right direction.

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The Rosary for the unborn children http://192.168.99.122/com/religious-items/rosary-unborn-children/ Thu, 05 Apr 2018 12:39:02 +0000 http://192.168.99.122/com/?p=521 The Rosary for unborn children is a particular type of Rosary. It is made of crystal beads, which symbolise the tears of the Madonna. Each ‘tear’ represents the mother’s womb and contains within it the image of an unborn child. The Crucifix is golden, as a […]

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The Rosary for unborn children is a particular type of Rosary. It is made of crystal beads, which symbolise the tears of the Madonna. Each ‘tear’ represents the mother’s womb and contains within it the image of an unborn child. The Crucifix is golden, as a sign of the need to praise and invoke the Lord to free the world of the terrible sin of abortion. The Our Father is symbolised by tears of blood in the form of a cross. The Crucifix Centre depicts the Heart of the Madonna and encloses its effigy.

The Rosary for unborn children was given to the world by Our Lady in person, as an instrument of Love and a prayer against the scourge of abortion.

The apparitions of Our Lady and of Jesus to Maureen Sweeney-Kyle

The Rosary for the unborn children appeared the first time on October 7, 1997, the day when Our Lady presented herself to the seer Maureen Sweeney-Kyle, with this special Rosary suspended before her. Mary presented herself as a prophetess of the present times, and declared that she was there to praise Jesus, her Son. She told Maureen Sweeney-Kyle that Heaven suffered immensely from the scourge of abortion, a huge sin committed against life itself, the most precious gift God made to men. This sin was destined, over time, to disrupt the history and the future of all nations.  Our Lady offered the Rosary for unborn children to Maureen and told her that this would be a weapon against this calamity, along with love and prayer.

Maureen Sweeney-Kyle contributed to the creation and propagation of this particular Rosary.

Three and a half years later, Our Lady and Jesus appeared to her again.

Our Lady, as Mother Dolorosa told her that every “Ave Maria” pronounced with that Rosary would redeem the innocent life of a child murdered by abortion. The Rosary itself, by virtue of its power, would help erase the pain of that sinful act from the Immaculate Heart of Our Lady.

She then invited her to spread the news without fear and shyness.

Jesus also appeared to her, inviting her to pray with the cross made of tears of rosary blood from unborn children, to alleviate the suffering of his afflicted Heart and strengthen the arm of Divine Justice. In fact, every Rosary recited would mitigate the impending punishment of all of humanity due to the sin of abortion.

Again, Our Lady presented herself to Maureen as Mary the Refuge of Holy Love, surrounded by praying angels.  She showing her the rosary for the unborn children wrapped in a golden crown, and told her that this was His Crown of Victory against the evil of abortion. She added that it was the will of Jesus that she spread that truth.

The prayer for life

It is therefore the will of the Virgin Mary that the faithful pray with the help of this particular Rosary, to defeat a sin that makes the heavens cry. The love and faith of men of good will, combined with the Grace of Our Lady, is a powerful weapon against this fearsome scourge.

As revealed by Our Lady to Maureen Sweeney-Kyle, every “Hail Mary” can save an innocent life from abortion and alleviate the penalty of the Immaculate Heart of Mary herself, whilst every “Our Father” recited on the Rosary for unborn children will relieve the sorrowful Heart of Jesus and will hold the Arm of Justice by mitigating the punishment for the sin of abortion.

For this miracle to take place, the Rosary must be blessed by a Catholic priest.

On October 13, 2004, Pope John Paul II blessed the Rosary of the unborn children in Rome.

The virtues of the Rosary for the unborn children are recognised and appreciated by Christian communities throughout the world. Prayer and devotion are the only answer for combatting the evils of the world, and the terrible calamities that envelop humanity. Pride, greed, and hate are instruments of evil, every sin is a point of strength for those who are evil, and only authentic Faith and humility can oppose them.

“A great prayer for life that runs across the entire world is urgently needed. With extraordinary initiatives and in habitual prayer, from every Christian community, from every group or association, from every family and from the heart of every believer, a passionate supplication is raised towards God, the Creator and lover of life”. Thus declared Pope John Paul II in the Gospel of Life. His successors have not been less supporting of the importance of respect for life as a precious gift from God.

How to recite the Rosary for the Unborn Children

In reciting the Rosary of unborn children, it is necessary to turn to Our Lady and to Jesus with an attitude of supplication, and invoke the protection and salvation of all unborn children, but also for the sinners of the entire world.

rosary for the unborn
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Rosary for The Unborn
  1. Raising the Rosary to Heaven and saying: “Heavenly Queen, with this Rosary we unite all the sinners of all nations to Your Immaculate Heart”
  2. Making the sign of the Cross: “In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
  3. Recite the following prayer, suggested to Maureen Sweeney-Kyle after the September 11 attack: “Heavenly Father, during this time of world crisis, allow all souls to find peace and security in Your Divine Will. Grant to every soul the grace to understand that Your Will is the Holy Love in the present moment. Father Benevolent, enlighten every conscience so that they realize that they are not living in Your Will. Grant the world the grace to change and the time to do it. Amen.
  4. Recite the Creed.
  5. Continue with the following prayers:

– One “Our Father” according to the intentions of the Holy Father.

– Three “Ave Marias” for the virtues of Faith, Hope and Charity.

– One “All the Glory”.

  1. After which there are the pro-life Mysteries of the Rosary, divided into the Joyful, Luminous, Sorrowful and Glorious Mysteries. After each Mystery recite:

– One “Our Father”

– Ten “Ave Marias”

– One “All the Glory”

– The ejaculation of Fatima: “O my Jesus, forgive our sins, save us from the pains of hell, welcome all the souls in Paradise, especially those who are most in need of Your Mercy.”

– The eulogy for the Unborn: “Jesus, protect and save the unborn”

  1. After the Rosary, recite some prayers dedicated to Our Lady, such as the “Salve Regina” and possibly litany against abortion, begging the Lord and Our Lady to welcome our supplications and forgive the sins of all humanity.

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Ancient Russian icons: humanity’s heritage http://192.168.99.122/com/religious-items/ancient-russian-icons-humanitys-heritage/ Wed, 28 Feb 2018 10:36:09 +0000 http://192.168.99.122/com/?p=252 Ancient Russian Icons are paintings of inestimable value and absolute beauty. Only revealed to the world in the early 1900s during an exhibition in Paris, they won unanimous approval and were immediately recognised as not only part of Russian heritage, but as something that belongs […]

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Ancient Russian Icons are paintings of inestimable value and absolute beauty.

Only revealed to the world in the early 1900s during an exhibition in Paris, they won unanimous approval and were immediately recognised as not only part of Russian heritage, but as something that belongs to all of humanity.

This immense value and global recognition derives from the artistic beauty of ancient Russian icons itself, but above all from the deep symbolic meaning and devotion of which they are imbued.

The true face of medieval piety is found in ancient Russian icons, devoid of all trappings and superstructure inevitably accumulated over the centuries and in the succession of the various world art trends. It is not just the appearance of the paintings, but also of materials used, the choice of colours, the context for which the icon had been made, the same approach you would take looking at a work of art.

The vision of God and the religion of our forefathers is revived in ancient Russian icons with shocking intensity, both from artistic and human points of few. Whole generations of painters drew inspiration from their vision, upsetting the history of art and decreeing a real revolution in markets and among investors worldwide. The ancient Russian icons market still remains among the most prosperous and sought after. Every authentic Russian icon must be accompanied by photos with valuation prepared by experts of the Ministry of Russian culture and export documents.

The origin of ancient Russian icons dates back to the fifth century and refers directly to the portraits of Mary attributed to Luke the Apostle, the Shroud and other depictions of Jesus and ancient Mary. The term ‘icon’ is derived from the Russian “икона”, from the Greek eikénai, ‘look like’, ‘appear’, or eikona that means ‘image’.

Ancient Russian icons are sacred images reproduced on usually lime, larch or spruce wood, covered with several layers of rabbit glue and plaster that were then smoothed with dried fish skin or sandpaper. In this way, they obtained a smooth finish without roughness, called levkas, perfectly accommodating painting and gilding. The colours were natural, of vegetable or mineral origin, mixed with egg yolk.

A characteristic feature was the frame, part of wood which contained the painting itself and represented the gap between heaven and earth, and the terrestrial and divine plan. Another feature was the gold plating of all parts and the use of dark colours alternating with clear ones to obtain a three-dimensional effect.

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The beneficial properties of natural incense http://192.168.99.122/com/religious-items/beneficial-properties-natural-incense/ Wed, 20 Dec 2017 15:40:54 +0000 http://192.168.99.122/com/?p=489 Incense has been used by mankind for thousands of years, since the ancient civilisations of Africa and Asia. Its extraordinary effects on the body and mind have caused it to be considered from the beginning a kind of miraculous substance, suitable to the adoration of […]

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Incense has been used by mankind for thousands of years, since the ancient civilisations of Africa and Asia.

Its extraordinary effects on the body and mind have caused it to be considered from the beginning a kind of miraculous substance, suitable to the adoration of the gods, religious celebrations and in general to all that concerned the sphere of spirituality. The use of incense, as well as bark and fragrant wood, needed to appease the gods, to bring people together with them, or with the afterlife. The incense was also used to purify the environment and the body.

In all ancient cultures and in the great sacred texts of all religions, from the Bible to the Qur’an, there are references to the use of incense.

But what is the incense? It is a resin secreted by some in particular trees, dried and often mixed with aromatic wood, leaves, flowers and berries, which give the substance a different fragrance. The purity, the color and the size of the grains defining the various types of incense.

Even today there are many types of natural incense, incense mixtures, fragrant incense, balms and essences based incense. The use of incense is no longer limited to the environment and religious occasion, but also for example to the fragrance of the domestic environments and in many cases is aimed at the welfare of the person. In fact, many ancient medicines, such as Ayurveda, has always professed the benefits that natural incense can bring to the welfare and physical and spiritual health, and today the incense is widely used in the pharmaceutical industry, as well as in that of perfumes. It is used to produce creams and ointments, as an antiseptic for the lungs, as an adjunct in meditation, and in many other cases.

Even aromatherapy uses it extensively: there is evidence that the different types of incense may have significant effects on mood, stress reduction, anger, hormonal balance, and libido.

A fascinating feature is that you very often choose to work this precious substance according to ancient traditional methods, to maintain intact all the exceptional properties.

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The expressiveness of the Willow Tree collection http://192.168.99.122/com/religious-items/expressiveness-willow-tree-collection/ Wed, 20 Sep 2017 09:23:57 +0000 http://192.168.99.122/com/?p=419 The uniqueness that embodies the enchanting works of Susan Lordi, an American artist from Kansan City, most likely resides in their infinite expressiveness. It may sound like a contradiction for those who know her work. In fact, the feature that’s immediately evident when admiring these […]

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The uniqueness that embodies the enchanting works of Susan Lordi, an American artist from Kansan City, most likely resides in their infinite expressiveness. It may sound like a contradiction for those who know her work. In fact, the feature that’s immediately evident when admiring these resin figures is that they do not have a face, nor traits that can identify them in any way.

They have no expression. And here’s the miracle, which makes the works of this artist extraordinary small masterpieces.

Even without a face, these figures express a range of emotions and feelings so vast and profound difficult to bear. It’s their poses, the suspended gestures of their arms, their hands, which make use perceive tenderness, love, joy, and even sadness.

We think of lovely mothers clinging to their children, or lovers in a hug that seems to last forever. We also think of children with their arms full of flowers, probably for a mother that we can only imagine, or delicate young girls intertwined in a hug that is a fairy dance.

Endless love is depicted in these simple figures: a sense of tenderness that enchants these angels with wire wings, loving keepers, loyal guardians, invisible and silent friends and even sad moments.

Susan Lordi’s animals are also wonderful: dogs and cats sometimes portrayed with their masters, sometimes alone. Four-legged angels with an immense heart, creatures of pure love just to be able to stand alongside theirs Human friends.

In a world that is increasingly surrounded by banality and unnecessary complexity, ephemeral dreams of plastic and extreme technology, the resin creatures of the Willow Tree collection are an enchanting oasis of feelings and spirituality, a deep breath that invites you to look within yourself and rediscover seemingly simple and sought after emotions, yet fragile and intense.

Here are a few feedbacks from our customers who have been able to touch the wonderful works of Susan Lordi with their hands.

Gabriella F. “Simply fantastic! It’s safe because it’s heavy, elegant and refined in the design of the dress, and the wings’ texture is original. A great gift for many occasions but just as nice to join other statues of the same kind ….”

Loretta F. “A wonderful collection! I love this angel, it’s a present for myself and I can’t sto looking at it. But its meaning goes beyond its beauty…”

Laura L. “Wonderful statuette: a perfect synthesis of love between lovers.”

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The funeral from classic Greece to our day http://192.168.99.122/com/religious-items/funeral-classic-greece-day/ Wed, 30 Aug 2017 07:43:09 +0000 http://192.168.99.122/com/?p=408 A person’s death has always represented an important moment in any human community since the origins of civilization. For this reason, funeral rites have always existed to celebrate this transition. These rituals change over time, and depending on geographical location, civil and religious costumes of […]

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A person’s death has always represented an important moment in any human community since the origins of civilization. For this reason, funeral rites have always existed to celebrate this transition. These rituals change over time, and depending on geographical location, civil and religious costumes of the community that celebrates them.

Generally in the Western world, death is considered a negative event, which damages the dead and those close to them. Only the fact that death comes as we approach the deity, or because it’s the passage to get to a heavenly world, is sees as a consolation.

The funeral is the religious rite we know. It derives its name from Latin ‘funus’, a term that recalls the act of lowering a body in the pit using ropes. Family and friends take part in it, with a priest conducting the celebration.

Prehistoric men probably had a rudimentary way to celebrate the death, but it’s thanks to the great civilizations of the past that we can find funeral rituals similar to ours.

Leaving aside the Egyptian civilization, deeply imprinted on the idea of ​​death and materiality of earthly life, the necessity that the body in order to reborn, let’s analyze funerals in ancient Greece, which are closer to our tradition. In the Greek world, great importance was given to the funeral ritual as an act to accompany the deceased on a journey to the afterlife. It was the duty of friends and relatives to make sure that the dead received the right rites, otherwise the spirit would be condemned to wander for eternity. Falling into battle without burial or otherwise not being able to receive such rites was considered to be the worst destiny for the Greeks.

The body was washed and covered with a shawl, then exposed so that friends and acquaintances could greet it. The funeral parade was accompanied by songs, prayers, and sacrifices. The body was finally buried in a wooden or terracotta coffin, or cremated, and the ashes collected in an urn.

Even in ancient Rome there were funeral traditions, and professionals were called to prepare the rituals in the best possible way.

Even in this case there was a procession of mimes, dancers, musicians, and professional lamenters following the body. After that, a party was attended by friends and relatives. Cremation was the most common option. Ashes were collected in an urn and placed in a collective grave.

These rituals are, in many respects, comparable to the modern ones. Today more than ever funeral rituals depend on culture, religion, and personal choices of the deceased and their families.

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