MEANING OF PROCESSION
Religion is one of the binding elements of humanity. Religion unites the people to live morally and socially. In other sense, we can say that it is an institution. Every religion has its own liturgical elements, worship, rituals etc.
Among the various religions, Christianity is one of the greatest religions in the world. Christianity has liturgical prayers and its practices. In several pious practices, Procession is one important ceremonial element in Christianity. And in almost every form of religious worship, we can see various processions. In this context it is important to find out the meaning of procession and its different aspects, especially from a Christian perspective.
Every word has its origin. The root word of procession comes from Latin. It in late english, is act of marching or proceeding. In classical Latin, meaning of the term is marching onward, going forward, advace.
In Oxford dictionary, procession is described as “a line of people or vehicles that move along slowly, especially as part of a ceremony: the other meaning as a number of people who come one after the other.”
In the old testament we can see the reverences to the term procession. the rsv bible, contains a Hebrew term tahalukot, that occurs only6 once, thatr is in Neh. 12:31,this refers to a ritual procession of thanksgiving in Ps 42:4 of av and rsv, we can see berns litterlly means lead slowly.
Procession is part of History. In other words the concept of procession is developed in and through history. “In the history of religion an important socio- religious ritual action or form of worship was there. It is especially, but not exclusively, in the higher religious and is a worldwide custom.”
We can see the evolution of procession in history. “The procession was a marked feature of public religion. For example, throughout the near East and the Mediterranean world.” In history, procession mainly related to the part of royalty.
In Rome there were also many processions related to religious and national festivals. Their custom of procession also influenced worldwidely. Many religious processions came from the Roman culture and social system.
At Rome, procession was an essential feature of lustration ceremonies, and the Roman triumph was a solemn religious procession culminating in an act of thanksgiving to the Capitoline Jupiter for victory. The joyous pagan processions associated with bountiful harvests were usually accompanied or followed by much license, however religious their motivation. Hence, the frequent condemnation of such processions in the Old Testament and in the fathers of the church.
2.2 . CHURCH
Church has special attention on procession. From history it is evident that procession is a part of Christian liturgy.
The life of Christian is a frequent ‘Passover’ as he follows in the footsteps of Christ and His cross along the road leading to heaven. Processions, ordinarily led by the cross, are an expression of the fact that the Christian life is a constant movement toward God and that prayer is always a kind of “walking with God”; they are a public image of the church in continual pilgrimage here on earth.
Church fathers also give proof for procession which are conducted in their era. At the time of St.Gregory the Great, there can be seen two forms of procession played a great part in papal ceremonial. The one was the procession to the “station”, and the other the solemn entry of the celebrant from the secretarium, or sacristy, to the altar.
Tertullian also points out the procession in his work:
The use of the word by Tertullian (De Praescripto) may possibily reference to some formal progress or movement of the faithful churchwards, which led aferwards to the assembly itself or the service being called procession as well as synaxis and collecta (Probst, Sakramentarien Und Ord. 205).
In the Byzantine rite a procession, called the Lity is held for Vespers on the evening of Sundays and grand feasts. In parish churches it goes only to the narthex, but in monasteries it may be perfpormed on the outside of the church. There are also processions on Good Friday and Holy Saturday, and a procession at the beginning of Mattins in the Midnight of Easter Vigil. Processions with icons and relics are also common at that time.
All churchs give special attention to procession as an essence of Christianity. Procession became identical with church. It also projects the unity of church and its members.
3. SOCIOLOGICAL DIMENSION
Religious practices and social aspects are not separate elements. If religious traditions are alienated from culture, society will not go on smoothly. James William says that “his religion has been made for him by others, communicated to him by tradition, determined to fixed forms by imitation and retained by habit.” Religious practices and culture should have proper balance. “If their religious tradition and culture have failed to satisfy the various human needs of every member or if they encounter with another system of living and believing which seem to have a contextual appeal then there emerges a thesis – anti-thesis encounter in search of new mode of living and believing.” Procession is more over related to the religious practice, though it has also sociological dimension. From the meaning of procession, it is clear that procession is a group act, not by an individual.
Procession has elements of personal prayer, needs and sentiment, but it also projects communal celebration. “….. is a form of prayer that lies between the liturgical and personal prayers sharing in some common features yet distinct from both.”
Procession can be usually characterized by communal activity. It can be followed by emotions and sentiments, rather than liturgical. Because “man’s experience of the divine can be expressed only through symbols. As communication is pre-requisite for any group activity, so also communication through symbols is needed for the group worship.” It makes social awareness in people, that is “they are in accordance with the social nature of man and they provide mutual couragement and support in living of one’s faith to which they give public testimony.”
4. ANTHROPOLOGICAL DIMENSION
In general, Anthropology means the study of man. This definition concerned to the all aspect of being, behaviour, history, languages etc.. Anthropology is also related to the other branches of science (eg: sociology, psychology, physiology etc) although our main concern is on the theological or biblical anthropology.
In theological realm, “man is considered not alone but in his relation to God. A study of his being-in-relation shows him to be dependent upon God for his origin, nature, condition, dignity and destiny.” Man is fundamentally related to God. In every man there is an ultimate desire to experience God. At the same time we also want to admit that man is part of creation.“The three chief elemnts consisting man in the Biblical concept are flesh, soul and spirit. Yet they are unified into one living reality.”
In one sense, procession is like a journey which symbolizes a journey of spirit towards it’s creator. It is an act of participating in divine life. From this awareness human person is trying to find out God along with his\\ her limitations. Practical devotional activities are the visible ways to reach to the imperceptible God.
Biblical writers play upon the idea of spirit suggesting that God put something of His own into man and gifted him with intelligence and free will. Salvation history reveals how man passes from one conventional stage to another, from the people of God to the mystical body. His spirit enables man to participate in divine life.
Procession is a communal act. God created man not for living alone as in an island. “From the very origin of man it may be seen at once that he stands in a threefold relation – to God, to his fellow man, and to the cosmos.” Every man is depended to each one.
Procession signifies salvation and destiny of human person.“The anthropology of the Bible is not a study of man in abstract, but of the specific man whom God created, who fell from God and on whose behalf God pursues his revealing and reconciling purpose.” Procession denotes the entire earthly life pointing to the heavenly life.
5. LITURGICAL DIMENSION
Second Vatican Council , in its Constitution on Sacred Liturgy stated that the liturgy “is the outstanding means whereby faithful may express in their lives and manifest to others, the mystery of Christ and real nature of the true church.” Mystery cannot be fully revealed. There can be seen glimpses of truth in visible elements. The religious feelings of wonder, fear, trust, repentance etc., were articulated through some forms of oral utterances and actions in all cultures. These became the medium of interactions to the hidden power that steer the route of life.
Procession is an ingredient of liturgy. “In this religious ambient the religious expressions do not remain confined to some purely spiritual or other worldly realm but can be seen in the concrete, physical realms.” Processions are bodily lexis of liturgy. Processions can be differentiating as thanksgiving and penitential.
The liturgy that is celebrated here on earth is a pre-experience of the heavenly liturgy so that the faithful may be convinced of their pilgrim nature on earth and they may witness to the world the heaven that they hope for where the angels and saints with one heart and mind eternally sing the hymns of praise and thanks to God.
It is considerable to make a division between liturgical processions, and nonliturgical processions. common processions are those associated with certain days of the year, such as the processions on Candlemass, Palm Sunday, Rogation Days, and Corpus Christi. Extraordinary processions are those enjoined or acceptable by the bishops for some exceptional circumstance, such as the solemn transmit of relics, a communal act of thanksgiving to God, or an act of Penitential request at the time of great need.
procession is a part of social and religious life. It can not be limited in one relam. Procession intends to transform the human life as a whole. In Christianity, procession had first taken place in the exodus period of Israelites. In their journey, there happened the changes in social, religious, and even in awareness of oneself. Procession has the communal as well as the personal aspects.
PROCESSION IN THE BIBLICAL BACKGROUND
The idea of procession is not simply a new concept of modern theologians. From the biblical background, we can understand perspectives of procession. In Old Testament and New Testament there can be see some sort of practices related to procession. Procession became the part of rituals in Israelites life. Sometimes procession was identified with social life. Biblical foundations of procession have great importance.
From the exodus period, the concept of procession has got great significance in the life of Christian’s rituals as well as worship. It also related to private, social, political and ecclesiastical life of Christians.
2. PROCESSION IN THE BIBLICAL BACKGROUND
There can be see processions in the biblical context. Christian processions are not simply ideas which developed through history. Processions are grounded in biblical understanding.
2.1. PROCESSION IN THE OLD TESTAMENT
Procession is a part of history and it is related to the rituals of Jews. Their practices go back to Old Testament times to express the faith of the people In Old Testament we can see numerous type of procession.
2.1.1. Exodus Event
Exodus event of Israel from Egypt can be seen in the line of procession. Exodus, the second book in the bible speaks about the story of Israel and their liberation from Egypt. The book starts with the Israelites in an alien land and slaves in Egypt. God heard their difficulties and felt compassion on them. At last Yahweh defeats the pharaoh and brings people to mountain Sinai. God makes Israel as his own people. “I will take you as my people, and I will be your God.”(Ex6: 7). through this procession Israel encountered the God (Ex 19:1- 25). Their procession is to the Promised Land with the God. “The Lord went in front of them in a pillar of cloud by day, to lead them along the way, and in a pillar of fire by night, to give them light, so that they might travel by day and by night” (Ex13: 21). Presence of God is always with them. “The book of exodus is not simply the record of Israelis itineraries. It is Israelis identity papers, the record of human interaction and divine grace of human success and failure and divine assistance and forgiveness.” And “The exodus from the bondage of Egypt serves as foretaste of the final joy of life in the presence of God.”
2.1.2. Solomon Dedication of the Wall
` In the book of Nehemiah there can be see the procession on the occasion of the dedication of the Jerusalem wall (neh12:12- 43). This procession is a part of the festival. Levities, priests, lords in the Judea and choir were also participated in this procession. They continuously praise the God with the musical instrument.” Dedication (hanukka, “inauguration”) is also the name of modern Jewry’s yuletide festival commemorating the cleansing rite after Seleucid desecration of the Temple.”
2.1.3. Prophets Procession
In Samuels’s first book points to the prophet’s procession related to the anointing of Saul as king of Israel (1sam 10:5). This passage indicates to the glory of God, that is, “the passage in its present form paints a picture of the origin of kingship in Israel as coming directly from the spontaneous and gracious initiative of Yahweh.”
2.1.4. Funeral Procession
Funeral procession is also noted in the Old Testament. In the book of 2 Samuel David is participating in the funeral procession of Abner (2 Sam 3:31). It leads to that procession is a part of Jews rituals.
In the book of Job chapter 21 mark the funeral procession (Job: 21: 31). It is in the background of the “peaceful death and posthumous fame of the godless.”
2.1.5. Ark of the Covenant Brings to the Jerusalem
In 2 Samuels’s book speaks about “bringing the ark to the city ritually transfers legitimacy and power from Saul’s house to David personally.” It also indicate that “Chap. 6 abounds with signs of ritual: cultic music and dance, a procession, blessings and sacrifices, nudity and role reversals, all indicators of a rite of passage remembered in the Jerusalemite cult.”
Procession is conducted during the Ark of the Covenant is brought from the Zion. This procession led by the king Solomon. Tribes of Israel were participated in the procession (1kings 8:1-10).
2.1.6. Festal Procession in Bible.
There is obvious evidence for the Festal procession in the Bible. When we read in Psalm, we can see the verses “The Lord is God, and he has made his light shine upon us. With boughs in hand, join in the festal procession up to the horns of the altar.” (Ps118:27). As indicated in the verses it is the time to remember blessings of God. So we want to express our sincere gratitude towards God for the blessings which have showered upon us. They considered the procession as a way of pleasing God and to ask pardon for sins committed. Festal processions as we know from our own context thus have a long history before the era of Jesus Christ. And understanding the same will make us equipped to take part in it with all vigor and enthusiasm. The intention and motive behind our ritual practices must have a historical as well as cultural basis. On our endeavor to understand the theme on this basis can cater much to the topic under discourse.
2.1.7. Procession to the Sanctuary of the Altar
It is clear from the Bible that there was procession to the Sanctuary of the Altar. In Psalm 68:24, we can see that “your procession has come into view, O God, the procession of my God and King into the sanctuary.” It was a festal procession up to the sanctuary of the altar of God. They considered the sanctuary as dwelling place of heavenly father. And this procession to the most divine part of the temple is considered as the much holy in the sense that, it is the way to give the Almighty His honor and praises.
2.2. PROCESSION IN THE NEW TESTAMENT
There can be see some hinds about the processions in the New Testament.
2.2.1. Jesus Triumphant Entry into Jerusalem
The gospel of John, Mark and Luke narrate the Jesus’ royal entry into the Jerusalem. Jesus entered into Jerusalem in the manner of procession like a victorious procession of king (Luke 19:28-44). “Luke, however, will not exploit this OT text on kingship. He has his own view of how Jesus is king- by life – giving death.” Jesus procession was on the donkey. People received him by piece of clothing which used to cover the road and leafs of palm tree. And it has also that, “The whole describes a joyous festal procession with messianic overtones”
2.2.2. Triumphal Procession
From the early periods normally processions are part of the celebration of victory over an enemy, and these processions are commonly called as Triumphal processions.
Musicians playing and singing songs of victory were at the front, followed by young men leading the sacrificial cattle. Then came open carts loaded with booty, and tremendous floats illustrating battle scenes or the destruction of cities and temples, and perhaps topped with a figure of vanquished commander. The captive kings, princes, and generals taken in the war, with their children and attendants, were led along in chains, often stripped naked, to their humiliation and shame.
And many will follow this opening section of the procession, along with the magistrates, family of the conqueror and all. Many rituals will also be there whilst this glorious procession. Throwing of flowers, burning incense and else are among these. These rituals signify many things in background, the honor, and respect towards the fighters, along with loathe against the captives and enemies. As in the second letter of St. Paul to Corinthians, he spiritualizes the same theme. “But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads in every place the fragrance that comes from knowing him.” (2:14).
2.3. CHRISTIAN PROCESSION IN PARTICULAR
According to Christian perspective, Processions are communal act of reverence to God, to give honor to him or his saints, and to ask pardon for sins committed. Their practices associated to Old Testament times express the faith of the people, as distinct from the worship of a particular individual, and of a people who signify their co-operative action, as distinct from merely their common expression of faith.
Processions, an element in all ceremonial, are to be found, as we should expect, in almost every form of religious worship. The example of the processions with the ark in the Old Testament (cf. especially 2samuel and 1kings8) and the triumphant entry of our savior into Jerusalem in the new were probably not without influence upon the ritual of later ages.
2.3.1. Functions of Procession
For our Catholic culture, processions are intimate part of our liturgical and spiritual life, which come from Jewish roots. Catholic processions are a type of pilgrimage first undertaken by the Jews to represent important historical events especially in exodus period. We have processions to remind us that our Christian life is a constant movement toward God and our eternal home. We are after all a pilgrim.
Procession has the function of faith, which burns in our hearts and beams in our faces. Procession is one of the expressions of Christian faith. Procession helps us to increase communal faith as well as individual faith.
Procession has also the function of hope. Hope in the resurrected Christ is the foundation stone of Christianity. Procession should lead to hope in Christ.
It is the function of hope, for we bear with us our heaven which is on earth already, our reward Who has put Himself into our hands as it were in pledge, and so we make the powers of hell to tremble while we tell them by shout and song how sure we are of heaven, and the Adorable Sacrament, meanwhile flashing radiance unbearable into the terrified intelligences of our unseen foes.
2.3.1. Participation of People
Psalms indicate that the people of God are joining the processions. We can read that “In front are the singers, after them the musicians; with them are the maidens playing tambourines. Praise God in the great congregation; praise the Lord in the assembly of Israel.” (68:25-26). This is one of the beautiful foundations of procession. People in great number, families, tribes and the leaders of the people were present for procession. With musicians, singers and maidens, that is how the People of God in the Old Testament were doing Processions and that practice is preserved by Christians until now.
In Old Testament, procession was considered as the public act, not a worship of a single individual. All the members of community were actively participated in the procession. It was considered as the mode of praising God and adoring Him with all the strength and might. Besides this it was really a promulgation of the faith in which they believe in and these processions are used as the way to express their joy and thanks to the God, who helped them throughout the life. And to great extend we can consider that the processions are the means to assert the God and His deeds are real and be witness to Him always.
2.3.2. Christians and Triumphal Procession
The biblical reference from the above section (2Cor 2:14) can be seen as the perfect instance to show St. Paul using the triumphal procession prevailed in those periods metaphorically when he writes to the Corinthians. The Christians and Paul himself are considered as the members of processions and Christ as the real conqueror at the leading edge of the so called procession.
But St. Paul in his letter to Colossians, on the contrary writes about a different situation. Here the enemy governments and authorities under Satan are described as the captives and prisoners in the triumphal procession. In the second chapter of the letter we can find the Conqueror strips naked and exhibits in open public as defeated ones, the ones conquered by torture. “Christ’s death on the torture stake not only provided the basis for removing ‘the handwritten document’, the Law covenant, but also made it possible for Christians to be freed from bondage to the satanic powers of darkness.”
2.4. THEOLOGY OF PROCESSION ACCORDING TO OLD TESTAMENT
As we read the Old Testament, we can see prophesy of the rise of a king to deliver the Israelites. They all believed in the near fulfillment of prophesy. The Israelites, though delivered from the hands of Egypt, were under the powers of various rulers. They sinned against the Yahweh in keeping the promise. So Yahweh let them to the powers of Assyrians and Babylonian Kings. But God promised them a King from the dynasty of David. They were lead to their own land as they turned back to Yahweh. Throughout this history, we see the journey of Israel which is the first procession of the Chosen people. In the Jewish rituals, we see their expectations of the savior.
2.5. THEOLOGY OF PROCESSION ACCORDING TO NEW TESTAMENT
As we enter into the New Testament, We see that, in Christ, all prophesies of the Old Testament is being fulfilled. From the very beginning of the New Testament we see the procession of the people of God. As custom, New Testament states that Jews went to the Temple of Jerusalem to worship the Lord. So Procession became part of Christian Spirituality. Since Christianity was born in the manger of Judaism, They adapted the many traditions into Christianity. The religious adoration helps us to profess our faith and hope in Jesus Christ. We pray to the Lord who is in heaven. Our Prayer should lead us to heaven and so our earthly life is a journey to heaven as a procession. One Christian alone cannot make the procession so he gathers everyone helps everyone and leads everyone to the eternal Kingdom.
Christian Church is, in its understanding of the Bible, the new Israel in Christ. Through faith in our Lord, we inherit the nature and life of the chosen people of the Old Covenant. In Christ, we become the new Israel, the people of the new covenant. But to know who we are, we must inquire diligently who Israel was in the beginning. What it was to be, we have become through our Lord. In Israel lie the Character and meaning of our spiritual existence. The roots of our Christian faith lie deep in the Old Testament. The Old Testament promise is found its fulfillment in the Cross and Resurrection.
Procession is part of the Christianity. We cannot exclude procession from the faith expression of Christians. It also affected the individual and communal aspect of faith. By procession, every Christian proclaims the faith in the heavenly life which in the other state of life.
THEOLOGY OF PROCESSION
Processions are found in almost every form of Christian worship. Religious processions are an earliest form of popular piety that accompanies the sacramental life of the Church. Processions are established by very old tradition as practiced by the Church and Catholic Faithful throughout the ages. So in this context, it is important to think and study about the theology of procession.
1. PROCESSIONS IN THE SYRO-MALABAR CHURCH
In Syro-Malabar church we can see different kinds of processions. Processions are the part of the liturgical life of the church. To render worship to God is the main aim of all processions. Though there can be seen different types of processions, they are various in external form but internal nature is same.
1.1 TYPE OF PROCESSIONS
In church, processions can be divided into two types. One is ordinary processions and other is extra ordinary processions. Processions help to develop faith in God and give thanks to Lord in a human way. In different kinds of processions we celebrate and commemorate the events in the life of Jesus Christ.
1.1.1 Ordinary Processions
Ordinary processions means, the processions which can prescribed by the church and its laws. It is explicitly presented in the liturgical part of the church. Hosanna processions, festal processions etc.
184.108.40.206 Kuruthola procession
Palm Sunday is the commemoration of Jesus royal entry into the city of Jerusalem, before his death (Luke 19:28-44). People were accompanied Jesus in a procession manner and sing loudly. “Hosanna to the Son of David.” Christ was the center of procession. The meaning of hosanna is ‘save us’. This word comes from Hebrew. All gospels narrate this event as the important part of the Jesus public ministry.
Syro-Malabar church also celebrates Palm Sunday. It is known as ‘Kuruthola Njayar’ or ‘Osana Njayar’. In Palm Sunday, procession is one of the important elements of the liturgy. The procession starts from one specified place to church. It denotes the Christ entry to the Jerusalem city. In this procession people take leafs of coconut tree and sing the song oh hosanna. In other sense it also remembers us about our hope in heavenly life. This procession is observing very sacredly.
220.127.116.11 Nagari Kanikkal on Good Friday
Good Friday in Malayalam is known as ‘Dukha Velliyazhcha’. “It is the day of mourning over the death of Christ on which all had to take a bitter drink or to eat bitter leaves as an act of participation in the passion of Christ on the cross, which was offered bitter drink.” Singing of ‘Puthanpana’ is common act in the church.
In Syro-Malabar tradition there can be see procession in the evening. It is known in Malayalam as ‘Nagari Kanikkal’. The people conduct the procession with the statue of Christ’s crucified body. The dress code of people is more over less white or black. It is a mourning procession. Way of the cross is recited during this procession. This procession points to the death and suffering of Jesus and which also remember our life in Christ. Procession leads to “the theology of suffering and death contains the joy of suffering to become one with Jesus declaring death to sin and life in Christ as the means of purification to live up Christ in a sacrificing manner as the spirit of this season”.
18.104.22.168 Festal Processions
Feasts are meant for celebrating the saving act of God in human life. Feast perpetuating the memory of divine providence to humanity, through Jesus and his disciples and saints. We remember them in our liturgy and give thanks to God.
The feasts of saints are known as commemorations. Through them we can easily commemorate and celebrate the salvation mysteries of Christ in our day–to–day life, because their holiness is the ultimate flowering of the ultimate grace united with the paschal mysteries of Christ. Therefore, the celebration of the passage of saints from earth to heaven is the proclamation of the paschal mysteries experienced by them while they suffered and glorified with Christ.
Festal processions are unavoidable part of Syro-Malabar liturgy. It has eschatological dimension. It remembers our hopeful eternal life with Jesus. It is also an event of celebration of our hope in Jesus.
There can be seen mainly two type of procession during the festal times. One is ambu prathishnam and other is procession surrounding the church. After the lathinj, there is procession surrounding the church with relics. At that time people is singing litany. Litany is different for each feast such as Lords feast, feast of the Blessed Mary, and feast of the saints.
Ambu prathishnam is starts from the church and it goes through the Christian houses. Relics are the important element in this procession. Procession is accompanying with musical band set. It represents the great joyful time. It is a part of veneration to the saints.
22.214.171.124 Funeral Procession
The funeral procession is a powerful rite which emphasis the theology of death. Christian carried the tomb with hope. It is not with grief and lamentation. “The funeral procession, which is a sensible representation of journey of the Christian from this world to paradise.” Funeral procession brings about glory and joy of resurrection in Christ, because resurrection of Jesus is the foundation of our faith.
According to funeral liturgical order, there can be seen five types of order in the church. They are for bishops, priests, religious, seniors and children’s. In every order, there is mourning procession. This procession begins from house and ends at church. Procession starts after the hymn which indicates that departed soul is asking prayer request to mourning crowd.
126.96.36.199 Marian Procession
“The feast of our lady leads us to a genuine devotion to her, having before us an image of her greatness and humility.” Rosary procession is the most important procession which is related to Mother Mary. Usually, the rosary procession is conduct in the month of October. People move in a procession with reciting rosary. Through this procession people is meditating Christ mysteries through Mary, the Mother of God.
188.8.131.52 Feast of Corpus Christi
The Eucharistic procession is also identified as a Corpus Christi procession because of its connection with the Feast of Corpus Christi. The full name of this feast is Corpus et Sanguis Christi, or the Body and Blood of Christ.
The feast of the Blessed Sacrament was established in 1246 by Bishop Robert de Thorte of Liege at the suggestion of St. Juliana of Mont Carvillon. It was extended to the universal Church by Pope Urban in 1264. The office composed by St. Thomas Aquinas and customary procession was approved by Popes Martin V and Eugene IV.
Corpus Christi is celebrated in the month of June, the first Sunday after the feast of the Trinity. This feast is spread all over the world. There is procession with the Blessed Sacrament. This procession helps to elevate the awareness about the presence of God who amidst us.
184.108.40.206 Procession in the Holy Qurbana
There are can be seen processions in the Holy Qurbana at two times. First is at the entrance time. The celebrant after put on the sacred vestments enters to the sanctuary with altar boys. Thurible, candles and the Gospel are carried in the procession.
Second procession is at the time to carry the Gospel from the altar to the bema. The celebrant takes gospel and goes to the bema in procession. Procession is accompanies by the two candles and censer bearers.
220.127.116.11 Procession in the Priestly Ordination
Procession is a part of ordination. In the order of priestly ordination there is instruction that candidate for priestly ordination should put on the vestments outside the church to provide space to conduct the procession. After wearing vestments, candidate with priests, arch deacon, and celebrant enter to matbeha. There is an order in the procession. The cross, incense, Gospel, and candles are held in front of the procession.
18.104.22.168 Procession in the Initiation Rites
“To understand the rites of initiation of SMC in special reference to the liturgical processions is pertinent in our attempt to interpret the Syro- Malabar Christian identity formation as a journey in faith.” Procession has great value in the rites of initiation. In the rites of initiation there are varieties of procession such as, procession to the entrance to the church, procession from the entrance of the church to the bema, gospel procession, procession from the bema to the baptistery, procession from the baptistery to the entrance of the sanctuary. Procession is not only an external act but also it has spiritual meaning. It represents the journey of faith through Christ.
1.1.2 Extra Ordinary Processions
Extra ordinary processions means, processions which are conducted in a particular situations and not clearly stated in the church laws. To conduct the extra ordinary processions permission should be granted by the respective bishops of the places. Extra ordinary processions cannot identify particularly. It may depend up on the particular culture, custom etc. and it cannot see particular statutes for them.
2. IMPORTANT ELEMENTS IN THE PROCESSION
Our faith is centered on signs and symbols of our religion. We can see the presence of different articles during religious procession.
Candles represent and symbolize the Jesus, the son of God who comes to the world in the form of human. Jesus himself said that “I am the light and the way of the world”. Procession is the representation of our journey to heaven through Christ. In this journey he becomes the light of our path.
Cross is the Christian symbol. It symbolizes the salvation of our life and victory over the evil powers. Sliba put in front of the procession as the hope our life. It also connected to relation of Jesus and disciples. As Jesus led his disciples, we are following Jesus in procession. Procession also denotes the Christian war against the evil powers with the Jesus Christ who defeated the evil powers through his death on the cross.
In the procession of feast of saints, we place saint’s relics. It shows the respect and veneration to the saints who lead an exemplary life in the earth. This motivates us to live a life according to holy life of saints.
The use of incense is normal in almost all processions. It denotes the prayerful atmosphere and sanctifying our life. In the journey to the heaven it remembers us that how we can prepares our life.
The Holy Scripture is use in the procession. Bible contains the history of salvation. Our life in the earth is moving forward to attain salvation. Procession represents our salvation through Christ. Here we need the help of the Word of God, to move in a correct way. “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Ps119: 105).
3. THE CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH
`The Catechism of the Catholic Church states about the procession as a part of the popular piety. Procession is included in the sacramentals of the church.
1674 Besides sacramental liturgy and sacramentals, catechesis must take into account the forms of piety and popular devotions among the faithful. The religious sense of the Christian people has always found expression in various forms of piety surrounding the Church\’s sacramental life, such as the veneration of relics, visits to sanctuaries, pilgrimages, processions, the Stations of the Cross, religious dances, the rosary, medals, etc.”
1675 These expressions of piety extend the liturgical life of the Church, but do not replace it. They \”should be so drawn up that they harmonize with the liturgical seasons, accord with the sacred liturgy, are in some way derived from it and lead the people to it, since in fact the liturgy by its very nature is far superior to any of them.
4. CODE OF CANON LAW
Devotions are commonly not stated in the Code of Canon Law. However, because of its significance in the life of the Church it is referred to in canon 881: “The Christian faithful are bound by the obligation to participate on Sundays and feast days in the Divine Liturgy, or according to the prescripts or legitimate custom of their own church, sui iuris, in the celebration of the divine praises.”
5. PURPOSE OF PROCESSION
The processions are not only intended for a grateful commemoration but also for a spiritual renewal. It has a theological purpose. Through conducting different kinds of procession it helps to recalling our minds to the mysteries of our Lord. They foster our faith. The central aim of procession is to worship God. It has no obligation to observe them in Sundays. Procession helps to bind a religious group into unity transcending family and local ties. Procession also has a social realm.
6. THEOLOGY OF PROCESSION
Procession is something that has co existence with humanity. It ever had religious dimension. It has accompanied humanity from it very beginning. Processions entered spontaneously into the ecclesiastical legislation. It has undergone changes in the course of centuries.
Procession is a part of Sacramental’s. It is not instituted by Christ directly. It is instituted by the church; it develops in the stages of life. The adoption of local tradition and customs are involved in the sacramentals. All prayers are worship of God and are related to sacraments.
Procession in our church is mainly related to the festival mood. The Syro- Malabar church of the Syrian tradition has been influenced by the Old Testament Jewish feast. “For Jewish feasts are not simply rituals but for them it is part of worshiping God. The feasts of Jews are Atonement, Dedication, Passover, Pentecost, and Tabernacle etc.”