Thursday, July 13, 2017

Disposing of Blessed Objects

The question was asked, “What should we do with the Sunday Bulletin when we are finished reading, since it has an icon on the cover. Can it be thrown away?” This is a wonderful and thoughtful question which reflects a deep faith and love for the Lord and His Church. There is a simple answer, but as with many questions about our Faith, there is always more to the question than meets the eye?

When the time come to dispose of blessed objects in the Church such as icons, bibles, communion clothes, Altar covers etc, the proper thing to do is they should be burned in a reverent manner and the ashes should be placed in the garden rather than the garbage. I always invite members of the Church to bring “old” items such as bibles and icons to the Church to be burned properly. But where does that leave the Sunday bulletin? There is an icon on the cover. Does that mean the Bulletin should be burned every Sunday?

That is where the answer becomes a bit more complicated. Yes, there is an icon on the cover, but it has not been blessed. Does that mean we should treat the bulletin cover as a sacred object, or just another piece of paper? In the case of the Sunday bulletin it is neither sacred nor just another piece of paper. I have known people who cut out the icon from their Sunday bulletin and use the icons for special Sunday School craft projects, or to send to missionaries who don’t have the blessings to have permanent Church and icons as we have in the United States. I also known many who throw their Sunday bulletin in the trash when they are finished reading. Neither option is more correct than the other since the bulletin has not been blessed. Intent is everything!

While the Sunday bulletin cover may not be sacred and can be thrown away, that does not mean we should treat it with disrespect. It does have a holy image on the cover. For example, it would be wrong to use the bulletin cover to show anger toward God. It would be wrong to stab holes in the cover, or to use the cover for target practice. Intent is everything!

Here is a list of items that should NOT be thrown in the trash:

Bibles; Icons that have been blessed in the Church; any items that have been used in worship and prayer; any items that have been on the Holy Altar of God; Communion clothes; wicks from oil candles on our home altar; left over antidoron, artoclasia, or kolyva including crumbs; prayer lists; etc. If there is a doubt, consider the use of the item and the intent. If the items was used as part of your prayer to God, then it should not be thrown away.


NM said...

I would assume the don't-throw-away list also includes the following:
Holy Water
Branches from Palm Sunday
Roses from Holy Friday

Be Transfigured Ministries said...

YES! ANYTHING that has been blessed or used to blessed would be included in this list.