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Liturgical Acts are not things to be done during prayer, but are themselves prayer. Incense is a component of the liturgy that is not as familiar to all people in certain parts of the Anglican Church. Like other components of the liturgy it doesn't have a single meaning or even limited meaning but is broad in its scope. It is evocative, and primitive and can inspire a wide range of insights, memories, and emotions in each member of the assembly.

Within the Judeo-Christian context, the rising aromatic smoke echoes innumerable scriptural references, and so draws deep from the well of the religious imagination.  Often associated with our prayers rising to God it also has associations with purification.

Rev 8:1-4 “the smoke of incense rose with the prayers of the saints.”

Psalm 141 “Let my prayer rise up like incense before you, the lifting up of my hands as an offering to you. O God, I call to you, come to me now; O hear my voice when I cry to you.”

Incense is customarily used at any three times during the Eucharist: The Entrance Procession to Lord’s Table, At the Proclamation of the Gospel, and At the Offertory.

Our Use of Incense

It is the custom at Christ Church Cathedral to use incense on days and seasons of liturgical significance. These include the Principal Feasts of the Church and Holy Days:

These include

  • The Epiphany,
  • The Baptism of the Lord,
  • Candlemas, Palm Sunday,
  • Holy Thursday,
  • Easter Vigil,
  • Easter Day,
  • Ascension Day,
  • The Day of Pentecost,
  • Trinity Sunday,
  • Corpus Christi,
  • Holy Cross Day,
  • Reign of Christ (patronal day),
  • All Saint’s / Souls Day (usually combined at Christ Church Cathedral),
  • Christmas Eve,
  • Christmas Day.

It may also be used in the Liturgical Season of Easter Season and is also present at Diocesan Events such as Ordinations of Priest and Deacons, the Consecration of a Bishop, Confirmations and the Blessing of the Oils.