INCENSE

Substance producing a pleasant odor when burned. Ibn Siba‘, the thirteenth- or fourteenth-century writer, mentions sandarus (Latin, sandrax), a resin obtained from a small coniferous tree Callitris quadrivalis, from Java or Sumatra, which is said never to have been offered to idols; liban jawi (Latin, tus iavense); and hasa liban (Latin, olibanum), that is, frankincense.

Ibn Siba‘ states that liban was the incense offered by the Magi to Our Lord. It is not permitted to offer ambergris (Arabic ‘anbar), because it is extracted from a sea animal.

MIKHA’IL, bishop of Damietta, mentions among exclusively Coptic observances incensing with sandarah alone, and argues against using liban or mi‘ah (styrax) because they were used in the offering of incense to the devils; as regards aloeswood and mastic, he says that the fathers did not permit these to be offered as incense to God, but they permitted them only because they are supposed to repel devils and destroy the works of the magicians.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

  • ‘Abd-Allah, A. L’Ordinamento Liturgico di Gabriel V, 88 Patriarcha Copto, pp. 287-438. Cairo, 1962.
  • Burmester, O. H. E. “The Saying of Michael, of Damietta.” Orientalia Christiana Periodica 2, 1-2 (1936):115-16; 126-28.

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