An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church


To perfume with the smoke of aromatic incense. Censing may express honor, respect, blessing, and celebration in a liturgy. It may also express the lifting up of the prayers of the assembly, or the prayers of the saints. The thurifer or member of the clergy may dramatize the censing by swinging the thurible (censer) that contains burning incense. Puffs of incense smoke come from the thurible as it swings. People and symbolic objects may be censed. For example, it is customary for the deacon to cense the gospel book before proclaiming the gospel in some parishes with an Anglo-catholic piety. It is also customary for the celebrant to cense the altar and the elements of bread and wine on the altar before the eucharistic prayer. The clergy, the choir, and the congregation may also be censed. See Incense.

Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from “An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians,” Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.