from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Gesture of blessing on a Christ icon

Blessing ( Old High German  segan , also segon , segin , segen , borrowed from the Latin signum "sign, badge, mark", from the late 2nd century also sign of the cross ) denotes a prayer or a rite in many religions , whereby people or things share in divine To receive strength or grace. The Christian term blessing corresponds to the Latin word benedictio , derived from benedicere from bene (“good”) and dicere (“to say”), actuallyspeak well of someone, praise someone, praise someone . From the Latin of the church, benedicere also means "to bless, benedeien, to bless over etc."

The aim of blessing or blessing (Latin signandum ) is the promotion of happiness and prosperity or the assurance of protection and preservation. The blessing is done with words and gestures (eg. As laying on of hands , gesture of blessing , Orante , sign of the cross , anointing ) that symbolize the charitable donation of God to the blessed person or the blessed thing (see sign of blessing ) .

In a wider sense and derived from it, the word blessing is also used to describe joy in a gift or a situation (this child is a blessing for us) or to express abundance (harvest blessing, money blessing). The curse can be understood as the opposite of the blessing. Also, the word "blessing" is used colloquially ironically for an unwelcome or too abundant gift.

Old testament

  • The Hebrew word barach (Hebrew: ברך) for bless appears for the first time on the fifth day of creation , when the sea animals and birds were created. The creation of the sixth day, the animals of the land and man, God blesses in the same way. "God blessed them and said: Be fruitful and multiply and populate the water in the sea and the birds should multiply on the land" ( Gen 1,22  EU ).
  • In Judaism , the history of blessing, its individual or collective loss or its preservation play an existential role (see also: Bracha ).
  • In Numbers 6.24 to 26 EU will Aaronic blessing introduced: "The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you. The Lord lift his face over you and give you peace. ”The blessing formula is still used in Judaism and Christianity today.
Jacob's Blessing : Jacob blesses Joseph's sons (after a painting by Rembrandt , 1656)
  • In the Old Testament the blessing plays a prominent role in the stories about the patriarch Jacob . In Genesis it is described how Jacob deprives his older twin brother Esau of the firstborn blessing of his father Isaac ( Gen 27: 1-40  GNB ). Later, after his fight with the angel , Jacob asks his adversary for a blessing, whereupon the latter gives him the name Israel . As a grandfather, Jacob blesses his grandchildren Ephraim and Manasseh by the laying on of hands ( Gen 48: 13–16  EU ), whereby he blesses the younger Manasseh in the first place ( Gen 48: 17–20  GNB ). On his deathbed he blesses each and every one of his sons; These blessings for the future twelve tribes of Israel are called the Jacob's blessing ( Gen 49: 3–28  GNB ).

New Testament

The blessing that God gave Abraham is not limited to Israel, but now also applies to all other peoples:

“But Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, since he became a curse for us - for it is written ( Dtn 21,23  EU ): 'Cursed is everyone who hangs on the wood' - so that the blessing of Abraham among them Gentiles come in Christ Jesus and we received the promised Spirit by faith ”( Gal 3 : 13-14  WEB ).

Jesus blessed the children ( Mt 19.13–15  EU ; Mk 10.13–16  EU ; Lk 18.15–17  EU ): “Children were brought to him so that he could lay his hands on them. But the disciples harshly rejected the people. When Jesus saw this, he was indignant and said to them: Let the children come to me; don't stop them! Because people like them own the kingdom of God. Amen, I tell you: whoever does not accept the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it. And he took the children in his arms; then he laid his hands on them and blessed them ”( Mk 10.13–16  EU ).


A bishop blesses a first communicant by labeling them with the cross

In Christianity , a blessing is usually performed with the gesture of the sign of the cross , sometimes it is also combined with the laying on of hands . In the Catholic and Orthodox Church of blessing is often by the sprinkling of holy water accompanied (see. Also Asperges ) .

In the Roman Catholic , Orthodox , Anglican , Evangelical Lutheran churches, and similar traditions, most blessings are performed by the bishops , priests, and deacons . A benediction with an “lasting effect that can also have legal consequences” is also referred to as consecration in the Roman Catholic liturgy . The closer an act of blessing or consecration is to the celebration of the Eucharist , the higher the consecrations that are necessary for it. But lay people can also bless, for example parents bless their children, religious superiors the members of their convent . Most Christian services end with the liturgy giving the final blessing .

The texts and rites of blessings used in the Roman Catholic Church are contained in a liturgical book , the Benedictale .

Different forms of blessing

In the liturgy of the Latin Church , various forms of blessing arose:

Blessing speaker

In the Middle Ages and early modern times , blessing as well as fortune-telling by laypeople who were not considered authorized to do so was assessed as a prohibited and suspicious act and opposed and punished by state and church authorities. The Württemberg authorities, like other countries and authorities, issued ordinances in the 16th and 17th centuries “medicaster and blessing spokesmen, magicians, fortune tellers and devil conjurers” and wished that the “highly contemptible and damnable vices of blessing be completely eradicated”.

A Siegerland "sworn Monday order" in the Siegen office of 1586 attributed the blessing to suspicious fringe groups in society:

Gypsies , vagrants , abandoned garden servants, mumboys with geysers, leyres and other side games, rascals, scouts, outspeakers, country beggars trained for idleness, troublemakers, wranglers and what the like, servants are, steal, steal, burn, steal, steal, burn abgerichtett anzustifften and other misfortune item soothsayer , Teuffelsfenger, Christian Allen's wedding , blessing spokesman who helffen in front of doctors, man and Viehe außgeben. "

"Blessing spokesman, Sauveur [savior], a kind of vagabond, walking around in Spain and Italy, persuading people that they can cure all kinds of diseases with their breathe, or saliva, or with certain blessings and prayers."

During the cures , blessing was considered part of the old Baltic pagan religion and was addressed in a visitation report from 1670 about the conditions in Kunzen and Sarkau: The worst are the Pillkopper and Preeder. There are fortune tellers, boathers, blessing speakers, also salt pusher in Rossitten.

During the time of the witch hunts, blessing was punished as a forbidden act. In 1688 Hans Mattheß from Borstendorf got into a witch trial in the Augustusburg office and was punished with six weeks imprisonment on charges of blessing.

More blessings

  • Three angels blessing
  • Travel blessing
  • Morning blessing
  • Evening blessing
  • Magic blessing and spell
    • Eye blessing
    • Wound blessing (for slash, cut, stab, gunshot and bite wounds as well as bruises) and as a special form of wound blessing special blood blessings (Longinus blessing or Jordan blessing) used for hemostasis (for external bleeding, for example through injury or nosebleeds) B. Bamberger Blutsegen , Abdinghofer Blutsegen and Millstätter Blutsegen )
    • Horse blessing

See also


  • Dorothea Greiner: Blessing and Blessing: A systematic-theological foundation. 3. Edition. Kohlhammer, Stuttgart / Berlin / Cologne 1999, 2003, ISBN 978-3-17-018164-9 .
  • W [illy Louis] Braekman: Middelnederlandse zegeningen, bezweringsformulate en toverplanten. In: Verslagen en mededelingen of the Koninklijke Vlaamse academie voor taal- en letterkunde. 1963, pp. 275-386.
  • Irmgard Hampp: incantation - blessing - prayer. Studies on magic from the field of folk medicine. Stuttgart 1961 (= publications of the State Office for Monument Preservation Stuttgart , C, 1).
  • Ulrich Heckel: The blessing in the New Testament. Concept - formulas - gestures, with a practical-theological perspective. WUNT 150, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen 2002, ISBN 3-16-147855-X .
  • Otto Heilig: Old German blessings from Heidelberg manuscripts. In: Alemannia 27, 1900, pp. 93-123.
  • Reiner Kaczynski : The Benedictions. In: Bruno Kleinheyer , Emmanuel von Severus , Reiner Kaczynski: Sacramentous celebrations II. Pustet, Regensburg 1984, ISBN 3-7917-0940-2 , (= church service, handbook of liturgical science, part 8), pp. 233-274.
  • Florian Kluger: Benedictions. Studies on church blessings. Pustet, Regensburg 2011, ISBN 978-3-7917-2384-6 (= studies on pastoral liturgy 31).
  • Martin Leuenberger: Blessings. UTB, Stuttgart 2015, ISBN 978-3-8252-4429-3 .
  • Klaus Seybold: The blessing and other liturgical words from the Hebrew Bible. Theological Publishing House, Zurich 2004, ISBN 3-290-17320-8 .
  • Hans-Hugo Steinhoff: 'Ad catarrum dic', 'Ad equum erręhet', 'Ad fluxum sanguinis narium'. In: Author's Lexicon . 2nd edition, Volume I, Col. 27-29.
  • Claus Westermann: The blessing in the Bible and in the actions of the church. Chr. Kaiser, Munich 1992, ISBN 3-459-01945-X .
  • Müller, Gerhard Ludwig, Felmy, Karl Christian, Hofhansl, Ernst W. and Germann, Michael, “Weihe / Weihehandlungen”, in: Religion in Past and Present [RGG, 4th edition 2005, Brill online 2011]. Consulted online on 14 July 2019 < >

Web links

Wiktionary: Blessing  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Commons : Blessing  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Rudolf Schützeichel : Old High German Dictionary , 6th edition, Niemeyer, Tübingen 2006, ISBN 978-3-484-64031-3 , p. 292.
  2. ^ Karl Ernst Georges, Comprehensive Latin-German concise dictionary . Volume 1, Column 809; there also documents.
  3. This corresponds to the Greek verbs εὐλογεῖν (eulogein) and εὐλογίζειν (eulogizein) . Compare with: W. Pape, Greek-German concise dictionary . Graz, 1954. Volume 1, p. 1078.
  4. Blessing 3.b.
  5. Reiner Kaczynski: The Benedictions. In: Bruno Kleinheyer , Emmanuel von Severus , Reiner Kaczynski: Sacramentous celebrations II. Pustet, Regensburg 1984, ISBN 3-7917-0940-2 (Church service, handbook of liturgical science, part 8), pp. 233-274, here p 240, 265-270.
  6. ^ Benediktionale , No. 18
  7. one then speaks of the "people's blessing" JJ Ammann : people's blessing from the Bohemian Forest. In: Journal of the Society for Folklore, Volume 1, 1891, pp. 197–214 and 307–314, and Volume 2, 1892, pp. 165–176.
  8. Margarethe Ruff: Magic Practices as a Life Help. Magic in everyday life from the Middle Ages to today . Campus, Frankfurt 2003, ISBN 978-3-593-37380-5 , pp. 163f
  9. jurors Monday in the Official Rules Siegen, August 18, 1586 , by: Corpus Constitutiorum Nassovicarum , Dillenburg 1796, Vol I, pp 498-528..
  10. ^ Johann Heinrich Zedler : Large, complete universal lexicon of all sciences and arts , Halle and Leipzig 1731–1754
  11. Manfred Wilde : The sorcery and witch trials in Kursachsen , Cologne, Weimar, Vienna 2003, p. 460.
  12. Oskar Ebermann: The development of the three angel blessings in Germany. In: Journal of the Association for Folklore 26, 1916, pp. 128-136.
  13. Achim Masser: Cologne morning blessing. In: Author's Lexicon . Volume V, Col. 57 f.
  14. ^ Karl Weinhold : A High German eye blessing in a Cambridge manuscript of the 12th century. In: Journal of the Association for Folklore , Volume 11, 1901, pp. 79–82 and p. 226.
  15. ^ Hans-Hugo Steinhoff: Munich eye blessing. In: Author's Lexicon . 2nd ed., Volume 6, Col. 752 f.
  16. Wolfgang Wegner: Wound blessing. In: Werner E. Gerabek , Bernhard D. Haage, Gundolf Keil , Wolfgang Wegner (eds.): Enzyklopädie Medizingeschichte. De Gruyter, Berlin / New York 2005, ISBN 3-11-015714-4 , p. 1506.
  17. ^ Gundolf Keil: Blutsegen. In: Werner E. Gerabek et al. (Ed.): Enzyklopädie Medizingeschichte. Berlin / New York 2005, p. 195.
  18. Hans Hugo Steinhoff: 'Bamberg Blutsegen Crist unte iudas spiliten mit spieza'. In: Author's Lexicon . 2nd Edition. Volume 1, Col. 593 f.
  19. Alphons Augustinus Barb: The blessings of blood from Fulda and London. In: Gundolf Keil, Rainer Rudolf, Wolfram Schmitt, Hans Josef Vermeer (eds.): Specialist literature of the Middle Ages. Festschrift Gerhard Eis. Stuttgart 1968, pp. 485-494.
  20. Oskar Ebermann: Blood and wound blessings presented in their development. Berlin 1903 (= Palaestra. Studies and texts from German and English philology. Volume 24).