Many people have heard about the ritual of consecration of a house or an apartment, or even participated in it themselves. Not everyone, however, understands the meaning of this ritual: some doubt its necessity, while others, on the contrary, treat it as a kind of magical action.
The Lord Jesus said to His disciples, [W]ithout me ye can do nothing (John 15:5). That is why there have been special prayers to God to bring down His grace in various spheres of our life in the Orthodox Church since ancient times. Everyone needs the Lord to help us in our daily lives. If prayers and petitions bring a person closer to the Lord, then, of course, our homes should also be sanctified by prayer. Consecrating something means dedicating it to the One whose power we aspire to harness. This is what many people do not understand. When you consecrate your home, it means that you dedicate it to God. After all, not just the walls are consecrated, but the whole spiritual environment of the house is consecrated; something that did not belong to God before — or if it did, was somehow desecrated — is dedicated to God. We must do everything to ensure that the Lord reigns in all areas of our lives.
For example, the work we do should be done for God’s sake: diligently, assiduously, neatly, without deceit and laziness, even if there are no supervisors above us except for God and our conscience. In that case, the work will surely be done in a professional manner. If spouses understand that they are united by God Himself in marriage, they should try to preserve such an environment in their family that the Creator would rule, His commandments would be observed, peace would be retained, there would be patience and desire to overcome selfish motives… The same is true for our domestic life.
If we want God to be the Master of our homes, we must not defile our homes with quarrels, fornication, profanity, drunkenness, smoking and all sorts of other harmful habits, excesses, indecency, watching pornographic movies, any idols (they are very diverse in our age), the presence of occult, esoteric, sectarian literature, which is not in any way compatible with Orthodoxy – books by theosophers, astrologers, chiromancers, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Charismatics and other God-fighting enemies of the Orthodox Church. After all, when performing the rite of blessing of a house, the priest reads Psalm 101, which teaches people how to spend their lives faithfully in the presence of God, and contains the following words, I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes (Psalm 101:3).
That is why some priests, when they see such loathsome things in the houses to be consecrated, insist on removing the idols and the books that contain false teachings before the ceremony, as stated in the Scripture, Many of them also which used curious arts brought their books together, and burned them before all men: and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver (Acts 19:19). You should obey the priests and remove all kinds of idols from your home (not just throw them in the trash or give them to someone, but burn them or break them into small pieces!), figurines of domestic deities, statues of Buddha, for example, sitting on a pile of money (to attract wealth to the house, they say), charms (astrological zodiac signs or flags and bells of good luck with Chinese spells, horseshoes that hang above the front door, masks of various oriental deities brought from exotic countries…) For it is said, Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. (2 Cor. 6:14-18).
I have repeatedly heard from people whose homes I consecrated, that bad things began to happen in their homes after they rented their homes to the offices of psychics or rented their apartments to practicing adherents of different pagan cults and sects. In this case, the priest adds a special prayer for a house haunted by evil spirits to the rite of consecration.
Since the rite of the consecration of a house is not one of the Church Sacraments, the residents themselves can sprinkle the house with holy water. Nevertheless, it is preferable that the consecration be done by priests who have a designated set of prayers in their books and who know how to do everything right. As far as the frequency of consecration of houses is concerned, there are no canonical regulations; in line with an ancient tradition, it is desirable to do it at least once a year. For example, this is the case in many monasteries, which are consecrated on Epiphany; and also in villages, when once a year, at the request of villagers, parish priests consecrate all houses on Epiphany. It is also advised to consecrate houses after desecration, major repairs or, as mentioned above, in cases of demonic activity (for example, in case of sudden occurrence of phobias in the occupants, like the fear of falling asleep without light, etc.; in cases of unmotivated irritation and anger, quarrels for no apparent reason; “unauthorized” movement of objects in the apartment; when one feels the presence of an invisible evil spirit).
Translated by The Catalogue of Good Deeds