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Dismissal (liturgy)

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The Dismissal (Greek: apolysis) is the final blessing said by a Christian priest or minister at the end of a religious service. In liturgical churches the dismissal will often take the form of ritualized words and gestures, such as raising the minister's hands over the congregation, or blessing with the sign of the cross. The use of a final blessing at the end of a liturgical service may be based upon the Priestly Blessing prescribed for the kohanim in the Torah (Numbers 6:23-27).

Eastern Orthodoxy

File:Patriarch Theofilos blessing.jpg

In the Orthodox Church, blessings by the priest will occur at both the beginning and the end of each service, and there may be other benedictions during the course of the service. The final benediction is the dismissal, and will often entail mention of the feast day or saint being commemorated that day.

The priest will bless with his right hand, and the bishop will bless with both hands. In both cases, the hand is held so that the fingers form the initials IC XC (the abbreviation for "Jesus Christ" in Greek), and at the concluding words he traces the Sign of the Cross in the air with his hand. If a bishop is holding his paterissa (crozier) while making the dismissal, he will raise both his right and left hands and trace the Sign of the Cross with both his crozier and right hand, crossing the one in front of the other. More solemn benedictions, such as that which comes at the end of the Divine Liturgy, will be made with a blessing cross rather than the hand.

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