sprinkle with holy water

Nunty

Modified
Hebrew-US English (bilingual)
Hi all,

I am translating a text about a very solemn religious ceremony. At one point the Patriarch sprinkles the assembled people with holy water.

"Sprinkle" sounds so casual to me. Is there some other word that can be used in this religious context that has a little more weight to it?

Thanks!
 
  • Nunty

    Modified
    Hebrew-US English (bilingual)
    Thanks, envie and el escoces.

    I'm afraid "anoint" doesn't work for holy water; it refers to oil and oil-based lotion.

    The Wiki lead is good. I guess I'll go with "sprinkle", though it seems a bit precious.
    :)
     

    El escoces

    Senior Member
    English - UK
    Anointing seems personalised to me, as if each one is being treated with the holy water in turn. In a general sense, however, it might be sufficient.
     

    stevemicos

    New Member
    Isreal
    Anointing appears to be customized to me, as though every one is being treated with the sacred water thusly. In a general sense, be that as it may, it may be adequate.
     

    cando

    Senior Member
    English - British
    I am familiar with this from childhood. ewie is right that "aspersion" is the technical noun for sprinkling with holy water (it is a direct derivation from Latin), but I have never heard an equivalent verb "to asperse". It is always "sprinkle" in English. Nunty is also correct to point out that "anoint" applies to (and derives from) oil/ointment, so that is not correct. By the way, Wikipedia is not correct to use "sprinkle" for Baptism, at least in the Orthodox and Catholic traditions. Water has to be poured when baptising. Sprinkling is used in ceremonial contexts for the blessing of congregations with holy water. A brush, branch, or a kind of perforated shaker is dipped in a container of water and waved over the heads of the people, spraying or sprinkling them with the water.
     

    Truffula

    Senior Member
    English - USA
    "To asperse" is in various dictionaries, but its actual use is exceedingly rare. I found one in the English version of a book Ceremonial According to the Roman Rite by Giuseppe Baldeschi, translated over a century ago by Hilarius Dale from Italian.

    "On the second night the same ceremonies are observed, except that the Bishop does not asperse holy water, if there is a custom of removing it, and the bells are not rung."

    Another example, this one on a web page: http://omahaordinariate.org/holywater.html

    "At funerals it is customary in many places for those present to asperse the remains with holy water with three single propulsions of the sprinkler -- center, left, right -- while silently saying a prayer for the departed soul or for the souls of all the faithful. "

    Dictionary link:
    http://www.wordreference.com/definition/asperse
     

    Nunty

    Modified
    Hebrew-US English (bilingual)
    As a translator who has been known to specialize in religious material, particuarly Catholic material, one of the problems I've come across it the use of real or invented cognates of terms rather than actual translations, particularly in English-language texts from the 18th through 20th centuries. I attribute "asperse" to this custom.

    My question at the beginning of this thread did not refer to baptism, but rather to the rite that replaces the Penitential Rite at the beginning of Mass during Eastertide. It's been a while since I posted it, but I assume I just wrote around it. :)
     

    Truffula

    Senior Member
    English - USA
    It makes a lot of sense that they'd do that, Nunty. Thank you for the insightful addition.
     

    perpend

    Banned
    American English
    I am familiar with this from childhood. ewie is right that "aspersion" is the technical noun for sprinkling with holy water (it is a direct derivation from Latin), but I have never heard an equivalent verb "to asperse". It is always "sprinkle" in English. Nunty is also correct to point out that "anoint" applies to (and derives from) oil/ointment, so that is not correct. By the way, Wikipedia is not correct to use "sprinkle" for Baptism, at least in the Orthodox and Catholic traditions. Water has to be poured when baptising. Sprinkling is used in ceremonial contexts for the blessing of congregations with holy water. A brush, branch, or a kind of perforated shaker is dipped in a container of water and waved over the heads of the people, spraying or sprinkling them with the water.
    My Catholic background confers with this.

    Neither "asperse" nor "anoint" is used.

    I would use "to spray", as cando mentions.

    If you have never experienced it (I think the Catholic Church now might frown upon it ... probably a law suit, or hygiene issues) it's quite odd.

    The Priest has a microphone-shaped object, out of which comes holy water, and he shakes it into the pews.

    Talk about drama.

    Amen
     

    Nunty

    Modified
    Hebrew-US English (bilingual)
    My Catholic background confers with this.

    Neither "asperse" nor "anoint" is used.

    I would use "to spray", as cando mentions.

    If you have never experienced it (I think the Catholic Church now might frown upon it ... probably a law suit, or hygiene issues) it's quite odd.

    The Priest has a microphone-shaped object, out of which comes holy water, and he shakes it into the pews.

    Talk about drama.

    Amen
    Practices in the Catholic Church vary around the world. The rite known formally known as "Asperges" (not sure what language that is supposed to be) still takes place in many dioceses at the beginning of Mass, replacing the Confiteor (Penitential Rite, the Kyrie responsa), particularly during the liturgical season of Eastertide.

    I have never seen "spray" used in any official texts and it feels strange to me. An aspergillum or leafy twig (here in Jerusalem part of an olive branch is often used) is dipped into the vessel containing the holy water and then shaken such that drops of the water sprinkle those within reach.
     

    Nunty

    Modified
    Hebrew-US English (bilingual)
    I see no problem with 'spray' in any ordinary context; of if you're writing a theological study, 'asperse'.
    I guess my main problem with "spray" is that it the ordinary meaning of the word (a continuous stream or jet of droplets) doesn't really fit the action discussed here. It's probably only an issue to word-and-religion nerds like me, though.
     

    bennymix

    Senior Member

    exgerman

    Senior Member
    NYC
    English but my first language was German
    For some unknown reason I happen to know that aspersion is the 'technical' term for this:)
    Right. The anthem sung at a Latin mass while holy water is being sprinkled over the congregation is called the Asperges (from the first word of the Latin text), and the action is called aspersion.

    The text of the anthem can be translated as "Sprinkle me with hyssop and I shall become whiter than snow". I think it's a psalm verse.
     
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