Did you know that dogs should not go to church? There is even a common opinion that if a dog somehow penetrates the temple, it will need to be consecrated immediately. Otherwise – expect trouble.
Why is the church so determined against dogs?
The fact is that dogs are often mentioned in the Old Testament as unclean animals. First of all, because the ancient Jews hated everything that was connected with their enemies – the Romans and Egyptians, who bred dogs for fighting. Therefore, the Jews, these animals caused the same persistent hostility, as well as their owners.
Even Moses himself called unclean dogs. In Jews, a comparison with a dog was generally considered shameful and humiliating, because in this way an insulted person was equated with a heathen. Gradually, in the Jewish tradition, the dog began to be considered a symbol of despicable impurity. Even in the New Testament the word “dog” is used in the allegorical meaning, that is, as a comparison with the adherents of a different faith – the pagans.
According to another, more modern version, these faithful four-legged friends are displeasing to the church because a person has to constantly take care of them, as they require increased attention. And it distracts him from prayers and repentance. Cats in this sense occupy a more privileged position, since they are not so much dependent on their owner. Fluffy purrs are generally very proud and independent creatures, they do not require constant affection and care from people, and therefore do not distract them from prayers and thoughts about God.
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What is the difference between clean and unclean animals?
The separation of animals into clean and unclean came from the Old Testament. It states that after the Flood people were allowed to eat the meat of pure animals. These included only those ruminant mammals that had split hoofs. All other animals were declared unclean, which means that they could not be eaten. Accordingly, both dogs and cats are unclean animals. Here only the church is more loyal to cats. And for good reason.
Why are cats, unlike dogs, allowed to go to the temple, despite some restrictions?
In one of the rules of the Ecumenical Council it is said that there is no place for animals in the temple. Let them into the church is possible only in case of mortal danger. However, in the case of cats, this rule is often violated. At the gates of some monasteries even have special openings for these furry pets. Apparently the clergy believe that cats are very neat and tidy animals, they are a symbol of comfort and warmth. Accordingly, these animals can not disrupt the course of worship, on the contrary, the cats infect with their calmness and slowness, which has the congregation to prayer.
In addition, the monks are allowed to the monasteries of cats purely for pragmatic reasons. These animals easily destroy mice and rats, and therefore do not allow them to spoil the church property – to gnaw prosphora and wax candles. So cats also serve God. And so that they can do their work unhindered, they are even allowed on the altar.
Is it true that if a dog enters a temple, then you need to re-light it?
There is a treasure of Peter Graves, which speaks of the rite. There is not a single rite in it about the consecration of the church after dogs or other animals. So to light the temple, after the dog entered it, of course, no one will. However, too superstitious and impressionable people say that it is necessary to do it. After all, it is in the dogs, according to ancient beliefs, the devil most often infuses.
Modern priests do not adhere to this version. They treat dogs well, many of these animals even live in the churchyard and serve as guards. But in the church itself they are still not allowed. As dogs are extremely unclean beasts. They love to wallow in the mud, which means they can stain the floors in the temple. In addition, dogs are very noisy and fussy, with their sudden barking they can scare people and disrupt the course of worship.
So dogs are not allowed into the temple simply because they do not always know how to behave themselves. But cats, in contrast, have a very calm character. Therefore, they can enter the church whenever they please, unlike dogs.