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Paul Hansen




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PostPosted: Sat 30 Apr, 2011 4:26 am    Post subject: Swords in Church?         Reply with quote

During the wedding of prince William and Kate Middleton, I saw various people in church wearing swords.


Now I was under the impression that it was not proper to carry weapons in general inside churches.

Does anyone know how this works?

And how did this work historically?
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Phil Crawley




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PostPosted: Sat 30 Apr, 2011 5:01 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

In general it is, but this is not a general occasion since these swords are worn as part of a military Dress uniform so acceptable. Just wearing a sword because you want to is far from acceptable, for the UK anyway, though it may be tolerated as part of a themed wedding, for example.

There is also a minor subtext of protecting the Monarch. I know Lord Gisborough, Lord Lieutentant of North Yorkshire, was expected to act as the Queen's bodyguard when she was on his turf and so wearing the sword was part of that, even if only symbolically. The reality was he'd have ditched the thing as soon as possible as a terrible inconvenience in the modern world.

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Jack W. Englund




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PostPosted: Sat 30 Apr, 2011 9:10 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Phil Crawley wrote:
In general it is, but this is not a general occasion since these swords are worn as part of a military Dress uniform so acceptable. Just wearing a sword because you want to is far from acceptable, for the UK anyway, though it may be tolerated as part of a themed wedding, for example.


Here in the "States", Some Weddings ( Military ) Swords are Accepted ( sometimes required ), if in Uniform. As to "civilian", I have attended a couple, where I was asked to "carry" as a part of the wedding. As happens, I did NOT carry in the "chapel" ( think sitting in a "Pew"), but donned to "salute" the "newlyweds" as they Exited.
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Jeremy V. Krause




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PostPosted: Sat 30 Apr, 2011 9:57 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Also the fourth degre Knights of Columbus wear ceremonial swords when in full dress in a facility at a Mass.
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David Wilson




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PostPosted: Sat 30 Apr, 2011 1:55 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I've used some of my swords (or have borrowed them for use) in performances, sermons (to make a point -- yeah, that's a bad pun), displays and such. I've seen swords in church at weddings (non-royal), in various denominations. I've even seen martial arts demos in church, which included swords. And then of course there's the fact that some of the finest medieval swords in Europe were kept in churches for years (mainly for ceremonial use, like the Vienna sword of St. Maurice).

There's really no set rule. Most Churches (Catholic, Protestant, and other) seem to think that swords are okay, given the context. No test cutting the pews or parishoners, otherwise you're probably okay.

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Ian S LaSpina




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PostPosted: Sat 30 Apr, 2011 3:44 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

As an officer in the US Navy, we routinely wear swords as part of a wedding party within churches. As a groomsman, you would typically wear your officer's sword as part of the wedding party during the exchange of vows, and then as the new couple is introduced to the public, we as tradition have them walk through a sword arch as they proceed down the steps of the church. Swords are an integral part of a wedding when viewed from the perspective of the military.
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Jack W. Englund




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PostPosted: Sat 30 Apr, 2011 4:07 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

David Wilson wrote:

No test cutting the pews or parishoners, otherwise you're probably okay.


Aye, but there is the "tradition" of "swatting the "Behind" of the Bride by the last "sword in the "Arch of Honor" Razz (just be sure you use the "flat " & warn Her it is going to occur ).

Also the Tradition of a Sword being presented to "cut the cake"
( in 1906, @ the White House ) Alice Roosevelt Cut the Wedding Cake With a Sabre borrowed from a Military Officer.)

Here is the story Big Grin Big Grin Big Grin Big Grin

""Alongside the cake was a knife, and at first Mrs. Longworth (nee Roosevelt) thought to cut the cake with this, but the glazing either offered more resistance than she expected or the knife was dull. Anyway, the cutting proceeded much too slowly for a young woman of her impulsive disposition, and gaily turning to Major McCawley, she called out, `Oh, Major let me have your sword to cut the cake with'.

"The Major, who is too au fait to be surprised at anything, promptly drew his sword, and gallantly taking it by the blade, extended the hilt to her. It happened to be a sabre and admirably adapted to the purpose, and when Mrs. Longworth brandished it aloft and began slashing the cake with it the slices fell right and left, and great was the scramble among her friends for it. It melted away like snow under a hot sun, and within marvelously few minutes after the first stroke of Major McCawley's sabre not a crumb of it was to be had."
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Ian S LaSpina




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PostPosted: Sat 30 Apr, 2011 4:36 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jack W. Englund wrote:

Aye, but there is the "tradition" of "swatting the "Behind" of the Bride by the last "sword in the "Arch of Honor" Razz (just be sure you use the "flat " & warn Her it is going to occur ).

Also the Tradition of a Sword being presented to "cut the cake"
( in 1906, @ the White House ) Alice Roosevelt Cut the Wedding Cake With a Sabre borrowed from a Military Officer.)



Yes, the swatting of the newly wed wife is usually accompanied by the words 'Welcome to the Navy!' by the last gentlemen in the sword arch when done at a Navy wedding, and a Naval Officer groom is expected to cut the cake with the help of his bride using his sword.

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Jonathan Hopkins




PostPosted: Sat 30 Apr, 2011 6:18 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

In case anyone is interested, Charles is wearing a Pattern 1827 Naval Officer's Sword and Philip is wearing a Pattern 1854 Guards Officer's Sword. Happy
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Peter O Zwart




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PostPosted: Sun 01 May, 2011 5:58 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Not swords in-particular but there used to be a law in some of the states during the time when Indian raids were common that stated that every man had to take a gun to church to protect against any raid that might come, I don't have a reference for this though.
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Paul Hansen




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PostPosted: Mon 02 May, 2011 12:31 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for the replies.

So it seems that in the modern world, there is no real theological reason not to wear a sword in church, as long as you are complying with all the usual restrictions on carrying swords in public.

Keeping somehow significant swords in churches as part of the treasury, is something different, I think. Nobody is going to wear them, and certainly not use them for violence, which is something you can't count on just because they are part of a dress uniform...

But does anyone know where this line "no weapons on Holy Ground" from the Highlander movies etc. came from?

And what about firearms?
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Jack W. Englund




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PostPosted: Mon 02 May, 2011 2:08 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Paul Hansen wrote:
Thanks for the replies.



But does anyone know where this line "no weapons on Holy Ground" from the Highlander movies etc. came from?



As to "the movies", perhaps there were "admonitions", based on the real fact, that in "Highland history", many a man was "killed" in "church".
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Jeremy V. Krause




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PostPosted: Mon 02 May, 2011 3:12 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Then there are the tales of knighting rituals where the knight(ee) Happy keeps vigil overnight with his sword upon the altar.

I've never known if these little tid-bits were historical or merely romantic musings passed done to us.
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Michael B.
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PostPosted: Mon 02 May, 2011 3:35 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

My dad, who is a Reverend, has borrowed some of my swords a couple time for sermon illustrations. He's also used my Roman cat of nine tails, and a spear before. I've even been requested to show up in full armour and weapons before for illustrative purposes. So that church definitely has no issues with it...
The sword plays a huge role in the Bible in both actual stories, and in parables. I would find it hard for a church to say No to such a symbolic icon.
I know I'll be using a sword in my wedding ceremony in the church, we've talked about using it for the ceremony, but will definitely be used for the reception.

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Joel Minturn





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PostPosted: Mon 02 May, 2011 3:47 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Paul Hansen wrote:
Thanks for the replies.

But does anyone know where this line "no weapons on Holy Ground" from the Highlander movies etc. came from?

And what about firearms?


The rule was no kiling on Holy Ground and even that I believe was limited to "No taking heads on Holy Ground"
In part that may have been based on the old custom of Churches and the like being sanctuaries, a place of refuge from violence. I belive it is an old Jewish law/custom that any one could be safe in a temple.

In the show/movie it had more to do with the "Quickening" being to powerful but really it was convient way for the writers to make a safe area to hold conversations.
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Jack W. Englund




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PostPosted: Tue 03 May, 2011 3:10 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

We also "forgot" the British Coronation @ Westminster Abbey.. 5 swords are present
The Jewelled Sword of Offering ( presented by the Archbishop of Canterbury to the "Monarch )
The Sword of State, the Sword of Spiritual Justice, the Sword of Temporal Justice and the Sword of Mercy ( borne in front of the Sovereign.)
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Scott Woodruff





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PostPosted: Mon 09 May, 2011 11:12 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Michael- very interesting. I am making a sword using an Albion bare blade for my bride-to-be. No definite date set, so hopefully I will have it finished in time. I don't know if giving her the sword will be somehow part of the ceremony or if I will just give it to her afterwards ( or maybe before.)
A friend and I are researching Biblical arms and armor, partially for the purpose of illustrative demonstrations like what you described. Swords are mentioned something like 411 times in the English translations of the Bible. In the Old Testament, four different Hebrew words for sword are used, while in the New Testament, in Greek, machaira is usually the word used, but rompheia is used at least once. I like Ezekiel 21:9-17 and 28 for sword references. Apparently, they had high standards of finishing back then and really prefered a mirror polish.
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H. Bjornsson




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PostPosted: Mon 09 May, 2011 1:33 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

In swedish the church porch is called "weapon house" because, or so I've been told, you weren't allowed to bear any arms inside the church itself, so they had to be left there. I've always wondered if there wouldnt be mixups on the way out, like people taking the wrong coat after a party Wink . And someone would have to watch them during the sermon you'd think.
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Chris Bosselmann




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PostPosted: Wed 11 May, 2011 5:24 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Wink


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