Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Votive offerings, ex-votos, and tamata

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For OurWorld Tuesday and V-day at ABC Wednesday I show you some votive offerings that can be found all around Israel.

Here is a string of votive offerings, also called votive deposits, on the iconostasis of a Greek Orthodox church in Jerusalem.
(You know, click on the photo and then again on the opened photo, to see the details.)

It can be made of thin embossed metal or sometimes stone and the image on it reminds God of what the person is praying for.
It can also be in thanksgiving for a wish already granted, and then it is called an ex-voto.

A votive offering can also be something of value, like jewelry or these dollars that were left at the Greek Orthodox monastery church in Tiberias.
Stuck in the frame of the icon you can see little photos of people on whom the visiting pilgrim is asking a specific blessing or healing.

This one at the Gerasimus Monastery near Jericho emphasizes a breast, so hopefully someone was cured of breast cancer.

Strange, but sort of hidden or stuck behind the icon in the previous photo were these baby dolls.
They too are votive offerings, from couples asking for, or thanking for, the birth of a child.
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Wikipedia has more information about ex-votos and votive offerings down through the ages.
I just learn now that the Greek Orthodox ones such as this post shows are called tamata (singular: tama).
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This whole thing about votive offerings is fairly new to me (I'm Jewish, remember), so I'd appreciate anything you readers can add from your own experience and sightings.
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28 comments:

Robin said...

You always find such interesting subjects to share, and research them so well too. Always a pleasure to visit here, I never know quite what I'll learn next.

diane b said...

Very interesting and I had never heard of them before so no help from me.

Fun60 said...

I've heard of votive offerings before. I think that was in a catholic church which apparently has a number of similarities to the Greek Orthodox church. However I've never seen offerings such as those metal ones before. Thanks for sharing.

Leah H. said...

Great shots and informative..

Visiting for Our World Tuesday- hope you can stop by:)

http://www.cassandrasminicorner.com/2012/06/my-summer-beauties.html

Black Jack's Carol said...

I'm sorry that i cannot add anything to the information you have posted about votive offerings, but as others have noted, you always find and research very interesting material. The dolls and the emphasis on a breast both struck a chord with me.

Gary said...

Another fascinating post!! Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

Roger Owen Green said...

though I'm not Catholic, I always loved votives.
ROG, ABC Wednesday team

Reader Wil said...

This is very interesting, Dina! So a votive offering is actually an image of your wish.It's a great tradition. We once walked in Cornwall in a wood on our way to a sacred well. There we found a tree with little pieces of cloth or paper attached to its branches as votive offerings.Daphne du Maurier told that she attached a piece of her son's clothing on that tree to act as votive offering. I always thought that it was a Celtic custom.Can we compare this to the letters people write and put between the bricks of the Western Wall in Jerusalem?

photowannabe said...

Such interesting information Dina. I don't know much about votive offerings and have never seen ones like the metal ones before. The doll parts seem a bit ghoulish but I'm sure the intent is from the heart.
Thanks for sharing with us.

Dina said...

Friends, thanks for your feedback. It is always interesting to me to find out what is known and what is not so known in the world outside my little Israel.

Wil, thanks for reminding me--I have seen a Jewish tree with such ribbons once. Near the grave of a tsadik.
Interesting, your idea of comparing votives with the notes to God in the Western Wall! We have to thing about that.
Yes, I read in the Wiki links how the custom of votive offerings is pre-Christian.

Sara said...

It's fascinating...I've heard of votive offerings but never seen any that I know of. There's always something new to learn...

Kim, USA said...

Very interesting! Thanks for sharing.

Kim,USA

BaysideLife said...

Fascinating information. I was raised Catholic and we would light votive candles for our own wishes or in memory of or on behalf of someone else. These votives you have shown are so very personal.

Robert Geiss said...

Thank you very much for teaching what I did not know before. Last time I saw alike was in Spain tough decades ago.
I shall keep this entry much in mind. Thank you once again. Please have a good Wednesday.

Dyanna said...

I loved learning
about the votives. They are very much like the milagros (miracles) that you find in churches in Mexico. I love to think about symbols or objects that people have endowed with sacredness. Thanks for posting this.

Pietro said...

Very informative and interesting, Dina! And so fascinating too.
Here in Turin, at the Consolata, there are many walls full of ex-voto, little tablets painted with the scene of the miracle or of the grace.

Hilda said...

These votive offerings are fancier than those in our churches, which are usually just candles (hence the term "votive candles" for the short and stubby kind).

VP said...

I am always fascinated by these things, we have a whole museum of ex-voto in the Montenero Abbey.

DawnTreader said...

Funny, I just mentioned votive offerings in a post last week; in Scandinavia I think the first thing coming to mind is a 'votive ship', it was common for sailors to give a model ship to a church, if being saved from drowning, or having woved to give such a gift if able to return home from a dangerous journey etc.
See an example of such a model ship in a church here

chubskulit said...

Very interesting kind of offering.

Eye View
Rose, ABC Wednesday Team

Lmkazmierczak said...

Enjoyed your blog. Comments were good to read as well♫♪

Ann said...

Am not familiar with votives but I love reading interesting posts. They can be beautiful offerings.
Ann

crystal said...

Great photos. I've seen votive candles at church, of course, but haven't really noticed votive medals, etc, like in your photos. I know there are some of what you might call votive churches - churches built by rich or powerful people in thanks for the granting of some prauer. Maybe I'll write about that tomorrow - you inspored me :) BTW, how did you come upon that old Oxyrhynchus post?

cieldequimper said...

These literally fascinate me.

Elena said...

It is always so moving to me to learn and see all the different ways human being shave of expressing awe in the face of the infinite.

Pat said...

I've never heard about votive offerings before, either, but they are not a part of prayer or worship in protestant churches. It was very interesting to read.

Kay said...

This is very interesting. I guess many cultures must have something similar to this, putting a hope into something concrete. I hope their prayers were answered.

Suzy said...

A very interesting post. Votive offerings are very common in India.
Stopping by from ABC Wednesday. Here's my post La Vie En Rose