Talk:Holy water

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Possible additions[edit]

This is a decent article as far as it goes, but I see a couple ways it could be improved:

  • It should also discuss the role of holy water in Eastern Orthodox Christianity
  • While there is lots here about the mechanics and rules etc. regarding holy water, there is little or nothing of the theology that underlies its use.
  • Anyone want to take a stab at why Protestants don't bless water, or use holy water? Do Lutherans or Anglicans use it?

I'll work on these areas as time allows, but help is always welcome. Something to think about: how should the Catholic and Orthodox sections be organized; how little or much should they be split? For example, the Orthodox bless holy water at Theophany (January 6) each year, not Easter, and distribute it at that time. Thus it's connected with Jesus' baptism. The bit about the different sorts of holy water (Gregorian etc.) sounds pretty close, but they probably have different names for them at the least. Wesley 05:36, 23 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Lack of information is the chief reason why I did not address Orthodox holy water.  :) Holy water is addressed only briefly in the Catechism of the Catholic Church; I will add a reference to it. Some history of the practice might also be nice. Smerdis of Tlön 13:26, 23 Jul 2004 (UTC)

  • Perhaps, in the section "Anglican Holy Water", the word "Anglicans" should be changed to Anglo-Catholics (or High-Church Anglicans), as it should be noted that the majority of Anglicans neither use statues nor bless themselves with holy water at Church (I'm speaking primarily from experience here). Irishmaestro 00:38, 27 Feb 2006 (GMT)

Weapon against unholy creatures[edit]

As widely known, holy water also is a successful weapon against unholy creatures like vampires or zombies. I think this should be mentioned in the article. --IN·VINO·VERITAS (talk) 06:19, 28 December 2007 (UTC)

It sounds like you're joking, but I actually agree. Holy water definitely has a notable appearance as such in literature and media. The Popular Culture section referenced below must have been removed, which would be an appropriate place. I would suggest a "Use in Fiction" section. Spacexplosion (talk) 02:17, 12 June 2010 (UTC)
Agreed, holy water is widely used in vampire/monster folklore and this should be mentioned. Mrmekon (talk) 19:14, 12 June 2010 (UTC)
While searching for reliable sources in fiction, I came across Vampire#Protection which educated me in a few real-world practices that involve holy water. I wonder, is it bad form to cite the same references noted in Vampire for a simple statement like, "Holy water was once thought to be a tool for combating monsters like vampires"? It would be quite a lot of trouble to find the references at the library myself just for this purpose.
Although this article once had an "In Fiction" section, I now think that this content would be better served in a "Folk-lore" section or perhaps as an addition to "Protection against Evil". I'm a little hesitant to pick novels to cite the fictional components. Maybe Bram Stoker's Dracula is notable enough. Suggestions are welcome. Spacexplosion (talk) 21:20, 14 June 2010 (UTC)
Suggestion? This discussion could not be for real. Let us just forget about it. History2007 (talk) 21:29, 14 June 2010 (UTC)
Indeed, I think this talk section was started as a joke, but despite that I think it has merit :). The prior existence of an "In Fiction" section implies as much. In my free time I'll continue trying to find some references to document the folklore surrounding holy water. History2007, your help in particular is needed in choosing these references, since you were the editor who removed the "In Fiction" section. Thanks. Spacexplosion (talk) 21:51, 14 June 2010 (UTC)
Holy water is clearly prevalent in modern vampire stories, but I don't know the best way to reference that. One option is a long list of films and books that feature holy water as a weapon, but that seems overly tedious. I found some book sources, but what is considered reputable as far as fantasy folklore is concerned? Vampire God, The Vampire Encyclopedia, Complete Idiot's Guide to Vampires, Dracula in the Dark, The Real Monsters, Folklore Forum, Vampire Lore, Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics. Mrmekon (talk) 15:41, 15 June 2010 (UTC)
Is it a weapon against Sockpuppets as well? History2007 (talk) 16:22, 15 June 2010 (UTC)
Please assume good faith and not make disparaging insinuations to new users. Judging by the quality of Mrmekon's addition of a Hygene section, I would guess he is a "long time editor first time registered" like I was/am a few months ago. Spacexplosion (talk) 18:13, 15 June 2010 (UTC)
The Vampire Encyclopedia is a source that appeared in Vampire as well, but I can't read enough of the text surrounding the mention on Google Books to get a good feel for it. The other sources' mentions seem anecdotal except for The Real Monsters, which actually states that holy water is damaging to vampires. Good find. This might be enough to stub out the section. I'll come back to it in a bit. Spacexplosion (talk) 18:13, 15 June 2010 (UTC)
I just found that the story mentioned in the Folklore Forum link above has a wikipedia entry that even mentions death by holy water. It has no references and has been suggested for deletion, but does link to the full text of the story. The english text is available here, as part of Project Gutenberg. Mrmekon (talk) 18:30, 15 June 2010 (UTC)
Of course, so in good faith please have check user run on him, and be done. Good faith suggests that he is not your sock puppet, but just has a very similar writing style. Wink, wink. I think, in all good faith, this is a joke. And anyway, that Vap source fails WP:Reliable. History2007 (talk) 18:25, 15 June 2010 (UTC)
Wikipedia:Sockpuppet_investigations#When_not_to_request_CheckUser states that credible evidence is required to request an investigation, else the request will be ignored. As I think that your suspicion is unfounded, I could not make such a request. I encourage you to do so for your own peace of mind. I believe any further discussion on this matter would be better suited to one of our user talk pages.
Would you please identify a specific reason why the source, The Real Monsters, is not reliable? Spacexplosion (talk) 19:29, 15 June 2010 (UTC)
Superfringe, non scholarly. History2007 (talk) 19:34, 15 June 2010 (UTC)
I agree with History2007 on The Real Monsters being no good; it's a secondary source, but no cited references are visible in the Google preview. In a case like this, proving the existence of something in popular culture, I think primary sources are appropriate. I would use actual published stories involving holy water as the references, and try to get them from a range of decades to prove relevance. Not a list of occurrences like was previously attempted, but just enough to prove a trend. Is that sufficient and appropriate in wikipedia culture? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Mrmekon (talkcontribs) 20:12, 15 June 2010 (UTC)
Additionally, here is a source somewhere in the secondary/tertiary realm that covers Slavic folklore specifically. The vampire entry mentions holy water, and cites references. A Dictionary of Superstitions and Mythology. Mrmekon (talk) 20:32, 15 June 2010 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Well, it looks like a solid citation. I'll need to brush up on my german to investigate further, but it's kind of a weak mention. I'll quote it here because it's not particularly easy to find.

Other methods of destroying the power of the monster have also been advocated, such as sprinkling the corpse with holy water, but the above is said to be the most effectual. (KRAUSS, Vampirglaube in Serbien und Lithauen in "Mittheil d. Anthrop. Gesellschaft in Wien," Vol. XVIII, 183; ABBOTT, p. 217; RALSTON, Songs of the Russian People, p.412.)

Surely there are some journals studying modern fiction or eastern European folklore that would say more. Though I'm not sure where to look. I applaud your google-fu so far. Spacexplosion (talk) 04:10, 16 June 2010 (UTC)

Here's another mention in an encyclopedia published in 1880 [1]. Spacexplosion (talk) 21:04, 21 June 2010 (UTC)
Time and difficulty are pushing this outside my interest. I guess I'm not experienced enough researching sociology. I'm going to add a few sentences to Protection against evil based on the two recent sources and leave it at that. Spacexplosion[talk] 19:51, 2 July 2010 (UTC)

Popular culture[edit]

I have no problem with this section as such, but do we really need to provide transcripts of dialogue from multiple TV shows? TCC (talk) (contribs) 07:38, 4 December 2005 (UTC)

  • How do you on-holy hloy water? What is its exact opposite? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 23:40, 28 February 2007 (UTC)
The opposite of holy water is cursed water, or "unholy water". To obtain it, drop bottles of tap water on a non-aligned altar (e.g. if you are Christian, use a Muslim or Buddhist altar), then pray. Note that this may be dangerous in several ways. Muad 04:15, 16 July 2007 (UTC)

This section was later changed to "In Fiction" and then deleted at 07:23, 1 May 2010 for lack of sources. Spacexplosion (talk) 21:20, 14 June 2010 (UTC)


"Aside from other substances that may be added to the water as it is blessed, holy water is indistinguishable from ordinary water[citation needed]." Why does a citation need to be added to that? The chemical make up does not change at all, unless the person blessing the water has particularly bad breath and breathes near it. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 23:17, 28 June 2007 (UTC)

The Roman Catholics add salt. In the Orthodox Baptismal rite, but not at other time when holy water is blessed, oil is poured in as the water is blessed. In those cases, you can detect either salty or oily water, so to that extent the water is distinguishable. But it beats me why anyone would think a cite is needed for such a trivially true statement. TCC (talk) (contribs) 23:44, 28 June 2007 (UTC)


I understand that holy water has a different density than normal water. What is the difference? In theory, I would assume that the molecules in holy water would have more energy, and therefore be less dense than normal water... This logic seems sound, assuming that the blessing adds energy. Doesn't this make sense? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs).

In a word, no. TCC (talk) (contribs) 21:12, 21 March 2007 (UTC)

Are the Blessing Propagations (measured in m/s) and Blessing Contents (measured in ppm) for real? I had to laugh out loud reading that section, wondering how one could assign scientific measures to a belief system. Do "Blessions" add to the molecular weight of the Holy Water? Where do Blessions appear on the Periodic Table? ...thanks! Promethh 13:59, 5 April 2007 (UTC)

Possible vandalism?[edit]

In the first paragraph: "... holy water is water which has been passed by a priest..." I don't know enough about the subject to say one way or the other, so I haven't changed it; while the word may be used in the context of "passed quality control", 'passing water' is a wee bit different. --StarChaser Tyger (talk) 06:30, 27 December 2007 (UTC)

I've reverted that vandalism before. :( jonathon (talk) 11:57, 29 December 2007 (UTC)


I think a section describing how and when Holy Water came into use would be very helpful. Does anyone have any sources for this? Paulistano (talk) 03:40, 29 January 2008 (UTC)paulistano

I'll get back on that, but an old Catholic tradition says the use of holy water came from St. Matthew. We do know that it was at least used by the time of Leo I. Here's a link: Resolver-Aphelion (talk) 04:57, 14 April 2010 (UTC)

Actually, the use of holy water by Christians has its roots in Judaism. cf Numbers 5:17. See the following link; Helensguy1 (talk) 06:30, 14 January 2014 (UTC)

Citation needed[edit]

The article at current time states "holy water is water which has been sanctified by a priest or bishop for the purpose of baptism or for the blessing of persons, places, or things." but I cannot find anywhere of Catholic Doctrine which states it is used for places or things, only persons. How can one validate these claims and should it simply read "holy water is water which has been sanctified by a priest or bishop for the purpose of baptism or for the blessing of persons"? I understand that people do use it in the manner of blessing objects, but my dad argues one must be a Catholic Priest to bless objects and that regular people cannot validly use holy water in this way as it's sole purpose is to bless people. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:57, 23 October 2008 (UTC)

Bacteria Content[edit]

I have seen accounts of extraordinary measurements of bacteria in holy water. As it is entirely likely that a small pool of water touched by (sometimes dozens) many people it is believable to me that some urban pools of holy water contain abnormal amounts of harmful bacteria. Anyone else seen evidence of this?WhoIsJohnGalt? (talk) 05:59, 28 January 2009 (UTC)

No, but I've heard of studies done in Russia showing that blessing food before a meal reduces harmful bacteria. Wesley (talk) 06:04, 28 January 2009 (UTC)
Please provide that reference!-- (talk) 23:46, 14 December 2009 (UTC)

I think a section on sanitation would be a good idea. A Google Book search turns up reference to bacteria studies in shared holy water fonts going back to the 1800s. Some more recent example sources: Measuring Bacteria, Swine flu fears, Automatic holy water dispenser. Mrmekon (talk) 19:12, 12 June 2010 (UTC)

I added a Hygiene section to address this, and used the above sources. Please feel free to add or reword as necessary. Mrmekon (talk) 20:18, 15 June 2010 (UTC)

Why doesn't the pope bless all the oceans and seas?[edit]

Surely if he blessed the entire water cycle it would get rid of all evil in the world as all living organisms need water to survive? Unless it's a giant load of make-believe that is... —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:02, 9 August 2009 (UTC)

Don't ask stupid questions. Obviously even the Pope doesn't have enough mana to cast Bless on the whole volume of the ocean. Spacexplosion (talk) 02:17, 12 June 2010 (UTC)

Use in Anglicanism[edit]

I'm not sure this section is correct, or at least comprehensive. Anglicanism is a very broad church and this section seems mostly about Anglo-Catholic practice. Many Anglican parishes would be quite hostile to the idea of holy water, which is seen as 'superstitious popery' and lumped together with incense, ornate statuary etc. All Anglicans carry out baptism, but there isn't much mention of 'holy' water in most churches. -- (talk) 12:42, 20 September 2009 (UTC)


Holy Water and Its Significance for Catholics by Henry Theiler 1906 isbn : 9780766175532 might be of some help.--Stone (talk) 22:09, 13 November 2009 (UTC) has the 1909 edition at jonathon (talk) 22:42, 14 June 2010 (UTC)

Non-Christian Use section needed[edit]

There is a use of holy water in religions other than Christianity. I think this section needs to be added or expanded. — Preceding unsigned comment added by NegiSpringfieldof4ch (talkcontribs) 02:29, 2 November 2011 (UTC)

Church of Unification is in the Christian part of the article[edit]

The Church of Unification is not a christian church as it refers to a new messiah, rearranges texts from the Bible, and considers Jesus the Christ, was not successful in completing its task, which is absolutely contradictory to the christian definition. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:28, 19 March 2012 (UTC)