Surely you smelled a pleasant sweetish smell, designed to immerse a person in awe and a kind of bliss during church services. This is nothing more than church incense or special incense, which is widespread in India and China and has a significant role in the conduct of Christian services.
Frankincense is made from plants of the special cistus family. A large number of these plants are brought from the Mediterranean, where herbs and flowers are very common. You can get incense mixture from ordinary cedar, spruce or pine resin, but the extraction process will be somewhat complicated, because natural turpentine must be removed from the resin. The peculiarity of the imported material is its pleasant sweet smell, incense made from resins has a tart aroma, after which there is often a bitter taste in the mouth.
The "magic" properties of incense are quite understandable - incense contains the same substances as hashish. Tetrahydrocannabiol acts on the brain to increase the production of serotonin.
Frankincense from the resin of the boswellia tree is considered to be the highest quality and rare - it is a dew incense, which is isolated from the Lebanese cedar. Most often it is delivered in the form of hardened resins, chopped into small blocks. The bars were ground by monks into powder, usually white or pink, then packed in bags and diluted with oils to the desired consistency. Frankincense was allowed to rest for about a couple of hours.
Since ancient times, burning incense has been considered a form of reverence and making a special sacrifice to a higher being, God. Thus, from time immemorial, people have tried to appease higher powers, to raise prayer and gratitude to heaven.
Frankincense stood at the very origins of ancient Christianity, and the ancient Egyptians even mixed it with special oils and used it as a kind of medicine. Today, incense is isolated from the resin of cedar trees and larch, and is widely used in cosmetology and aromatherapy.
According to ancient Christian beliefs, a small bag of incense, tied to a cross, was able to ward off evil spirits and protect a person from an evil spirit, it was from here that the saying “runs like the devil from incense” appeared.
Fighting evil spirits
Church incense was considered the main product for identifying demons and sorcerers, ground to powder and added to the drink, it led the evil spirits into a state of disorientation and allowed Orthodox Christians to pinpoint dangerous and suspicious individuals. The rituals of "hysteria", or in translation into modern language, exorcism, the expulsion of the devil, was also accompanied by the burning of the same church incense and the expulsion of the evil spirit from the patient through the crack of the necessarily slightly open door.
Frankincense in Russia carried out the so-called "puffing", when, while reading prayers, the furrows were stoned with incense to exclude pestilence and all kinds of misfortunes on the harvest. It was incense that in ancient times was used to treat diseases of the respiratory tract, in particular tuberculosis, and incense was also placed at the bedside of people suffering from severe pain.
There were even special incense books, in which all expenses for church incense were recorded, churches, monasteries and all their inhabitants were scrupulously listed, to whom valuable incense was given for use.
The smell of incense is considered a symbol of the higher, divine world, which is a serious force in opposition to the devilish, lower worlds. Being a powerful way of communication between the priest and the laity when performing the rite of worship and reading prayers, the censer with incense smoking pleasantly in it remains a deeply revered religious tradition today.