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Subject: Holy orders, Clergy, Ordination, Reader (liturgy), Kneeling
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The laying on of hands is a religious ritual that accompanies certain religious practices, which are found throughout the world in varying forms.Template:Further explanation needed

In Christian churches, this practice is used as both a symbolic and formal method of invoking the Holy Spirit primarily during baptisms and confirmations, healing services, blessings, and ordination of priests, ministers, elders, deacons, and other church officers, along with a variety of other church sacraments and holy ceremonies.

Jewish tradition

The laying on of hands was an action referred to on numerous occasions in the Genesis 27:27).



Christian traditions

Main article: Christian laying on of hands

In the confirmation.

State use

Main article: royal touch

The laying on of hands, known as the royal touch, was performed by kings in England and France, and was believed to cure scrofula (also called "King's Evil" at the time), a name given to a number of skin diseases. The rite of the king's touch began in France with Robert II the Pious, but legend later attributed the practice to Clovis as Merovingian founder of the Holy Roman kingdom, and Edward the Confessor in England. The belief continued to be common throughout the Middle Ages but began to die out with the Enlightenment. Queen Anne was the last British monarch to claim to possess this divine ability, though the Jacobite pretenders also claimed to do so. The French monarchy maintained the practice up until the 19th century. The act was usually performed at large ceremonies, often at Easter or other holy days.


There have been heavy criticisms from the scientific and non-religious communities towards the practice (as is the case of virtually every form of faith healing), such as that it has been touted as a cure for life-threatening conditions like brain damage, venereal diseases, diabetes and cancer, among others, which can and many times has led to a casualty that might have been avoided or delayed with scientifically proven methods. Also that the sort of the "energy field" created by the "vital energy" sent by the practitioners (i.e. the Japanese ki, the Chinese chi, the Indian prana, or a form of animal magnetism) cannot be detected by any scientific instruments, remaining thus in the realm of speculation and fantasy. Another thing that is strongly criticised on the practice is that, upon failure of the treatment, practitioners tend to use excuses such as that the patient was a non-believer, didn’t have enough belief or faith in the practice or practitioner, including other excuses that shield the practitioner at the cost of the patient.[2] Claimed cures with the imposition of hands are usually dismissed by the scientific community either as a placebo effect or as a spontaneous remission. One cannot however differentiate between a remission and a healing.

For a broader view on the criticisms that apply to the practice, see also:

See also



External links

  • CBN Video: Living a Life of Miracles
  • Oliveira, R. M. J. de, "Evaluation of the effects on the practice of hands imposition on the hematologic and imunologic systems of male mice" (Portuguese)
  • CBN Video: Miracles Outside the Church Walls
  •'s King's Evil and the Royal Touch
  • Skeptic's Dictionary entry on Reiki
  • Skeptic's Dictionary entry on Therapeutic Touch (TT)
  • Testimonies on
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