Why do we put boys in the altar with knives, fire and alcohol?

After Divine Liturgy yesterday my 9 year old reported the usual shenanigans that altar boys get into behind the iconostas.  (Moms, you’ll understand when I say I much prefer not to see what’s going on.)   So the 9 year old tells me, in a very casual manner, about an “incident” that happened with his 7 year old brother.

“Mom, if M’s hair smells like charcoal, it’s ok, it just got a little singed.  He got his head too close to the censor, but we picked out the burned parts.”   

School photos are tomorrow.   Luckily the missing parts are on the back of his head.

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