The Mystery (Sacrament) of Chrismation

theophany04.jpg

Beloved in Our Savior Jesus Christ,

THE MYSTERION (SACRAMENT) OF CHRISMATION

The Mystery (Sacrament of Chrismation is performed usually immediately after the Mystery (Sacrament) of Baptism, comprising together with it a single Church rite. The performer of the Sacrament, the bishop or priest, "anoints the one who has been baptized with the Holy Myrrh, making the sign of the Cross on the various members of the body , while signing each part of the body he pronounces the words, 'the seal of the gift of the Holy Spirit." This Sacrament is also performed on those who are united to the church from another Christian tradition as one of the means of their being united to the Orthodox Church. The words by which the Sacrament is performed, "the seal of the gift of the Holy Spirit," indicate its significance and effect. It is (a) the culminating act of being united to the Church, the confirmation or seal of union; and (b) the seal of the grace-given powers which are bestowed on it for strengthening and growth in spiritual life.

Just as it was the holy Apostles who were sent to the baptized Samaritans in order to bring down upon them the Holy Spirit, so also in the Sacrament of Chrismation, the myrrh which is used, according to the decree of the Church, must be sanctified by a bishop, as the highest successor of the Holy Apostles. The sanctification of myrrh occurs in a special solemn sacred rite, with the participation, when possible, of other bishops of the Church.

Apart from the Sacrament of Chrismation, the myrrh is used also in exceptional circumstances.  Thus, at the sanctification of a church, there is performed the signing with the holy myrrh of the holy Altar-table, upon which the Sacrament of the Holy Body and Blood of Christ will be performed, and likewise of the walls of the church. As a special rite, the anointment with holy myrrh is also performed at the accession of the royal throne of Orthodox kings.

With agape,

+Father George