Unction in the Orthodox Church: what is it, what is it for?
Unction — a special ritual, held in the Orthodox Church for the remission of sins, healing from mental and bodily diseases. One priest or seven at once can hold an unction, it depends on the internal statutes of the temple.
The ceremony takes place according to certain rules, you must first prepare for this event. The history of occurrence will help to understand the true essence of the ritual and determine the need for it.
Initially, the unction had a different name — unholy. «The consecration is the sacrament, in which, when the body is anointed with oil, the grace of God is invoked on the sick person, healing spiritual and physical weaknesses.» Holy Scripture clearly indicates that the source of disease is the sinful nature of man. (see, for example: Mk.
2: 3, 5).
They conducted a sacrament in the house of patients who did not have the physical ability to come to an Orthodox church.
From the 10th century, priests made a decision to resolve the sacrament not only over the gravely ill, but also over all those who suffer from heartache, have various sins. This format came to Orthodox Russia from Greece.
Initially, the sacrament was performed twice a year: on Holy Thursday and Great Saturday.
In the gospel there are references to the conduct of such rituals that the apostles performed, following God’s decree: «Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand» (Matt. 4:17), they preached repentance and «healed them with oil and healed them» (Mk.
6: 12-13). There is a mention of the sacrament in the New Testament, where its meaning is fully revealed: “Is anyone among you sick, let him call for the elders of the Church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will heal the sick, and the Lord will raise him up; and if he has committed sins, they will be forgiven ”(James.
The purpose of the ritual is to absolution, deliberately and unwittingly committed, healing from mental and physical diseases.
The ritual is performed for all Christians who wish.
At home, the priest performs the rite over a dying person, releases all his worldly sins and prepares the soul for the afterlife.
For the passage of the ritual is necessary:
- to be baptized;
- be over the age of 7 years;
- be sober (do not take alcohol and drugs).
Women are not allowed to be worshiped during menstruation for 40 days after delivery.
The priests do not recommend healthy people to be gathered, but some are inclined to believe that every living person has the right to go through the ceremony on Holy Thursday for the absolution.
All clerics are unanimous in that participate in the unction "unclean" big sin Unbaptized people do not walk under God, do not have their Guardian Angel, are not protected by certain saints.
After passing through the ritual, it is necessary to lead a righteous life and pray without ceasing, which the unbaptized cannot do.
Anointing is necessary to prepare. The sacrament is agreed in advance with the priest.
Discuss the venue of the ceremony, which can be carried out in the temple or at home, if a person is seriously ill and cannot independently get to the church.
There is no need to adhere to fasting only if the ritual is not performed during Lent. Before the beginning of the sacrament, the priest will ask to come to confession and then bless them for the passage of the meeting.
If the confession was not passed before the rite, then it must be made later, along with the sacrament.
During the reunion, the anointing is performed with special oil (oil) made on the basis of olive ether. Such a product is considered sacred in the world of Christianity, previously it was used as food, as a medicine, to light an icon lamp.
The abundance of ether was perceived in antiquity as God’s blessing.
- 1. First, the priest will bless the Orthodox who came to the sacrament.
- 2. Then he reads the canon and litches (petition), sanctifies the man oil.
- 3. Seven passages are read from the Gospel and the Apostle, prayer is performed.
- 4. After the prayer, the anointing of the cross is held in oil, diluted in Cahors.
During the anointing, the priest blesses important parts of the body (nose, forehead, cheeks, lips, chest, hands).
The rite is repeated seven times. After the last time, the priest applies the gospel to the Christian’s forehead and reads a prayer that allows all sins to go away. Without repentance, you can let go of involuntary and forgotten sins, except:
To let go of sins, repentance must come from the heart, when a person truly regrets his deed. In this case, by God’s will, healing can occur.
Unification does not guarantee the healing of the soul in the event that a person hides his actions. Concealment will happen only from the father or himself, since God knows about all sins and it is impossible to hide anything from him.
It is the Lord who decides whether or not to heal the Christian’s soul after the passage of the rite, since “the true healing of a person is not to restore — for a time!” His physical health, but to change, truly complement his perception of illness, suffering and death itself … changing the very understanding, the very acceptance of suffering and sickness, in accepting them as a gift of the sufferings of Christ, transformed by Him into victory ”(from the book“ For the Life of the World ”).
Unction takes about an hour. Dressing for parishioners is recommended as on ordinary days of visiting the temple. Women should be in a scarf and skirt below the knee, in a sweater with closed shoulders.
Men are recommended to wear a suit or strict clothes.
In total there are five main fabrications that came from the people:
- 1. The sacrament is carried out only if the person is dead. This is mistake. The ceremony is conducted for seriously ill patients and those who want to clear themselves of mental and physical pain.
- 2. The rite of passage guarantees complete healing. Such an assertion is false; recovery is only by the will of the Lord. The priest can perform a ritual, but does not give guarantees. It all depends on the sincerity and faith of the person at the time of the ceremony.
- 3. Unction is necessary for babies. Up to seven years, such a rite is usually not performed. The exception is the case if the child is seriously ill. The possibility of holding the cathedral is discussed separately with the priest. It is believed that a baby under seven years old walks under the Lord and does not need to conduct special rituals, his soul is pure.
- 4. After the sacrament can not wash, otherwise the effect will not be. This statement is false. Hygiene procedures do not affect the state of mind.
- 5. Unction replaces confession. Such a judgment is also incorrect, since confession is a completely different ritual that is necessarily carried out before or after the performance of the sacrament. Confession is necessary for the remission of sins, and unction for healing the body and soul.
In order to dispel all myths and doubts, it is necessary to have an interview with the priest, ask all your concerns. During the conversation, the priest will explain the general rules of the sacrament.
Confirmation and Confession are two completely different ordinances that are carried out independently of each other. Anointing is usually done right after the baby or adult is converted. Together with anointing, the gifts of the Holy Spirit are given to the person, helping them to strengthen in the new faith.
Confirmation is held when a person from a different faith, mainly Protestants or Old Believers, is accepted into Orthodoxy.
Confession — a conversation with the father or the opening of the soul before God, repentance of committed sins. After a confession is passed, a person should not commit anything that is prohibited by the law of God.
The differences between the anointing rite, anointing and confession are that during the Unification not only sins are released, but the soul and body are healed. All these sacraments are closely related to each other, but are carried out separately in the cathedrals, sometimes one after another: for example, confession is held before or before the unction, and anointing is performed during the sacrament itself.
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