HOLY CHRISMATION

Holy Chrismation is the Second Mystery after Holy Baptism. For People wishing to become Orthodox Christians, this mystery is mandatory, and although it is a separate mystery from Holy Baptism, Holy Chrismation, actually completes the mystery of Baptism, in that, the newly baptised is receives holy illumination, through the decent of the Holy Spirit. In the First of the mandatory Mysteries, being Baptism, the Catechumenparticipates in the death and Resurrection of Christ, whereas in the Second mandatory mystery, being Holy Chrismation, the newly baptised participates in the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.

 

Unlike the Roman Catholics and Protestants, "Confirmation" (the name they use instead of Holy Chrismation), is typically reserved to those of "the age of reason," whereas, Holy Chrismation in the Orthodox Church is administered immediately after the Triple immersions of Holy Baptism, in the same service. 

Holy Chrismation is performed by the anointing of the newly baptised with Chrism, which is a very unique holy oil, in Greek; Άγιο Μύρον, Hagio Myron (Holy Myrrh) . The Holy Myron itself is made of fifty seven sweet-smelling herbs, spices, oils, aromas mixed with pure olive oil". The newly baptised is anointed with this oil in the sign of the Cross on his forehead, eyes, nostrils, mouth, ears, chest, hands and feet. Each time, the priest administering the Holy Myrrh, says: "The Seal and Gift of the Holy Spirit. Amen."

 

Although this Mystery is performed as this way today, this was not always the case, in fact, there was a time, in the early Church, where the Mystery of the Descent of the Holy Spirit, was not done through anointing at all. In the apostolic and post apostolic times, through tiThe sacrament of chrismation is an extension of the day of Pentecost, on which the Holy Spirit was poured out on the Apostles. It is by Chrismation that a person becomes a layperson a member of the the people of God. 

 

Through Chrismation every member of the Church becomes a prophet, and receives a share in the royal priesthood of Christ; all Christians alike, because they are chrismated, are called to act as conscious witnesses to the Truth. 'You have an anointing (chrisma) from the Holy One, and know all things' (I John 2:20) (Ware, 279).

Although normally administered in conjunction with baptism, in some cases chrismation alone may be used to receive converts to Orthodoxy through the exercise of economia. Although practice in this regard varies, in general (especially in North America) if a convert comes to Orthodoxy from another Christian confession and has previously undergone a rite of baptism by immersion in the Trinitarian Formula ("in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit"), he or she may be received into the Orthodox Church through the sacrament of chrismation, after which receiving the Holy Eucharist. If, however, a convert comes from a Christian confession that baptizes in the Name of "Jesus only" (such as some Pentecostal churches) or from one that does not practice baptism at all (such as Quakers and the Salvation Army), baptism is a prerequisite for chrismation. The use of economia is at the discretion of, and subject to the guidelines imposed by, the local bishop.

1: A Catechumen is someone who is preparing to become an Orthodox Christian, an official member of the Christ's Church. In the ancient Church, this process of catechism would often take three years of learning, the Holy Scriptures, and practicing the virtuous life through the Orthodox Faith. 

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