The Sacraments

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Orthodox Christianity views every act in life as sacramental. However, seven Sacraments hold a special place in the Life of the Church. These are visible means by which the invisible Grace of the Holy Spirit is imparted to us. They are as follows:

  1. Baptism – immersion in water to wash away sins and be reborn in Christ, which joins one to Christ’s Church;
  2. Chrismation – anointing with holy oil to bestow the gift of the Holy Spirit, performed once after Baptism;
  3. Eucharist (Lord’s Supper) – partaking of bread and wine turned into the Body and Blood of Christ by the Power of the Holy Spirit;
  4. Confession – confessing sins to an Orthodox priest and receiving forgiveness from Christ;
  5. Holy Unction – anointing with Holy Oil for physical, emotional, and spiritual healing;
  6. Holy Matrimony – union of a man and a woman into marriage, representing the union of Christ and His Church;
  7. Ordination (Holy Orders) – initiation of a man into the Orthodox priesthood.

The first five sacraments are for all Orthodox Christians; the last two sacraments are specific gifts. Priests in the Orthodox Church are ordained as either married or monastic priests. Infants are baptized, chrismated, and receive the Eucharist shortly after they are born. Converts to the faith who have already been baptized into a Trinitarian Christian faith are received into the Orthodox Faith by Chrismation only.