The Sacrament Of Unction Of The Sick

The Sacrament of the Unction of the Sick is one of the holy Seven Sacraments of the church, through which the sick who are faithful, are healed from psychological and physical diseases. The priest anoints the person with the holy oil from which they obtain the grace of remedy from God, It is called the ‘Sacrament of Lamps’, for the early Christians used to place oil in a lamp, from which hung seven other lamps. Each lamp was lit at the beginning of every prayer. This rite still exists, however, the seven lamps were replaced by seven wicks, made from cotton wool, which sit in a plate of oil. The number seven signifies the seven spirits of God, which are mentioned in the Book of Revelation (Revelation 3:1). The Spirit of God dwells and sanctifies the oil in order to heal those anointed by it. It is advisable that the wicks be placed in the sign of the cross, in the plate of oil.
Our Lord Jesus Christ instituted this Sacrament when He said to His disciples: “Heal the sick, cleanse the leper” (Matthew 10:8), and, “Whatever city you enter, and they receive you, heal the sick who are there, and say to them, ‘The Kingdom of God has come near to you’” (Luke 10: 8-9). For the Lord Jesus came that we may have life, and that we have it more abundantly (John 10:10), so He healed the sick, raised the invalid, opened the eyes of the blind, purified the lepers and the lame, after having saved them and forgiven them their main cause of sickness, which is sin.
“Jesus went about doing good and healing all those who were oppressed by the devil” (Acts 1:38), as Malachi prophesied about Him saying, “But to you who fear My Name, the Son of Righteousness shall rise with healing in His wings” (Malachi 4:2). Our fathers the Apostles practiced it according to the orders of their Master, as the Bible says, “So they went out and preached that people should repent. And they cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many who were sick and healed them” (Mark 6:12,13).
Our teacher St. James advised the believers to practice this Sacrament when they are sick, and to ask healing from God, who says, “I am the Lord who heals you” (Exodus 15: 26). Also, David the Psalmist thanks God saying, “Bless the Lord, O my soul....Who heals all your diseases, Who redeems your life from destruction” (Psalm 103: 1-4), and, “O Lord my God, I cried out to You and You have healed me” (Psalm 29:20), and also the prayer of Jeremiah the prophet: “Heal me O Lord, and I shall be healed” (Jeremiah 17:4). For this reason, St. James advises us, “Is anyone among you is 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 save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven” (James 5:13,14)

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Saint Mark Coptic Orthodox Church
Auckland New Zealand

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