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Paisius
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« on: April 23, 2008, 09:05:28 PM »

I have a question that just occurred to me. I know that only Orthodox Christians can receive the sacrament of unction but is it appropriate to anoint a non-Orthodox with the oil we received on Holy Wednesday?


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« Reply #1 on: April 23, 2008, 09:48:53 PM »

I have a question that just occurred to me. I know that only Orthodox Christians can receive the sacrament of unction but is it appropriate to anoint a non-Orthodox with the oil we received on Holy Wednesday?

Paisius,

according to my priest we may freely use both holy oil and holy water for non-Orthodox - even our pets, should they require it.  Smiley
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« Reply #2 on: April 23, 2008, 10:25:41 PM »

Paisius,

according to my priest we may freely use both holy oil and holy water for non-Orthodox - even our pets, should they require it.  Smiley

There is a difference between Unction and "Holy Oil". Unctions may only be used by used by Orthodox Christians. Some priest have gotten into the bad habit of passing out the Unction oil to the faithful on Holy Wednesday. If you can't come to the service then you should ask the priest to anoint you at the next service you attend or when he comes a visits you because you are a shut in. Unction is a mystery of the Church just like communion, chrismation and ordination so you must be in the Church in order to participate in it.

There are holy oils such as those from vigil lamps and those that weep from icons that can be given to anyone asking for the blessing just like holy water.
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« Reply #3 on: April 23, 2008, 10:28:22 PM »

I know that only Orthodox Christians can receive the sacrament of unction but is it appropriate to anoint a non-Orthodox with the oil we received on Holy Wednesday?
The oil that we receive on Holy Wednesday is unction so it would be inappropriate to anoint non-Orthodox with it.
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« Reply #4 on: April 23, 2008, 10:59:57 PM »

The oil that we receive on Holy Wednesday is unction so it would be inappropriate to anoint non-Orthodox with it.

Many thanks.... Smiley


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« Reply #5 on: April 24, 2008, 12:32:00 AM »

What do you do afterward with it? Do you leave it alone? Mine is dripping into my eyes. I know that I was NOT to wipe off the oil from my chrismation, and I didn't. The priest sponged me off at the end of the service. But what is the proper way to deal with unction in my eyes?

(I have been wiping it into my eyebrows and hair.)
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« Reply #6 on: April 24, 2008, 12:42:39 AM »

What do you do afterward with it? Do you leave it alone? Mine is dripping into my eyes. I know that I was NOT to wipe off the oil from my chrismation, and I didn't. The priest sponged me off at the end of the service. But what is the proper way to deal with unction in my eyes?

(I have been wiping it into my eyebrows and hair.)

My priest tells us to simply rub it in.
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« Reply #7 on: April 24, 2008, 12:45:32 AM »

I just wiped my olivewood prayer beads on the oil. It didn't take it all off, but at least at the moment it isn't running into my eyes. But it seems like the oil is multiplying on my head! I will try rubbing it in. Grin

Thanks!
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« Reply #8 on: April 24, 2008, 01:09:56 AM »

I just wiped my olivewood prayer beads on the oil. It didn't take it all off, but at least at the moment it isn't running into my eyes. But it seems like the oil is multiplying on my head! I will try rubbing it in. Grin

Thanks!

Typical convert infatuation I'm sure but I can't help but mention it, the aroma of the oil is absolutely amazing!  Smiley


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« Reply #9 on: April 24, 2008, 06:40:01 AM »

My priest tells us to simply rub it in. 

That's the only advice/direction I've ever heard.
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« Reply #10 on: April 24, 2008, 08:26:50 AM »

That's the only advice/direction I've ever heard.
At the monastery, we wipe it in with cotton wool balls and place these in a paper bag- I presume for burning.
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« Reply #11 on: April 24, 2008, 10:11:15 AM »

So why doesn't the OCA have unction? I like the service very much, but I end up having to go to a Greek Church to hear it and be annoited and I don't particularly like 2.5 hours of Greek chanting and reading. Especially the fact that the only thing said in english the entire time was, "The baskets are going around please give generously". Kinda makes me wonder... But back to my original question, why no unction in the OCA?

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« Reply #12 on: April 24, 2008, 10:14:35 AM »

It's interesting that you mention no unction in the OCA.  I was not aware of this...

In the serbian church they do the Unction service. 

Also, I am fairly certain that NO kind of holy object is supposed to be used on pets...but i'm not 100% positive on that...If you can bless an inanimate object...

I know for sure that you cannot use unction on anything except for another orthodox christian. 
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« Reply #13 on: April 24, 2008, 10:26:08 AM »

It's interesting that you mention no unction in the OCA.  I was not aware of this...

In the serbian church they do the Unction service. 

Also, I am fairly certain that NO kind of holy object is supposed to be used on pets...but i'm not 100% positive on that...If you can bless an inanimate object...

I know for sure that you cannot use unction on anything except for another orthodox christian. 

OCA churches serve Bridegroom Matins on Holy Wednesday. I never understood that since Met. Herman would be able to create the unction oil himself.....

-Nick
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« Reply #14 on: April 24, 2008, 10:26:51 AM »

So why doesn't the OCA have unction? I like the service very much, but I end up having to go to a Greek Church to hear it and be annoited and I don't particularly like 2.5 hours of Greek chanting and reading. Especially the fact that the only thing said in english the entire time was, "The baskets are going around please give generously". Kinda makes me wonder... But back to my original question, why no unction in the OCA?

-Nick

Maybe it's just no Unction in your parish.  Mine had it last night.
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« Reply #15 on: April 24, 2008, 10:30:11 AM »

Maybe it's just no Unction in your parish.  Mine had it last night.

I was at Holy Trinity Abp. Job's Cathedral, and I was parusing Christ the Savior's bulletin which is attached to the diocese office and neither one served the unction service last night. Maybe it is a local thing. I should check other OCA websites and see what they serve on Holy Wednesday.

Update: After having checked a number of parishes, it seems that some do the unction service and some don't.... I wonder why that is.....

-Nick
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« Reply #16 on: April 24, 2008, 10:38:31 AM »

Maybe it's just no Unction in your parish.  Mine had it last night.
Mine too.
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« Reply #17 on: April 24, 2008, 11:17:03 AM »

OCA churches serve Bridegroom Matins on Holy Wednesday. I never understood that since Met. Herman would be able to create the unction oil himself.....

-Nick

I think you're referring to Chrism (which only the heads of Churches make)... Unction can be "made" by any priest, and in fact that is the usual - oil (& wine) in a bowl/container, blessed by the Priest over the course of the service, which becomes Unction.
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« Reply #18 on: April 24, 2008, 11:20:19 AM »

At the monastery, we wipe it in with cotton wool balls and place these in a paper bag- I presume for burning.

You know, you've got a point there - I had completely forgotten that this is the practice of a number of parishes.  I've just never heard it given as "advice" to anyone asking the question...
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« Reply #19 on: April 24, 2008, 11:38:54 AM »

After having checked a number of parishes, it seems that some do the unction service and some don't.... I wonder why that is.....

Fr. Calivas has this to say about the history of Holy Unction in Holy Week:

Quote
It is not altogether clear how and when the Sacrament of Holy Unction came to be celebrated on Great Wednesday. It may be related to the fact that in Christian antiquity penitents were received and reconciled during the course of Great Week. The sacrament of Holy Unction may have been part of the reception process for lapsed Christians, who were reconciled to the Church through the sacrament of Penance.

It has become the practice among the Greek Orthodox in the United States to conduct the sacrament on Great Wednesday evening in the place of the usual service of the Triodion. Pastoral considerations have dictated this custom.

On a grand intuitive level, the idea that the service is a vestigial "liturgical echo" of the reception of the lapsed makes sense. Penitential anointing was a common means of reception into the Church well into the later years of the Eastern Empire. But I imagine its popularity through the Tourkokratia to the present day may be more practical.

This is a Sacrament for which there are few, if any, traditions that restrict participation. I have yet to meet an Orthodox Christian of any stripe who believes one must fast for three days and go to confession and do 3000 prostrations before being anointed with Holy Oil. But I have met plenty who believe one must do just that before receiving Holy Communion. (Or who simply believe they are too unworthy to receive more than a couple times a year.) Thus, Unction offers an accessible means for EVERYONE (even the "unworthy") to receive a sacrament. That's quite an attractive alternative, especially in a period of time where there are so many Eucharistic services going on.

Of course, that's just a conjectural explanation for why it has become such a popular unwritten tradition. Strictly speaking, it is not part of the actual Holy Week services called for in the Typikon. It can be celebrated whenever one feels the need, and, obviously, people feel the need during Holy Week.
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« Reply #20 on: April 24, 2008, 11:56:26 AM »

I think you're referring to Chrism (which only the heads of Churches make)... Unction can be "made" by any priest, and in fact that is the usual - oil (& wine) in a bowl/container, blessed by the Priest over the course of the service, which becomes Unction.

Thanks Cleveland, I guess I got my terms mixed up. Oh well, at least everyone knew what I meant. LOL!
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« Reply #21 on: April 24, 2008, 12:10:06 PM »

It should be mentioned in the discussion of the service of Unction that, in my experience, it is one of the most well-attended services during the week (and that's saying a lot).  I'd probably put it 4th: Pascha (before Liturgy), Palm Sunday, Holy Friday Evening, Unction.  When we did 2 unction services in Cleveland, we'd get about 600-700 combined attendance for the services.
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« Reply #22 on: April 27, 2008, 08:34:52 PM »

All the Slavic parishes I've known have had Bridegroom Matins on Wednesday night, while the Greek/Antiochian parishes have Holy Unction. 

I asked an OCA priest about it a long time ago, and he said that he was taught that it was very wrong to have the Holy Unction service without seven priests, or the very pressing need of a sick person, and that he must not sanctify the oil without one or the other of those.  He even sounded like he was "iffy" about doing the sanctification of the oil for a sick person as opposed to anointing them with previously-sanctified unction oil.

I have to say that the Unction service is very well attended - at the Greek church near me, the church is not even half full on Bridegroom nights while for Unction they have to have more than one service in order to anoint everybody.  Somebody did tell me, though, that this was because of the prayers for remission of sins - some Greek people have been taught that as long as they go to Unction and get anointed, they never have to go to confession.   Shocked  I hope one day that blasphemous idea is extinguished!
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« Reply #23 on: April 27, 2008, 09:43:29 PM »

I am friends with an Anthonite Monk. While he was here in the USA on some personal business I asked him to anoint my sick wife with oil , she was not Orthodox. He was willing but he also mentoned that he had some oil that he dare not use on anyone but an Orthodox Christian... Of course Antonite spirituality is pushes the edge sometimes and may not at all be the norm     
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« Reply #24 on: April 27, 2008, 10:59:20 PM »

I have to say that the Unction service is very well attended - at the Greek church near me, the church is not even half full on Bridegroom nights while for Unction they have to have more than one service in order to anoint everybody.  Somebody did tell me, though, that this was because of the prayers for remission of sins - some Greek people have been taught that as long as they go to Unction and get anointed, they never have to go to confession.   Shocked  I hope one day that blasphemous idea is extinguished!
Our parish is OCA, but we do serve Unction. Since we're the only jurisdiction in town, we see people of all ethnicities there. It seems we have more Greeks come for Unction than we do any other time of the year, except for Pascha and Annunciation.

As for the confession idea, I've never heard that one before. My priest heard confessions immediately following Unction!
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« Reply #25 on: April 27, 2008, 11:06:02 PM »

Somebody did tell me, though, that this was because of the prayers for remission of sins - some Greek people have been taught that as long as they go to Unction and get anointed, they never have to go to confession.   Shocked  I hope one day that blasphemous idea is extinguished! 

Hmmm.  (1) Never heard of this theory before.  (2) I wouldn't call it "blasphemous."  (3) For Greeks to avoid confession they have to know what it is, which makes this improbable.  (Lol.  I'm kidding on the 3rd point.... sort of.)
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« Reply #26 on: April 28, 2008, 12:30:00 AM »

Hmmm.  (1) Never heard of this theory before.  (2) I wouldn't call it "blasphemous."  (3) For Greeks to avoid confession they have to know what it is, which makes this improbable.  (Lol.  I'm kidding on the 3rd point.... sort of.)

Cleveland you know your not kidding on the 3rd point Cheesy Sadly the situation with the persecution of Greeks by the Turks led to the obvious decrease in clergy and confession was almost removed culturally. My dad is/was violently opposed to the idea as I was prior to me having any proper idea about it and (as I have said here) am 18 and have just recently had my first confession and on Pascha my first communion after confession (but not my first communion ever).
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« Reply #27 on: April 28, 2008, 12:18:26 PM »

My slavic parish had unction service Wed. night.  Come to think about it, 95% of all the Orthodox Churches near me are Slavic and I think unction is the norm.
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« Reply #28 on: April 28, 2008, 04:08:08 PM »

I would think that it should probably be a staple of all the churches. After all, if you don't get it when you're sick, and you don't have unction service, you miss one of the 7 sacraments of the church. I would think that offering one of the sacraments would take precedence over the preparatory bridegroom service. In addition, The anointing seems to help me get through the rest of Holy Week alot easier for some reason.

-nick
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« Reply #29 on: April 28, 2008, 04:34:36 PM »

I would think that it should probably be a staple of all the churches. After all, if you don't get it when you're sick, and you don't have unction service, you miss one of the 7 sacraments of the church. I would think that offering one of the sacraments would take precedence over the preparatory bridegroom service. In addition, The anointing seems to help me get through the rest of Holy Week alot easier for some reason. 

It doesn't have to be either/or.  At our parish we do the unction service at 3, and then the Matins ("Bridegroom") at 7 with more anointing (with the oil consecrated at 3) afterward.
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« Reply #30 on: April 28, 2008, 10:08:31 PM »

Some interesting things I have learned about the Unction service.

1) Unction is a bad english translation. It would be better to call it Healing Oil.
2) Since it is a sacrament (mystery) of the Church, one should come to the sacrament having fasted like Holy Communion.
3) In some monasteries, it is celebrated on the last Wednesday of every Great Fast (that is, the last Wednesday before the Feast)
4) One priest told me that, in the parish he took over, it was common for the non-Orthodox spouses to be anointed. This is wrong. So, what he does is has two small containers. One he blesses and is Healing Oil. The other is Holy Oil from the lamp hanging in front of Christ. He has two brushes. He simply switches them when the non-Orthodox come. He says it is a "win-win". He explains what he is doing to the non-Orthodox and why before hand and, if he is confronted from the "Orthodox police" in his parish he tells them that all is okay since the non-Orthodox didn't receive the sacrament.

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« Reply #31 on: April 29, 2008, 03:02:09 PM »

1) Unction is a bad english translation. It would be better to call it Healing Oil.
Then people would think it comes from a snake....
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« Reply #32 on: April 29, 2008, 08:24:18 PM »

I have a question that just occurred to me. I know that only Orthodox Christians can receive the sacrament of unction but is it appropriate to anoint a non-Orthodox with the oil we received on Holy Wednesday?


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« Reply #33 on: April 29, 2008, 08:27:17 PM »

I have a question that just occurred to me. I know that only Orthodox Christians can receive the sacrament of unction but is it appropriate to anoint a non-Orthodox with the oil we received on Holy Wednesday?


Yours in Christ
Paisius

The reason is that the anointing is to heal us from the damage of any sins we have forgotten to confess ( not sins we didn't want to confess , only the one we forgot).
Therefore, it doesn't make any sense for a non-Orthodox to be anointed.
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