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Come let us receive the healing mercies of our Loving Heavenly Father. He who is the Great Physician promises healing for body and soul. Let us receive His healing mercy at The Good Shepherd Orthodox Church.
Holy Unction — Wednesday 7:30 pm
Join us on the evening of Great and Holy Wednesday for the Mystery of Holy Unction.
The Sacrament of Holy Unction is offered for the healing of soul and body and for the forgiveness of sins. At the conclusion of the service of the Sacrament, the forehead and hands are anointed with oil. And the grace of God, which heals infirmities of soul and body, is called down upon each person.
In mercy, O Good One, cast Your eyes upon the petitions of us who today are come together in Your Holy Temple, to anoint Your sick servants with Your oil divine.
— Exapostelarion of the Sacrament
Woman receiving the anointed oil
This Sacrament is also known as the ‘Anointing of the Sick’ as it reminds us that when we are in pain, either physical, emotional, or spiritual, Christ is present with us through the ministry of His Church. He is among us to offer strength to meet the challenges of life and even the approach of death.
As with Chrismation, oil is used in this Sacrament as a sign of God's presence, strength, and forgiveness. After the reading of seven Epistle lessons, seven Gospel lessons and the offering of seven prayers, which are all devoted to healing, the priest anoints the forehead and hands with the Holy Oil. Orthodoxy does not view this Sacrament as available only to those who are near death. It is offered to all who are sick in body, mind, or spirit.
Christ came to the world to "bear our infirmities." One of the signs of His divine Messiahship was to heal the sick. The power of healing remains in the Church since Christ Himself remains in the Church through the Holy Spirit.
This Sacrament is the Church's prayer for healing. If the faith of the believers is strong enough, and if it is the will of God, there is every reason to believe that the Lord can heal those who are diseased.
The biblical basis for the Sacrament is found in Scripture
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 save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.
— James 5:14-16, ESV
The express purpose of the Sacrament of Holy Unction is healing and forgiveness. Since it is not always the will of God that there should be physical healing, the prayer of Christ that God's will be done always remains as the proper context of the Sacrament. In addition, it is the clear intention of the Sacrament that through the anointing of the sick body the sufferings of the person should be sanctified and united to the sufferings of Christ. In this way, the wounds of the flesh are consecrated, and strength is given that the suffering of the diseased person may not be unto the death of his soul, but for eternal salvation in the resurrection and life of the Kingdom of God.
It is indeed the case that death inevitably comes. All must die, even those who in this life are given a reprieve through healing in order to have more time on the earth. Thus, the healing of the sick is not itself a final goal but is merely “instrumental” in that it is given by God as a sign of his mercy and as a grace for the further opportunity of man to live for Him and for others in the life of this world.
The Sacrament of Holy Unction is not the “last rites” as is sometimes thought; the ritual of the anointing itself in no way indicates that it should be administered merely in “extreme” cases. Holy Unction is the Sacrament of the spiritual, physical, and mental healing of a sick person whatever the nature or the gravity of the illness may be.
Order of Service
Introductory Prayers and Psalms
Psalms 143 & 51
In these Psalms we confess our sinfulness before God and ask Him to cleanse us and make a “new and right spirit within us” (Psalm 51:10).
In this series of verses that are read or sung, we ask God to show mercy upon us and cleanse our souls, to drive away all evil powers, to grant salvation to those who are sick or suffering, and to grant us the healing of our souls and bodies. At the end of several sets of verses, we ask God to renew our lives so that we may bless, thank and glorify Him forever.
Short Prayers to the Saints
We ask the saints who have gone before us—especially those who have helped the sick and suffering and those who have been martyred for the glory of God—and the Theotokos, to intercede for us for the salvation of our souls.
Epistles, Gospels & Prayers
There are seven sets of Epistle and Gospel readings interspersed with prayers.
- James 5:10-16; Luke 10:25-37
- Romans 15:1-7; Luke 19:1-10
- I Corinthians 12:27-31, 13:1-8; Matthew 10:1, 5-8
- II Corinthians 6:16-18, 7:1; Matthew 8:14-23
- II Corinthians 1:8-11; Matthew 25:1-13
- Galatians 5:22-6:2; Matthew 15:21-28
- I Thessalonians 5:14-23; Matthew 9:9-13
Each of the seven prayers asks for the remission of our sins, for the healing of our souls and bodies and for life everlasting.
O Lord, Who in Your mercy and bounties, heals the disorders of our souls and bodies, sanctify this Oil, Master, that those who are anointed with it may be healed and freed every passion, bodily disease, stain of flesh and spirit and every evil; that through it Your All-Holy Name may be glorified, of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, now and for ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.
— Prayer of the Oil
At the end of the service the priest anoints the faithful as he makes the sign of the cross on the forehead, and the back and front of the hands, saying, “For the healing of soul and body.”
The Good Shepherd Orthodox Church, meeting at the Uniting Church Hall, 1939 Princes Hwy, Clayton, is a living witness to the power of the Gospel and the fullness of the Christian Faith in modern, secular Australia.
We are a vibrant Australian Christian community under the direction of the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia, New Zealand & the Philippines, within the jurisdiction of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East.
The Church of Antioch is the continuation of the Christian community founded in Antioch by the Apostles Peter (who served as its first bishop) and Paul. The Patriarchate of Antioch is the oldest of the ancient Patriarchates constituting the one Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church of Jesus Christ.
All services are in the English language and are held at the Uniting Church Hall, 1939 Princes Hwy, Clayton, conveniently located in the centre of Melbourne’s residential population.