The Holy Mystery of Chrismation

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Priest applying the Holy Chrism to a baptismal candidate

Chrismation is performed after baptism, and by it Christians are sealed with the gift of the Holy Spirit. Let’s learn about Chrismation.


Chrismation is the mark of the Holy Spirit that God places upon His people.

Making the sign of the cross on various parts of our body with the blessed oil of Chrism, the priest says, “The seal of the gift of the Holy Spirit.” The use of the word seal comes from the scriptures.

And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, in whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.

(Ephesians 4:30)

In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise.

(Ephesians 1:13)

He has put his seal upon us and given us his spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.

(2 Corinthians 1:22)

The seal of the gift of the Holy Spirit is the official mark of God’s claim upon that person and is a sign of his presence in him.

The purpose of the seal

The seal is designed to awaken the spiritual senses. On the brow that we may be able to contemplate the glory of God, on the ears with which we hear the divine mysteries, on the nostrils so that perceiving the divine perfume of the Holy Chrism, we may say “we are the pleasant perfume of Christ.” Our anointed legs must follow in the footsteps of Jesus, our anointed hands must be ever ready to give the “cup of cold water” in the name of Jesus and should refrain from striking back the one who offends. Our chrismated eyes must close their eyelids to evil and be open to detect the pain on the face of God’s suffering children. We are set apart for Christ, our whole body is anointed and consecrated to serve the Lord. As it says in Romans 12:1:

I beseech you therefore brethren by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.

The one thing that sets us apart as a Christian is the gift of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit will only be active in our lives if we fan the flame through our prayers, the taking of communion and the faithful study of God’s word. The Spirit may be compared to a fire which needs to be stirred and fuelled to keep it alight.

The Chrism used in Holy Chrismation consists of olive oil mixed with precious balsams and perfumes. In fact, the recipe for it is given in the book of Exodus 30:22-25. Moses used this perfumed oil to anoint his brother Aaron. It is with this oil that Christians are anointed as “royal people,” the fragrance of the Chrism represents the fragrance of the spirit filling all things.

The Chrism is consecrated by the Bishop on Holy Thursday every year then sent to local parishes to be administered by the Priest following Baptism, it is also a sacrament of reconciliation in that Christians from other denominations are received into the Orthodox Church through this sacrament.


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