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THE SACRAMENT OF HOLY UNCTION
After the Sacrament of HOLY COMMUNION and BAPTISMthe Sacrament of Holy Unction is one of the oldest Sacraments of the Church.
In the early Church the faithful were performing this Sacrament as a medicine to their different sicknesses. Saint James, the first Bishop of Jerusalem and, brother of the Lord composed it. The oil is used in the service also seven candles, and flour.
The service has two parts. The prayers or hymns for the health and asking the Saints also to intercede and the blessing of the oil. The second part is 7 epistles, 7 Gospels, petition where the names for health is read and 7 prayers for health and remission of sins. Every time the one epistle is read the one candle is little on the bowl, which is filled with flour and at the center is the vigil lamp with pure oil lit and around the vigil lamp are the seven candles. After the Seventh prayer the priest with a peace of cotton gets oil from the vigil light and anoints in the sign of the cross the four parts of the face of the faithful and the both sides of the hands.
Usually this sacrament should be performed at each Christian family's home once a year for the health. Also is performed when some body is seriously sick. In the Greek Orthodox Church, this service is performed on Holy Wednesday afternoon for all the parishioners. The anointment service also was used in the times of the Old Testament. A person who is orthodox in faith can be anointed at the end of this service. The priests when they visit the hospital also anoint the sick from this oil, which was prepared on Holy Wednesday.
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