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Unction of the Sick

Unction of the Sick

The Armenian Orthodox Church acknowledges the unction (anointing) of the sick as the seventh sacrament. In the Armenian Church this sacrament is officiated upon people who are very ill and rely on God’s mercy and belief that the holy chrism (muron) will quicken their recovery or in the case of inevitable death, the holy chrism will alleviate any death-related sufferings. This sacrament was established according to the message of the Apostle who founded it.

Is anyone among you sick? Then he must call for the elders of the church and they are to pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up, and if he has committed sins, they will be forgiven him.” (James 5:14-15)

In the administration of the sacrament, the clergyman prays and reads the Gospel of healing, blesses the individual, then offers communion.  Thus, both the body and the soul of the individual find peace and healing. The service does not have any association with the preparation for death or “last anointment”.  It is strictly to be used as a sacrament for healing, and can be repeated.

In the Armenian Church, only clergy may be anointed after death. This is done to honor them in regard to their priestly office.


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