Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The Mystery of Holy Unction (Efhelaion)

Today, the Orthodox Church celebrates the Mystery of Holy Unction, also known as Efhelaion. This mystery embodies, extends and continues the healing ministry of Jesus Christ. In Matthew’s Bible we read (Mt 8.17) “that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying: ‘He Himself took our infirmities and bore our sicknesses’”. He overcame the world and has given humanity access to imperishable life. The sacrament of Holy Unction places the sick person into this eschatological reality, where distress, exploitation and death are overcome.

Why do we celebrate the Mystery of Holy Unction on Holy and Great Wednesday? It is a clear reminder of Christ’s power to forgive and free from sin. The celebration of this sacrament reminds the faithful the fact that we need to care for the sick and the afflicted. Reassuring them during their trial is not only a personal responsibility but a communal too obligation. Finally we all understand that sickness and death can be overcome only through the resurrected Christ. 

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