Sunday, September 1, 2013

The Number of Sacraments in the Orthodox Church

Many will hear that the Orthodox Church has seven sacraments. However, this is a contested idea. Nicolas Zernov explains the truth about the number of sacraments within Orthodoxy, stating that:

“The number of its sacraments has never been stated, nor has a precise definition ever been given of their ‘matter’ and ‘form’ or of the authority underlying each, as was done in the West during the Middle Ages. In the seventeenth century, by way of imitation of the Latin Church, the idea of seven sacraments was introduced into the Eastern Catechisms, but this number does not correspond with Orthodox tradition, for the Service Books contain more sacraments than seven”[1].

[1] Zernov, Nicolas, The Church of the Eastern Christians, (London, SPCK, 1946), p. 41

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