The seven sacraments of the Church, as eloquently put by His Grace Bishop Mettaous of El-Syrian Monastery, are “the channels by which we receive the graces and blessings of the Holy Spirit,” and were instituted by Jesus Christ. The sacraments, also known as “spiritual medicines,” include Baptism, Chrismation, Eucharist, Repentance and Confession, Priesthood, Matrimony, and Unction of the Sick. Of these sacraments, the first four are “redemptive,” and necessary for eternal salvation, while the last three are non-redemptive, and unnecessary for eternal salvation. Each sacrament is “an invisible grace we receive by practicing a visible rite” as well as “a visible sign or substance performed by a priest.” For this reason, the sacraments are also referred to as “mysteries.”
- Baptism is the first sacrament, and through it we are born again from water and spirit by being submerged in water three times. Baptism results in the admittance of a person into the fellowship of the church.
- Chrismation, also known as “Myron,” is the anointing with consecrated oil (Myron) of those newly baptized, and like the rest of the sacraments, is conducted by a priest. Chrism allows for the Holy Spirit to dwell in those who are newly baptized.
- The Eucharist, or the Holy Communion, carries “the most sublime grace of all.” The Eucharist is carried out in the Holy Liturgy, during which the bread and wine become the true Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, and in partaking of this Body and Blood, we enter into complete communion with God.
- Through the sacrament of Repentance and Confession, we can attain the forgiveness of our sins. True repentance requires contrition and remorse for our sins, genuine intention to improve, strong faith, and finally, verbal confession before a priest.
- The gift of serving God is bestowed through the sacrament of Priesthood. There are three ranks in the Priesthood: the order of the deacons, who serve; the order of the Priests, who teach; and the order of the Bishops, who oversee and shepherd. Priesthood is a divine calling, and it is the sacred duty of the priest to guide the salvation of his people.
- In the sacrament of Holy Matrimony, the Holy Spirit descends upon the bride and groom and unites them to one body.
- In the sacrament of the Unction of the Sick, the priest anoints the sick with oil, cleansing them from physical and psychological ailments. In this sacrament, the priest also prays with the sick and their family.