Moscow, Belgrade, and Istanbul, April 19, 2022
Several Local Churches began the long process of making Holy Chrism yesterday.
Traditionally, the rite for making the aromatic holy oil used to chrismate new members of the Orthodox Church and consecrate churches and altars begins on Holy Monday and continues throughout Holy Week, with the oil being constantly stirred by clergy while the Gospel of John is continuously read until Holy Thursday, when the prayers for consecration are read.
In Moscow, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill, concelebrated by several other hierarchs, began the process at Donsky Monastery with the Lesser Blessing of Water, reports Patriarchia.ru.
The furnace used to make the oil and all the ingredients were then blessed with Holy Water. The Chrism will be finally consecrated on Thursday at Christ the Savior Cathedral.
The same occurred for the Serbian Orthodox Church at the Patriarchal Chapel of St. Simeon the Myrrh-Streamer in Belgrade, led by His Holiness Patriarch Porfirije and other hierarchs.
Pat. Porfirije poured blessed water, white wine, and olive oil together into the cauldrons used to prepare the Chrism, then lit the fire in the furnace. As did Pat. Kirill, the Serbian Patriarch then began the reading of the Holy Gospel, which will continue until Holy Thursday.
Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople and other hierarchs of the Patriarchate also celebrated the Blessing of Water in Istanbul, beginning the rite for making Chrism in the same manner as in Moscow and Belgrade.
In the Patriarchate of Constantinople, Chrism is made every 10 years.
Although holding autocephalous status, the majority of Local Churches, in fact, do not make their own Chrism, but receive it from Constantinople, either by tradition or as dictated by their tomoses issued by Constantinople.
These Churches are: Alexandria, Antioch, Jerusalem, Cyprus, Greece, Poland, Albania, Czech-Slovak, and the schismatic “Orthodox Church of Ukraine.”
Traditionally, representatives of these Churches all concelebrate in the consecration of the Chrism. As this is the first time Chrism is being made in Constantinople since the creation of the OCU in 2018, and as the majority of Local Churches do not recognize the schismatic group, it’s known that Constantinople was planning to use the rite to compel hierarchs to concelebrate with representatives of the OCU.
However, the pro-Constantinople outlet World Ecclesiastical News is now reporting that other Local Churches will not participate “due to problems caused by the coronavirus.”