A brief history of Chrism consecration in the Orthodox Church in America

Source: The Orthodox Church in America

March 25, 2024

As has been announced, His Beatitude Metropolitan Tikhon, OCA Primate, will consecrate Holy Chrism during Holy Week this year at St. Tikhon’s Monastery in Waymart, Pennsylvania.

In the sacred Tradition of the Orthodox Church, Holy Chrism is used to anoint the faithful with “the seal of the gift of the Holy Spirit”, either immediately after baptism or when those converting to Orthodoxy are received into the Church. During the rite of consecration of a church building, the altar table and walls are likewise anointed with Chrism. Chrism is prepared continuously during the first days of Holy Week and consecrated at the Vesperal Liturgy of St. Basil on Holy Thursday. Generally, the Chrism is consecrated by the Primate of an autocephalous Church every few years as necessary to maintain a sufficient supply.

From the end of the 18th century to the beginning of the 20th, when clergy and hierarchs of the Russian Church were sent to the North American Mission they were provided with Holy Chrism from Russia sufficient for pastoral needs. In the OCA Archives, there is a pewter flask engraved in Russian “Holy Chrism 1904 Bishop Innocent”. This flask containing Chrism and originally encased in a wooden box with a handle for easy transportation, was likely given to Bishop Innocent (Pustynsky) of Alaska at the Holy Synod office in Saint Petersburg, Russia as he was leaving to begin his archpastoral ministry in North America in early 1904. Upon arrival in New York, he would have delivered the Chrism to Bishop Tikhon, the ruling hierarch of North America. Eventually, this historic vessel - once no longer in use - came to be preserved in the OCA Archives.

...Read the rest at the Orthodox Church in America.

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