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The Anointing of the Sick

The Anointing of the Sick

CODE: AOK-122331

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The healing ministry of Jesus Christ is a primary task of the Church. This work describes the healing ministry of the Church as it is expressed in Scripture, Tradition, and the liturgical life, focusing particularly on the sacrament of the anointing of the sick. The author discusses both the history and theology of this sacrament, which has its roots in the Tradition of the Church as expressed in James 5.14(–) 15: “Is any among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer of faith will save the sick man, and the Lord will raise him up; and if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.” The theology of this rite embraces the whole person and addresses the connection between sin and sickness, and the disintegrating power of illness on a person and the reintegrating power of grace. A new translation of the rite is appended, as well as an abbreviated version for use in a hospital or home setting. 

Based on an exacting investigation into the history of the rite, the author makes compelling proposals for recapturing its original spirit in Orthodox Church parishes, at a time when the care of the sick a matter of grave concern. V. Rev. Fr. M Daniel Findikyan Ph.D., St Nersess Armenian Seminary

Paul Meyendorff is a leading Orthodox specialist in the history, theology, and practice of the Orthodox liturgy and is The Father Alexander Schmemann Professor of Liturgical Theology at St Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary. 




  1. The Healing Ministry of the Church 
    • Jesus the Healer 
    • The Healing Ministry in the Apostolic Church 
    • Baptism: Sacrament of Healing 
    • Eucharist: Medicine of Immortality 
    • The Life in Christ 
  1. A Brief History of the Rite of Anointing the Sick 
    • The Early Church 
    • The Byzantine Tradition 
    • The Contemporary Rite 
    • The Celebration of the Rite 
  1. 3-Theology of the Rite of Anointing 
    • Sickness and Sin 
    • The Experience of Sickness Healing 
  1. What Can Be Done? Some Pastoral Suggestions 
    • Restoring the Ministry of Healing in the Parish 
    • The General Anointing on Holy Wednesday 
    • Celebrating the Rite 
    • What about Ministry to Non-Orthodox? 
  • Conclusion—Christ’s Ultimate Victory 
  • Appendix 1 
  • The Rite of Anointing of the Sick 
  • Appendix 2 
  • An Abbreviated Rite of Anointing 
  • Suggestions for further reading




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