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The Seven Sacraments of the Church

The Seven Sacraments of the Church

August 4 2018
Tags: Religion, Christianity

The church, wrote the great shepherd Saint John of Kronstadt, "sympathizes and answers all the essential needs of the soul and body of a Christian with an active tool or giving alms by the power of the Lord Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, by which every soul lives."

Of all the sacred activities that take place in the Orthodox Church, the Sacraments have the greatest significance, in which the invisible grace of God, the spiritual, uncreated energy, is visibly communicated to believers. It nourishes and heals our spiritual and bodily nature.

The sacraments are of divine origin, for they are established by Jesus Christ Himself. In each of them, the Christian is informed of a certain grace peculiar to this particular Sacrament. The Seven Sacraments, through which the gifts of the Holy Spirit are communicated, correspond to all the most important needs of our spiritual life.

The sacrament of baptism

Why do we accept baptism or baptize our children? Usually, priests ask about this during conversations before the Sacrament of Baptism from someone who is preparing to become a Christian or wants to baptize his child. To answer this very important question, everyone must first of all to himself. So, why are we baptized? Answers can be heard very different: that God sent good luck in life; not to be ill; we are Russian, we live in Russia, which means that we must be baptized; so that bad people do not spoil and ruin bad things, and so on. All these answers are either completely wrong, or contain only a small fraction of the truth. Yes, in baptism a person receives fencing and protection from any enemy force; Yes, our country has been Orthodox for over a thousand years and our ancestors left us this great treasure - the faith of Christian and Orthodox traditions. But this is not the main thing. In holy baptism, we are born anew - for a new, eternal life and die for the life of the former, carnal and sinful. Through the water of baptism, a person is washed from original sin, as well as from all sins that he committed before his baptism, if baptized by an adult. We come to this world through parents, they give birth to us bodily, and we receive spiritual birth in the baptismal font. If one is not born of water and the Spirit, he can not enter the Kingdom of God (Jin 3, 5), the Lord tells us. Entering the Kingdom of Heaven means saving your soul, approaching God. And, receiving baptism, we are adopted by God, we restore that connection with Him, which humanity has lost. More than two thousand years ago the Lord our Jesus Christ came to the world, we conduct our chronology from this great date. By the time of His coming, the sins of mankind have multiplied so much, human nature has been spoiled so much that it was required to revive it, restore the human image, decayed by passions. For this, God Himself assumes our human nature and passes the whole path of earthly life: from birth, temptation, suffering and until death itself. Christ overcame all temptations, suffered all the suffering, died for us on the Cross and rose again, resurrecting the fallen human nature. Now everyone who takes holy baptism, is born of Christ, becomes a Christian and can enjoy the fruits of the redeeming Sacrifice of Christ, to follow the path that He indicated to us in the Gospel. For He Himself spoke of Himself: I am the way and the truth and the life (Yin 14, 6). The Gospel is the word of God, the textbook of life for every Christian; there it is told how to live, how to go the way of Christ, how to fight against sins and how to love God and people.

The sacrament of baptism is performed in three dives with the invocation of persons of the Holy Trinity. The priest immerses the person baptized into the font with the words: "The slave of God is baptized (name) in the name of the Father. Amen. And the Son. Amen. And the Holy Spirit. Amen".

The Savior Himself baptized in the name of the Holy Trinity, commanding the apostles to baptize in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit (Mt 28, 19).

In baptism, a person becomes not only a child of God, but also a member of the Church. The Church was created by Christ himself: I will create my church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against her (Mt 16, 18). The church is the body of Christ, the people of God, Orthodox Christians united by common faith, prayer and sacraments. The sacraments are established by God, they are the vehicles of the grace of God, the uncreated Divine energy. In them we receive grace, help from God. They heal our spiritual and bodily nature.

Man consists of body and soul. The soul needs much more care than the body. We never forget about the body, but many people can not remember about the soul for years. We have already said that baptism is called the second birth. What does the mother do after giving birth, when she is given a child? Applies to the chest, feeds him. After baptism, a person also needs spiritual nourishment - the sacrament of communion, prayer. Baptism is only the very beginning of the journey. A man has little to give birth, he must be raised, educated, taught. Another baptism is compared with the seed. If the seed is watered, loosen the soil, weed the weeds, take care of it, a beautiful tree will grow out of it and give fruit. But if the seed is not taken care of, it can perish and it does no good to bring it. So it is in the spiritual life. Baptism does not automatically save us, without our efforts. It makes us children of God and children of the Church, which means that we must use all those gracious gifts that are in the Church. In the Church, the Lord has invested all that is necessary for our salvation. Holy Sacraments, morning and evening prayers, Sunday and festive worship, fasts - all this should accompany the life of an Orthodox person. Having received the holy baptism, one must try to learn more fully about the spiritual life: read the Holy Scripture, other spiritual literature. The blessing now is opened huge opportunities for self-education. With very little effort, you can learn the basics of the Orthodox faith, study church traditions, holidays. It is not necessary to think that since we have not been taught this since childhood, we can no longer comprehend this science. To go to God is not late at any age, and the Lord will surely be revealed to everyone who appeals to Him.

If a person is baptized and continues to live, as he lived, without changing anything in his life, he is like a madman who bought a ticket for a train, but he does not intend to go. Or I entered a very good university, but I do not want to study. Some people only two times in life bring to the temple: once - to baptize, the second time - to burial. It's scary: it means that the whole life of man passed without God.

After baptism, a person is not only born into a new life, but also dies for an old, sinful life. A Christian must avoid sins, fight with them, live according to God's commandments. By accepting baptism, we receive from God the gift of forgiveness of all our sins and therefore must keep the light garments of baptism clean. As a sign of the holiness of the newly baptized soul, a white christening shirt is worn on him.

Baptism is a great Sacrament, but without our faith it has no effect. But faith, as is known, without deeds is dead (Iak 2, 20). And the works of faith are life according to the Gospel, prayer, good deeds. The Gospel says that when a demon comes out of a man, he wanders through the desert places and, finding no shelter, returns and sees his house (that is, the human soul) swept out, empty and brings with him seven other demons. And the last is bitter than the first. St. John Chrysostom attributes these words to the sacrament of baptism. When baptism is complete, but no spiritual work is done, then spiritual emptiness is filled with the spirits of anger. If a person does not lead a spiritual life after baptism, or parents, having baptized a child, do not engage in spiritual education (they do not teach prayers, do not lead to the temple), the soul is filled with a different spirituality. Now that sects and occultism have spread, this is especially dangerous. But there is another danger: the influence of evil on the soul of a child through the media, the Internet and communication with vicious people is enormous. If a person does not receive proper Christian upbringing, if his soul is not taken care of, she will become spiritually ill. Evil is sticky. Christian education is an inoculation against evil that reigns in the world. Without faith in God, it is impossible to save children from temptations. All hope is for the family.

Accepting baptism, we renounce the devil and from all his deeds, which are sin. For protection from the devil, we are given a great weapon: baptism and the Cross of the Lord. It says: "Save and save." Do not shoot it. Having removed the cross, we deprive ourselves of fencing and protection. The person who wears the cross, prays and proceeds to the Sacraments, should not be afraid of the devil. If God is for us, who can be against us? (Rome 8, 31).


Christening, P.I. Korovin

At baptism, the Christian is given the Guardian Angel, who protects and protects him from all danger, including from the power of the demonic. This Angel also helps a person in all the works of salvation, prompting to good thoughts and deeds.

Parents and godparents should be mindful of the great responsibility they now have in regard to the Christian upbringing of children. Raising the child in the commandments, you lay the foundation of his whole life. Every father, every mother wants children to love them, they were their support, and this is the fifth commandment: Honor your father and mother ... (Ex. 20, 12). Commandments need to know and tell children about them. When we teach a child in the morning to pray for parents, we already teach him to honor his father and mother, take care of them.

The family is a small church, the image of a large church, a cathedral where people all pray together, save themselves, go to God. If we always remember the main thing - saving our souls and saving our children - we will go together to Christ and pray to Him, God will bless our family and send His help in all the labors and deeds of our life.

Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all this (that is, everything else) will be added to you (Mt 6, 33), the Lord tells us.

Yes, the path of spiritual life is complicated, but it is necessary to go on it. The main thing is to take the first steps, then it will be easier. This is the only opportunity to save our children, protect the family and raise our country. Without the revival of the souls of men, our souls with you, Russia will not be reborn.

Sacrament of Chrismation

The Sacrament of Chrismation complements the Sacrament of Baptism and is performed immediately after it, as if unifying with it. In the III century, St. Cyprian of Carthage wrote: "Baptism and chrismation are two separate acts of baptism, although they are united by the closest inner connection so that they form one whole, inseparable in relation to their commission."

In the Sacrament of Chrismation on the Newly Baptized, the Holy Spirit descends, informing him of the gracious gifts. Chrismation, as well as all other Sacraments, has a basis in the Holy Scripture and goes back to the apostolic times. In the time of the holy apostles, every baptized received the gifts of the Holy Spirit through the laying on of his hands of a bishop. Later, the practice of anointing with the holy world was established - a special fragrant substance consecrated by the primate, that is, the chief bishop of the Church. In the Russian Orthodox Church, the holy world is brewed in Moscow, in the Small Cathedral of the Donskoy Monastery, during the Holy Week. This is a very difficult, lengthy process (it takes several days). At the same time, the Gospel is read, and all new components are added to the world-about forty substances are included in its composition. Consecrate the world on Holy Thursday.


The process of

When the Sacrament of Chrismation is performed, the priest crossly anoints the newly baptized person with the main body parts responsible for actions, feelings and abilities: the brow, eyes, nostrils, mouth, chest, arms and legs - with the words: "The seal of the gift of the Holy Spirit. Amen". The Holy Spirit descends upon the Christian and sanctifies his spiritual and bodily nature - the members of the body and the senses. Man becomes the temple of the Holy Spirit. St. Symeon of Thessalonica says: "Confirmation assumes the first seal and restores the image of God damaged in us through obedience. In the same way, it regenerates in us the grace that God has blown into the human soul. Confirmation contains the power of the Holy Spirit. It is the treasury of His fragrance, the sign and seal of Christ. " And we accept baptism and chrismation, in order to revive the original image of God, spoiled by the Fall.

Faith in God, entering the Church, rebirth in the Sacraments - all this changes a person. His perceptions, feelings are transformed, it is for this part of the body that they are anointed with the holy world. A person without faith, not enlightened by holy baptism, can be called a spiritual invalid. Disabled people are also called people with disabilities, and indeed, the spiritual capabilities of such a person are very small. Conversely, a Christian, having been reborn in baptism, receiving the gifts of the Holy Spirit in chrismation, leading a spiritual life, begins to see, hear and feel that which is closed to others. His spiritual feelings are aggravated, opportunities are increasing. This can be compared to the way a certain person peers into the distance with the naked eye and sees distant objects very vaguely, vaguely, and something he can not discern at all. But here he takes the binoculars in his hands, puts it to his eyes, and he opens a completely different picture.

Another meaning of anointing is the dedication of all our spiritual and bodily nature, of our whole life to God. Baptism and chrismation sanctify us, and sanctification is initiation. To sanctify is to make sacred. The baptism of infants in our Church is usually performed on the fortieth day, just as the Infant Christ was brought to the Jerusalem temple. This was done traditionally, for forty-day-old babies - male first-born - were brought to the temple in Israel for consecration to God. And through the anointing of our members and sense organs, we dedicate them to serving God. From now on, they should serve not the sinful pleasures, but the salvation of our souls. However, as St. Cyprian of Carthage celebrated, there are no obstacles to baptize an infant before the fortieth day.

Confession, or Sacrament of Penance

Repentance, no doubt, is the basis of spiritual life. This is evidenced by the Gospel. The Forerunner and Baptist of the Lord John began his sermon with the words: Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is approaching (Mt 3, 2). With the same exact appeal goes to public service, our Lord Jesus Christ (see: Mt 4, 17). Without repentance, it is impossible to approach God and overcome our sinful inclinations. Sins are spiritual dirt, filth is upon our soul. This is the burden, the burden with which we walk and which very much hinders us from living. Sins do not allow us to approach God, they separate us from Him. The Lord has given us a great gift - a confession, in this Sacrament we are resolved from our sins. Repentance of holy fathers is called the second baptism, baptism of tears.

From sin in confession God allows us through a priest who is a witness of the Sacrament and has the power to knit and solve human sins from God (see: Matthew 16, 19; 18, 18). This authority priests received by succession from the holy apostles.

Often you can hear this statement: "As you believers, everything is easy: sinned - repented, and God forgave everything." In the Pafnuyevo-Borovsk monastery there was a museum in the Soviet time, and after a tour of the monastery and museum visitors the guide included a plate with the song "There were twelve robbers" performed by Shalyapin. Fyodor Ivanovich, with his velvet bass, deduced: "He abandoned his comrades, threw raids on him, Kudeyar himself went to the monastery and went to God and serve people." After listening to the recording, the guide said something like this: "Well, that's what the Church teaches: sin, steal, rob, and then you can repent." Such is the unexpected interpretation of the famous song. Is it so? Indeed, there are people who perceive the Sacrament of Confession in this way. It seems that such a "confession" will not benefit. Man will approach the Mystery not in salvation, but in judgment and condemnation. And he will not receive formal "preaching" of the sanction of sins from God. Not so simple. Sin, passion cause great harm to the soul. And even having repented, a person feels the consequences of his sin. Like a patient who has had smallpox, scars stay on the body. It is not enough just to confess sin, you need to make an effort to overcome the inclination to sin in your soul. Of course, it's not easy just to leave passion. But the penitent should not be hypocritical: "I repent and continue to sin." A person must make every effort to embark on the path of correction and not return to sin, ask God for help to fight the passions: "Help me, Lord, how helpless I am." The Christian must burn the bridges that lead back to sinful life.

Why do we repent, if the Lord already knows all our sins? Yes, he knows, but he expects us to repent, acknowledge them and correct them. God is our Heavenly Father, and our relationship with Him must be viewed as a parent-child relationship. Let us give an example. The child something was guilty before the father, for example, broke a vase or took something without demand. The father knows perfectly well who did this, but waits for the son to come and ask for forgiveness. And, of course, he expects that his son will promise not to do so more.

Confession, of course, must be private, not common. By general confession is meant the practice, when the priest reads a list of possible sins, and then simply covers the confessor with epitrachelium. Thank God, there are very few temples where they do this. The general confession became almost universal phenomenon in the Soviet times, when there were very few functioning temples and on Sunday, festive days, as well as fasting, they were overflowing with prayers. It was impossible to seek out all comers. Conduct a confession after the evening service, too, was not allowed. Of course, such a confession is an abnormal phenomenon.

The very word confession means that a Christian came to tell, confess, tell about his sins. The priest in prayer before confession reads: "This is your servant, in a word the favor will be solved." The man himself is permitted from his sins by the word and receives forgiveness from God. Of course, sometimes it is very difficult, it's embarrassing to open your sinful wounds, but that's how we get rid of our sinful skills, overcoming shame, tearing them out like a weed out of our souls. Without confession, without purification from sins, it is impossible to struggle with passions. First, passions must be seen, pulled out, and then done everything so that they do not grow up again in our soul. The blindness of one's sins is a sign of a spiritual illness. Why did the ascetics see their sins, countless as the sand of the sea? It's simple. They approached the Source of Light - God and began to notice such secret places of their souls, which we simply do not see. They watched their soul in its true state. A fairly well-known example: say, the room is dirty and not cleaned, but now the night and everything is hidden by the semi-darkness: it seems all is more or less normal. But then the first ray of sunshine flickered into the window, lit up part of the room - and we begin to notice the mess; further more. When the sun brightly illuminates the entire room, we see what kind of disorder there is. The closer to God, the fuller the vision of sins.

A noble citizen, a resident of the small town of Gaza, came to Abba Dorotheus, and the aww asked him: "The famous gentleman, tell me, whom do you consider yourself in your city?" He replied: "I consider myself to be great and first." Then the monk again asked him: "If you go to Caesarea, for whom will you consider yourself there?" The man replied: "For the last of the local nobles." "If you go to Antioch, for whom will you consider yourself there?" "There," he replied, "I will consider myself to be one of the commoners." "If you go to Constantinople and get close to the king, for whom will you consider yourself?" And he replied: "Almost for a beggar." Then the Abba said to him: "This is how the saints: the more they approach God, the more they see themselves as sinners."


Sergey Miloradovich. The confessor. 1915

Confession is not a record of the spiritual life and not a conversation with the priest. It is denunciation of oneself, without any self-justification and self-pity. Only then will we receive satisfaction and relief and move away from analogy easily, like on wings. The Lord already knows all the circumstances that led us to sin. It is absolutely unacceptable to tell in confession what kind of people have pushed us to sin. They will answer for themselves, we must only answer for ourselves. Husband, brother or matchmaker served our fall - it does not matter, we need to understand what we ourselves are guilty of. The holy righteous John of Kronstadt says: If you are accustomed to repenting and giving an answer for your life, it will be easy to give an answer to the Last Judgment of God.

Do not postpone the confession until later. It is not known how much the Lord gave us time to repent. Every confession must be taken as the last, for no one knows on what day and hour God will call us to Himself.

Sins do not need to be ashamed to confess, you have to be ashamed to commit them. Many people think that a priest, especially an acquaintance, will condemn them, they want to appear at confession better than they are, to self-justify themselves. Meanwhile, any priest, who more or less often professes, can not be surprised at anything, and you are unlikely to tell him anything new and unusual. For the confessor, on the contrary, great consolation, when he sees before him a sincerely repentant, even in grave sins. Hence, he is not in vain in the analogy, accepting the repentance of those who come to confession.

In the confession of the penitent, not only is the remission of sins given, but also the grace and help of God are given to fight against sin. Confession must be frequent and, if possible, the same priest. A rare confession (several times a year) leads to petrification of the heart. People stop noticing their sins, forget what they did. Conscience easily reconciles with the so-called small, everyday sins: "Well, what's wrong? It feels good. I do not kill, I do not steal. " Conversely, a frequent confession makes the soul, conscience worry, wakes her from drowsiness. With sins it is impossible to be reconciled. Having started to struggle even with one sinful habit, you feel how it becomes easier to breathe both spiritually and physically.

People who confess seldom or formally, sometimes even cease to see their sins. To any priest this is well known. A person comes to confession and says: "Not sinful by anything" or: "Sinful to all" (which is actually the same thing).

All this happens, of course, from spiritual laziness, unwillingness to do at least some work on your soul. Prepare for confession, in detail, without missing the sermon in their sins can help the book "To help the penitent" St. Ignatius (Bryanchaninov), "The experience of constructing the confession" of Archimandrite John (Peasant) and others. Confessions can be prevented by excitement and forgetfulness, so it is entirely possible to write down your sins on a piece of paper and read them to the priest.

How to prepare a child for the first confession

According to the tradition of our Church, the confession of children begins at the age of seven. This coincides with the transition from childhood to adolescence. The child reaches the first stage of spiritual maturity. Strengthens his moral will. Unlike a baby, he already has the inner strength to resist temptations.

The first confession is a special event in the life of children. She can determine for a long time not only the attitude towards confession, but also the direction of his spiritual life. To her parents should prepare the child all previous years, living in the graceful experience of the Church. If they could bring up piety in the child, they can prepare it for the first confession so that this day will be a holiday for him.

The child's thinking is primarily visually-figurative, and not conceptual. His idea of ​​God is formed gradually, in the image of his relationship with his parents. He daily hears a prayer: "Our Father ..." - "Our Father ..." The Lord Himself in the parable of the Prodigal Son uses this comparison. As the father hugs the son who has returned to him, so God accepts the penitent with great joy. If relationships are built in love in the family, it is not difficult to explain to the son or daughter why it is necessary to love your Heavenly Parent. For children this is as natural as loving parents. The child should speak about Divine love as often as possible. The thought of a loving God causes him a sense of remorse and a desire not to repeat bad deeds. Of course, by the age of seven children already know that there is a paradise that there will be a court once, but the motives for their behavior are not determined by this. It is absolutely unacceptable to frighten children and say that God will punish. This can completely distort the child's conception of God. He will have a painful feeling of fear in his soul. Later such a person can lose faith.

In preparation for confession, it is important to let the child feel that he is already old enough to evaluate his actions. The conversation should not resemble a lesson that he must remember. You do not need to restrain his freedom. He can sincerely repent only of what he knows as wrong and bad deed. Then a desire and determination to reform is born. After confession, a child should feel a relief similar to what he feels when parents with trust and love forgive their children misconduct.

Vanya Shmelev remembered his first confession all his life: "I go out from behind the screen, everyone looks at me - I've been very long. Maybe they think I'm a great sinner. And it's so easy and easy on the soul "(Shmelev IS Summer of the Lord).

Children at the age of seven are often shy. Parents should start talking about confession long before this event. Then the child will gradually get used to and will wait with some excitement, but without timidity. Every time you need to talk with him about it very calmly, stressing that he is already big and knows how to do things himself.

The child's first participation in the Sacrament of Penance is not the general confession of an adult man, burdened with many sins for decades. At the age of seven, the children make only the first experiments, they pass the first lessons in the school of repentance, in which they will learn all their lives. Therefore, it is not so much the fullness of confession that is important, as the correct attitude of the child. Parents should help him to realize what can be dangerous for his spiritual development, which can take root and acquire the power of skill. Such dangerous sins are: wickedness, lies, self-conceit, boastfulness, selfishness, disrespect for elders, envy, greed, laziness. In overcoming harmful, sinful habits, parents must show wisdom, patience and perseverance. They should not prompt sins and not point directly at the bad habits formed in the child's soul, but convincingly show their harm. Only such repentance, which is committed with the participation of conscience, bears fruit. Parents should look for reasons for the appearance of sinful skills in the child's soul. Most often they themselves infect the child with their passions. While they did not defeat them in themselves, the correction will not yield any noticeable results.

In preparing for confession, it is important not only to help the child see the sins, but also to encourage him to acquire those virtues without which it is impossible to have a full-blooded spiritual life. Such virtues are: attention to one's inner state, obedience, prayer skill. Children are accessible to the perception of God as their Heavenly Parent. Therefore, it is easy for them to explain that prayer is a living communion with Him. The child needs both communication with the father and mother, and prayerful conversion to God.

After confession, parents should not question the child about her; Should show fullness of affection and warmth, so that the joy of this great event is imprinted in the child's soul as deeply as possible.

Sacrament of Communion

The sacrament of communion, or in Greek, the Eucharist (in translation - thanksgiving), occupies the main, central place in the church liturgical circle and in the life of the Orthodox Church.

The Orthodox people do not make us wear a cross and not even the fact that we were once baptized over us, especially since in our time this is not a special feat. Now, thank God, you can freely profess your faith. By Orthodox Christians, we become, when we begin to live in Christ and participate in the life of the Church, its sacraments.

The sacrament of communion was first performed by our Lord Jesus Christ. It happened on the eve of the Savior's cross sufferings, before Judas betrayed Christ to the torment. The Savior and His disciples gathered in a large, prepared room for this - the upper room, to make an Easter meal according to the Old Testament custom. This traditional dinner was performed in every family as an annual remembrance of the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt under the guidance of Moses. The Old Testament Passover was a holiday of deliverance, liberation from Egyptian slavery.

But the Lord, having gathered with His disciples for the Easter meal, put a new meaning in it. This event is described by all four evangelists and was called the Secret Supper. The Lord establishes at this farewell party the Sacrament of Holy Communion. Christ goes to suffering and the cross, gives His Most Pure Body and Honest Blood for the sins of all mankind. And an eternal reminder to all Christians of the sacrifice offered by Him should be the communion of the Body and Blood of the Savior in the Sacrament of the Eucharist.

The Lord took bread, blessed it, and distributed it to the apostles, said: Take, eat: this is my body. Then he took a cup of wine and, giving it to the apostles, said: Drink from it all, for this is My Blood of the New Testament, for many poured out for the forgiveness of sins (Mt 26, 26-28).

The Lord transformed bread and wine into His Body and Blood and commanded the apostles, and through them their successors - bishops and elders - to perform this Sacrament.

The Eucharist is not a simple recollection of what happened more than two thousand years ago. This is a real repetition of the Last Supper. And at every Eucharist - and at the time of the apostles and in our twenty-first century - the Lord Jesus Christ Himself through the canonically ordained bishop or priest performs the cooked bread and wine in His most pure Body and Blood.

In the Orthodox Catechism of St. Philaret (Drozdov) it says: "Communion is the Sacrament, in which the believer under the guise of bread and wine partakes of the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins and for eternal life." Through the Holy Gifts in us, in communion, Christ Himself enters, and the grace of God rests upon us.

The Lord tells us about the compulsory communion for all believers in Him: Verily, verily, I say to you: if you do not eat the Flesh of the Son of Man and drink His Blood, then you will not have life in you. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. And again: He who eats My flesh and drinks My Blood abides in Me, and I in him (In 6, 53-54, 56).

He who does not receive the Holy Mysteries tears himself away from the Source of life - Christ, puts himself outside of Him. Conversely, Orthodox Christians, with reverence and due preparation, regularly come to the sacrament of communion, according to the word of the Lord, abide in Him. And in the sacrament, which animates, spiritualizes, heals our soul and body, we, as in no other sacrament, unite with Christ Himself. About how often you need to take communion, you should talk with your spiritual father or priest of your parish.

The sacrament of communion must constantly accompany the life of an Orthodox person. For here, on earth, we must unite with God, Christ must enter into our soul and heart.

A man who seeks a connection with the Lord in his earthly life can hope for what will be with Him and in eternity.

The sacrament of communion is the greatest miracle on earth, which takes place constantly. As once God came to earth and dwelt among people, so now the fullness of the Godhead is contained in the Holy Gifts, and we can partake of this greatest grace. For the Lord said: I am with you always, to the very end of the age. Amen (Mf 28, 20).

How to prepare for the sacrament

The Holy Mysteries - the Body and Blood of Christ - the greatest sacred thing, the gift of God to us, sinful and unworthy. No wonder they are called - the Holy Gifts.

No one on earth can consider himself worthy to be a partaker of the Holy Mysteries. Preparing for the sacrament, we cleanse our spiritual and bodily nature. We prepare the soul with prayer, repentance and reconciliation with the neighbor, and the body with fasting and abstinence.

Those who prepare for the sacrament read three canons: Repentant to the Lord Jesus Christ, the Molebny Virgin and the canon to the Angel of the Guardian. And also we read the adherence to the Holy Communion. It includes the canon of communion and prayer. All these canons and prayers are contained in the usual Orthodox Prayer Book.

On the eve of the communion, it is necessary to be in the evening service, for the church day begins with the evening.

Before the communion, a fast is attributed. Spouses during training should refrain from corporal intimacy. Women who are in purification (in the period of menstruation) can not receive communion. Fasting, of course, is necessary not only with the body, but also with the mind, sight and hearing, keeping your soul from worldly entertainment. The duration of the Eucharistic fast is discussed with a confessor or parish priest, but usually before the communion they fast for three days. Of course, fasting depends on physical health, the spiritual state of the communicant, and on how often he embarks on the Holy Mysteries. If a person communes at least twice a fortnight, he can fast one day.

Prepared for communion is no longer eaten after midnight. Communicate on an empty stomach. Before the communion, in no case should you smoke.

The most important in the preparation for the sacrament of communion is the purification of one's soul from sins, which takes place in the Sacrament of Confession. In a soul that has not been cleansed from sin, not reconciled with God, Christ will not enter. When preparing to receive communion, we must approach with all responsibility the purification of our souls in order to make it a temple for the acceptance of Christ. You can confess on the day of communion or the night before.

When preparing to receive the Holy Mysteries, it is necessary (if only there is such an opportunity) to ask forgiveness from all whom we have hurtfully or unwittingly offended, and forgive ourselves all.

After the communion, it is necessary to thank God. We should carefully listen to the thanksgiving prayers for the Holy Communion. If for some reason it was not possible to listen to them in the temple, you must read them yourself according to the Prayer Book. During the day, one should refrain from vain pursuits and idle talk.

Miracle of Holy Communion

Once, when the holy hegumen Sergius performed the Divine Liturgy, Simon, the disciple of the monk, saw the heavenly fire descend into the Holy Mysteries at the time of their consecration, as this fire moved along the holy throne, illuminating the entire altar-he seemed to be hanging about at a holy meal, surrounding the sacred Sergius. And when the saint wanted to receive the Holy Mysteries, the Divine fire was sung, "like some kind of wonderful veil," and went inside the holy chalice. Thus, the sainthood of God took communion of this fire "neopalno, as the ancient Kupina fired neopalno ..." Simon was terrified of such a vision and was silent in trembling, but did not hide from the monk that his disciple was worthy of a vision. Having communed with the Holy Mysteries of Christ, he departed from the holy throne and asked Simon: "Why did your spirit so fear me, my child?" - "I saw the grace of the Holy Spirit acting with you, Father," he replied. "Look, do not tell anyone about what you saw until the Lord calls me out of this life," the humble Abba commanded him.

Sacrament of anointing (sobor)

In Greek and Slavic, the word oil means oil; moreover, in Greek it is consonant with the word "mercy". In the Sacrament of Unction, when anointed with the consecrated oil, the patient, according to the prayer of the priests, receives from God grace that heals the spiritual infirmities and bodily diseases and cleanses of the forgotten and unconscious sins. This Sacrament has several names. In ancient liturgical books, it is called oil, holy oil, oil mixed with prayer. In our country, the name "eleosociation" is most often used. In the people it is called a sobor because it traditionally commits its cathedral of seven priests. However, the Sacrament will also be valid if one priest performs it on behalf of the Church.

To this sacrament the sick must be prepared through the Sacrament of Penance. Although sometimes the righteous God the Lord sends illnesses for spiritual perfection, in most people the disease is the result of the destructive action of sin. Therefore in the Holy Scripture it is said that the true Physician is God: I am the Lord, your healer (Ex. 15, 26). Anyone who is ill must first turn to God to be cleansed from sin and to correct life. Without this, medicine can be ineffective. Our Savior, when to Him brought the sick for healing, first of all forgives his sins: Child! Your sins are forgiven you (Mk 2, 5). The holy apostle James also indicates the connection between the forgiveness of sins and healing according to the prayers of the priests (see: Iak 5, 14-15). The Holy Fathers were guided by the biblical teaching: "He who created the soul, He created the body, and He who heals the immortal soul, He can heal the body from temporary suffering and disease," says the Monk Makarios the Great. The forgiveness of sins in the Sacrament of Sobor writes the great elder Ambrose Optina: "The strength of the Sacrament of Unction is that they are forgiven especially by sins that are forgotten by the weakness of man, and by the forgiveness of sins, bodily health is granted, even if the will of God is for this." The thought of the connection of bodily healing with the forgiveness of sins imbued with all the prayers of the Sacrament of holy oil.

The Holy Gospel tells of the many miracles of healing that our Lord performed during His earthly ministry. The grace of healing various diseases the Savior gave to His disciples - the apostles. The Gospel says that the apostles, whom the Lord Jesus Christ sent to the preaching of repentance, many patients were smeared with oil and healed (Mk 6, 13). This testifies to the divine establishment of the Sacrament of anointing.

The closest disciple of Christ, the apostle James, says that not only the apostles but also the elders healed the prayer and the anointing of the oil: Is any of you sick, let him call 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 heal the sick, and the Lord will raise him up; And if he has committed sins, they will be forgiven him (Iak 5, 14-15).

In ancient times this Sacrament was performed by several presbyters and their number was not strictly established. It was allowed to do this to one presbyter. At the end of the VIII or the beginning of the 9th century, seven priests performed de-sanctification in the Eastern Church. This number in Holy Scripture symbolizes perfect completeness. Our modern Trebniki speaks of "seven priests". But, we repeat, and one presbyter in case of need can perform this Sacrament.

From the words of St. James the Apostle, it is easy to conclude that this Sacrament is served to the sick. In this case, it is a painfully painful thing, which the holy apostle calls suffering. However, neither the Holy Scripture nor the holy fathers say that it is only the dying people. People who do not have the right ecclesiastical consciousness often face a serious misconception that the soborage is performed only over the dying. Sometimes such people reach even superstition, thinking that the patient will die if he is sobor. This opinion is completely wrong and has no basis neither in the apostle's commandment for the unction, nor in the rank, according to which it has been practiced in the Orthodox Church since ancient times.

According to the rules of the Orthodox Church, the patient, on whom the deification is performed, must be conscious.

Soborovanie is not performed on infants who have not reached the age of seven, since the healing of the patient is in direct connection with the purification of his soul from forgotten and unconscious sins. The sacrament of holy oil can be performed in the temple, if the patient is able to move, as well as at home or in the hospital.

If the soborage is performed in the church with the participation of many parishioners, it is necessary to pre-register (indicate your name) behind the candle box for the remembrance of it during prayers.

Doing over the Sacrament of Sacrament as a means of spiritual healing does not cancel the use of the natural means given by the Lord to heal our diseases. And after soborozhii about the patient needs to have a concern - to invite doctors, give medicines, take other measures to alleviate his condition and recover.

After the sobor, the patient should receive the Holy Mysteries of the Holy Communion in the near future.

Sacrament of the wedding

The marriage of Orthodox Christians should be blessed by God, sanctified by the Church, and this blessing we receive in the Sacrament of the wedding. Orthodox marriage has great significance, it is committed to the image of the union of Christ and the Church. As the Apostle Paul writes: the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ is the head of the Church, and He is the Savior of the body. And further: Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the Church and gave Himself for it (Ef 5, 25). In the Sacrament of the wedding, the grace of God is given to those who enter into marriage so that they build their conjugal union in unanimity and love, be one soul and body, and also for the birth and Christian upbringing of children. But most importantly, we must remember: the wedding is not a magical action that binds forever and helps them regardless of how they behave. Unfortunately, very many people understand sacraments and rituals. Like, you need to do something, do some kind of ritual, and I'll be all right. No, without our labors, faith and prayer, no Sacrament will be of any use. The Lord gives us grace, help, and we must open our hearts and with faith accept it, become co-workers of God in the field of our family life. And then the wedding can give us a lot, we will receive in full its gracious gifts. Therefore, one should pray to God, ask Him for help and embody in his family the main commandment about love for one's neighbor. Husband, just as Christ loves the Church and cares for her, must love his wife, and the wife must honor and obey her husband, just as the Church honors and loves Christ. The Christian should embark on the Sacrament of the wedding with the thought that he marries once for all his life and will share with his God the given half all joys and difficulties. Only with such a thought can one endure all the trials and storms of everyday life.

The fact that we make a marriage for eternity, the wedding rings resemble the symbol of infinity, without beginning and without end, they are put on when the spouses become engaged. The same meaning has a triple walk during the wedding around the analogue, also a sign of eternal life. Before circumnavigating around the analogue, the priest puts on them crowns.

What are these crowns? Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh writes: "In ancient times, every time a holiday was, - the most ordinary family, or city, or national holiday - people wore crowns of flowers. In ancient Russia on the day of his wedding the bride and groom were called prince and princess - why? Because in ancient society, while a person was not married or married, he was a member of his family and was in everything subject to the eldest in the family - father or grandfather. Only when a man married, he became the master of his life. The ancient state consisted, as it were, of a union of sovereign, that is, independent, families. They were free to choose their own destiny. All issues were resolved in harmony, in mutual understanding, but each family had its own voice and its rights. "

It was like a wedding to a new kingdom. Marrying, creating a family, the spouses create not only their small "state", but, most importantly, their small church, which is part of a single Ecumenical Orthodox Church. In this church people, just like in the Church of the Universal, gathered to serve God, to go together to Him together and to be saved together. As already mentioned, the husband is in this small church the head, the image of Christ Himself the Savior - the Head of the Great Church. The spouse and children are the assistants of the head of the family-church in all family works and affairs.

The crowns are placed in the sign of victory: the bride and groom were not defeated before marriage by intemperance and kept virginity. The one who before marriage lost chastity and purity, strictly speaking, is not worthy of crowns. Therefore, there were no crowns at all, or they did not place wreaths at all, or were placed not on their heads, but on their right shoulder (the decision of Stoglavy Sobor).

The crowns have a different meaning. These are also the crowns of martyrdom, by which the Lord crowns his faithful slaves who have withstood all the sufferings and trials. Marriage is not only family fun, it is a joint burden, sometimes very difficult, a cross that the spouses, trials and storms that fall to their lot bear. In marriage, sometimes it is not easier to be saved than in a monastery. This daily "bearing each other's burdens," the resigned bearing of the life cross is generally called bloodless martyrdom.

Having put on crowns and bride crowns, the priest prayerfully turns to God: "O Lord our God, crown me with glory and honor" (them). " These words are a secret formula during the wedding. The priest pronounces them three times. Words of glory and honor are made from the Psalms (Ps 8, 5-6). The psalmist says that man is crowned with glory in creation, because he received the image and likeness of God. He is also crowned with honor, for God has given him power over all other creatures. According to St. John Chrysostom, in the wedding you can see the graceful restoration of that majesty over the creatures that Adam and Eve were clothed at the time when God spoke to them the marriage blessing: Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and possess it, and rule over the fishes and over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that creeps on the earth (Gen. 1, 28).

During the Sacrament of the wedding, the spouses are drunk from the common cup. The bowl is served three times first to the husband, and then to the wife. The cup symbolizes that in marriage all the joys and trials of the wife should be divided in half, equally.

There is a pious tradition for the newlyweds - to confess and receive communion on the liturgy on the day of the wedding. This custom is due to the fact that in antiquity the blessing of the couple took place at the Liturgy. Separate elements of the liturgy are still present in the rite of the wedding: the singing "Our Father", the common cup from which the spouses drink ... Confession and communion before the wedding are of great importance: a new family is born, a newly-married couple is in a new stage of life, and start it It is necessary to be renewed, having purified in the Mysteries from the sinful filth. If you can not get Communion on the day of the wedding, you need to do it the day before.

The Sacrament of the Priesthood

The Holy Apostles, the closest disciples of the Savior, chosen by Himself, received from the Lord the grace to perform the Sacraments: baptisms, confessions (sanctioning from sins), Eucharist and others. The apostles, after instruction from God (for He appointed some to be apostles, other prophets, other evangelists, other pastors and teachers (Eph 4, 11), through the laying on of hands (ordination) began to deliver people to sacred degrees: bishop, presbyter (priest) and deacon The apostle Paul writes to the bishop of Titus, whom he set for the Church of the island of Crete: In order that I left you in Crete, that you finish the unfinished and set up presbyters in all the cities, as I commanded you (Titus 1, 5). The bishops, as successors to the apostles, they were not only able to perform the sacraments, but also to consecrate them to sacred degrees.In the Orthodox Church, the succession of episcopal initiations and ordinations goes on continuously from the apostles themselves.

Deacons - assistants to priests and bishops - are the third degree of priesthood and are also ordained by bishops. In the primitive Church, in the apostolic times, the first seven deacons were chosen, they were placed before the apostles, and these, having prayed, laid their hands upon them (Acts 6, 6).

The sacrament of the priesthood gives grace for the performance of the Church Sacraments, sacred acts and services. It also has another name - consecration, which, in Greek, means the location. And in the time of the apostles, and now in the sacred degrees are consecrated by laying the bishop's hands on the protege and reading over him special prayers.

There are three sacred degrees: the bishop, the presbyter, the deacon. The bishop is the senior clergyman, has the power to ordain priests and deacons, and perform all other Sacraments.

The presbyter, the priest can perform all the Sacraments, except ordination. The deacon serves, helps with all the Sacraments, the sacraments and services, but only together with the bishop or priest.

The sacrament of ordination takes place at the Divine Liturgy, which is performed by the episcopal ministry. Bishop, according to apostolic rules, ordained by at least two other bishops. Usually ordination to the bishops is solemn, a whole cathedral of the episcopate. A bishop ordains a presbyterial and deacon's degree. In the deacons ordained at the Liturgy after the consecration of the Holy Gifts. This shows that the deacon himself has no right to perform the Sacraments.


The consecration of Archimandrite Meletios (Pavlyuchenkov) to the bishop of Roslavl and Desnogorsk

The priest is ordained after the great entrance to the Liturgy, so that he can later participate in the consecration of the Holy Gifts. The bishops are consecrated at the beginning of the Liturgy, after entering with the Gospel, and this shows that the bishop himself can ordain priesthood in varying degrees.

Priests are not only the performers of the holy Sacraments and church services. They are shepherds, guides for the people of God, have the grace and authority to teach and preach the word of God.

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