Wednesday, September 20, 2017 UTC

The Great Mysteries

The holy mysteries or sacraments,  are neither the end nor the essence of spiritual life. They are the means through which God bestows grace on his people. The mysteries are not mere symbols of divine things, but the gift of a spiritual reality attached to signs perceptible to the senses.

The mysteries of the Byzantine Catholic Church are given by the bishop or presbyter (priest) on the following occasions:

Holy Mysteries of Initiation Baptism – the first sacrament or Mystery. Baptism is our personal participation in the death and resurrection of Christ. In the Byzantine tradition, Baptism is administered by total immersion into blessed water in order to emphasize the washing of rebirth that takes place. Chrismation (Confirmation) – Baptism is immediately followed by the second sacrament, “Chrismation” or Confirmation. In Holy Chrismation, we are anointed with the Holy Myron, with the gift of the Holy Spirit being bestowed upon each of us individually. Chrismation is our personal participation in the descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. Eucharist – The Holy Eucharist, or Holy Communion, is the sacrament of Christ’s true Body and Blood. Following the command of the Lord to ‘let the little children come to me’ (Mt 19:14), the Church administers the Holy Mysteries of Baptism, Chrismation and Eucharist to infants on the same day, so that they become full members of the Body of Christ, fully integrated into the Church, and full participants in the gift of New Life in Christ

 Holy Mysteries of Reconciliation (Repentance) In the Mystery of Reconciliation, we repent of our sins, and receive forgiveness and absolution, and the grace to persevere in this world to live the New Life in Christ, in spite of our failures and shortcomings. It is a Byzantine tradition to confess our sins in the presence of a priest while facing an icon of Christ. 

 Mystery of Anointing The Sacrament of the Sick is more commonly referred to as the Mystery of Holy Anointing with Oil, where we are anointed with blessed oil for our illnesses, both bodily and spiritually. The entire Church celebrates this Mystery on Holy and Great Wednesday in anticipation of the Holy Pascha, the Feast of the Resurrection.  In addition, it may be bestowed in times of physical or spiritual sickness or need.

Mystery of Crowning (Marriage) In the Sacrament of Marriage, or the Mystery of Holy Matrimony, a man and a woman are called together to live as one through mutual self-giving and selfless love. In the Mystery of Holy Matrimony, the couple is crowned with the divine grace and strength to grow together in love and holiness, and live the New Life of Christ more abundantly. 

 Mystery of the Holy Orders The Church is a universal priesthood of believers. Yet among this universal priesthood, some are called to serve the Church in a particular way in the sacramental and liturgical life of the Church. The Mystery of Holy Orders calls men to serve the Body of Christ as deacons, priests and bishops through the laying on of hands, in which Christ Himself gives them the grace and power to perform this service in His name for the sake of His Body.