Anointing

Anointing

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To anoint is to pour or smear with perfume
Perfume
Perfume is a mixture of fragrant essential oils and/or aroma compounds, fixatives, and solvents used to give the human body, animals, objects, and living spaces "a pleasant scent"...

d oil, milk, water, melted butter or other substances, a process employed ritually by many religions. People and things are anointed to symbolize the introduction of a sacramental or divine influence, a holy emanation, spirit, power or God
God
God is the English name given to a singular being in theistic and deistic religions who is either the sole deity in monotheism, or a single deity in polytheism....

. It can also be seen as a spiritual mode of ridding persons and things of dangerous influences, as of demons (Persian drug, Greek κηρες Keres
Keres (mythology)
In Greek mythology, the Keres were female death-spirits. The Keres were daughters of Nyx, and as such the sisters of Fate , Doom , Death and Sleep , Strife , Old Age , Divine Retribution , Charon, and other personifications...

, Armenian dev) believed to be or to cause disease.

Unction is another term for anointing. The oil may be called chrism
Chrism
Chrism , also called "Myrrh" , Holy anointing oil, or "Consecrated Oil", is a consecrated oil used in the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Eastern Rite Catholic, Oriental Orthodox, in the Assyrian Church of the East, and in Old-Catholic churches, as well as Anglican churches in the administration...

.

The word is known in English since c. 1303, deriving from Old French enoint "smeared on", pp. of enoindre "smear on", itself from Latin inunguere, from in- "on" + unguere "to smear." Originally it only referred to grease or oil smeared on for medicinal purposes; its use in the Coverdale Bible
Coverdale Bible
The Coverdale Bible, compiled by Myles Coverdale and published in 1535, was the first complete Modern English translation of the Bible , and the first complete printed translation into English . The later editions published in 1539 were the first complete Bibles printed in England...

 in reference to Christ (cf. The Lord's Anointed
Messiah
A messiah is a redeemer figure expected or foretold in one form or another by a religion. Slightly more widely, a messiah is any redeemer figure. Messianic beliefs or theories generally relate to eschatological improvement of the state of humanity or the world, in other words the World to...

, see Chrism
Chrism
Chrism , also called "Myrrh" , Holy anointing oil, or "Consecrated Oil", is a consecrated oil used in the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Eastern Rite Catholic, Oriental Orthodox, in the Assyrian Church of the East, and in Old-Catholic churches, as well as Anglican churches in the administration...

) has spiritualized the sense of it, a sense expanded and expounded upon by St Paul's writings in his "Epistles". The title Christ
Christ
Christ is the English term for the Greek meaning "the anointed one". It is a translation of the Hebrew , usually transliterated into English as Messiah or Mashiach...

 is derived from the Hebrew Messiah
Messiah
A messiah is a redeemer figure expected or foretold in one form or another by a religion. Slightly more widely, a messiah is any redeemer figure. Messianic beliefs or theories generally relate to eschatological improvement of the state of humanity or the world, in other words the World to...

 (מָשִׁיחַ, "Mashiach") and means literally; covered in oil, anointed.

Eastern tradition



Abhishekionians had believed that the virtues of one killed could be transferred to survivors if the latter rubbed themselves with his caul-fat
Caul fat
Caul fat is the thin membrane which surrounds the stomach internal organs of some animals, such as hogs, cows, sheep, and pigs, also known as the greater omentum. It is often used as a natural sausage casing and to encase fegatelli , faggots , or pâté . Caul fat is also known as Lace...

. Other rites are associated with eating a victim whose virtues are coveted. So the Arabs of East Africa
East Africa
East Africa or Eastern Africa is the easterly region of the African continent, variably defined by geography or geopolitics. In the UN scheme of geographic regions, 19 territories constitute Eastern Africa:...

 anoint themselves with lion's fat in order to gain courage and inspire fear in other animals. Human fat is likewise a powerful charm. W. Robertson Smith points out, after the blood, fat was peculiarly the vehicle and seat of life. This is why fat of a victim was smeared on a sacred stone, not only in homage but in consecration. The influence of the deity, communicated to the victim, passed with the unguent into the stone. Thus such divinity could, by anointing, be transferred into men as well. In several temple reliefs in Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt was an ancient civilization of Northeastern Africa, concentrated along the lower reaches of the Nile River in what is now the modern country of Egypt. Egyptian civilization coalesced around 3150 BC with the political unification of Upper and Lower Egypt under the first pharaoh...

 the Pharaoh
Pharaoh
Pharaoh is a title used in many modern discussions of the ancient Egyptian rulers of all periods. The title originates in the term "pr-aa" which means "great house" and describes the royal palace...

 is depicted being anointed by Horus
Horus
Horus is one of the oldest and most significant deities in the Ancient Egyptian religion, who was worshipped from at least the late Predynastic period through to Greco-Roman times. Different forms of Horus are recorded in history and these are treated as distinct gods by Egyptologists...

 (sun god and "father" of Pharaoh) and Thoth
Thoth
Thoth was considered one of the more important deities of the Egyptian pantheon. In art, he was often depicted as a man with the head of an ibis or a baboon, animals sacred to him. His feminine counterpart was Seshat...

 (god of wisdom), the oil of which is symbolically depicted as a stream of ankh
Ankh
The ankh , also known as key of life, the key of the Nile or crux ansata, was the ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic character that read "eternal life", a triliteral sign for the consonants ʻ-n-ḫ...

s (symbols of life). Also, especially from the New Kingdom
New Kingdom
The New Kingdom of Egypt, also referred to as the Egyptian Empire is the period in ancient Egyptian history between the 16th century BC and the 11th century BC, covering the Eighteenth, Nineteenth, and Twentieth Dynasties of Egypt....

 onward, anointing is often depicted in intimate scenes between husband and wife, where the wife is shown anointing her spouse, as a sign of affection. The most famous example of this is on the throne
Throne
A throne is the official chair or seat upon which a monarch is seated on state or ceremonial occasions. "Throne" in an abstract sense can also refer to the monarchy or the Crown itself, an instance of metonymy, and is also used in many expressions such as "the power behind the...

 of Tutankhamun
Tutankhamun
Tutankhamun , Egyptian , ; approx. 1341 BC – 1323 BC) was an Egyptian pharaoh of the 18th dynasty , during the period of Egyptian history known as the New Kingdom...

.

Most famously in Pharaonic Egypt—along with many other ancient cultures—preparation for burial included anointing human remains with sweet-smelling oils in devotion as well with the practical intent of obscuring the stench of death. In sealing a coffin a ritual, final anointing of the mummy was observed.

In the Hindu
Hindu
Hindu refers to an identity associated with the philosophical, religious and cultural systems that are indigenous to the Indian subcontinent. As used in the Constitution of India, the word "Hindu" is also attributed to all persons professing any Indian religion...

 belief systems anointment is freely practiced. To mark particular devotions, as a "consecration" to particular beliefs or as a ritualized blessing used especially to invoke auspicious beginnings, every stage of life features some gesture of anointment, from rituals accompanying birthing, to religious or educational initiations, royal enthronements to final rites. Even every new building and household is anointed, as well as some ritual instruments. Likewise, the installation and care of any deity's form (frequently appearing as a statue) can involve daily ritual anointing. In every case the direction of the smearing is significant. Persons are anointed from head to foot, downwards, as in India the ground is considered less clean than the uplifted head. Anointing is also used to aid persons within negative cycles—illnesses, demonic possession
Demonic possession
Demonic possession is held by many belief systems to be the control of an individual by a malevolent supernatural being. Descriptions of demonic possessions often include erased memories or personalities, convulsions, “fits” and fainting as if one were dying...

 or streaks of "bad luck".

Though our western root word indicates a greasing of the head or skin with what is generally used as food, we understand "anointing" today to involve broader beliefs and practices, from ritual to talismanic. Yogurt, milk or butter produced by the Hindu's revered cow forms the base of much ritual anointing. Hindu ointments also include ashes, clay, wood (particularly sandal-wood) powders, herbal pastes, as well as endless waters, from sacred rivers or scented with saffron, tumeric, or flower-waters such as jasmine, gardenia, rose-water or infusions. More exotic are rinse-water used in bathing a deity and ink-water which has passed over the fresh calligraphy of appropriate scriptural verses—thus tinged with ink. Ayurvedic medicine practices include extensive herbal, mineral and talismanic preparations compounded and applied according to astrologic and Vedic prescription which tend to further expand monotheistic Western definitions of "anointment".

Buddhist
Buddhism
Buddhism is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha . The Buddha lived and taught in the northeastern Indian subcontinent some time between the 6th and 4th...

 practices of anointing are largely derived from Indian practices but tend to be much less free and noticeably less elaborate. The range of buddhist "anointments" typically include sprinkling assembled practitioners with water and the devotions shown to deities, images or ritual articles by marking statues of Buddha
Buddha
In Buddhism, buddhahood is the state of perfect enlightenment attained by a buddha .In Buddhism, the term buddha usually refers to one who has become enlightened...

s, Bodhisatvvas and divinities with butter (including yak butter
Yak butter
Yak butter is butter made from the milk of the domesticated yak . It is a staple food item and trade item for herding communities in south Central Asia and the Tibetan Plateau...

) and various waters including flower-waters, "saffron-waters" stained yellow using saffron or turmeric. Ointments including astrological and talismanic elements such as ink-water are also employed in Buddhist herbal medicine practice.

Hebrew Bible


Among the Hebrews
Hebrews
Hebrews is an ethnonym used in the Hebrew Bible...

, the act of anointing with the Holy anointing oil
Holy anointing oil
The holy anointing oil , formed an integral part of the ordination of the priesthood and the high priest as well as in the consecration of the articles of the tabernacle and subsequent temples in Jerusalem...

 was significant in consecration
Consecration
Consecration is the solemn dedication to a special purpose or service, usually religious. The word "consecration" literally means "to associate with the sacred". Persons, places, or things can be consecrated, and the term is used in various ways by different groups...

 to a holy or sacred use: hence the anointing of the high priest
Kohen Gadol
The High Priest was the chief religious official of Israelite religion and of classical Judaism from the rise of the Israelite nation until the destruction of the Second Temple of Jerusalem...

  and of the sacred vessels . Later, Kings and Prophets were given the right to partake in this sacrament as well.

Medicinal


Olive oil was used also for medicinal purposes. It was applied
to the sick, and also to wounds .

The expression, "anoint the shield" , refers to the custom of rubbing oil on the leather of the shield so as to make it supple and fit for use in war.

Hospitality


It was the custom of the Jews in like manner to anoint themselves with oil, as a means of refreshing or invigorating their bodies . The Hellenes had similar customs. This custom is continued among the Arabs to the present day. Since about 3,000 years ago, Persian Zoroastrians honor their guests with rose extract [Golaab] out of a beautifully designed glass goose-necked bottle, while holding mirror in front of their guest's face. The guest holds his/her palm, collects the rose-water and then spreads the perfumed liquid onto face and sometimes on his/her head. The words of "Rooj kori aka" (have a nice day) might be said as well.

Priests and kings


The High Priest and the king are each sometimes called "the anointed" . Prophets were also anointed with the Holy anointing oil
Holy anointing oil
The holy anointing oil , formed an integral part of the ordination of the priesthood and the high priest as well as in the consecration of the articles of the tabernacle and subsequent temples in Jerusalem...

..

Anointing a king was equivalent to crowning him; in fact, in Israel a crown
Crown (headgear)
A crown is the traditional symbolic form of headgear worn by a monarch or by a deity, for whom the crown traditionally represents power, legitimacy, immortality, righteousness, victory, triumph, resurrection, honour and glory of life after death. In art, the crown may be shown being offered to...

 was not required . Thus Saul
Saul
-People:Saul is a given/first name in English, the Anglicized form of the Hebrew name Shaul from the Hebrew Bible:* Saul , including people with this given namein the Bible:* Saul , a king of Edom...

 (1 Sam 10:1) and David
David
David was the second king of the united Kingdom of Israel according to the Hebrew Bible and, according to the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, an ancestor of Jesus Christ through both Saint Joseph and Mary...

 were anointed as kings by the prophet Samuel:
Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brethren: and the Spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day forward. So Samuel rose up, and went to Ramah.—.

The Messiah


Distinct from the Jewish view, Christians believe the "anointed" one referred to in various biblical verses such as and is the promised Messiah
Messiah
A messiah is a redeemer figure expected or foretold in one form or another by a religion. Slightly more widely, a messiah is any redeemer figure. Messianic beliefs or theories generally relate to eschatological improvement of the state of humanity or the world, in other words the World to...

. According to the Jewish Bible
Tanakh
The Tanakh is a name used in Judaism for the canon of the Hebrew Bible. The Tanakh is also known as the Masoretic Text or the Miqra. The name is an acronym formed from the initial Hebrew letters of the Masoretic Text's three traditional subdivisions: The Torah , Nevi'im and Ketuvim —hence...

, whenever someone was anointed with the specific Holy anointing oil
Holy anointing oil
The holy anointing oil , formed an integral part of the ordination of the priesthood and the high priest as well as in the consecration of the articles of the tabernacle and subsequent temples in Jerusalem...

 formula and ceremony described in , the Spirit of God came upon this person, to qualify him or her for a God-given task. According to the New Testament
New Testament
The New Testament is the second major division of the Christian biblical canon, the first such division being the much longer Old Testament....

, Jesus
Jesus
Jesus of Nazareth , commonly referred to as Jesus Christ or simply as Jesus or Christ, is the central figure of Christianity...

 of Nazareth
Nazareth
Nazareth is the largest city in the North District of Israel. Known as "the Arab capital of Israel," the population is made up predominantly of Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel...

 is this Anointed One, the Messiah . The kings of the Old Testament were anointed with oil and only afterwards did they receive Power through the Holy Spirit that came upon them. Jesus on the other hand, was anointed because the Holy Spirit had come upon Him (Acts 10:38). Jesus was anointed with Power itself. God was pleased that Jesus should be His Son (Matthew 3:16) and Jesus was the anointed of God. So we can differentiate between the kind of power that the kings of Israel and the kind of Power that Jesus (The King of Israel) had – the difference is that the kings were anointed of a human high priest but The King was anointed of God Himself. The Gospels also state that he was physically "anointed"
Anointing of Jesus
The anointing of Jesus is an event reported by each of the Canonical gospels, in which a woman pours the entire contents of an alabastron of very expensive perfume over the head or feet of Jesus....

 by an anonymous woman who is interpreted by some as Mary Magdalene
Mary Magdalene
Mary Magdalene was one of Jesus' most celebrated disciples, and the most important woman disciple in the movement of Jesus. Jesus cleansed her of "seven demons", conventionally interpreted as referring to complex illnesses...

; however, this anointing was not in the fashion described in Exodus, but rather an anointing done out of affection, which Jesus stated was to prepare him for his burial. The word Christ
Christ
Christ is the English term for the Greek meaning "the anointed one". It is a translation of the Hebrew , usually transliterated into English as Messiah or Mashiach...

 which is now used as though it were a surname was more accurately a title which was equivalent to the Hebrew HaMashiach meaning "the anointed one.”

Hospitality


Anointing was also an act of hospitality, as Jesus was anointed in the house of the Pharisee .

Medicinal


The New Testament records that oil was applied to the sick, and also to wounds ; ).

The bodies of the dead were sometimes anointed .

Christian monarchy




In Christian Europe, the Carolingian
Carolingian
The Carolingian dynasty was a Frankish noble family with origins in the Arnulfing and Pippinid clans of the 7th century AD. The name "Carolingian", Medieval Latin karolingi, an altered form of an unattested Old High German *karling, kerling The Carolingian dynasty (known variously as the...

 monarchy was the first to anoint the king in 7th century AD at a coronation ceremony that was designed to epitomize the Catholic Church's conferring a religious sanction of the monarch's divine right to rule. Nevertheless, a number of Merovingian, Carolingian and Ottonian kings and emperors have avoided coronation and anointing.

English and Scottish monarchs in common with the French included anointing in the coronation
Coronation
A coronation is a ceremony marking the formal investiture of a monarch and/or their consort with regal power, usually involving the placement of a crown upon their head and the presentation of other items of regalia...

 rituals (sacre in French). The Sovereign of the United Kingdom is the last anointed monarch. For the coronation of King Charles I
Charles I of England
Charles I was King of England, King of Scotland, and King of Ireland from 27 March 1625 until his execution in 1649. Charles engaged in a struggle for power with the Parliament of England, attempting to obtain royal revenue whilst Parliament sought to curb his Royal prerogative which Charles...

 in 1626 the holy oil was made of a concoction of orange
Orange (fruit)
An orange—specifically, the sweet orange—is the citrus Citrus × sinensis and its fruit. It is the most commonly grown tree fruit in the world....

, jasmine
Jasmine
Jasminum , commonly known as jasmines, is a genus of shrubs and vines in the olive family . It contains around 200 species native to tropical and warm temperate regions of the Old World...

, distilled roses, distilled cinnamon
Cinnamon
Cinnamon is a spice obtained from the inner bark of several trees from the genus Cinnamomum that is used in both sweet and savoury foods...

, oil of ben, extract of bensoint
Benzoin
Benzoin is an organic compound with the formula PhCHCPh. It is a hydroxy ketone attached to two phenyl groups. It appears as off-white crystals, with a light camphor-like odor. Benzoin is synthesized from benzaldehyde in the benzoin condensation...

, ambergris
Ambergris
Ambergris is a solid, waxy, flammable substance of a dull gray or blackish color produced in the digestive system of and regurgitated or secreted by sperm whales....

, musk
Musk
Musk is a class of aromatic substances commonly used as base notes in perfumery. They include glandular secretions from animals such as the musk deer, numerous plants emitting similar fragrances, and artificial substances with similar odors. Musk was a name originally given to a substance with a...

 and civet
Civet
The family Viverridae is made up of around 30 species of medium-sized mammal, including all of the genets, the binturong, most of the civets, and the two African linsangs....

.

Shakespeare reflected English popular culture in the indelible nature of anointing:
Not all the water in the rough rude sea

Can wash the balm off an anointed king.

However this does not symbolize any subordination to the religious authority, hence it is not usually performed in Catholic monarchies by the pope but usually reserved for the (arch)bishop of a major see (sometimes the site of the whole coronation
Coronation
A coronation is a ceremony marking the formal investiture of a monarch and/or their consort with regal power, usually involving the placement of a crown upon their head and the presentation of other items of regalia...

) in the nation, as is sometime the very act of crowning. Hence its utensils can be part of the regalia
Regalia
Regalia is Latin plurale tantum for the privileges and the insignia characteristic of a Sovereign.The word stems from the Latin substantivation of the adjective regalis, 'regal', itself from Rex, 'king'...

, such as in the French kingdom an ampulla
Ampulla
An ampulla was, in Ancient Rome, a "small nearly globular flask or bottle, with two handles" . The word is used of these in archaeology, and of later flasks, often handle-less and much flatter, for holy water or holy oil in the Middle Ages....

 for the oil and a spoon
Spoon
A spoon is a utensil consisting of a small shallow bowl, oval or round, at the end of a handle. A type of cutlery , especially as part of a place setting, it is used primarily for serving. Spoons are also used in food preparation to measure, mix, stir and toss ingredients...

 to apply it with; in the Swedish and Norwegian kingdoms, an anointing horn (a form fitting the Biblical as well as the Viking tradition) is the traditional vessel.

The French Kings adopted the fleur-de-lis
Fleur-de-lis
The fleur-de-lis or fleur-de-lys is a stylized lily or iris that is used as a decorative design or symbol. It may be "at one and the same time, political, dynastic, artistic, emblematic, and symbolic", especially in heraldry...

 as a baptismal symbol of purity on the conversion of the Frankish King Clovis I
Clovis I
Clovis Leuthwig was the first King of the Franks to unite all the Frankish tribes under one ruler, changing the leadership from a group of royal chieftains, to rule by kings, ensuring that the kingship was held by his heirs. He was also the first Catholic King to rule over Gaul . He was the son...

 to the Christian
Christian
A Christian is a person who adheres to Christianity, an Abrahamic, monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as recorded in the Canonical gospels and the letters of the New Testament...

 religion in 493. To further enhance its mystique, a legend eventually sprang up that a vial of oil—the Holy Ampulla
Holy Ampulla
The Holy Ampulla or Holy Ampoule was a glass vial which, from its first recorded use, by Pope Innocent II for the anointing of Louis VII in 1131 to the coronation of Louis XVI in 1774, held the chrism or anointing oil for the coronation of the kings of France.The role played by the Sainte Ampoule...

--descended from Heaven
Heaven
Heaven, the Heavens or Seven Heavens, is a common religious cosmological or metaphysical term for the physical or transcendent place from which heavenly beings originate, are enthroned or inhabit...

 to anoint and sanctify Clovis as King. The thus "anointed" Kings of France later maintained that their authority was directly from God
God
God is the English name given to a singular being in theistic and deistic religions who is either the sole deity in monotheism, or a single deity in polytheism....

, without the mediation of either the Emperor
Holy Roman Emperor
The Holy Roman Emperor is a term used by historians to denote a medieval ruler who, as German King, had also received the title of "Emperor of the Romans" from the Pope...

 or the Pope
Pope
The Pope is the Bishop of Rome, a position that makes him the leader of the worldwide Catholic Church . In the Catholic Church, the Pope is regarded as the successor of Saint Peter, the Apostle...

.

Legends claim that even the lily itself appeared at the baptismal ceremony as a gift of blessing in an apparition of the blessed Virgin Mary.

In the Eastern Orthodox Church
Eastern Orthodox Church
The Orthodox Church, officially called the Orthodox Catholic Church and commonly referred to as the Eastern Orthodox Church, is the second largest Christian denomination in the world, with an estimated 300 million adherents mainly in the countries of Belarus, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Georgia, Greece,...

, the Anointing of an Orthodox Sovereign is considered a Sacred Mystery (Sacrament). The act was believed to bestow upon the ruler the empowerment, through the grace
Divine grace
In Christian theology, grace is God’s gift of God’s self to humankind. It is understood by Christians to be a spontaneous gift from God to man - "generous, free and totally unexpected and undeserved" - that takes the form of divine favour, love and clemency. It is an attribute of God that is most...

 of the Holy Spirit
Holy Spirit
Holy Spirit is a term introduced in English translations of the Hebrew Bible, but understood differently in the main Abrahamic religions.While the general concept of a "Spirit" that permeates the cosmos has been used in various religions Holy Spirit is a term introduced in English translations of...

, to discharge his God-appointed duties, and his ministry in defending the Orthodox Christian faith. The same Myron
Myrrh
Myrrh is the aromatic oleoresin of a number of small, thorny tree species of the genus Commiphora, which grow in dry, stony soil. An oleoresin is a natural blend of an essential oil and a resin. Myrrh resin is a natural gum....

which is used in Chrismation
Chrismation
Chrismation is the name given in Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox and Eastern Catholic churches, as well as in the Assyrian Church of the East, Anglican, and in Lutheran initiation rites, to the Sacrament or Sacred Mystery more commonly known in the West as confirmation, although Italian...

 is used for the Anointing of the Monarch. In the Russian Orthodox Church
Russian Orthodox Church
The Russian Orthodox Church or, alternatively, the Moscow Patriarchate The ROC is often said to be the largest of the Eastern Orthodox churches in the world; including all the autocephalous churches under its umbrella, its adherents number over 150 million worldwide—about half of the 300 million...

, during the Coronation of the Tsar
Coronation of the Russian monarch
The Coronation of the Russian monarch was a religious ceremony of the Russian Orthodox Church, the state church of the Russian Empire, in which the Emperor of Russia was crowned and invested with regalia, then anointed with chrism and formally blessed by the church to commence his reign...

, the Anointing took place just before the receipt of Holy Communion, toward the end of the service. The Sovereign and his Consort were escorted to the Holy Doors (Iconostasis
Iconostasis
In Eastern Christianity an iconostasis is a wall of icons and religious paintings, separating the nave from the sanctuary in a church. Iconostasis also refers to a portable icon stand that can be placed anywhere within a church...

) of the Cathedral, and were there anointed by the Metropolitan
Metropolitan bishop
In Christian churches with episcopal polity, the rank of metropolitan bishop, or simply metropolitan, pertains to the diocesan bishop or archbishop of a metropolis; that is, the chief city of a historical Roman province, ecclesiastical province, or regional capital.Before the establishment of...

. After the Anointing, the Tsar alone was taken through the Holy Doors (an action normally reserved only for bishops or priests) and received Holy Communion at a small table set next to the Holy Table, or altar
Altar
An altar is any structure upon which offerings such as sacrifices are made for religious purposes. Altars are usually found at shrines, and they can be located in temples, churches and other places of worship...

.

Early Christian usage


In early Christian times, sick people were anointed for healing to take place:
14 Is any sick among you? 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:
15 And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.
13 And they cast out many devils, and anointed with oil many that were sick, and healed them.

Early Gnostic usage


Many early apocryphal and Gnostic texts indicate that anointing was part of the baptismal process, and in fact that the baptism with water (Johns baptism) is incomplete. The Gospel of Philip
Gospel of Philip
The Gospel of Philip is one of the Gnostic Gospels, a text of New Testament apocrypha, dating back to around the third century but lost to modern researchers until an Egyptian peasant rediscovered it by accident, buried in a cave near Nag Hammadi, in 1945...

 states; "The Chrism is superior to baptism, for it is from the word "Chrism" that we have been called "Christians", certainly not because of the word "baptism." And it from the "Chrism" that the "Christ" has his name. For the Father anointed the Son, and the Son anointed the apostles, and the apostles anointed us. He who has been anointed possesses everything. He possesses the Resurrection, the Light, the Cross, the Holy Spirit. The Father gave him this in the bridal chamber, he merely accepted the gift. The Father was in the Son and the Son in the Father. This is the Kingdom of Heaven." In the Acts of Thomas
Acts of Thomas
The early 3rd century text called Acts of Thomas is one of the New Testament apocrypha, portraying Christ as the "Heavenly Redeemer", independent of and beyond creation, who can free souls from the darkness of the world. References to the work by Epiphanius of Salamis show that it was in...

 the anointing is in fact the beginning of the baptismal process and essential to becoming a "Christian." It claims that God knows his own children by his seal, and that we shall receive the seal by the oil. Many such baptisms/Chrismations are described in detail throughout the text.

Roman Catholic usage


The Roman Catholic Church
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

 blesses three types of holy oils for anointing: Oil of the Catechumens (traditionally abbreviated "OS" for oleum sanctum), Oil of the Infirm ("OI"), and Sacred Chrism ("SC"). The first two are said to be "blessed
Blessing
A blessing, is the infusion of something with holiness, spiritual redemption, divine will, or one's hope or approval.- Etymology and Germanic paganism :...

", while chrism
Chrism
Chrism , also called "Myrrh" , Holy anointing oil, or "Consecrated Oil", is a consecrated oil used in the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Eastern Rite Catholic, Oriental Orthodox, in the Assyrian Church of the East, and in Old-Catholic churches, as well as Anglican churches in the administration...

 is "consecrated".

The Oil of Catechumens is used to anoint the catechumen
Catechumen
In ecclesiology, a catechumen , “‘down’” + ἠχή , “‘sound’”) is one receiving instruction from a catechist in the principles of the Christian religion with a view to baptism...

s (adults preparing for reception into the church) just before receiving the Sacrament of Baptism
Baptism
In Christianity, baptism is for the majority the rite of admission , almost invariably with the use of water, into the Christian Church generally and also membership of a particular church tradition...

. Anointing is part of the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick
Anointing of the Sick
Anointing of the Sick, known also by other names, is distinguished from other forms of religious anointing or "unction" in that it is intended, as its name indicates, for the benefit of a sick person...

, and the Oil of the Infirm is used for this. The Sacred Chrism is used in the Sacraments of Baptism
Baptism
In Christianity, baptism is for the majority the rite of admission , almost invariably with the use of water, into the Christian Church generally and also membership of a particular church tradition...

, Confirmation, and Holy Orders.

Any bishop
Bishop
A bishop is an ordained or consecrated member of the Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight. Within the Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox Churches, in the Assyrian Church of the East, in the Independent Catholic Churches, and in the...

 may consecrate the holy oils, and normally do so every Holy Thursday at a special "Chrism Mass".

Orthodox usage


In the Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Catholic churches, Confirmation is known as Chrismation
Chrismation
Chrismation is the name given in Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox and Eastern Catholic churches, as well as in the Assyrian Church of the East, Anglican, and in Lutheran initiation rites, to the Sacrament or Sacred Mystery more commonly known in the West as confirmation, although Italian...

from the Greek word chrisma (χρίσμα), meaning the medium and act of anointing. The Eastern Churches perform the Mystery of Chrismation immediately after the Mystery of Baptism
Baptism
In Christianity, baptism is for the majority the rite of admission , almost invariably with the use of water, into the Christian Church generally and also membership of a particular church tradition...

 during the same ceremony, even in the case of infant baptism
Infant baptism
Infant baptism is the practice of baptising infants or young children. In theological discussions, the practice is sometimes referred to as paedobaptism or pedobaptism from the Greek pais meaning "child." The practice is sometimes contrasted with what is called "believer's baptism", or...

, using the sacred myron (chrism
Chrism
Chrism , also called "Myrrh" , Holy anointing oil, or "Consecrated Oil", is a consecrated oil used in the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Eastern Rite Catholic, Oriental Orthodox, in the Assyrian Church of the East, and in Old-Catholic churches, as well as Anglican churches in the administration...

) which they believe contains a remnant of oil blessed by the Twelve Apostles. This myron may be added to as needed, usually at a ceremony held on Holy Thursday at one of the Patriarch
Patriarch
Originally a patriarch was a man who exercised autocratic authority as a pater familias over an extended family. The system of such rule of families by senior males is called patriarchy. This is a Greek word, a compound of πατριά , "lineage, descent", esp...

al Cathedral
Cathedral
A cathedral is a Christian church that contains the seat of a bishop...

s. The new myron contains olive oil
Olive oil
Olive oil is an oil obtained from the olive , a traditional tree crop of the Mediterranean Basin. It is commonly used in cooking, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, and soaps and as a fuel for traditional oil lamps...

, myrrh
Myrrh
Myrrh is the aromatic oleoresin of a number of small, thorny tree species of the genus Commiphora, which grow in dry, stony soil. An oleoresin is a natural blend of an essential oil and a resin. Myrrh resin is a natural gum....

, and numerous spice
Spice
A spice is a dried seed, fruit, root, bark, or vegetative substance used in nutritionally insignificant quantities as a food additive for flavor, color, or as a preservative that kills harmful bacteria or prevents their growth. It may be used to flavour a dish or to hide other flavours...

s and perfume
Perfume
Perfume is a mixture of fragrant essential oils and/or aroma compounds, fixatives, and solvents used to give the human body, animals, objects, and living spaces "a pleasant scent"...

s. This myron is normally kept on the Holy Table (altar) or on the Table of Oblation. During Chrismation, the newly illuminate (i.e., newly baptized) person is anointed by making the sign of the cross
Sign of the cross
The Sign of the Cross , or crossing oneself, is a ritual hand motion made by members of many branches of Christianity, often accompanied by spoken or mental recitation of a trinitarian formula....

 with the myron on the forehead, eyes, nostrils, lips, both ears, breast, hands and feet. The priest uses a special brush for this purpose.

The oil that is used to anoint the catechumen
Catechumen
In ecclesiology, a catechumen , “‘down’” + ἠχή , “‘sound’”) is one receiving instruction from a catechist in the principles of the Christian religion with a view to baptism...

s before baptism is simple olive oil
Olive oil
Olive oil is an oil obtained from the olive , a traditional tree crop of the Mediterranean Basin. It is commonly used in cooking, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, and soaps and as a fuel for traditional oil lamps...

 which is blessed by the priest immediately before he pours it into the baptismal font
Baptismal font
A baptismal font is an article of church furniture or a fixture used for the baptism of children and adults.-Aspersion and affusion fonts:...

. Then, using his fingers, he takes some of the blessed oil floating on the surface of the baptismal water and anoints the catechumen on the forehead, breast, shoulders, ears, hands and feet. He then immediately baptizes the catechumen with threefold immersion in the name of the Trinity
Trinity
The Christian doctrine of the Trinity defines God as three divine persons : the Father, the Son , and the Holy Spirit. The three persons are distinct yet coexist in unity, and are co-equal, co-eternal and consubstantial . Put another way, the three persons of the Trinity are of one being...

.

Anointing of the sick is called the Sacred Mystery of Unction. Although practices will vary, most of the Orthodox use Unction not only for physical ailments, but for spiritual ailments as well, and the faithful may request Unction any number of times at will. In some churches, it is normal for all of the faithful to receive Unction during a service on Holy Wednesday
Holy Wednesday
In Christianity, Holy Wednesday is the Wednesday of the Holy Week, the week before Easter...

 of Holy Week
Holy Week
Holy Week in Christianity is the last week of Lent and the week before Easter...

. The holy oil used at Unction is not stored in the church like the myron, but consecrated anew for each individual service. When an Orthodox Christian dies, if he has received the Mystery of Unction, and some of the consecrated oil remains, it is poured over his body just before burial.

It is also common to bless using oils which have been blessed either with a simple blessing by a priest (or even a venerated monastic or layperson), or by contact with some sacred object, such as relic
Relic
In religion, a relic is a part of the body of a saint or a venerated person, or else another type of ancient religious object, carefully preserved for purposes of veneration or as a tangible memorial...

s of a saint, or which has been taken from an oil lamp
Oil lamp
An oil lamp is an object used to produce light continuously for a period of time using an oil-based fuel source. The use of oil lamps began thousands of years ago and is continued to this day....

 burning in front of a wonderworking icon
Icon
An icon is a religious work of art, most commonly a painting, from Eastern Christianity and in certain Eastern Catholic churches...

 or some other shrine
Shrine
A shrine is a holy or sacred place, which is dedicated to a specific deity, ancestor, hero, martyr, saint, daemon or similar figure of awe and respect, at which they are venerated or worshipped. Shrines often contain idols, relics, or other such objects associated with the figure being venerated....

.

Consecration of Oil in the Orthodox Church


Among Eastern Orthodox Churches, the Myron (Μύρον, Holy Oil) for Chrismation (and, prior to the 20th century, for the Anointing of monarchs
Coronation
A coronation is a ceremony marking the formal investiture of a monarch and/or their consort with regal power, usually involving the placement of a crown upon their head and the presentation of other items of regalia...

) is prepared periodically by the Orthodox Patriarchates (such as the Church of Constantinople -- see an announcement and process for preparation, with some sample dates of preparation) and by the various heads of autocephalous churches (such as the Orthodox Church in America
Orthodox Church in America
The Orthodox Church in America is an autocephalous Eastern Orthodox church in North America. Its primate is Metropolitan Jonah , who was elected on November 12, 2008, and was formally installed on December 28, 2008...

 -- see photos of the process). The Consecration of the Oil, when performed, occurs during Holy Week
Holy Week
Holy Week in Christianity is the last week of Lent and the week before Easter...

, and thereafter the Oil is distributed to the Orthodox parishes
Parish church
A parish church , in Christianity, is the church which acts as the religious centre of a parish, the basic administrative unit of episcopal churches....

 and monasteries under the authority of that ecclesiastical jurisdiction.

At the Patriarchate of Constantinople, the process is under the care of the Archon
Archon
Archon is a Greek word that means "ruler" or "lord", frequently used as the title of a specific public office. It is the masculine present participle of the verb stem ἀρχ-, meaning "to rule", derived from the same root as monarch, hierarchy, and anarchy.- Ancient Greece :In ancient Greece the...

tes Myrepsoi
, lay officials of the Patriarchate. Various members of the clergy may also participate in the preparation, but the Consecration itself is always performed by the Patriarch or a bishop deputed by him for that purpose.

Pentecostal churches


As in the early Christian church, anointing with oil is used in Pentecostal churches for healing the sick and also for consecration or ordination of pastors and elders.

The word "anointing" is also frequently used by Pentecostal Christians to refer to the power of God or the Spirit of God residing in a Christian: a usage that occurs from time to time in the Bible (e.g. in ). A particularly popular expression is "the anointing that breaks the yoke", which is derived from :
And it shall come to pass on that day, that his burden shall be removed from upon your shoulder, and his yoke from upon your neck, and the yoke shall be destroyed because of oil.


The NIV translates this passage as, "the yoke will be broken because you have grown so fat." The context of this passage refers to the yoke of Sennacherib
Sennacherib
Sennacherib |Sîn]] has replaced brothers for me"; Aramaic: ) was the son of Sargon II, whom he succeeded on the throne of Assyria .-Rise to power:...

, and how his oppressive nature is overturned by that of Hezekiah
Hezekiah
Hezekiah was the son of Ahaz and the 14th king of Judah. Edwin Thiele has concluded that his reign was between c. 715 and 686 BC. He is also one of the most prominent kings of Judah mentioned in the Hebrew Bible....

 who was said to be as mild as oil.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints


In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Melchizedek Priesthood holders may anoint the head of an individual who is ill and has requested a blessing. Pure olive oil
Olive oil
Olive oil is an oil obtained from the olive , a traditional tree crop of the Mediterranean Basin. It is commonly used in cooking, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, and soaps and as a fuel for traditional oil lamps...

 must be used, and it must have been consecrated earlier in a short ordinance that any Melchizedek Priesthood holder may perform.

In addition to the reference, the Doctrine and Covenants
Doctrine and Covenants
The Doctrine and Covenants is a part of the open scriptural canon of several denominations of the Latter Day Saint movement...

 contains numerous references to the anointing and healing of the sick by those with authority to do so.

Biblical metaphor


Anointing is not only used by Pentecostal churches but by many other denominations to describe the work of the Holy Spirit among believers. In so doing they only recognize the spiritual anointing that the Bible speaks of. But you have an anointing from the Holy One . But the anointing, which you have received from Him abides in you

Other uses


Because of its "smeared on" root, the word is also used for the unique practice by hedgehog
Hedgehog
A hedgehog is any of the spiny mammals of the subfamily Erinaceinae and the order Erinaceomorpha. There are 17 species of hedgehog in five genera, found through parts of Europe, Asia, Africa, and New Zealand . There are no hedgehogs native to Australia, and no living species native to the Americas...

s of coating their quills with a froth when encountering new smells or tastes in their environment.

See also

  • Anointing of Jesus
    Anointing of Jesus
    The anointing of Jesus is an event reported by each of the Canonical gospels, in which a woman pours the entire contents of an alabastron of very expensive perfume over the head or feet of Jesus....

  • Anointing of the Sick
    Anointing of the Sick
    Anointing of the Sick, known also by other names, is distinguished from other forms of religious anointing or "unction" in that it is intended, as its name indicates, for the benefit of a sick person...

  • Chrism
    Chrism
    Chrism , also called "Myrrh" , Holy anointing oil, or "Consecrated Oil", is a consecrated oil used in the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Eastern Rite Catholic, Oriental Orthodox, in the Assyrian Church of the East, and in Old-Catholic churches, as well as Anglican churches in the administration...

  • fleur-de-lis
    Fleur-de-lis
    The fleur-de-lis or fleur-de-lys is a stylized lily or iris that is used as a decorative design or symbol. It may be "at one and the same time, political, dynastic, artistic, emblematic, and symbolic", especially in heraldry...

  • Holy anointing oil
    Holy anointing oil
    The holy anointing oil , formed an integral part of the ordination of the priesthood and the high priest as well as in the consecration of the articles of the tabernacle and subsequent temples in Jerusalem...

  • Holy unction