My beloved brothers and sisters in Christ God,
CHRIST IS IN OUR MIDST! HE WAS, IS, AND EVER SHALL BE.
ORTHODOX SANCTIFICATION OF PEOPLE, ANIMALS, AND
In our Holy Orthodox Christian Tradition, there are blessings and prayers performed by the priest for just about everything living and even objects (i.e. homes, cars, icons, etc). Every pious and spiritual act is founded on faith in God’s love and the grace of God the Holy
Spirit. The Orthodox priest invokes the blessings of the Almighty God believing that He indeed responds to our supplication and fortifies and sanctifies the people, animals, and the various objects.
Doubt does not ever enter the mind or heart of the Orthodox Christian as to whether or not the blessing has occurred. There is a personal conviction, trust, and belief that is immovable and powerful.
The Orthodox priest is called upon by the faithful to bless their homes, to bless their cars, to bless their family members, to bless their religious items before they are worn, i.e., crosses, icon metals, prayer ropes, icons, etc., to bless them before they travel, before an exam at school, to bless children before they begin school, to bless ill members, to bless them before surgery, and to bless them when they are threatened by evil. There are blessings before a woman goes to be delivered, after the birth of the child, to offer the 8th-day blessing of the child following his birth, and the 40-day blessing of mother and child after birth. There is a blessing for the place of burial or grave. There are also blessings of large and small boats, blessings for the foundations of new homes before they are erected. And let us not forget the Consecration of a new church building or Chapel, the blessing of the Five Loaves of Bread, wine and oil at the solemn service of Artoklasia, the blessing of flowers on the veneration, and exaltation of the Cross, the Blessing of the Palms on Palm Sunday, of Pascha eggs and cheese and other foods, the blessing of the first-fruits i.e., grapes, on the feast of the Savior on 6th August, and blessing the corner-stone of a church building, etc.
For those who may not know, on the 8th-day after the child’s birth, the child receives his/her Orthodox Christian name and NOT at his/her baptism, just as our Lord Jesus received His name on the day of His circumcision 8 days of His birth (St. Luke 2:21). Every Orthodox Christian is aware that 40 days following the birth of the baby, according to the Old Testament Hebrew tradition observed by the Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary, (St. Luke 2:22-24) the mother brings her child for its first visit to the church.
There is the Great, as well as the Lesser, agiasmos or blessing of Waters. The Great Blessing of Waters takes place on the eve of, as well as the day of Theophany, which commemorates the manifestation of God the Holy Trinity during the Baptism of our Lord Jesus Christ in the River Jordan. It also signifies that the entire creation is destined to share in the glory of redemption and renewal in Christ. The Lesser Blessing of Waters may be performed according to need. It is referred to as the Lesser Blessing, not because it is shorter, but because it does not have the same solemnity as the Great Blessing conducted on the Glorious Feast of the Epiphany.
Allow me to offer you a sample of the blessing for the blessing of the Waters:
"That these waters MAY BE SANCTIFIED BY THE POWER, AND EFFECTUAL OPERATION, AND DESCENT
OF THE HOLY SPIRIT, LET US PRAY TO THE LORD. That there may DESCEND UPON THESE WATERS THE
CLEANSING OPERATION OF THE SUPER-SUBSTANTIAL TRINITY, let us pray to the Lord. That He WILL
ENDOW THEM WITH THE GRACE OF REDEMPTION, THE BLESSING OF JORDAN, THE MIGHT AND OPERATION,
AND DESCENT OF THE HOLY SPIRIT, let us pray to the Lord. That Satan may SPEEDILY BE CRUSHED UNDER
OUR FEET, AND THAT EVERY EVIL COUNSEL DIRECTED AGAINST US MAY BE BROUGHT TO NAUGHT, let us
pray to the Lord. That the Lord our God WILL FREE US FROM EVERY ATTACK AND TEMPTATION OF THE ENEMY,
AND MAKE US WORTHY OF THE GOOD THINGS WHICH HE HAS PROMISED, let us pray to the Lord…That this water
may be unto THE BESTOWING OF SANCTIFICATION, UNTO THE REMISSION OF SINS; UNTO THE HEALING OF
SOUL AND BODY, AND UNTO EVERY EXPEDIENT SERVICE…THAT THIS WATER MAY BE A FOUNTAIN WELLING FORTH
UNTO LIFE ETERNAL..That it may MANIFEST ITSELF EFFECTUAL UNTO THE AVERTING OF EVERY MACHINATION OF
OUR FOES, WHETHER VISIBLE OR INVISIBLE…"
Please note that the Orthodox Christian Church teaches that the Great Blessing of Waters ACTUALLY CHANGES THE NATURE OF THE WATER, and that water so blessed is NO LONGER CORRUPTIBLE, BUT REMAINS FRESH FOR MANY YEARS.
The blessing of any object
Priest: Let us pray to the Lord. Kyrie eleison.
O Gracious and Author of mankind, Giver of spiritual graces and Bestower of
Eternal salvation: Do Thou, the same Lord, SEND DOWN THE Holy Spirit, with
a BLESSING FROM ON HIGH, UPON THIS (name of object); that FORTIFIED BY
THE MIGHT HEAVENLY PROTECTION, IT MAY BE POTENT UNTO BODILY
SALVATION AND SUCCOR AND AID, UNTO ALL WHO SHALL DESIRE TO MAKE
USE OF IT, THROUGH JESUS CHRIST OUR LORD. Amen.
THE MYSTERY (SACRAMENT) OF HOLY OIL (UNCTION OR EFCHELAION)
(The Essence of the Mystery)
The Mystery of the Holy Oil is A SACRED ACTION in which, while the body
is anointed with oil, the grace of God WHICH HEALS INFIRMITIES OF SOUL
AND BODY IS CALLED DOWN UPON A SICK PERSON (Orthodox Catechism,
The clearest testimony of the Mystery of Efchelaion is to be found in the holy Apostle James (Iakovos) [5:14-15]: Is any sick among you? Let him call for the elders (priests) of the Church, and LET THEM PRAY OVER HIM, ANOINTING HIM WITH ALL IN THE NAME OF THE LORD. AND THE PRAYER OF FAITH SHALL SAVE THE SICK, AND THE LORD SHALL RAISE HIM UP; AND IF HE HAS COMMITTED SINS, THEY SHALL BE FORGIVEN HIM." (Source: Orthodox Dogmatic Theology)
PRAYER OF ANOINTING (Holy and Great Wednesday)
O Holy Father, Physician of souls and bodies, Who did send Thine Only-Begotten Son,
our Lord Jesus Christ, TO HEAL EVERY INFIRMITY AND DELIVER FROM DEATH:
HEAL THOU, ALSO, Thy servants FROM THE ILLS OF BODY AND SOUL WHICH DO
HINDER THEM, AND QUICKEN THEM, BY THE GRACE OF THY CHRIST, THROUGH
THE PRAYERS OF OUR MOST HOLY LADY, THE BIRTH-GIVER OF GOD AND EVER-
VIRGIN MARY; THROUGH THE INTERCESSIONS OF THE HONORABLE BODILESS
Now that all the above has been said and has been established that THE SANCTIFICATION, HEALING, AND RESTORATION COMES FROM THE ALMIGHTY GOD AND HIS DIVINE GRACE, WHY IS THERE IS SUCH FEAR IN THE CHURCH OF PARTICIPATING IN THE SACRED SERVICES OF
OUR HOLY CHURCH? WHICH IS GREATER COVID OR GOD’S GRACE? Why are there NOT venerations of the sacred icons and of the Holy Cross? Why is there is such fear of receiving the Precious Body and Sacred Blood of our Lord? Why is there so much fear to receive the sacrament of Holy Unction, the Sacrament OF HEALING? What happened TO SANCTIFICATION? What happened to THE HEALING OF THE SOUL AND BODY BY THE GRACE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT? Where is our faith? Where is our trust in God’s grace? I personally, as a priest of the Church for a half-century, find this ILL CONCEIVED ATTITUDE within our Church SCANDALOUS AND TOTALLY UNORTHODOX, to say the least.