There are seven sacraments recognized in the Orthodox Church, but traditionally everything in the Church is understood to be sacramental in nature.
The Orthodox baptize infants as well as adults. Baptism is understood as participation in the death and resurrection of Christ. Just as Christ died in the tomb and rose, so does the one being baptized "die" to their old life and rise anew in Christ.
During Chrismation, the person receives the "seal of the gift of the Holy Spirit" to have the power to live a new life in Christ. Chrismation is like a personal Pentecost, just as baptism is a personal Pascha. Chrismations usually occur during the baptism ceremony for those who have not been baptized. Adults who have been baptized in the Holy Trinity but want to enter the Orthodox Church do so by way of Chrismation.
During the Divine Liturgy, we pray and ask God to transform the nature of the bread and wine into the very Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. So great is this Mystery. In the Gospel of Saint Matthew 26:26-28, Holy Scripture tells us that Jesus, at the Mystical Supper, took bread, blessed it, distributed it, and then said, "Take eat; this is My Body." Our Lord went on to the Cup, saying, "drink from it, all of you; for this is My Blood..." This is not mere symbolism even though Jesus equates Himself with other things throughout the Gospels. During Holy Communion, then, we partake of the Body and Blood of Christ, the Eternal Passover Lamb, Who makes us alive and holy with Himself. Through Holy Communion, we become sons of God the Father, together with Jesus, filled with the "communion of the Holy Spirit."
Marriage in Christ allows our human love to become divine and eternal. There is no "until death do us part." The point is to the contrary. Christ comes to our human love, frees it from the bondage of sin, and grants it everlasting joy in His Kingdom of love.
When we anoint the body in Christ's name, we consecrate our sufferings with the sufferings of Christ, and we are healed by Him soul and body. Thus by anointing with oil in Christ's name, our wounds become the way to life and not to death.
Confession is the sacrament of repentance, where like the prodigal son, we return to Christ and receive His divine forgiveness. After confession, we are allowed to enter into Holy Communion with Him once more. We have then reentered into that life we received at baptism and are renewed with the power of the Holy Spirit, which we were given during Chrismation. There is no greater joy for the Father than when the child turns back and repents!
The one sacrament within the Church, which guarantees the identity and continuity of the Church in all times and places, is the sacrament of priesthood. The priesthood exists within the Church as the sign of the absolute presence in the community of Christ Himself. Christ is not absent from the Church. He is present as its head and is manifested in the Body through the ministry of the priesthood. The Holy Orders include ordination to the diaconate, the priesthood, and the episcopate.
Saints, Feasts, and Readings for 06/01/2023