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The Church's Holy Sacraments

The Church Sacraments are sacred actions by which the believers receive invisible graces, through material or visible signs. The Coptic Church observes seven sacraments:

1. Sacrament of Baptism

The Sacrament of Baptism is the door by which the believer enters the church and has the right to partake in the rest of the Sacraments. At Baptism, we are born again by being immersed in water three times in the name of the Holy Trinity; the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. The Lord Jesus Christ instituted the Sacrament of Baptism by being baptized by John the Baptist in the River Jordan, when the Holy Spirit came upon Him as a dove. Then, Jesus assured it after His resurrection when He said to His disciples: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew: 28:19)

2. Sacrament of Confirmation

The Sacrament of Confirmation is also known as the Holy Anointment of Myron. The word ‘Myron’ is a Greek word which means ‘ointment’ or ‘fragrant perfume’. The baptized person receives the Holy Myron immediately after Baptism, so as to become a temple of the Holy Spirit. The Baptized is anointed with 36 signs of the cross on his joints and senses so that the Holy Spirit can dwell within them. By this anointment, God grants the grace of confirmation to the baptized as well as the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

3. Sacrament of Confession and Repentance

The Sacrament of Repentance and Confession is a holy sacrament, by which the sinner returns to God, confessing his sins before the priest to be absolved by the priest through the authority granted to him by God. By this absolution, the confessing person is granted the forgiveness of those sins which he confessed.

4. Sacrament of Holy Eucharist

The Sacrament of Communion is a Holy Sacrament by which the believer eats the Holy Body and the Precious Blood of Jesus Christ, presented by the Bread and Wine. This Sacrament has a special significance among the Seven Church sacraments. It is sometimes called the ‘Mystery of Mysteries’ or the ‘Crown of Sacraments’; for all the Sacraments are crowned by the Eucharist.

The Lord Jesus instituted the holy Eucharist on Covenant Thursday. After He celebrated the Rite of Passover of the Jews, He rose and washed the feet of His disciples, as a sign of repentance and preparation, then sat down and instituted the Passover of the New Covenant, which is the Sacrament of Holy Communion. “He took bread, blessed it and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, ‘Take, eat, this is My Body’, then He took the cup and gave thanks, and gave it to His disciples saying, ‘Drink from it, all of you, for this is My Blood of the New Covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins’” (Matthew 26:26-28)

5. Sacrament of the Unction of the Sick

The Sacrament of the Unction of the Sick is one of the holy Seven Sacraments of the church, through which the sick that are faithful, are healed from psychological and physical diseases. The priest anoints the person with the holy oil from which they obtain the grace of remedy from God.

6. Sacrament of Holy Matrimony

Matrimony is a holy sacrament, officiated by a priest, of uniting a man to a woman. Through this holy sacrament, the man and woman become one, for as the Lord Jesus said, “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife and the two shall become one flesh. So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate” (Matthew 19:5, 6).

7. Sacrament of Priesthood

The Sacrament of Priesthood is a holy sacrament through which the bishop lays his hands on the head of the elected candidate, so that the Holy Spirit will descend on him and grant him one of the priestly ranks. He is then given the authority to officiate the Sacraments of the church, doctrines, and others. The word ‘priest’ is derived from the Hebrew word ‘Kohen’, meaning priest, and is designated to members of the clergy.



 

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