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    STUDIA THEOLOGIA ORTHODOXA - Issue no. 2 / 2012  

Authors:  VALER BEL.
  Abstract:  The present study specifies the biblical and theological foundations of the sacrament of the holy Unction, as well as its meaning, in the frame of the healing services of the Church. It is based on the analysis of the New Testament texts, of some works from the Early Christian Church, of the liturgical texts and of the newest books concerned with this subject. The sacrament of the holy Unction is performed by the Church for the spiritual and bodily healing of the sick believers. It is based on the fact that our Saviour, Jesus Christ, forgave the sins and healed those who were sick. The miracles which accompany the preaching of Christ describe, and at the same time inaugurate, the Kingdom He inaugurates; these are signs of the Kingdom of God. The healing performed by Jesus is, thus, an integrant part of His mission. The mission of Christ is then continued by the mission of the Apostles and of the Church, for Jesus Christ has elected, during His earthly activity, the Apostles and the disciples and has sent them to announce the Gospel of the Kingdom of God and gave them the power and the order to heal the sick. The risen Christ Himself, as the “Doctor of our souls and bodies”, heals spiritually and bodily through the prayer of the Church. The sacrament of the holy Unction, celebrated in the Church and by the wholly local Church, as it is said in the Epistle of Jacob, aims at the spiritual and bodily recovery of the sick and his re-integration in community, in the Church-Body of Christ, as an anticipation of the Kingdom of God. The work of God in the sacrament of the holy Unction heals, in the first place, by the fact that it illuminates the meaning of life and health as gifts of God. In this context, the suffering caused by the disease is connected to the Cross of Christ – Who suffered and died for us, and then has risen from the dead – and it is transformed in a mean of defeating the suffering and the disease. Thus, no matter the result concerning the healing of the body, the sick are brought again in that reality in which he entered through Baptism, that is, he is set with Christ on the way of the Kingdom of God. This is the ultimate healing, aimed at through the sacrament of the holy Unction. The holy Unction is a sacrament because its ultimate purpose is not only the recovery of the physical health, but the entering of man in the Kingdom’s life. For in Christ, all has become ascension and entering into this life, its waiting and foretaste.

Keywords: Church, Kingdom, Unction, healing, ministration
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