Holy Unction of the sick

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Anointing of the sick, known also by other names, is a form of religious anointing or “unction” (an older term with the same meaning) for the benefit of a sick person. It is practiced by many Christian churches and denominations.

Anointing of the sick was a customary practice in many civilizations, including among the ancient Greeks and early Jewish communities. The use of oil for healing purposes is referred to in the writings of Hippocrates.

Anointing of the sick should be distinguished from other religious anointings that occur in relation to other sacraments, in particular baptism, confirmation and ordination, and also in the coronation of a monarch.

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The chief biblical text concerning the rite is James 5:14–15: “Is any among you sick? 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; and the prayer of faith will save the sick man, and the Lord will raise him up; and if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven” (RSV).

Matthew 10:8, Luke 10:8–9 and Mark 6:13 are also quoted in this context.

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