This Tuesday (4/4/17), the Mystery of Holy Unction was provided to the faithful in the lower church of Holy Trinity Cathedral. Although the service began at 3pm when many people are still at work, the church was filled to capacity and even overflowing by the time the Mystery was administered.
Performed by most parishes once a year during the last weeks of Lent, the service of the Holy Unction is unique, as it offers Orthodox Christians in a public service what is usually only available privately at times of extreme illness. At Holy Trinity Monastery, it is performed completely with the seven priests called for by the rubrics. Prayers and supplications to the saints (especially to those who are known for their miraculous healings) culminate in the faithful’s making a circuit around the church to be anointed with holy oil by each of the priests. The priests anoint their foreheads, eyes, cheeks, ears, chest, and the tops and palms of the hands while praying for the healing of physical, emotional, and spiritual sufferings and diseases.