For the first time since his election as Primate of the Orthodox Church in America in November 2008, His Beatitude, Metropolitan Jonah will consecrate Holy Chrism in conjunction with the celebration of the Vesperal Liturgy of Great and Holy Thursday at the Monastery Church of Saint Tikhon of Zadonsk here April 12, 2012.
The consecration of Chrism is a Rite reserved for the Primates of autocephalous Orthodox Churches. The last time Holy Chrism was consecrated in the Orthodox Church in America was in 2004.
Chrism, unlike Holy Unction and other blessed oils used in Orthodox rites, contains a number of ingredients, including olive oil, white table wine, styrax, benzoin, aromatic incenses extracted in oil, roseoil, basil, balsam, Venetian turpentine, galangal, oils of bergamot, clove, marjoram, thyme and sandalwood, and extracts of ginger root, calamus root, nutmeg, and orris root. The final choice, however, is based on the availability of fragrant oils.
“The preparation for the Consecration of Holy Chrism will begin on Holy Monday morning, April 9, prior to the celebration of Hours and the Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts,” according to Archpriest John Jillions, OCA Chancellor. “Once the process begins with the opening prayer service and the blessing of the ingredients, the Chrism is heated and stirred continuously until Holy Wednesday evening. While the Chrism is being stirred, the Holy Gospels are read continuously by priests, except when divine services are celebrated.”
After the Holy Chrism is consecrated, it is then distributed to all parishes and missions for use in the celebration of the Holy Mysteries.
“At this time, we are asking for clergy to help with the preparation of the Chrism,” Father John continued. “It is planned that the reading of the Gospels and stirring of the Chrism will be done in two-hour shifts.”
Clergy who are able to assist at any two-hour period or longer on Holy Monday through Holy Wednesday are asked to contact Archpriest Joseph Martin, who has been entrusted with overseeing the preparation of Holy Chrism, at 570-822-7725 and/or firstname.lastname@example.org.