Sacraments of Healing-Anointing

anointingThe Sacraments of Healing are known as those of the Sacrament of Anointing / last Rites and Reconciliation or Confession.



Neither of these were instituted by Jesus per say as “Sacraments” in the way that Baptism and Eucharist. Considering the following references the Roman and orthodox and Eastern Church will beg to differ-

10:1Then Jesus summoned his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to cure every disease and every sickness   NRSV


5These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: ‘Go nowhere among the Gentiles, and enter no town of the Samaritans, 6but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 7As you go, proclaim the good news, “The kingdom of heaven has come near.” 8Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. You received without payment; give without payment. NRSV

An Ordinance of Healing for the Jews but not for the Gentiles?


The following passage is one of the favourites quoted as evidence for the Institution of a Sacrament of Healing in the Church, one  which the non-Catholic Churches refer to as one of the other 5 not instituted by Christ;

James 5:14-16

14 Are any among you sick? They should call for the elders of the church and have them pray over them, anointing them with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 The prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise them up; and anyone who has committed sins will be forgiven. 16 Therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The prayer of the righteous is powerful and effective.NRSV

If you notice it is the elders of the church – they were not ordained, though especially called to lead – they were the ones who administered this Sacrament – not even called such at the time. Many Scriptures refer to God’s desire to heal us but this is the one that speaks of ‘Process’ or ‘Movement’  ‘Liturgy’.

History of the Sacrament

  • What is Our History?

    The Sacrament of Anointing is a sacrament of healing and of forgiving. Both have their origin in the life and works of Jesus. All four Gospels recount healing “miracles” performed by Christ. The Gospels also provide a context for understanding the significance of these works. The evangelists clearly wish to avoid portraying Jesus solely as a “healer.” The closely connected healing miracles and exorcisms in the Gospel of Mark are cast in cosmic settings to demonstrate Jesus’ power over evil, sickness, and even death. For Matthew, Jesus’ miracles signaled the advent of the Messianic Age. Luke’s re-telling of Jesus’ healing ministry is particularly sensitive to our Lord’s compassion. John does not use the term “miracle” but calls the wondrous deeds of Jesus “signs” which tell us who Jesus is and what he is for us. John and those so disposed could perceive the true identity of Jesus and come to believe. In each Gospel, the miracles reveal something about the identity of Jesus.

    The New Testament mentions a healing ministry in the early Church. James 5:14- 15 specifically speaks of an anointing of the sick performed by leaders in the community. Many scholars also assume that Mark 6:13 actually reflects the early Church’s practice of anointing. However, while a healing ministry did exist both in the life of Jesus and in the early Church, there was as yet no set form for a sacrament of healing. Paul’s Corinthian correspondence implies the presence of a charismatic gift of healing, while James’ epistle infers a more ecclesiastical healing ministry…...more

The Sacrament of Anointing is not to be confused with Liturgies of Healing in which the Laying on of Hands and or Anointing takes place.

There are many Lay people who exercise Ministries of Healing through the Laying on of Hands yet only the Ordained in the established Churches who practice that Sacrament can Anoint.


Healing in our particular church   is regarded as Spiritual more than Physical since immediate on the spot Miracles are rare though Spiritual incline and growth is much spoken about. God has given us a skilled medical profession and attending them and with the use of Prayer, in Faith will bring about  healing in due time or suddenly as is God’s desire for us.

Yet there is always the place for the Liturgical Movements which are part of our Spiritual dance with the Lord, part of our Mystery of Faith and these should not be with held by a jealous Priestly Caste.



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