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(OCA) - His Beatitude, Metropolitan Jonah celebrated the preparatory rites for the Consecration of Holy Chrism on the morning of Great and Holy Monday, April 9, 2012, at Saint Tikhon of Zadonsk Monastery. The Rite will conclude with the actual consecration of the sacred oil during the Vesperal Liturgy of Saint Basil the Great on Great and Holy Thursday, April 12.
The blessing of the ingredients took place before the celebration of the Hours and the Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts.
The consecration of Holy Chrism is reserved to autocephalous churches. Parishes receive Holy Chrism for local use from the Primate of their respective autocephalous Church. As such, the distribution of Holy Chrism to parish communities offers a visible sign of unity within the Church.
“By God’s all-accomplishing grace and strength, and with the consensus of my brother Hierarchs, I intend to consecrate Holy Chrism at the Divine Liturgy of Saint Basil the Great on Great and Holy Thursday at the Holy Monastery of Saint Tikhon of Zadonsk,” Metropolitan Jonah wrote in an Archpastoral Letter issued Great and Holy Monday. “This will be the first occasion that I have celebrated this fearful Mystery since I was installed as Primate of the Orthodox Church in America. Yet the office of Primate, and the Episcopate as a whole, exist not for their own sake, but as the visible revelation and instrument of the unity of the entire People of God. The honor of consecrating this Chrism, through which in coming years multitudes of people will be marked with the seal of the Holy Spirit and united to the Body of Christ, is one of which I know myself to be profoundly unworthy...