Sacraments

SACRAMENTS 

The Church holds seven sacraments, namely; Priesthood, Baptism, Anointing, the Holy Eucharist (which is called Qurbana Qaddisha) Remission of Sins, Holy Leaven, and the Sign of the Cross.

In making the sign of the cross, three fingers are joined representing the Holy Trinity. The worshiper first touches the mouth, saying “Glory”; then the forehead “To the Father“; the chest “To the Son” the right shoulder, first, then the left, saying “and the Holy Spirit.”

Baptism is administered by immersion, usually forty days after birth. It is accompanied by anointing with sacred oil. Membership of the Church includes all baptised persons. Auricular confession (in the presence of the priest alone) is recognized, but not generally practised. Instead and individual absolution is given when requested, or is necessary in certain cases. A general absolution for remission of sins is given to the whole congregation, before the taking of the Holy Communion.

Holy Communion is the sacrament by which, through faith, the true body and Blood of Christ are partaken, under the forms of bread and wine. It is always received fasting, and is given to both clergy and laity in both kinds.  Images or icons are not used. A simple cross is the only object of veneration permitted.

The Holy Heaven refers to the fact that a portion of the original Bread, used by Christ at the last Supper was brought to the East by the Apostle Thaddeus (Mar Addai) and in every Holy Communion ever since the bread used is made from meal continuos with that used in the first Lord’s supper.

The version of the scriptures used is in the original Aramaic in which the Gospel was first preached and written – the form known as the Peshitta version, or “Simple and True.”

The Apostolic liturgy of St. James of Jerusalem brother of our Lord who celebrated the first Qurbana, or Holy Communion is still in use in the Church of the East, without variation or change. It is known among us by the name of saints Addai who brought the Liturgy from Jerusalem to Edessa.

The priesthood of the Church of the East has nine orders as the church had received from the hands of the Holy Apostles Mar Patros. Mar Toma, Mar Addai, and Mar Bar Tulmai.

Patriarch, Metropolitans and Bishops occupy the place of Cherubims, Serephims and Thrones; Archdeacons, Choropiscopy and priests, the place of Hosts, Dominions and Powers; Deacons, Sub-Deacons and Readers, the place of Principalities, Archangels and Angel. In other words the church on earth is one with the Church above and not separate.

The blessed Virgin and the saints are venerated. We pray to them for intercession. Prayers are said for the dead.

“I have heard of thee and the cures wrought by thy hands, without any medicine or herbs. For it is reported that thou makest the blind see, the lame walk, thou healest those who are tormented with chronic diseases, and raisest the dead. And when I heard of thee, I settled in my mind of two things; either thou art god come down from heaven, or the Son of God.  I requested of three that that thou wouldst trouble yourself to come to me, and cure the disease which I have. I have also heard that the Jews murmur against thee, and wish to do thee harm. But I have a city, small but beautiful, which is enough for both of us.”