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They exercised, it seems, this perogative in former times in the East, but the power of delegating priests to bless chrism is now strictly reserved to the Holy See in the Western Church. Formerly it could be blessed on any day of the year according as necessity arose. After the ceremony it is taken back to the sacristy, and distributed among the priests who take it away in silver vessels commonly called oil-stocks, what remains being securely and reverently guarded under lock and key. If it be asked why chrism has been thus introduced into the functions of the church liturgy, a reason is found in its special fitness for this purpose by reason of its symbolical significance.Now, however, it must be blessed during the solemn high Mass of Holy Thursday. For olive-oil, being of its own nature rich, diffusive, and abiding, is fitted to represent the copious outpouring of sacramental grace, while balsam, which gives forth most agreeable and fragrant odours, typifies the innate sweetness of Christian virtue.
Diamond Level Membership is our way of making sure that the ideal Expert Authors stand out. These two conditions are certainly necessary for validity; moreover it is probable that there should be an admixture of balsam, and that the blessing of the chrism should be special, in the sense that it ought to be different from that which is given to the oil of the sick or the oil of catechumens. In its primitive meaning the word chrism, like the Greek chrisma , was used to designate any and every substance that served the purpose of smearing or anointing, such as the various kinds of oils, unguents, and pigments.This was its ordinary signification in profane literature, and even in the early patristic writings. xxxiii) hold that it was instituted immediately by Christ, whild others contend that it is altogether of ecclesiastical origin. iii, q.7.) All that the Council of Trent has defined in this connection is that they who attribute a certain spiritual and salutary efficacy to holy chrism do not in any way derogate from the respect and reverence due to the Holy Ghost (Sess. Two elements enter into the constitution of legitimate chrism, viz. The former is indeed the preponderating, as well as the principal, ingredient, but the latter must be added in greater or lesser quantity, if not for reasons of validity, at all events in obedience to a grave ecclesiastical precept.Gradually however, in the writings of the Fathers at all events, the term came to be restricted to that special kind of oil that was used in religious ceremonies and functions, especially in the administration of the Sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation. Eugene IV, in his famous "Instruction for the Armenians" ( Bull "Exultate Deo", apud Denzinger, "Enchiridion", p. Frequent reference is made in the Old Testament to the use of oil in religious ceremonies.Thus Origen refers to the visible chrism in which we have all been baptized : St. Chreme, where many references are given to patristic passages in which the word occurs.) The early councils of the Church have also references to chrism as something set apart for sacred purposes and making for the sanctification of men. Regarding the institution of chrism, or its introduction into the sacramental and ceremonial system of the Church, some theologians like St. 160) asserts that chrism is the matter of the Sacrament of Confirmation, and, indeed, this opinion is so certain that it may note be denied without incurring some note of theological cencure. It was employed in the coronation of kings, in the consecration of the high priest and in the ordination of the Levites, and indeed, it figured very prominently in the Mosaic ordinances generally, as can be abundantly gathered from Exodus (xxx, 22 sqq.), Leviticus (viii), and Deuteronomy (xxvii, 40).