The sacrament of Holy Unction is the complete healing of the individual both physically and spiritually through anointing with blessed oil. In the prayers read during the service, the clergy ask God for the forgiveness of the sins of those present and for their recovery. For spiritual healing repentance, combined with a firm commitment to living life according to the Commandments of God, is necessary. The Sacrament is known as Unction, because it is performed by a unit of several priests (a congregation or a council of clergy).
Holy Unction was performed for the first time in 2021 in the Slavic Orthodox Vicariate of America on March 21, the Sunday of Orthodoxy, at the Cathedral of St. John the Forerunner and Baptist in Brooklyn.
The divine service was led by the Vicar of the Slavic Orthodox Vicariate, Archimandrite Alexander. He was assisted by the Rector of the Cathedral, Archpriest Alexander Belya, Archpriest Basil Tivadar (Romanian Orthodox Church), Archpriest John Spasiuk (Cathedral of St. Matrona of Moscow in Miami), Archpriest Mikhail Gutsul (Slavic Orthodox Vicariate), and Archpriest Vasily Deyak, Protodeacon Rostislav Zadorozhny, and Deacon George Hero of the Brooklyn Cathedral.
At the conclusion of the service the Rector of the Brooklyn Cathedral congratulated the Vicar on behalf of the clergy and laity of the Slavic Orthodox Vicariate on his 40th birthday, presenting him with an antique priest cross. The choir of the cathedral sang “God Grant You Many Years” in honor of the occasion.
The Sacrament was performed in compliance with the CDC guidelines and sanitary procedures of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Sacrament of Holy Unction will be next be performed at the Cathedral of St. Matrona of Moscow in Miami on April 4 (Third Sunday of Great Lent dedicated to the Holy Cross).