Third Sunday of Great Lent dedicated to the Holy Cross: The Sacrament of Holy Unction performed at the Cathedral of St. Matrona of Moscow in Miami

April 7, 2021

The Third Sunday of Great Lent, which is dedicated to the Holy Cross, is a traditional day for performing the sacrament of Holy Unction. This was done at the Cathedral of St. Matrona of Moscow in Miami on April 4.

Holy Unction (Blessing of Oil) is one of the seven sacraments of the Church. It was established by the Holy Apostles. There are direct references to the practice in both the Gospel of St. Mark (6:13) and the Epistle of St. James (5, 14-15). Both sources describe Christ’s disciples anointing the sick with blessed oil and praying for their recovery. The term “unction” refers to the sacrament being performed by a group of priests. During Holy Unction the clergy pray for God for the forgiveness of the sins of those present and for their recovery, both spiritual and physical. The combination of healing and repentance, with a firm commitment to living a Christian life, are the basis of the sacrament.

The sacrament was performed by Archimandrite Alexander Belya, Vicar of the Slavic Orthodox Vicariate of America, with Archpriest John Spasiuk (St. Matrona Cathedral), Archpriest Basil Tivadar (Romanian Orthodox Church), and Archpriest Victor. The service was held in compliance with the CDC guidelines and sanitary procedures of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This is the second time that the sacrament of Holy Unction performed in the Slavic Orthodox Vicariate during this Great Lent. The first was on March 21 at the Cathedral of St. John the Forerunner and Baptist in Brooklyn, New York.