“The word “sacrament” in Greek means “mystery”, and our Lord Jesus Christ has been called by St. Paul “a great mystery” (1 Tim 3:16). In Him is something divine, something human, something eternal, something temporal, something invisible, something visible.
The word “mystery” occurred in Holy Scripture with many meanings. The word “mystery” in Holy Scripture has two meanings:
- Mysteries of knowledge that God reveals (Secrets or Hidden Truths).
- Mysteries of grace where the Holy Spirits grants invisible gifts (Sacraments).
Mysteries of Knowledge: “The secret of the Lord is with those who fear Him” (Ps 25:14). “Surely the Lord God does nothing unless He reveals His secret to His servants the prophets” (Amos 3:7). “Then the secret was revealed to Daniel” (An 2:19). “To you it has been given to know the mysteries (hidden truths) of the Kingdom of God” (Lk 8:10). “We speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory” (1 Cor 2:7). “Though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge … but have not love, I am nothing” (1 Cor 13:2). “Having made known to us the mystery of His will” (Eph 1:9). “That I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel” (Eph 6:19). “The mystery (secret or hidden truth) which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now has been revealed to His saints” (Col 1:26). “Meanwhile praying also for us, that God would open to us a door for the word, to speak the mystery (hidden truth) of Christ” (Col 4:3). “The knowledge of the mystery of God, both of the Father and of Christ” (Col 2:2). “Great is the mystery (hidden truth) of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh” (1 Tim 3:16)
Mysteries of Grace: The word Sacrament is the conjunction of the Latin word sacer (holy) with the Greek word mysterion (secret rite). Sacrament was thus given a sacred mysterious significance that indicated a spiritual potency. The power was transmitted through material instruments and vehicles viewed as channels of divine grace and as benefits in ritual observance instituted by Christ. St. Augustine defines Sacraments as ‘The visible form of an invisible grace’ (Encyclopedia Britannica; Volume 26, Page 834). “A man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. This is a great mystery (Sacrament) but I speak concerning Christ and the Church” (Eph 5:31-32).
“Adapted from http://www.suscopts.org/messages/lectures/sacrament1.pdf ”
There are SEVEN Sacraments:
- The Sacrament of Baptism
- The Sacrament of Confirmation
- The Sacrament of The Eucharist
- The Sacrament of Repentance & Confession
- The Sacrament of The Anointing of The Sick
- The Sacrament of Matrimony
- The Sacrament of Holy Orders (Priesthood)
SACRAMENT OF BAPTISM
The Sacrament of Baptism is the door by which the believer enters the church and has the right to partake in the rest of the Sacraments. At Baptism, we are born again by being immersed in water three times in the name of the Holy Trinity; the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. The Lord Jesus Christ instituted the Sacrament of Baptism by being baptised by John the Baptist in the River Jordan, when the Holy Spirit came upon Him as a dove. Then, Jesus assured it after His resurrection when He said to His disciples: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew: 28:19)
SACRAMENT OF CONFIRMATION
The Sacrament of Confirmation is also known as the Holy Anointment of Myron. The word ‘Myron’ is a Greek word which means ‘ointment’ or ‘fragrant perfume’. The baptised person receives the Holy Myron immediately after Baptism, so as to become a temple of the Holy Spirit. The Baptised is anointed with 36 signs of the cross on his joints and senses so that the Holy Spirit can dwell within them. By this anointment, God grants the grace of confirmation to the baptised as well as the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
SACRAMENT OF THE HOLY EUCHARIST
The Sacrament of Communion is a Holy Sacrament by which the believer eats the Holy Body and the Precious Blood of Jesus Christ, presented by the Bread and Wine. This Sacrament has a special significance among the Seven Church sacraments. It is sometimes called the ‘Mystery of Mysteries’ or the ‘Crown of Sacraments’; for all the Sacraments are crowned by the Eucharist.
The Lord Jesus instituted the holy Eucharist on Covenant Thursday. After He celebrated the Rite of Passover of the Jews, He rose and washed the feet of His disciples, as a sign of repentance and preparation, then sat down and instituted the Passover of the New Covenant, which is the Sacrament of Holy Communion. “He took bread, blessed it and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, ‘Take, eat, this is My Body’, then He took the cup and gave thanks, and gave it to His disciples saying, ‘Drink from it, all of you, for this is My Blood of the New Covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins’” (Matthew 26:26-28)
SACRAMENT OF REPENTANCE AND CONFESSION
The Sacrament of Repentance and Confession is a holy sacrament, by which the sinner returns to God, confessing his sins before the priest to be absolved by the priest through the authority granted to him by God. By this absolution, the confessing person is granted the forgiveness of those sins which he confessed.
SACRAMENT OF THE UNCTION (ANOINTING) OF THE SICK
The Sacrament of the Unction of the Sick is one of the holy Seven Sacraments of the church, through which the sick that are faithful, are healed from psychological and physical diseases. The priest anoints the person with the holy oil from which they obtain the grace of remedy from God.
SACRAMENT OF THE MATRIMONY
Matrimony is a holy sacrament, officiated by a priest, of uniting a man to a woman. Through this holy sacrament, the man and woman become one, for as the Lord Jesus said, “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife and the two shall become one flesh. So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate” (Matthew 19:5, 6).
SACRAMENT OF THE HOLY ORDERS (PRIESTHOOD)
The Sacrament of Priesthood is a holy sacrament through which the bishop lays his hands on the head of the elected candidate, so that the Holy Spirit will descend on him and grant him one of the priestly ranks. He is then given the authority to officiate the Sacraments of the church, doctrines, and others. The word ‘priest’ is derived from the Hebrew word ‘Kohen’, meaning priest, and is designated to members of the clergy.
“Adapted from https://www.stabraam.org/the-coptic-faith/history-of-the-coptic-church.html?start=5”