Unction (anointing), an ecclesiastical ceremony which consists in the application of sacred oil to a person or thing. In the Roman Catholic Church there are several of these ceremonies, which are described below. SEE ANOINTING.
1. Unctions of an Altar. — This consists in anointing with holy oil the five crosses of an altar-slab by the bishop who consecrates it. The Latin formula is as follows: "Consecretur et sanctificetur hoc sepulchrum. In nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti. Pax huic domui." This rite has been abolished in the Church of England since the Reformation. SEE CHRISM.
2. Unction of the Baptized. — Some, but not all, of the ancient ritualists mention an unction preceding baptism, and used by way of preparation for it. It was called χρῖσις μυστικοῦ ἐλαίου, the "unction of the mystical oil." It was consecrated by the bishop, with the prayer that "God would sanctify the oil in the name of the Lord Jesus, and grant it spiritual grace and efficacious power, that it might be subservient to the remission of sins, and the preparation of men to make their profession in baptism, that such as were anointed therewith, being freed from all impiety, might become worthy of the initiation according to the command of his only begotten Son." Men were thus anointed that they might be partakers of the true olive-tree, Jesus Christ; and the exorcised oil was a symbol of their partaking of the fatness of Christ, and an indication of the flight and destruction of the adverse power. See Bingham, Christ. Antiq. bk. 11. ch. 9:§ 2, 3. SEE BAPTISM.
3. Unction of the Confirmed. — This is anointing with holy oil those confirmed. In the Roman Church the formula runs thus; "Signo te signo crucis; et confirmo te chrismate salutis. In nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti. Amenl." In the Church of England this rite was abolished'at the Reformation, and in the Scottish Episcopal Church, as well as the Protestant Episcopal Church of the United States, no unction is now used. SEE CONFIRMATION.
4. Unction of a Priest. — This is anointing with holy oil a person promoted to the priesthood. This rite is peculiarly Latin. When using the holy oil, the bishop who ordains prays thus: "Consecrare et sanctificare digneris, Domine, manus istas per istam unctionem et nostram benedictionem.:Amen. Ut qusecumque benedixerint benedicantur,et qusecumque consecraverint consecrentur,'et sanctificentu'r. innomine'Domini nostri Jesu Christi. Amen." There is no such consecration in the Greek form for bestowing the priesthood. SEE CONSECRATION.
5. Unction of the Sick. SEE EXTREME UNCTION.