Viaticum (literally, preparation for a journey) is a term corresponding to the Greek ἐφόδιον, and used to designate the sacraments of baptism and the Lord's supper, because they were deemed the necessary provision and armor of Christians to sustain and conduct them safely on their journey through this world to eternal life. More strictly, however, the term viaticum denoted the eucharist given to persons in immediate danger of death, in which sense it is still occasionally used. Death was a journey to the eternal world, and this sacrament was deemed the necessary provision for that journey. The elements were sometimes placed in the coffin of the deceased. The 13th canon of the Nicene Council provides that none "be deprived of his perfect and most necessary viaticum when he departs out of this life." Several other canons of various councils are to the same effect, providing also for the giving of the viaticum under peculiar circumstances, as to persons in extreme weakness, delirium, or subject to canonical discipline.

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