This is how Pharisees think. How do I know? Because there is a Pharisee in me too. There is a Pharisee in all of us.
St. Tikhon’s Monastery has just put up a video of the consecration of Holy Chrism held there earlier this year. This is a rite rarely witnessed by the faithful and it’s a treat to see this preparation done in English. The choir is also magnificent. The video description:
His Beatitude, Metropolitan Jonah celebrated the preparatory rites for the Consecration of Holy Chrism on the morning of Great and Holy Monday, April 9, 2012, at Saint Tikhon of Zadonsk Monastery. The Rite will conclude with the actual consecration of the sacred oil during the Vesperal Liturgy of Saint Basil the Great on Great and Holy Thursday, April 12.
The blessing of the ingredients took place before the celebration of the Hours and the Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts.
The consecration of Holy Chrism is reserved to autocephalous churches. Parishes receive Holy Chrism for local use from the Primate of their respective autocephalous Church. As such, the distribution of Holy Chrism to parish communities offers a visible sign of unity within the Church.
A more detailed explanation from Orthodoxwiki:
Chrism (Greek χρίσμα, meaning “ointment”) is consecrated oil used during the administration of certain mysteries, particularly those of baptism and anointing of the sick (unction), and other rites of the Orthodox Church. Chrism is sometime referred to as myrrh (from the Greek μύρων), holy oil, or consecrated oil.
The use of an oil in Christian ceremonies is mentioned in many early Christian documents including writings by Theophilus and Tertullian. Cyril of Jerusalem details the practices of using oil or ointment that is “symbolically applied to the forehead, and other organs of sense.” He further notes that the “ointment is the seal of the covenants” of baptism and God’s promises to the believer. He taught that being “anointed with the oil of God” was a sign of a Christian (Christos meaning “anointed”), and a physical representation of receiving the Gift of the Holy Spirit.
In Orthodox Christianity, chrism is a prominent part of the baptismal rite in which, under normal circumstances, the newly enlightened (including infants) is anointed with chrism in the mystery of chrismation. Chrism is used also during the consecration of churches in which the altar table and walls are anointed.
Chrism is a mixture of olive oil and aromatic essences following the pattern of the preparation of anointing oil described in Exodus 30:22-33. Chrism is prepared when needed during Holy Week. The preparation rite begins on Holy Monday and ends with the Divine Liturgy on Holy Thursday when the new chrism is carried in during the Great Entrance and placed upon the altar table. The chrism is prepared by the ruling bishop of each autocephalous church, assisted by members of the Holy Synod. After its preparation the chrism is distributed to the bishops, who in turn pass it to the parishes where it is needed.
In the Patriarchate of Constantinople, for example, Chrism is manufactured roughly every ten years. It is produced from 57 ingredients, including the ash from burnt icons.
A very interesting commentary on the historical development of the Liturgy by Sister Vassa (Larin), given recently at St. Nicholas Orthodox Cathedral in Washington, DC:
Metropolitan Kallistos Ware spoke tonight at St Mark Coptic Orthodox Church in Fairfax, Virginia on the Jesus Prayer. This followed his attendance at the Orientale Lumen Conference earlier this week. I got to see some of this on the live stream and it’s a wonderful lecture. The first few minutes are Coptic praises and the introduction and lecture begins about 5:45 minutes.
Some recently uploaded videos about Orthodoxy in Kenya. The first shows some pictures from the Orthodox Patriarchal Ecclesiastical School in Nairobi, Kenya. The second shows services in Nairobi, Kenya–a wedding, Divine Liturgy, a Funeral. In the background you can hear chant, Kenyan style.
The latest in the excellent series “Lessons in Our Faith” by Bishop Michael. This one is on Chrismation:
I have lived in the desert,
hiding from You, my sweet Master.
I have been brought to this state by the night of life’s cares,
where I have suffered many bites and wounds,
where I get up bearing many wounds in my soul
and I cry in my pain and in my suffering of heart:
“Have mercy, show pity on me, the transgressor!”
O Doctor, Lover of souls, the One who only loves mercy.
You are the one who heals gratuitously the sick and wounded
heal my crimes, my wounds.
Let Your oil of grace drop, my God, and pour over my wounds,
stanch my ulcers, cauterize and revigorate
my weakened members and make all the cuts disappear,
O Savior, and give me perfect wholeness as I enjoyed before,
when I was not so stained,
when I was not a criminal,
not enflamed with wound or blemish, O my God,
but then I possessed serenity and joy,
peace and gentleness and holy humility and magnanimity
where there was a fullness of patience and of outstanding works,
an endurance and invincible power towards everything.
Then there was an abundance of consoling tears each day,
there was joyful exuberance in my heart,
which flowed out like a spring, pouring forth inexhaustibly
like a fountain from which poured forth honey, a drink of joy,
to which I ceaselessly returned in the mouth of my spirit.
There was complete health, there purity,
there the extinction of all my passions and vain thoughts,
there impassibility produced in me a face illumined,
and it has always stayed with me, spiritually speaking,
understand me properly, I beg you, read these words,
not interpreting what I say in any stupid, impure image,
but it brought me an ineffable pleasure of union
and an unlimited desire for nuptial union with God.
Receiving this, I also became impassible,
enflamed with pleasure, burning with desire for it
and I participated in the light,
yes, I became light, above every passion, beyond every evil,
for passion does not flower in the light of impassibility
any more than shadow in darkness of light flowers in the sun.
Therefore, having become such and really being such,
I relaxed, O Master, because I had confidence in myself.
I was overcome by the cares of sensible things
and I fell, O wretched one, to the worries of the concerns of life.
And as iron once it has cooled, I became black,
and dragged through the earth, I took on rust.
And this is why I cry out to You again to purify me,
to my first beauty and to let me enjoy again Your light,
now and always and forever and ever. Amen.
Hymn 46 from Hymns of Divine Love by St Symeon the New Theologian.