anointment
See anointer.

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Introduction

      ritual application of oil or fat to the head or body of a person or to an object; an almost universal practice in the history of religions, although both the cultic practice followed and the sacred substance employed vary from one religion to another. It is possible to recognize three distinct, though not separate, meanings ascribed to ritual anointments by the devotees of various religions.

Anointment as healing.
      The medicine man of a tribe may be both its priest and its physician; “salvation” literally means “healing” or restoration to soundness. In the practice of ritual anointing, this conjunction of religion and medicine is clear. Anointment seems intended to apply the power of natural and supernatural forces to the sick and thus to ward off the baneful influences of diseases and of demons.

Anointment as consecration.
      In preparation for battle, in danger from wild animals, in the hour of death, and at other special times, anointment is used to endow an ordinary person with special holiness. He is “set aside” for a particular relation to that which is regarded as holy and good. Anointment as consecration is frequently applied not only to persons but also to objects. Altars, sacred vessels, temples, and sometimes even weapons and items of clothing are anointed to dedicate them to the service of the divine and to assure and symbolize the presence and pleasure of the divine in the holy place. In the Roman Catholic (Roman Catholicism) and Eastern Orthodox churches (Eastern Orthodoxy), the ritual anointing of the seriously ill and the elderly has been practiced as a sacrament since early times. In the Roman Catholic Church, unction was long regarded as a last rite, usually postponed until death was imminent and the dying Christian was in extremis; thus, the name extreme unction developed. In modern times, a more lenient interpretation permitted anointing of the less seriously ill. In the Eastern Orthodox churches the name extreme unction was never used, and the healing aspects of the sacrament have been considered most important. In the Greek Orthodox Church the sacrament is sometimes administered to well persons to prevent illness.

Anointment as ordination.
      Over and above the consecration applied to ordinary men, anointment has a place in the particular rituals by which certain men receive positions of eminence. In many religions priests are inducted into their sacred office with a holy chrism. In ancient Israel and in various Christian cultures, the king was anointed in the rite of coronation as the one chosen by God to rule over the people.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • anointment — a*noint ment ([.a]*noint ment), n. The act of anointing, or state of being anointed; also, an ointment. Milton. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • anointment — noun see anoint …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • anointment — noun The act of anointing with oil or other liquids …   Wiktionary

  • anointment — Synonyms and related words: accession, anointing, appointment, arrogation, assignment, assumption, authorization, chrismation, chrismatory, consecration, coronation, delegation, deputation, election, empowerment, greasing, inunction, legitimate… …   Moby Thesaurus

  • anointment — a noint·ment || mÉ™nt n. act of putting oil on someone or something (often as part of a ritual) …   English contemporary dictionary

  • anointment — anoint·ment …   English syllables

  • anointment — noun the act of applying oil or an oily liquid • Syn: ↑anointing • Derivationally related forms: ↑anoint • Hypernyms: ↑application, ↑coating, ↑covering • Hy …   Useful english dictionary

  • Sick Anointment (Unction) — See Unction of the Sick, Holy Sacrament of the …   Dictionary of church terms

  • Jingi kanjo —     Anointment by the kami (jingi) . A Shingon initiation ceremony of Ryobu Shinto …   A Popular Dictionary of Shinto

  • ANOINTING — ANOINTING. The anointing of persons and objects with oil was widespread in ancient Israel and its environment for both practical and symbolical reasons. Its most practical usage was cosmetic, and for medicinal purposes (see cosmetics ). Aside… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

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