Photostory: The annual Holy Week Chrism Mass

Every year, clergy from the Episcopal Diocese of Michigan (as well as lay guests) are invited to participate in a Reaffirmation of Baptismal and Ordination Vows and Blessing of Chrism service. This takes place at the Cathedral Church of St. Paul, Detroit.

In addition to reaffirming these vows, guests are able to take the Chrism back to their respective churches.

Question: What exactly is Chrism.

Answer: According to the Episcopal Church, here is the definition:

Consecrated oil used for anointing the newly baptized person with the sign of the cross at baptism. At this consignation, the bishop or priest says to each newly baptized person that “you are sealed by the Holy Spirit in baptism and marked as Christ’s own for ever” (BCP, p. 308). Chrism must be consecrated by a bishop. It may be consecrated immediately prior to the baptism. It may also be consecrated by the bishop on an episcopal visitation when there is no baptism, or at a diocesan service such as the Reaffirmation of Ordination Vows of the diocesan clergy. The BOS provides a form for the consecration of chrism apart from baptism. Chrism is olive oil mixed with a fragrant ointment, usually balsam.

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