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The number of sacraments


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#1 Wayne Whitmer

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Posted 02 January 2010 - 09:56 PM

Can anyone help me with a Patristic reference to the Seven Sacraments of the Church? When in the History of the Church do all Seven Sacraments come into play? As a Protestant from the Reformed Presbyterian Tradition we only have Two Sacraments and I'm curious as to whether this is an innovation or not?

#2 Paul Cowan

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Posted 02 January 2010 - 10:54 PM

There are at least 7 some say more.

Baptism
Chrismation
Communion
Confession
Marriage
Ordination
Unction

They can all only come into play for a male as females cannot be ordained. This does not make women less than men as see how Christ upheld the Theotokos and all women in the act of childbirth. Women were the apostles to the apostles, they saw him first at the tomb.

#3 Wayne Whitmer

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Posted 02 January 2010 - 11:03 PM

Thank You Paul. So have the 7 Sacraments always been accepted by the Church and why did the Protestant Reformers decide that there were only 2 Sacraments, the Lord's Supper and Baptism. By doing so are they in direct violation of the Church Father's teachings?

#4 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 02 January 2010 - 11:04 PM

Anytime the Holy Spirit acts in a discernible way in the space-time-continuum that we commonly refer to as "reality" is a "sacrament". Actually the preferred word for most Orthodox, instead of sacrament is "Mystery". There are, generally speaking, seven formal sacraments as Paul has listed, but I have also seen lists that included the blessing of oil, water, and Holy Chrism.

Limiting the Mysteries to only two is indeed an innovation, the reformers threw the rest away when they threw the baby out with the bathwater, trying to get rid of things simply because they were seen as "too Roman".

#5 Father David Moser

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Posted 02 January 2010 - 11:11 PM

I have seen enumerations of the sacraments in the fathers that range from one to infinity. Those who say one say that the whole of the Christian life is a single sacrament, those who say infinity will say that every act between God and man is a sacrament. More often there are lists ranging from 2 or 3 to 21 (I think). Most frequently there are the seven sacraments, although I would argue that monastic tonsure and Christian burial are also both sacraments not included in the normal lists of 7. For convenience we use the enumeration of 7 formal sacraments, however this does not in any wa limit the number to an absolute 7.

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#6 M.C. Steenberg

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Posted 03 January 2010 - 02:18 PM

To Wayne and others: do take a moment to read through another thread in this very section of the Community: 'Seven Sacraments'?

(There are references in that thread to yet other places in the forum where this topic has also been examined.)

#7 John Mitchell

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Posted 22 June 2011 - 07:06 PM

is matromony a sacrament?

#8 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 22 June 2011 - 07:34 PM

Yes, matrimony is one of the major "seven sacraments" or mysteries of the Church
  • Baptism
  • Chrismation
  • Eucharist
  • Matrimony
  • Holy Unction
  • Confession
  • Holy Orders


#9 Kosta

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Posted 23 June 2011 - 01:19 AM

Which protestants accept baptism and the Eucharist as a sacrament? I guess you must be refering to liturgical churches? Protestants such as baptists and pentecostals do not accept any sacraments. And im not sure whether the definition of a sacrament amongst high church protestants is the same as in Orthodoxy.

#10 Jim McQuiggin

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Posted 23 June 2011 - 11:09 AM

Which protestants accept baptism and the Eucharist as a sacrament? I guess you must be refering to liturgical churches? Protestants such as baptists and pentecostals do not accept any sacraments. And im not sure whether the definition of a sacrament amongst high church protestants is the same as in Orthodoxy.

It's really such a mixed bag that there is no one answer to your question. Many Protestant churches use the word "ordinances" instead of "sacraments" (You'll have to ask them for a definition.) Some churches use the word "sacraments"; this includes non-liturgical bodies such as the Free Methodist Church (typical of churches with a Methodist heritage) whose statement about them begins:
"Water baptism and the Lord's Supper are the sacraments of the church commanded by Christ. They are means of grace through faith, tokens of our profession of Christian faith, and signs of God's gracious ministry toward us. By them, He works within us to quicken, strengthen, and confirm our faith."
http://www.freemetho...he_church.shtml
Reformed, Mennonite, and all the others will likely show a wide variety of definitions and distinctions.

#11 John Mitchell

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Posted 23 June 2011 - 10:21 PM

holy orders? is that tonsure?

#12 Paul Cowan

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Posted 23 June 2011 - 10:58 PM

Yes it is.
Reader
Subdeacon
Deacon
Priest
Bishop

#13 Father David Moser

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Posted 23 June 2011 - 11:07 PM

holy orders? is that tonsure?


Yes it is.


Actually no, its not tonsure - it's ordination.

"Tonsure" is related to the vow to serve God and in ordination is given when a person is elevated to the office of "reader" but not again. Tonsure is also given at baptism and at the taking of monastic vows so it is not uniquely related to ordination.

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#14 Kosta

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Posted 24 June 2011 - 04:05 AM

It's really such a mixed bag that there is no one answer to your question. Many Protestant churches use the word "ordinances" instead of "sacraments" (You'll have to ask them for a definition.) Some churches use the word "sacraments"; this includes non-liturgical bodies such as the Free Methodist Church (typical of churches with a Methodist heritage) whose statement about them begins:
"Water baptism and the Lord's Supper are the sacraments of the church commanded by Christ. They are means of grace through faith, tokens of our profession of Christian faith, and signs of God's gracious ministry toward us. By them, He works within us to quicken, strengthen, and confirm our faith."
http://www.freemetho...he_church.shtml
Reformed, Mennonite, and all the others will likely show a wide variety of definitions and distinctions.


In the United States the largest sect are the baptists. These people simply believe baptism is a non-essential external sign. In fact some seem to have a chip on their shoulder that Jesus had to command them to perform an empty meaningless symbolic act. As far as the Eucharist its the same as with baptism. Since Christ said to do it in remembrance of Him, its occasionally re-enacted usually on the day the jews eat the first passover sedar, many times they will invite a rabbi to lead the supper. These are not seen as sacraments but inconveniences that are celebrated because Jesus said so.

#15 Bryan J. Maloney

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Posted 24 June 2011 - 07:26 PM

Limiting the Mysteries to only two is indeed an innovation, the reformers threw the rest away when they threw the baby out with the bathwater, trying to get rid of things simply because they were seen as "too Roman".


Isn't limiting the Mysteries to only seven every bit as much of an innovation, throwing the rest away as throwing the baby out with the bathwater, trying to define things in a nice, Scholastic way?

#16 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 25 June 2011 - 12:27 AM

To a certain extent, yes. That is why Orthodoxy does not LIMIT the mysteries to only seven, though most generally acknowledge these as the "major" seven that are generally agreed to, but not that these are the only mysteries that exist.

#17 Alexander Ignatiev

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Posted 27 June 2011 - 06:16 PM

The issue of using the word sacrament in the Orthodox church has always struck me as both trivial and profound, much like the ancient riddle, "What do you call the stuffing of a Catholic olive? Sacramento!"

#18 Timothy Mulligan

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Posted 22 September 2011 - 11:23 PM

I remember from my catechumen class that, in addition to the seven mysteries normally enumerated, monasticism and the crowning of a king could be considered mysteries. We used Fr. Coniaris's book. I think that's where I saw it.

And don't forget that St. John Chrysostom spoke of "the sacrament of the brother."

#19 Jeremy Troy

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Posted 23 September 2011 - 02:36 AM

I've heard it said that there are both infinite sacraments/mysteries and only one sacrament/mystery. This is because, on the one hand, everything that we can possibly do in life is sacramental. Every action we take mediates our encounter with God in one way or another. On the other hand, all of Christian life is one giant sacrament that can't be divided but has to be taken as a whole.

The priest who catechized me told me that there is a distinction between those things that have a sacramental character (icons, hymns, or everything in life more generally) and those things that are Sacraments (note the big S). Everything is sacramental, but only some things are Sacraments because they have been recognized by the Church as such.

#20 Guillermo M.L.

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Posted 05 November 2011 - 01:18 AM

The priest who catechized me told me that there is a distinction between those things that have a sacramental character (icons, hymns, or everything in life more generally) and those things that are Sacraments (note the big S). Everything is sacramental, but only some things are Sacraments because they have been recognized by the Church as such.


I have heard the same from a RC perspective as well. The Sacraments with big S are said to bring grace when applied, while all the other practices (venerating images, using blessed water, etc) do not bring grace by themselves, but somehow point the heart to the path of grace. These latter are known as "sacramental", but I admit they are still obscure to me in their meaning and definition: sometimes I wonder "But what exactly happens to the water, to the oil, when being blessed? What is using this blessed stuff supposed to do?"

The "mystery of monastic tonsure", while it seems something nice, puzzles me a little: it seems reasonable to think that all Mysteries (major and minor) exist since the times of the Apostles, but monasticism appeared only centuries later. Couldn't a mystery like monastic tonsure be considered an "innovation"?




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