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TEACHING ABOUT HOLY CHRISMATION
Even though the Mysteries of Holy Baptism and Holy Chrismation take place at the same time, we are devoting separate pages to them, as there is a lot of information to cover for each Mystery. You can choose to teach them both in one lesson, or to devote a separate lesson to each one. Please find our page on Holy Baptism HERE.
At the end of the lesson, the students should be able to:
- Say the word “Chrismation“.
- Mention that Holy Chrismation takes place together with Holy Baptism.
- Explain that, through the Mystery of Chrismation, we receive the Gifts of the Holy Spirit.
- Explain that they, too, were chrismated when they were babies, following their Baptism.
- Act out the moment of being chrismated using a doll and simple props.
- Mention some of the objects used in Holy Chrismation: chrism or myrrh, cross necklace.
In addition to the above, the older children should also be able to:
- Explain that the blessing of the Holy Spirit passes to us through the chrism, a sanctified mixture of oil, aromatics and other substances.
- Explain that we should take care of our body because, after our Chrismation, the Holy Spirit dwells inside of it.
- Mention the events that occur during a Chrismation: anointing with oil, receiving our baptismal cross.
- Mention the symbolism of the cross necklace we receive during our Chrismation.
- Say or chant a phrase from a relative hymn.
Planning the lesson
Using our material and some external resources, a lesson on Holy Chrismation could go as follows:
- Introduce the Mystery by showing the Chrismation of the infant from the Baptism & Chrismation video by the Greek Orthodox Church of America.
- Act out Chrismation by using a doll and some simple props (a small bottle of oil, a cotton swab, a cross necklace).
- If Baptism was taught on a separate lesson, review the icon of Holy Theophany.
- Work on reinforcement activities.
In the printable packet, we are offering the following activities:
- Fact sheet and corresponding worksheet (for the older children)
- Crossword puzzle
- Word puzzles – one for younger and one for older children
- Match the images to the titles – an activity to learn about the rite and symbolisms of Chrismation
- Board game
The physical manifestation of God’s grace in the mystery of Holy Chrismation is the chrism or myrrh – a mixture of oil, balsam, wine, and aromatic substances, prepared and consecrated on Holy Thursday. It endows the new Christian with the Gifts of the Holy Spirit and makes him/her a full member of the Church. The newly-baptized is anointed in the pattern of the cross on several parts of the body (forehead, eyes, nose, lips, ears, chest, hands, and feet), using the liturgical formula “the seal of the gift of the Holy Spirit. Amen”. S/he is then offered a cross to wear.
As Baptism is considered our personal participation in the death and resurrection of Christ, chrismation is our personal participation in the Pentecost. From that moment on, the physical body becomes the temple of the Holy Spirit – therefore, it is the duty of the Christian to respect and not abuse it for the remainder of their earthly life. The newly-illumined is now allowed to participate in the Divine Liturgy and receive Holy Communion.
When teaching about Holy Baptism and Chrismation, one often has to face questions about the Orthodox practice of baptizing infants. We have found this article helpful in addressing such concerns.
An appropriate icon for teaching about Baptism and Chrismation is the Theophany of our Lord. For a detailed description of this icon, please visit our page Holy Theophany and the Blessing of the Waters.