On Great and Holy Monday—April 10, 2017—His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon presided at the opening Rite of Preparation of Holy Chrism at Saint Tikhon’s Monastery. His Eminence, Archbishop Michael of New York and New Jersey, also was in attendance, as was His Beatitude, retired Metropolitan Herman.
Opening prayers and the blessing of the ingredients used in confecting the Chrism took place before the celebration of the Hours and the Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts. The Chrism will be cooked and stirred continuously through the first three days of Holy Week, during which time the Holy Gospels will be read continuously by priests, except during the celebration of the divine services. The Chrism will be consecrated in conjunction with the celebration of the Vesperal Liturgy on the morning of Great and Holy Thursday.
The Consecration of Chrism is a rite reserved for the Primates of autocephalous Orthodox Churches. The last time Holy Chrism was consecrated in the Orthodox Church in America was in 2012.
Holy Chrism—distinct from Holy Unction and other blessed oils used in Orthodox Christian rites—contains a number of ingredients, including olive oil, white table wine, benzoin, aromatic incenses extracted in oil, rose oil, basil, balsam, Venetian turpentine, galangal, oils of bergamot, clove, marjoram, thyme and sandalwood, extracts of ginger root, and nutmeg. The final selection, however, is based on the availability of fragrant oils.
After the Holy Chrism is consecrated, it is then distributed to all parishes and missions for use in the celebration of the Holy Mysteries, specifically the sacrament of Chrismation.