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The Early Church Fathers on the Anointing of the Sick formerly called, Extreme Uction.


  • Early Church Fathers
  • From the Scriptures



  1. St. Ephrem the Syrian, (of Edessa), (A.D. 306-378)
    St. Ambrose of Milan, (A.D. 340-396)
    St. John Chrysostom, (A.D. 344 - 407)
St. Ephrem the Syrian, (of Edessa), (A.D. 306-378), Syrian; born in Nisebis, deacon, hymnist, poet. His works were even during his own lifetime almost all translated into Greek, and were, as St. Jerome informs us, held in such high estimation, as to be read in some churches after the Holy Scriptures. We have his life by St. Gregory of Nyssa.

Arguing against the Marcionites, that the body, or flesh, is not from the devil, he says:
"If it happen to thee when sick that the medicines of the physicians are of no avail, the priests piously bring thee aid, they pray for thy salvation and safety, and one indeed breathes into thy mouth, while another signs (seals) thee."

T. ii. Syr. Serm. xlvi. adv. Hæres. 541.
Also The Faith of Catholics, Volume 3, Page 207

St. Ambrose of Milan, (A.D. 340-396), German; reluctantly made bishop in the A.D. 374., Doctor of the Church. He closed a great and glorious career in A.D. 396. We have his life by Paulinus.

"Why then do you (Novatians) impose hands, and believe it to be the effect of the benediction, if the sick person happen to recover."

T. ii. L. i. De Poenit. n. 36, col. 400.
Also The Faith of Catholics, Volume 3, Page 207

St. Augustine of Hippo, (A.D. 354-428), North African; born in Tagaste in A.D. 354, baptized in Milan in A.D. 387, ordained a priest in A.D. 391 and appointed bishop of Hippo in A.D. 395, Augustine is one of our greatest theologians. His numerous works display genius of the highest order, and have ever had great weight in the Christian churches. He is also a Doctor of the Church.

"Our parents beget us unto the present life; but priests beget us unto the life that is to come. And the former cannot even ward off the death of the body from their children, nor repel an approaching disease; but the latter have often saved the sick soul, and one about to perish; in some making the punishment lighter, and preventing others entirely from falling; and this not by doctrine and admonition only, but also by the help of their prayers. For not only when they regenerate us, but they have power also to forgive sins committed afterwards; for, he says, "Is any man sick among you? Let him call in the priests of the Church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord."

T. i. L. iii. De Sacerd. n. 6, p. 470.
Also The Faith of Catholics, Volume 3, Page 207-208



The Anointing of the Sick, formerly called Extreme Uction, is the sacrament which is administered to dying persons or to people in danger of death, to strengthen them in this life or in their passage out of this life, into hopefully a better one. LIke all other sacraments, Catholics believe this sacrament was divinely instituted by Our Lord before His glorious Ascension into Heaven.


The Church's Scriptures that support the Anointing of the Sick formerly called, Extreme Uction:


After Jesus instructs the Apostles and their disciples how to evangelize, in the process they anointed with oil many that were sick.

12 And going forth they preached that men should do penance: 13 And they cast out many devils, and anointed with oil many that were sick, and healed them.

Mark 6:12-13

The Prayer of Faith

13 Is any one among you suffering? Let him pray. Is any cheerful? Let him sing praise. 14 Is any among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; 15 and the prayer of faith will save the sick man, and the Lord will raise him up; and if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.


James 5:14-15


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