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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. Pope St. Innocent I, (A.D. c.350-417)
    Victor of Antioch, (A.D. c.370-c.406)
    St. Cyril of Alexandria, (A.D. 376-444)
    St. Caesarius of Arles, (A.D. 468-542)
Pope St. Innocent I, (A.D. c.350-417) was pope from (A.D. 401 to 417), he lost no opportunity in maintaining and extending the authority of the Roman See as the ultimate resort for the settlement of all disputes.

"And as your friendliness has chosen to take advice concerning this, amongst other things, my son, the deacon Coalestin, has added in his letter, that you have set down what is written in the epistle of the blessed Apostle James, "Is any one 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, and the prayer of faith shall save the sick man, and if he have committed sin, he shall pardon him." Which, there is no doubt, ought to be taken, or understood, of the faithful who are sick, who can be anointed with the holy of chrism, which, having been prepared by a bishop, may be used not only for priests, but for all Christians, for anointing in their own need, or in that of their connections. But we observe that something superfluous is added, even the doubt whether that be lawful for a bishop, which there is no doubt is lawful for priests. For the words are addressed to priests for this reason, that bishops, hindered by their engagements, cannot go to every sick person. Whereas if a bishop be able, or think fit to visit any such, and to bless, and touch him with chrism, he can do so without any hesitation, as it is his to prepare the chrism. For this chrism cannot be poured upon penitents, in as much as it is a kind (a genus) of sacrament. For to persons to whom the other sacraments are denied, how can it be fancied that one kind (of sacrament) can be granted?"

Ep. xxv. ad Decentium, n. xi. p. 589, T. viii. Galland.
Also The Faith of Catholics, Volume 3, Page 20

Victor of Antioch, (A.D. c.370-c.406), priest of Antioch, flourished at the close of the 4th and the beginning of the 5th century. Commented on Mark's Gospel.

Commenting on St. Mark, Chapter 6:13 he says:

"And they cast out many devils and anointed with oil many that were sick." Luke also states the like; but what is here added, concerning the mystical unction and the use of oil, is mentioned by Mark alone amongst the Evangelists. However, what the Apostle James narrates, in his canonical (epistle), does not differ from the foregoing: for he writes: "Is any man sick among you? Let him bring in the priests of the Church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil," (verses 14-15). Amongst other things, oil relieves the inconveniences resulting from toil, it feeds the light, and produces gladness. The oil, therefore, which is used in the sacred unction, denotes mercy from God, the cure of sickness, and the enlightening of the heart. It may, nevertheless, be said that prayer effects all these things, but that the oil is only the outward symbol of all that is done."

T. iv. p. 383, Bill. Max. SS. PP.
Also The Faith of Catholics, Volume 3, Page 209

St. Cyril of Alexandria, (A.D. 376-444), Egyptian; bishop, theologian and Doctor of the Church. He succeeded Theophilus in the patriarchal see of Alexandria, in A.D. 412, and was the great champion of orthodoxy against Nestorius, against whom the general council of Ephesus was called, in A.D. 431 and in which St. Cyril presided.

Speaking against charms and incantations, he says:

"But then, if any part of the body give thee pain, and thou believes truly, that the words: "The Lord of Sabbath," and such like phrases, which the divine Scriptures assign to Him who is God by nature, will free thee from the evil, do thou, praying for thyself, utter these words; for thou wilt act better than those (condemned above) giving the glory to God, and not to the unclean spirits. I will also mention that divine Scripture, which says.
"Is any man sick among you."

T. i. L. vi. De Ador. in Sp. et Ver. p. 211.
Also The Faith of Catholics, Volume 3, Page 209-210

St. Caesarius of Arles (A.D. 468-542), Bishop for forty years, was the foremost ecclesiastic of his generation in Gaul. In all the Christian West, only Gregory the Great and Gregory of Tours overshadowed him.

"As often as any infirmity supervenes, let him who is sick receive the body and blood of Christ; and then anoint his body, that what is written may be accomplished in him: "Is any one sick, let him bring in the priests, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil." See, brethren, that he who, in sickness, has recourse to the Church, shall deserve to obtain both health of body, and pardon of sins."

In Append. T. v. S. Aug. Serm. cclxv. col. 3048.
Also The Faith of Catholics, Volume 3, Page 209



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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