Basilius J. Groen, emeritus professor of liturgical studies and sacramental theology, the University of Graz, the UNESCO chair for intercultural and interreligious dialogue in South-eastern Europe; visiting professor, the Catholic University of Leuven, the Institutum Liturgicum in London and Farnborough, the Pontifical Oriental Institute in Rome (Graz, Austria)
In the course of history, the sanctification of the precious chrism/myron has become increasingly complex; the article investigates how, when and why this happened. Moreover, the consecratory ceremony evolved into a sign of ecclesial togetherness in a common celebration with the church leadership. In Byzantine-rite Orthodoxy, the costly and impressive ritual developed into a supra-diocesan prerogative of the Patriarchate of Constantinople. However, various other autocephalous churches, such as the Patriarchate of Moscow, hallow their own myron. Therefore, the ritual in question, also meant to unify global Orthodoxy, is not entirely pan-Orthodox. After having outlined this, the article concludes: On the one hand, the liturgy of confecting and consecrating chrism intends to demonstrate and bring about unity; on the other, the very same liturgy also reveals (at times) division, namely in situations of rupture of communion, insistence on one’s own independence, and different convictions about the correct canonical order.
Keywords: theology, liturgics, chrism, myron, autocephaly, Orthodox Church, ecclesial unity, Patriarchate of Constantinople, Patriarchate of Moscow This article is also available in Russian