(redirected from Blessed Sacrament)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Acronyms, Wikipedia.


[Lat.,=something holy], an outward sign of something sacred. In Christianity, a sacrament is commonly defined as having been instituted by Jesus and consisting of a visible sign of invisible grace. Christianity is divided as to the number and operation of sacraments. The traditional view held by Orthodox, Roman Catholics, and certain Anglicans counts the sacraments as seven—EucharistEucharist
[Gr.,=thanksgiving], Christian sacrament that repeats the action of Jesus at his last supper with his disciples, when he gave them bread, saying, "This is my body," and wine, saying, "This is my blood." (Mat. 26; Mark 14; Luke 22; 1 Cor. 11.
..... Click the link for more information.
, baptismbaptism
[Gr., =dipping], in most Christian churches a sacrament. It is a rite of purification by water, a ceremony invoking the grace of God to regenerate the person, free him or her from sin, and make that person a part of the church.
..... Click the link for more information.
, confirmationconfirmation,
Christian rite in which the initiation into the church that takes place by baptism is confirmed. In the Roman Catholic and Orthodox Eastern churches, it is a sacrament by which a Christian is strengthened in his faith.
..... Click the link for more information.
, penancepenance
, sacrament of the Roman Catholic and Orthodox Eastern churches. By it the penitent (the person receiving the sacrament) is absolved of his or her sins by a confessor (the person hearing the confession and conferring the sacrament).
..... Click the link for more information.
, anointing of the sickanointing of the sick,
sacrament of the Orthodox Eastern Church and the Roman Catholic Church, formerly known as extreme unction. In it a sick or dying person is anointed on eyes, ears, nostrils, lips, hands, feet, and sometimes, in the case of men, the loins, by a priest while
..... Click the link for more information.
, matrimony (see marriagemarriage,
socially sanctioned union that reproduces the family. In all societies the choice of partners is generally guided by rules of exogamy (the obligation to marry outside a group); some societies also have rules of endogamy (the obligation to marry within a group).
..... Click the link for more information.
), and holy orders (see orders, holyorders, holy
[Lat. ordo,=rank], in Christianity, the traditional degrees of the clergy, conferred by the Sacrament of Holy Order. The episcopacy, priesthood or presbyterate, and diaconate were in general use in Christian churches in the 2d cent.
..... Click the link for more information.
). These are held to produce grace in the soul of the recipient by the very performance of the sacramental act (ex opere operato); the recipient need only have the right intention. Most Protestant denominations recognize two sacraments—baptism and communion, or the Lord's SupperLord's Supper,
Protestant rite commemorating the Last Supper. In the Reformation the leaders generally rejected the traditional belief in the sacrament as a sacrifice and as an invisible miracle of the actual changing of the bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ
..... Click the link for more information.
. Protestants hold generally that it is the faith of the participant, itself a gift of God, rather than the power of the sacramental act that produces grace. A conventional division of the seven sacraments sets apart the "sacraments of the dead," i.e., baptism and penance, because they are for souls in a state of sin; the rest, "sacraments of the living," are conferred on souls in a state of grace.
Enlarge picture
A priest preparing the Eucharist, the embodiment of Christ, for the sacrament of Holy Communion. Fortean Picture Library.


(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

Augustine (354-430 CE) was the first to officially define the word sacrament, and his definition has stood the test of time. He said it was "an outward and temporal [visible] sign of an inward and enduring grace."In other words, a sacrament incorporates visible symbols that illustrate an invisible work of God. One example is baptism (see Baptism), which uses water to illustrate the theological premise that God "washes away" sin.

But some theological explanations go deeper than what is suggested by the word "illustrate." Some religions teach that the actual act, using the visible symbol, is what triggers the inward reality. In the case of baptism, for example, there are those who believe that without the outward act of cleansing, the inward reality never happens. In other words, if you are not baptized with water according to the rituals of the particular sect, you are not "saved."

Early on, the Roman Catholic Church recognized seven specific sacraments. Most Protestant denominations recognize only baptism and the Lord's Supper as sacraments. But even within these communities there is often disagreement as to the meaning, extent, and outward presentation of each sacrament.



in Christianity, a magical religious rite; according to church teachings, a sacrament gives a person a supernatural miracle-working power (“divine grace”).

The origins of the sacraments go back to the pre-Christian mysteries. The sacraments were gradually introduced with the establishment and strengthening of the Christian church organization. The first sacraments mentioned in Christian literature were baptism and the Eucharist (end of the first to the second century, Epistles of the Apostles, Acts of the Apostles).

In the 13th century (definitively at the Council of Florence of 1438–45), the Roman Catholic and the Eastern Orthodox churches adopted seven sacraments: (1) baptism, which is administered to a person as a sign of acceptance into the church and to cleanse the person of alleged sins (in the Orthodox tradition it is administered by immersing an infant in water, in the Catholic tradition by pouring water, and in the Protestant tradition by sprinkling water); (2) confirmation (Roman Catholic) or anointing (Eastern Orthodox), by which a person is “sanctified” by being anointed with an aromatic mixture (chrism); (3) Eucharist, by which, according to Christian teachings, believers receive the body and blood of Christ and in so doing free themselves of sins (in the Orthodox Church both laymen and clergy partake of bread and wine, and in Catholicism the clergy take bread and wine and laymen, as a rule, only partake of the bread); (4) penance (confession), the disclosing of one’s sins to a priest and receiving absolution (“remission of sins”) in the name of Christ; (5) matrimony (in the Catholic Church this cannot be dissolved); (6) extreme unction, or anointing of the sick, which is administered to a sick person (according to Orthodox teaching it cures illnesses, and in Catholicism it is a blessing over a dying person); and (7) holy orders, which is administered by a bishop, admits a person into the priesthood (the sacrament formed with the rise of a clergy).

The sacraments can be administered, as a rule, only by a member of the clergy who acts, according to church teachings, as an intermediary between god and people. Thus, the church teachings about the sacraments served to lay the foundation for the necessary existence of ministers of worship and the church.

The sacraments underwent some changes in the Protestant teachings of the Reformation period. Lutherans recognize only the sacraments of baptism and the Eucharist (Luther originally recognized the sacrament of penance as well), and the Anglican Church recognizes baptism, the Eucharist, and matrimony. Baptists and members of the Reform Church retained the rites of baptism and the Eucharist, but they see them as symbolic acts rather than as sacraments. In the papal encyclical Mysterium fidei (1966), Pope Paul VI made a stricter observance of the sacraments mandatory, especially the sacrament of the Eucharist. (At the same time, some relaxation in respect to the form of observance was allowed.) In modern Protestantism there is a tendency to emphasize the meaning of the sacraments as a means of strengthening religious faith.


Ranovich, A. Proiskhozhdenie khristianskikh tainstv. Moscow-Leningrad, 1931.
Emeliakh, L. I. Proiskhozhdenie khristianskikh tainstv. Moscow, 1956.



1. an outward sign combined with a prescribed form of words and regarded as conferring some specific grace upon those who receive it. The Protestant sacraments are baptism and the Lord's Supper. In the Roman Catholic and Eastern Churches they are baptism, penance, confirmation, the Eucharist, holy orders, matrimony, and the anointing of the sick (formerly extreme unction)
2. the Eucharist
3. the consecrated elements of the Eucharist, esp the bread
References in periodicals archive ?
RESULTS: Premier Div: Breeze 2 (Jones, Green) BRNESC 4 (Fitzsimmons, Fearns 2, Kirkby), Home & Bargain 1 (Birchall, og McMahon) Blessed Sacrament 1, SNACC Sports 5 Norcoast 6 (Jones 2, Denton 4).
Morrison has served as a member of the Blessed Sacrament Social Service Advisory Board, which provides access to showers, clothes and food for adult homeless men.
Fr Walsh was born in St Helens and had been a priest at the Blessed Sacrament Shine for more than 20 years.
Most Blessed Sacrament, whose enrollment was about 3,800 students per year in the 1960s, has some 170 students this year.
Woolton are four points ahead of Rudston, with third place Blessed Sacrament only two points adrift.
Many refer to the Eucharist as "the bread" and in some schools there is very little attention paid to reverence in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament.
Walton's Blessed Sacrament infants is so green it has done everything from adopting a penguin in the Antarctic to setting up a pupil-led eco-club.
Do concerns about sacrilegious reception of the Blessed Sacrament generate any concern among the faithful?
Katharine Drexel (1858-1955), founder of the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament.
These "violations" included nuns prostating themselves during the eucharistic prayer, exposition of the Blessed Sacrament "covered only by a veil" and "a hybrid Mass with English and Latin.