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Oil, Holy 

In the OT, oil was used for anointing kings and priests (see 1 Sm 10:1 and 16:1, 13; Ex 29:7). The use of oil in Christian baptism dates from at least the second century. The title "Christ" means the "anointed one." Oil is used as a symbol of baptism in the NT (see Lk 4:18, Acts 4:27, 1 Jn 2:20, 27). The NT also records the practice of anointing with oil for healing (see Mk 6:13, Jas 5:14). The Apostolic Tradition of Hippolytus (c. 215) included a form for the blessing of oil for the sick. The Apostolic Tradition also noted that anointing with oil was not required for baptism if oil were unavailable. By the fourth or early fifth century, it was required that chrism be consecrated by a bishop. The 1979 BCP (p. 307) calls for chrism to be consecrated by the bishop. This may be done when the bishop is present in the parish for Confirmation (BCP, p. 419). The BOS provides a form for Consecration of Chrism apart from Baptism. This rite takes place immediately after the postcommunion prayer and before the bishop's blessing and the dismissal. In many dioceses, the consecration of chrism by the bishop may be done at a service of reaffirmation of ordination vows during Holy Week. The BCP allows oil for the anointing of the sick to be blessed by a priest or bishop (p. 455). The Prayer Book does not mention the Oil of Catechumens. 

Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from "An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians," Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.
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