Archbishop Makarios of Australia officiated at the Holy Unction and the Service of Nipteros (Foot Washing rite) at the Cathedral of The Annunciation of Our Lady, Redfern, Sidney, on Holy Wednesday.
The Sacrament of Holy Unction is one of the seven Holy Sacraments of the Orthodox Church, which is held in the temple or at home “for the healing of soul and body.” To perform the Mystery, we place on a table the Gospel, an icon of Christ or of the Virgin Mary or of a Saint, a candle with olive oil and some red wine, an lit incense burner with incense and a plate with flour, next to which seven cnadles are lit. candles.
According to the Church’s Typikon, on Holy Wednesday the service of the Sacrament of Holy Unction is performed in the temples, normally by seven Priests, and seven readings from the Epistles and Gospels, and seven prayers are read. At the end of the Service, the anointing with the specifically blessed oil takes place.
The Service of Nipteros (Foot Washing rite), which is also the Orthros of Great and Holy Thursday, is held in remembrance of four important events: The Foot Washing, that is, the great act of Jesus Christ to wash the feet of the disciples as a sign of humility and ministry, the Last Supper, Jesus’ prayer on the Mount of Olives and the betrayal of Judas, that is, the beginning of the Passion of the Christ.
Due to the restrictive measures applied to prevent the spread of coronavirus, both services were performed behind closed doors, but were broadcast live via the Internet, while thousands of believers had the opportunity to watch them.