1073 Saunders Settlement Road,  Niagara Falls, NY   14305‚Äč

St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church

Sacraments

The sacraments in the Orthodox Church are officially called the "holy mysteries."  Usually seven sacraments are counted:

BAPTISM
CHRISMATION (or Confirmation)
HOLY EUCHARIST
PENANCE
MATRIMONY
HOLY ORDERS
UNCTION OF THE SICK

The practice of counting the sacraments was adopted in the Orthodox Church from the Roman Catholics.  It is not an ancient practice of the Church, and, in many ways, it tends to be misleading since it appears that there are just seven specific rites which are "sacraments" and that all other aspects of the life of the Church are essentially different from these particular actions.  The more ancient and traditional practice of the Orthodox Church is to consider everything which is in and of the Church as sacramental or mystical.
The Church as the gift of life eternal is by its very nature, in its fullness and entirety, a mystical and sacramental reality.  It is the life of the Kingdom of God given already to those who believe. And thus, within the Church, everything we do -- our prayers, blessings, good works, thoughts, actions -- everything participates in the life which has no end.  In this sense everything which is in the Church and of the Church is a sacrament of the Kingdom of God.