Concise Lexicon of Christianity

Ken Collins’ Website

Teachings, worship, rites, sermons, and terminology

How to anoint someone

Acquiring, Consecrating, and Storing the Oil

Check with your judicatory to find out the proper procedure for obtaining oil, the type of oil that you must use, whether or not you are authorized to consecrate it, the proper procedure for consecrating it if you are authorized to do so, and the circumstances under which you can use it.

If your judicatory authorizes you to obtain the oil and has no rule governing the type of oil, it is not necessary to buy special anointing oil, because it is the same as the olive oil that you can buy in a grocery store at a much lower price. (The ancient church used either plain or scented olive oil.) If the anointing oil is perfumed, typically with frankincense and myrrh, it is worth the extra money. Bear in mind, however, that some people are allergic to perfumes.

Place a small amount of oil in a small container. You can buy an oil stock in most religious bookstores. The most common type is a stubby metal container with a screw-on lid and a sponge to hold the oil. Or you can just use a miniature plastic bottle. Whatever sort of container you use, make very sure the lid fits tightly so that it does not leak.

Consecrate the oil, if you are authorized to do it, otherwise have the oil consecrated. Once is enough; it is not necessary to repeat the consecration. Because the consecration dedicates the oil for a specific purpose, you must not use the oil for any other purpose other than the one for which it was consecrated.

The oil will keep at room temperature. If you refrigerate the oil, it might become cloudy, but that is harmless.

Anointing the Person