As a sacrament is known in Christian theology, a rite which realizes an invisible reality of God as a visible sign or as a visible action and can participate in it.

Word origin

The word sacrament comes from the Latin word sacramentum church " sign of salvation, cure, salvation and visible sign of the hidden reality of salvation " from. The Latin root means sacer " sacred, inviolable ". The word sacramentum is in theology as a Latin translation of the Greek word μυστήριον Mysterion ( secret ) next to the Latinized Greek word mysterium used.

Legitimacy of the sacraments

In practice, the importance of the sacraments is deeper by the significant order of every church and the essential support of its right to exist as an institution is in addition to the proclamation of the Word of God at all. At the formal administration of a sacrament one promised by God, salvation is tied -making or promoting spiritual effect. Depending on the denomination, the legitimacy of the Sakramentspendung of " from the ranks " to those called is conditional; to everyone who is baptized and recognized Christian can baptize. The mutual recognition of the validity and effectiveness of each donated sacraments takes place only partially.

The essence of the sacrament

The number of sacraments and understanding the other hand is different in the Orthodox and the Roman Catholic Church on the one hand and in the products resulting from the Reformation churches. Within the Reformation branch again, there are strong differences that were for centuries regarded as church-dividing.

Orthodox Church

In the Orthodox Church the sacraments as sacred mysteries (from the Greek Mysterion - secret ) respectively. It's never a seven sacraments been arrested canonical, since the Orthodox Church next to the whole Church and all religious ceremonies sees as " sacramental " and as a mystery; a clear delineation of the sacraments of the sacramentals does not exist.

The legal validity of sacraments is only a secondary thought in relation to the actual effectiveness in the Orthodox. Discussions about the validity or invalidity of sacraments can therefore often difficult understood by Orthodox.

When the seven mysteries are commonly referred to:

  • Baptism
  • Chrismation ( immediately following the Baptism and Confirmation in the Roman Catholic Church accordingly)
  • Eucharist
  • Confession
  • Marriage
  • Sacrament of Holy Orders
  • Anointing of the Sick

This spin-off of certain mysteries, however, is owed ​​an approximation to the Western tradition and is not in Orthodox Christianity as binding truth of faith.

Roman Catholic Church

The term sacrament has several meanings in Catholic theology. In a narrower sense it denotes the individual sacraments. In another, these overarching sense it signifies any kind of encounter between God and man, which is always mediated sacramentally. In the sacraments, Jesus Christ himself acts and acts through his Church, so that the Second Vatican Council, the Church as a whole in the same way as " a sacrament or sign and instrument of intimate union with God and of the unity of all mankind " has referred to. Understanding the Sacraments puts faith ahead, promote the sacraments and at the same time strengthen the faith.

Your place have the sacraments in the liturgy as a celebration of the church. According to Catholic believes they represent the knitted in Jesus Christ is salvation, offer a view to the completion of salvation history ( see also eschatology ) and are effective for the present as places of encounter between God and man.

Each sacrament heard an outward sign, is the indicated a certain inner grace and at the same time communicated. These holy, mercy -giving characters are used according to the teaching of the Catholic Church of Christ. Some of the sacraments as baptism, confirmation, and ordination characterize the receiving person an indelible feature. Therefore these sacraments can be received only once.

The validity of the sacraments is bound to the process established in the tradition of the Church form of execution, as well as to the intention of the donors, to perform the sacrament of the intention of the Church according to. The fruits of the sacraments also depend on the internal organization of their recipients. Anyone who has not received baptism can not be valid admitted to the other sacraments. Who receives a sacrament unworthily, does not receive the inner grace, but commits - where he is acting voluntarily and with knowledge of his unworthiness - a grave sin.

The conferral of Confirmation, Eucharist, confession, extreme unction and consecration is ordained ministers reserved, baptism can be donated in mortal danger of being baptized by anyone who wants to do what the Church does in baptism. The sacrament of marriage, the spouses give each other.

Since sacraments ex opere operato donated the efficacy of a sacrament occurs due to its proper operation and regardless of the moral disposition of giving a person if the recipient does not preclude acts.

In the tradition of the Roman Catholic Church since the 13th century, the number of seven sacraments emerged:

  • Baptism
  • Confirmation
  • Eucharist
  • Sacrament of Reconciliation
  • Anointing of the Sick
  • Sacrament of Holy Orders in the three levels of deacon, priest and bishop ordination
  • Marriage

Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist are the three sacraments through which the person is incorporated into the Church. Because they are connected internally tight, they should if possible be carried out in catechumens beyond infancy in a single ceremony.

In addition to the seven sacraments of the Catholic church sacramentals, with which either the everyday life to be sanctified knows ( eg child blessing, holy water, sign of the cross, Food Blessing ), special days are marked ( cross of ashes, washing of feet, Blaise blessing) or people, places or objects particularly be put in the service of the Church (eg Abtsbenediktion, virginal consecration, consecration ).

Anglican churches

In the Anglican churches is a consensus that baptism and the Eucharist, the two mentioned in the Lambeth Quadrilateral " Men's sacraments " are. The other five acts that are in the Roman Catholic Church as sacraments ( Confirmation, Sacrament of Penance, Anointing of the Sick, Marriage and sacrament of Holy Orders ) are considered by many Anglicans also considered sacraments by some, however, as sacramentals. About this is stated in the Thirty-nine Articles, that they are " often called sacraments ", but to note here that only represent a historical presentation of the faith in the Elizabethan age " Thirty-nine Articles" and do not contain the current full doctrine of the Anglican Church.

The understanding of baptism is the same as in the Orthodox, Roman Catholic and Protestant churches; to the understanding of the Eucharist See the corresponding section in the article Eucharist.


Evangelical Lutheran Churches

After Lutheran believe that the sacraments " sign and witness " of the divine will, aroused by the faith on the one hand, on the other hand also strengthened. At the same time the sacraments also call for faith, because faith can only take salvation in the sacrament. The Apology of the Augsburg Confession defined in Article 13, that the sacraments in the strict sense must be regarded baptism, confession and communion.

" Vere sunt igitur sacramenta baptismus, coena Domini, Absolutio quae est sacramentum poenitentiae. Truly, however, are Sacraments Baptism, the Lord's Supper, absolution, ie the sacrament of penance. "

In a broader sense can apply to the ministry as a sacrament by Apology 13 and the sacrament of Holy Orders ( ordination ):

" Si autem ordo de ministerio verbi intelligatur, non gravatim vocaverimus ordinem sacramentum. Nam Ministry all were verbi mandatum Dei et all were magnificas celebrity Siones. But where you want the sacrament of the Order called a sacrament of the ministry and the Gospel, so no weighting ordination would have to call a sacrament. Because the ministry God has appointed and commanded and has a wonderful promise of God. "

The Confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church point out that the Confirmation and the Anointing of the Sick are no sacraments, as they do not command God had still bid. However, this can be used also in the Lutheran church, even if they are not sacraments.

The validity of the sacrament here was Martin Luther cites the example of the Lord's Supper:

"Whether the same or a knave takes the sacrament there, so he takes the right Sacrament, which is Christ's body and blood, just as both are on the allerwürdigste. Because it is not founded on human holiness, but on God's word. And can make as no saint upon earth, yea no angel in heaven, the bread and wine into Christ's body and blood, so no one kanns change nor change it, if it is equal abused. For the word will not be wrong to the person or unbelief, thus it has become and used a sacrament. For he does not say, If you believe or are worthy, so you have my body and blood, but: Take, eat and drink, this is my body and blood; further: Do this (namely, that I am doing now, may establish, give to you and take hot ). It is suffice to say: May God grant you were unworthy or worthy, you have, so come here His body and blood of power of these words to the bread and wine. Such notice and only keep well; are they on the words is all our reason and weirs protection against all errors and deception, as ever come or may yet come. "

Believing the healing necessary action is taken. In the unworthy take the sacrament, the effect seems to the court.

Evangelical Reformed Churches

The Reformed churches know the two sacraments of baptism and the Lord's Supper. In the Reformed tradition, however, the sacraments have only the meaning of symbols. They are signs that make a spiritual reality clearly, but does not cause. See also from the Heidelberg Catechism, the essential confession of the Reformed Church in Germany: " There are visible sacred emblem and seal, used by God to make us by their use of the promise of the gospel more fully understood and seal; namely, that he had done to us because of the unique sacrifice of Christ on the cross, the forgiveness of sins and eternal life by grace bestows (1 Mos 17,11 EU; Rom 4,11 EU; 5 Mos 30.6 EU; 3 Mos 6.23 EU; Heb 9,8.9.24 EU;. Hes 20,12 EU) "This was the big topic of debate in the famous Marburg Colloquy between Martin Luther and Ulrich Zwingli in 1529 in all other matters they could communicate in such a way that the differences are not. led to the separation of church. However, the eucharistic controversy was the reason for the separation of Lutheran and Reformed Church.

Evangelical Free Churches

Many evangelical free churches reject the conception of the sacrament as as a healing -promoting action. Sacraments instead be understood in analogy to the Reformed tradition of Ulrich Zwingli as a sign without sacramental significance. This understanding is to be found among others in the covenant Baptists and Pentecostal Churches. Mennonites usually refrain entirely from the term sacrament.

New Apostolic Church

In the New Apostolic Church, there are three sacraments. " For there are three that bear witness: the Spirit, the water and the blood; and the three agree in one "(1 John 5, 7 and 8).

  • Holy Baptism (part of the rebirth and the washing away of original sin )
  • ( To overcome incorporation of the essence of Jesus and receipt of services of divine powers to evil ( John 6: 51-58; ( see Revelation 12, 11 ))) Holy Communion.
  • Holy Sealing ( acceptance of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands of an apostle, completion of rebirth (Acts 8, 14-17, 19, 6, 2 Timothy 1, 6; Ephesians 1, 13, 14, 4, 30, Romans 8, 9; 2 Corinthians 5, 17, 1 Peter 1, 23, James, 1, 18, see also Ezekiel 9, 2-6, revelation 7.3 and 2 Corinthians 3, 6.8) ).

Christian Science

In Christian Science ( Christian Science) is the Lord's Supper " spiritual communion with the one God ." An outward sign in this form takes place twice a year only in the branch churches worship is an altered order of service with the kneeling prayed the Our Father at the end of worship and the singing of the doxology. This bread and wine, baptism and communion are mentally interpreted and received. " Our bread, " comes down from heaven, " is truth. Our cup is the cross. Our wine is the inspiration of love, potion drank our master and told his followers, " Mary Baker Eddy writes in the textbook of religion.

Christian Community

The Christian Community sees itself as a cult community. Your main celebration is the " People act of consecration ", in her liturgy the formally with the main parts of " Gospel reading - Communion Sacrifice - - Conversion" has similarities with the Catholic Eucharist. After the Christian Community considers that the transforming Christ - forces are given in the sacraments to the faithful. The exercise in community life together extends, among other things, this trace also aware. One speaks in the Christian community from the "Circle of sacraments ": To the central Eucharistic sacrament, the "people act of consecration " with / without preaching flock the other six sacraments, her except one, the " confession " or " fate advice," the idea be performed only once in the biography. Baptism is based on people's relationship to the "church of Christ Jesus ", which is understood interdenominational. The other sacraments of the Christian Community addition to the human act of consecration are:

  • Baptism
  • Confirmation
  • Confession
  • Wedding
  • Ordination
  • Death rites

The sacraments are performed by the priests in each uncommitted way and in liturgical vestments with seasonal partly different wordings and colors.