The Service of Holy Oils is one of the treasures of the Orthodox tradition. Nowhere is it more clear, that the sinner is not a criminal cowering before a frowning judge, but a sick man being tended by a physician whose heart is wrung with pity, with medicines which it cost him his lifeblood to prepare.
Designed of course for single sick individuals, “the full office” as Fr Ephrem (Lash) tells us “is commonly celebrated in church on the Wednesday of Holy Week, and in some places, particularly in monasteries, on the equivalent day before Christmas, when large numbers of people are anointed, and also for whole families in their homes”.
BRETHREN, we do not want you to be ignorant of the affliction we experienced in Asia; for we were so utterly, unbearably crushed that we despaired of life itself.
Why, we felt that we had received the sentence of death; but that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead; he delivered us from so deadly a peril, and he will deliver us; on him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again.
You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us in answer to many prayers.
2 Corinthians 1:8-11. One of the Epistles at the Service of the Blessing of Oils. Source.
Look favourably from on high, O Mother of the Maker of all, and do away with the bitter illness of the sick by your prayers.
Kathisma. Tone 8. The song of shepherd pipes.
As you, O Merciful, are a divine river of mercy, an abyss of great compassion, show us the divine streams of your mercy, and heal us all; pour out unstintingly the springs of your wonders, and cleanse us all; for ever hastening fervently to you, we implore your grace.
Another. Tone 4. Lifted up on the Cross.
Physician and helper of those in pains, deliverer and saviour of those in sickness, Master and Lord, give healing to your sick servants; have pity, have mercy on those who have often stumbled, and deliver them from their falls, O Christ, that they may glorify your divine power.
From the Service of the Blessing of Oils. Source.
HOLY Bride of God, make me holy, sanctified and sober, meek, still, well-ordered, upright and devout, true, courageous, prudent, long-suffering, good, fair and measured, blameless, unblemished and without censure, and beyond all these a partaker in Paradise.
Weekday Vespers, Tone 1. Source.