There are seven sacraments in the Armenian Apostolic Church. The seven sacraments are:
- Christmation (or Confirmation)
- Penance (or Penitence)
- Holy Communion
- Marriage (or Holy Matrimony)
- Ordination (or Holy Orders)
- Annointing (or Unction) of the Sick
"Unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the Kingdom of God" (John 3:5)
Baptism is the Sacrament through which the believer is absolved of sins, is regenerated by the Holy Spirit, becomes a Christian and attains adoption by God.
The Armenian Church accepts as authentic the baptism of those Churches, who confess the Holy Trinity and baptize people in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. If a believer, who has been christened in an Orthodox, Catholic or other Church, wishes to become a member of the Armenian Church, he does not need to be baptized for a second time.
One needs a godfather for baptism; the latter should guarantee the faith of the person being christened before the Church and take him/her under his charge and educate the person according to the right faith.
Baptism should take place in the Church. But in those places, where there are no Churches or in the case where the person to be baptized is seriously sick, it is allowed to perform the baptism at home or in some other proper place.
Baptism is the first sacrament; a person who is not baptized cannot receive other sacraments. Immediately after the baptism, the sacraments of confirmation and Holy Communion are administered.
Confirmation is a sacrament in which a baptized person receives the gifts of the Holy Sprit, when he is anointed with chrism (olive oil and other special oils of different fragrant substances and flowers).
Confirmation takes place immediately after the baptism.
The grace of the Holy Spirit is granted by chrism for confirmation in Christian life; it strengthens our spirits, sanctifies our spiritual possibilities and equips us with courage to struggle against all trials.
Penitence is a sacrament in which a person, who confesses his sins, receives forgiveness from the priest being invisibly released from his sins by the Lord Jesus Christ Himself.
The penitent realizes his sins and repents for them, confessing them before God and the Church. The penitent is asked to have the intention to rectify his life, have faith in Christ and hope for His mercy.
During the confession the penitent reads a special supplication, in which all the possible sins are enumerated.
Those who want to receive this sacrament prepare themselves by fasting, abstinence and prayer.
The most important religious obligation of every Christian is the receiving ofHoly Communion.
Holy Communion is a sacrament by which the believer receives Christ's Body and Blood in the form of bread and wine for remission of sins and the reception of eternal life. It is offered to the faithful during the celebration of the Divine Liturgy.
The Sacrament of Holy Matrimony or marriage is the consecration of the union between a man and a woman for life in lawful marriage.
By mutual accord of the man and the woman, they are united together with a spiritual bond to each other and to the Church.
Marriage mandates not only God’s orders, but it also demands life commitment of the married man and woman toward each other. The divine initiative and the moral foundations set by Christ make marriage a Holy Sacrament. Jesus followed His Father's initial creation and granted it His sanction and endorsement, emphasizing the inseparable unity between the husband and wife.
The Church is an organized society. It is composed of all the baptized persons who are united in the same Faith, the same Holy Communion, the same Sacraments, and under the same Ecclesiastical authority. Those who exercise this ecclesiastical authority form the clergy of officers of the Church who serve God, teach and sanctify the faithful, and govern the Church. This authority to serve, to teach, to sanctify and to govern is not given by election or appointment, but by a sacred sacrament called Ordination.
Ordination of the Holy Orders is one of the important sacraments of the Church. Through ordination, men receive the power and grace to perform the sacred duties of a clergyman of the Church. Ordination is a sacrament by which the Holy Spirit offers the elected person the right to perform the sacraments and to feed Christ's flock.
It is true that by Baptism all Christians are endowed with the "priesthood" of laymen, who have thus the obligation to offer up to God the spiritual sacrifices of thanksgiving, prayers and acts of faith, hope, and charity. But only those men who receive the sacrament of the Holy Orders are clergyman of God in the full sense of the word.
People may devote themselves to the service of the Church not only by entering Holy Order, but also in the lay states. The latter service is sometimes as valuable and meritorious before God as the service rendered by the Holy Orders.
The Orthodox and Catholic Churches acknowledge the Unction of the Sick as the seventh sacrament. In the Orthodox Church this sacrament is officiated upon people who are very ill and rely on God's mercy and belief that the Holy Oil will quicken the recovery or in the case of inevitable death, the oil will alleviate any death-related sufferings.
Today, the Unction of the Sick is not regularly practiced, but is still recognized as a Sacrament of the Church. In the administration of the Sacrament, the clergyman prays and reads the Gospel of healing, blesses the individual, and then offers communion. Thus, both the body and the soul of the individual find peace and healing.
In the Armenian Church, only clergy may be anointed after death. This is done to honor them in regard to their priestly office.