from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A consecrated mixture of oil and balsam, used for anointing in church sacraments such as baptism and confirmation.
  • noun A sacramental anointing, especially upon confirmation into the Eastern Orthodox Church.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To anoint with chrism.
  • noun Eccles.: A sacred ointment, consecrated by a bishop, used in the rites of baptism, confirmation, ordination, and coronation, in the consecration of churches, altar-stones, and chalices, and in blessing the baptismal water.
  • noun The rite of confirmation.
  • noun Same as chrismal, .
  • noun The baptismal vesture; a white garment formerly given to the newly baptized as a symbol of the new robe of righteousness given to the saints: in this sense commonly chrisom.
  • noun In general, that with which one is anointed, or the act of anointing.
  • noun A chrism-child.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun Olive oil mixed with balm and spices, consecrated by the bishop on Maundy Thursday, and used in the administration of baptism, confirmation, ordination, etc.
  • noun The same as Chrisom.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A mixture of oil and balm, consecrated for use as an anointing fluid in certain Christian ceremonies, especially confirmation.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun a consecrated ointment consisting of a mixture of oil and balsam


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English crisme, chrism, chrisom, from Old English crisma, from Latin chrīsma, from Greek khrīsma, an anointing, from khrīein, to anoint; see ghrēi- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Medieval Latin crisma, from Ecclesiastical Latin chrisma, from Ancient Greek χρῖσμα (khrisma, "anointing”, “unction"), from χρίω ("anoint").


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  • Oil mingled with balm, consecrated for use as an unguent in the administration of certain sacraments in the Eastern and Western Churches.

    February 3, 2007

  • A mixture of oil of olives and balsam, blessed by a bishop in a special manner and used in the administration of certain sacraments and in the performance of certain ecclesiastical functions. That chrism may serve as valid matter for the Sacrament of Confirmation it must consist of pure oil of olives, and it must be blessed by a bishop, or at least by a priest delegated by the Holy See. These two conditions are certainly necessary for validity; moreover it is probable that there should be an admixture of balsam, and that the blessing of the chrism should be special, in the sense that it ought to be different from that which is given to the oil of the sick or the oil of catechumens.

    (from the Catholic Encyclopedia)

    October 6, 2007

  • "Beginning with Pepin's coronation, the Carolingian ritual of royal anointing self-consciously followed Old Testament coronation accounts, in which the holiness of the oil was integral to the symbolism of the ritual, conferring on God's anointed the stature of king and priest, his robes 'fragrant with myrrh and aloes and cassia.' While the associations were sacred, the need was political. The problem was particularly pressing for the Carolingians, who despite holding effective power as mayors of the palace were constrained to recognize the divine right of the last surviving member of the Merovingian dynasty, an imbecile driven around in an oxcart. The solution was provided by the Church by anointing with the chrism, thereby confirming Pepin's legitimacy as both king and priest, more than a merely secular ruler."
    --Jack Turner, _Spice: The History of a Temptation_ (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004), 260

    December 6, 2016

  • "To this day the Russian Church uses spices in its chrism. Over the course of Holy Week, the Moscow patriarchate prepares a year's supply, during which time a blend of oil, wine, flowers, and spices is stirred, boiled, and reduced, during the last three days to the accompaniment of nonstop gospel readings. There is no strict definition of the ingredients, but a typical mix is still built around the Exodus template of olive oil, cinnamon, and cassia, with the addition of other spices such as cloves, ginger, and cardamom. When the chrism is ready, it is blessed by the patriarch, poured into consecrated vessels, then distributed to dioceses around the country. Authority for the use of the spices stretches back to the time of Dionysius the Pseudo-Areopagite, signifying 'the grace-giving aroma of the variegated gifts of the Holy Spirit.'"

    --Jack Turner, _Spice: The History of a Temptation_ (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004), 262-263

    December 6, 2016