The Sacraments of the Church, according to the Divine Scriptures, are seven in number:

The Priesthood, which is the ministry of all the other Sacraments
Holy Baptism
The Oil of Unction
The Oblation of the Body and Blood of Christ
The Holy Leaven, namely, the king
The sign of the life giving Cross

The Sacraments of the Church are essential due to human needs in the physical realm. To live and function in this world, one must originate from earthly parents, yet the true essence and completeness of humanity are derived from the Divine Father of Lights.


The Priesthood serves as a vital intermediary between God and humanity, focusing on granting forgiveness, bestowing blessings, and alleviating divine wrath. It can be categorised into two types: the imperfect form under the law and the perfect form within the Church. This Priesthood's foundation in the Church is rooted in the Lord's proclamation to St. Peter in Caesarea Philippi: "I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven." Its structure is further reinforced by the command "Feed My lambs, feed My sheep, feed My ewes," and its ultimate completion is signified when He said, "Receive the Holy Spirit; if you forgive anyone's sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven." The old Priesthood, based on lineage rather than merit, contrasts with the new Priesthood, which is granted through Apostolic succession and the laying on of hands to those deemed worthy after evaluating their life and beliefs, as stated: "Let these first be tested, then let them serve, being found blameless." The distinction between the old and new Priesthood is clear, considering that both righteous and wicked parents can have children of contrasting moral standings. The former was ordained through physical anointing, while the latter is sanctified by the spiritual anointing of the Spirit. For those aspiring to the Priesthood, St. Paul's guidelines offer a comprehensive checklist. A candidate must be blameless, monogamous, mentally sharp, modest, hospitable, skilled in teaching, temperate, patient, peaceful, not money-driven, and manage his household well, reflecting his ability to care for God's Church. He shouldn't be a recent convert to avoid pride and should be well-regarded by outsiders to prevent disgrace. Deacons, too, must embody purity, honesty, moderation, and integrity, upholding their faith with a clear conscience. All ranks within the Priesthood should be rigorously tested for their suitability before being allowed to minister, ensuring they are faultless.


Baptism involves immersion and cleansing with water, and it can be categorised into five distinct types: First, the basic physical cleansing common to everyone. Second, ritual washings as prescribed by religious law, believed to purify individuals spiritually from physical impurities. Third, the practices based on the elders' traditions, like washing utensils and personal hygiene after market visits. Fourth, John's baptism, focusing on repentance and the forgiveness of sins. Fifth, the baptism of Christ, which, through the Holy Spirit, grants the gift of becoming God's children, promises resurrection and eternal life, and symbolises spiritual cleansing, akin to Christ's circumcising of the heart. Baptism's primary element is pure water, essential for rebirth in both water and Spirit to enter God's kingdom. When questioned about the sanctity and sacramental essence of each of the Seven Sacraments, we recognise three sanctifying elements: First, a legitimate priest, ordained in accordance with the Church's guidelines. Second, the authoritative word and directive of the Lord of Sacraments, under whose command each sacrament was established. Third, the sincere intention and firm belief of the participants, trusting in the divine power effectuating the sacraments.

Oil of Unction

The Oil of Unction, a tradition dating back to the Apostles, has been continuously passed down within the Church of God. Its significance is illuminated both by its inherent physical properties and by biblical teachings. The Bible reveals that in ancient times, those appointed to earthly priesthood or kingship were anointed with unction oil. Similarly, in our practices, those dedicated to the heavenly kingdom and the true priesthood are anointed with this deeply symbolic oil. This anointing aligns them with Christ, the ultimate Anointed One, whose divine and human natures are unified. As the scripture says, “The Lord Thy God hath anointed Thee with the oil of gladness above Thy fellows.” Christ is both the source of anointing (Anointer) through His divinity and the recipient (Anointed) in His human form. Considering oil's natural properties, renowned artists traditionally apply oil to their completed works to protect them from damage and wear. Similarly, those fashioned in the image of the Heavenly King are anointed to safeguard them against worldly trials and spiritual adversities. The Oil of Unction is composed of pure olive oil, and its sanctification comes through the apostolic benediction.

Holy Oblation

The oblation is a ritual performed by believers to honour higher powers, using tangible elements in the hope of gaining sin forgiveness and prayer fulfilment. Ancient oblations involved the sacrifice of animals and their blood, but in our tradition, it is Jesus, the Only begotten Son of God, who sacrificed His body for the world's salvation. This act aligns with John's depiction of Jesus as “The Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.” His blood represents the new covenant, shed for many to forgive sins. His sacrifice, an offering of a living, rational being, reconciled the world with God, bringing salvation to both angels and humans. Recognising the impossibility of replicating His crucifixion universally and perpetually, Jesus, with compassion and wisdom, established a symbolic and true practice. On the night He was betrayed, He took bread with His holy hands, blessed and broke it, giving it to His disciples as a representation of His body sacrificed for the world. He did the same with the cup, symbolising His blood of the new covenant. He instructed them to continue this practice in His memory. Through His command, the bread transforms into His Holy Body, and the wine into His Precious Blood, offering believers forgiveness, purification, and the hope of resurrection and eternal life. In receiving these sacraments, believers encounter Christ Himself, uniting with Him as His body integrates with theirs, and His blood intermingles with their own. This sacrament, as ordained by Christ, uses wheat (bread) and wine, apt symbols for body and blood. Its sanctity is derived from His life-giving words and the descent of the Holy Spirit.


Humanity is prone to making mistakes and succumbing to sin, and it's nearly inevitable that everyone will face spiritual ailments at some point. To address this, the healing priesthood has been established to offer forgiveness freely, as stated: “If you forgive a man his sins, they shall be forgiven.” It's recognised that “Those who are well do not need a physician, but those who are sick,” and “I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” This message is reinforced through three parables – the Prodigal Son, the Lost Sheep, and the Two Debtors – which aim to bolster the hope of sinners and guide them towards the repentant path leading to heavenly joy. This concept is further illustrated by the examples of Peter after his denial of Christ, Paul following his persecution, the repentant woman, the Publican, and the Thief on the cross. Therefore, believers are encouraged, when overpowered by sin due to human frailty, to seek out the Church's spiritual guidance. By confessing their sins to these spiritual healers, they can receive absolution and penance, thus healing their souls and preparing themselves to partake in the Lord's Supper with purity. This aligns with the teachings of an esteemed theologian who stated, "Our Lord has entrusted the remedy of repentance to the knowledgeable priests of the Church. Those afflicted by Satan's influence of sin should present their wounds to the disciples of the Wise Physician for spiritual healing." Such healing and forgiveness are effective when approached with genuine faith.

Holy Leaven (Malka)

The Holy Leaven, known as "Malka" in the Assyrian Church of the East, holds significant religious and symbolic importance. This sacred substance is believed to be a continuous, tangible link to the Last Supper of Jesus Christ and the apostolic era. Traditionally, the Holy Leaven is a small portion of flour that is consecrated and then mixed with fresh dough when preparing the Eucharistic bread. The origin of the Holy Leaven is attributed to the Apostles themselves, who, according to tradition, received it directly from Christ. It is said that the Apostles Thomas and Bartholomew, along with Addai and Mari, brought this tradition to the Eastern churches. The Holy Leaven serves as a symbol of continuity and unity with the early Church and is considered essential for the proper consecration of the Eucharist. It represents the spiritual presence and blessings of Christ and the Apostles in the Eucharistic celebrations. Each time Eucharistic bread is made, a small piece of the previous batch of Holy Leaven is incorporated into the new batch, thus maintaining a direct and unbroken lineage back to the Apostolic age. The use of the Holy Leaven in the Assyrian Church of the East emphasises the importance of tradition and historical continuity in Christian worship and highlights the deep connection of the Church to its early roots.

Sign of the living Cross

This unique sacrament, exclusive to our Church, serves as an alternative to marriage, which is not considered one of the Seven Sacraments (though it is sacramental in nature). The classification of the sign of the Cross as a sacrament has sparked much curiosity. Mar Abdisho labels it as such, stating that "the Cross is by which Christians are constantly protected, and through it, all other sacraments are completed and sealed." However, Mar Abdisho's own writings contribute to the uncertainty surrounding this sacrament. In Memra 4, where he elaborates on other sacraments, he surprisingly omits detailed discussion on this one. Adding to the confusion, in the same Memra under 'Matrimony and Virginity,' he discusses only sacraments, yet he addresses “the worship of the Lord’s Cross” in a separate Memra. Mar Abdisho emphasises the significance of the Cross, noting that the Apostles performed miracles and ordained the priesthood through it, and that it's integral to the church's sacraments. He cites the Apostle Paul: “The preaching of the Cross is foolishness to those who perish, but to us who are saved, it is the power of God.” Mar Abdisho asserts that the Cross is central to Christian faith, symbolising renewal and universal salvation. The sign of the Cross is anticipated to manifest in the heavens during the Lord's Second Coming. While Mar Abdisho advocates for veneration of the Cross, he clarifies that worship is directed not towards the material Cross itself, but towards the figure it represents and, above all, to God, who sacrificed His Son on the Cross for our redemption, offering eternal life to the worthy. In this context, it's important to note that the Cross is the sole venerated symbol in the Assyrian Church of the East. Unlike other traditions, the Church does not employ crucifixes or images upon the Holy Cross. Nevertheless, the Cross is revered and kissed in both churches and homes, symbolising deep spiritual reverence.