BY DAILY SABAH WITH DHA
ISTANBUL APR 20, 2022 –
Aonce-in-a-decade ritual has begun to make chrism, a consecrated oil used in religious services by the Fener Greek Orthodox Patriarchate. Hagion Miron as it is called is being prepared in large pots by priests and workers at the patriarchate.
The work began after Patriarch Bartholomew I gave his blessing on Monday. Fifty-seven different ingredients brought in from several monasteries across the world and olive oil from the Greek island of Crete are used to produce the oil used in baptisms and several sacraments. The mixture will be delivered to churches associated with the patriarchate later this week. Boiled slowly for three days, the chrism is composed of diverse ingredients from wine and honey to rosewater and saffron. Some ingredients are sent by churches in the Middle East associated with the patriarchate while others are sent by a church in the southern Turkish province of Hatay, though the olive oil is exclusively brought from Crete.
The production process is an attraction for the faithful who flocked to the patriarchate on Wednesday to watch, however, only a handful of employees of the patriarchate are allowed into the room where the oil is made. The patriarchate produces some half a ton of oil every decade and delivers it to churches around the world.
The patriarchate, in its self-appointed ecumenical status, has been based in Istanbul since the times of the Byzantine Empire that collapsed after the Ottoman conquest of the city. It has direct authority to assign and dismiss prelates in churches in several countries, from New Zealand to Panama.
The patriarchate has a small congregation in Istanbul but many of its followers live abroad, mainly in the United States.