Sacrament
Overview
A sacrament is a sacred rite
Rite
A rite is an established, ceremonious, usually religious act. Rites in this sense fall into three major categories:* rites of passage, generally changing an individual's social status, such as marriage, baptism, or graduation....

 recognized as of particular importance and significance. There are various views on the existence and meaning of such rites.
Hexam's Concise Dictionary of Religion calls a sacrament "a Rite in which GOD (or Gods) is (are) uniquely active". But within Christianity the word is used in a more restricted sense.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church
Catechism of the Catholic Church
The Catechism of the Catholic Church is the official text of the teachings of the Catholic Church. A provisional, "reference text" was issued by Pope John Paul II on October 11, 1992 — "the thirtieth anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council" — with his apostolic...

 defines the sacraments as "efficacious signs of grace, instituted by Christ and entrusted to the Church, by which divine life is dispensed to us.
Encyclopedia
A sacrament is a sacred rite
Rite
A rite is an established, ceremonious, usually religious act. Rites in this sense fall into three major categories:* rites of passage, generally changing an individual's social status, such as marriage, baptism, or graduation....

 recognized as of particular importance and significance. There are various views on the existence and meaning of such rites.

General definitions and terms

Hexam's Concise Dictionary of Religion calls a sacrament "a Rite in which GOD (or Gods) is (are) uniquely active". But within Christianity the word is used in a more restricted sense.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church
Catechism of the Catholic Church
The Catechism of the Catholic Church is the official text of the teachings of the Catholic Church. A provisional, "reference text" was issued by Pope John Paul II on October 11, 1992 — "the thirtieth anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council" — with his apostolic...

 defines the sacraments as "efficacious signs of grace, instituted by Christ and entrusted to the Church, by which divine life is dispensed to us. The visible rites by which the sacraments are celebrated signify and make present the graces
Divine grace
In Christian theology, grace is God’s gift of God’s self to humankind. It is understood by Christians to be a spontaneous gift from God to man - "generous, free and totally unexpected and undeserved" - that takes the form of divine favour, love and clemency. It is an attribute of God that is most...

 proper to each sacrament. They bear fruit in those who receive them with the required dispositions." The catechism included in the Anglican Book of Common Prayer
Book of Common Prayer
The Book of Common Prayer is the short title of a number of related prayer books used in the Anglican Communion, as well as by the Continuing Anglican, "Anglican realignment" and other Anglican churches. The original book, published in 1549 , in the reign of Edward VI, was a product of the English...

 defines a sacrament as "an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace given unto us, ordained by Christ himself, as a means whereby we receive the same, and a pledge to assure us thereof."

Some Protestant
Protestantism
Protestantism is one of the three major groupings within Christianity. It is a movement that began in Germany in the early 16th century as a reaction against medieval Roman Catholic doctrines and practices, especially in regards to salvation, justification, and ecclesiology.The doctrines of the...

 traditions avoid the word "sacrament". Reaction against the 19th-century Oxford Movement
Oxford Movement
The Oxford Movement was a movement of High Church Anglicans, eventually developing into Anglo-Catholicism. The movement, whose members were often associated with the University of Oxford, argued for the reinstatement of lost Christian traditions of faith and their inclusion into Anglican liturgy...

 led Baptists to prefer instead the word "ordinance
Ordinance (Christian)
Ordinance is a Protestant Christian term for baptism, communion and other religious rituals. Some Protestants, like the Mennonites, do not call them "sacraments" because they believe these rituals are outward expressions of faith, rather than impartations of God's grace.While a sacrament is seen...

", practices ordained by Christ to be permanently observed by the church. "Sacrament" stresses mainly, but not solely, what God does, "ordinance" what the Christians do.

The Catholic Church  and Oriental Orthodoxy
Oriental Orthodoxy
Oriental Orthodoxy is the faith of those Eastern Christian Churches that recognize only three ecumenical councils — the First Council of Nicaea, the First Council of Constantinople and the First Council of Ephesus. They rejected the dogmatic definitions of the Council of Chalcedon...

  teach that the sacraments are seven. The Eastern Orthodox Church also believes that there are seven major sacraments, but applies the corresponding Greek
Greek language
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

 word, μυστήριον (mysterion) also to rites that in the Western tradition are called sacramentals
Sacramentals
Sacramentals are material objects, things or actions set apart or blessed by the Roman Catholic Church, the Orthodox Churches, the Anglican Churches, and Old Catholic Churches to manifest the respect due to the Sacraments, and so to excite good thoughts and to increase devotion, and through these...

 and to other realities, such as the Church itself. Similarly, the Catholic Church understands the word "sacrament" as referring not only to the seven sacraments considered here, but also to Christ and the Church. Anglican teaching is that "there are two Sacraments ordained of Christ our Lord in the Gospel, that is to say, Baptism and the Supper of the Lord", and that "those five commonly called Sacraments, that is to say, Confirmation, Penance, Orders, Matrimony, and Extreme Unction, are not to be counted for Sacraments of the Gospel".

Roman Catholic teaching

The following are the seven sacraments
Sacraments of the Catholic Church
The Sacraments of the Catholic Church are, the Roman Catholic Church teaches, "efficacious signs of grace, instituted by Christ and entrusted to the Church, by which divine life is dispensed to us. The visible rites by which the sacraments are celebrated signify and make present the graces proper...

 of the Roman Catholic Church, here listed in the traditional order:
  • Baptism
    Baptism
    In Christianity, baptism is for the majority the rite of admission , almost invariably with the use of water, into the Christian Church generally and also membership of a particular church tradition...

     (Christening
    Infant baptism
    Infant baptism is the practice of baptising infants or young children. In theological discussions, the practice is sometimes referred to as paedobaptism or pedobaptism from the Greek pais meaning "child." The practice is sometimes contrasted with what is called "believer's baptism", or...

    )
  • Confirmation (Chrismation)
  • Holy Eucharist
    Eucharist
    The Eucharist , also called Holy Communion, the Sacrament of the Altar, the Blessed Sacrament, the Lord's Supper, and other names, is a Christian sacrament or ordinance...

  • Penance
    Penance
    Penance is repentance of sins as well as the proper name of the Roman Catholic, Orthodox Christian, and Anglican Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation/Confession. It also plays a part in non-sacramental confession among Lutherans and other Protestants...

     (Confession)
  • Anointing of the Sick
    Anointing of the Sick
    Anointing of the Sick, known also by other names, is distinguished from other forms of religious anointing or "unction" in that it is intended, as its name indicates, for the benefit of a sick person...

     (known prior to the Second Vatican Council
    Second Vatican Council
    The Second Vatican Council addressed relations between the Roman Catholic Church and the modern world. It was the twenty-first Ecumenical Council of the Catholic Church and the second to be held at St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican. It opened under Pope John XXIII on 11 October 1962 and closed...

     as Extreme Unction (or more literally from Latin: Last Anointing), then seen as part of the "Last Rites
    Last Rites
    The Last Rites are the very last prayers and ministrations given to many Christians before death. The last rites go by various names and include different practices in different Christian traditions...

    ")
  • Holy Orders
    Holy Orders
    The term Holy Orders is used by many Christian churches to refer to ordination or to those individuals ordained for a special role or ministry....

  • Matrimony
    Christian views of marriage
    Christian views on marriage typically regard it as instituted and ordained by God for the lifelong relationship between one man as husband and one woman as wife, and is to be "held in honour among all...."...

     (Marriage)


In the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church, "the sacraments are efficacious signs of grace, instituted by Christ and entrusted to the Church, by which divine life is dispensed to us. The visible rites by which the sacraments are celebrated signify and make present the graces proper to each sacrament. They bear fruit in those who receive them with the required dispositions."

The Church teaches that the effect of the sacraments comes ex opere operato
Ex opere operato
Ex opere operato is a Latin phrase meaning "from the work done" referring to the efficacy of the Sacraments deriving from the action of the Sacrament as opposed to the merits or holiness of the priest or minister....

, by the very fact of being administered, regardless of the personal holiness of the minister administering it. However, as indicated in this definition of the sacraments given by the Catechism of the Catholic Church
Catechism of the Catholic Church
The Catechism of the Catholic Church is the official text of the teachings of the Catholic Church. A provisional, "reference text" was issued by Pope John Paul II on October 11, 1992 — "the thirtieth anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council" — with his apostolic...

, a recipient's own lack of proper disposition to receive the grace conveyed can block a sacrament's effectiveness in that person. The sacraments presuppose faith and through their words and ritual elements, nourish, strengthen and give expression to faith.

Though not every individual has to receive every sacrament, the Church affirms that, for believers as a whole, the sacraments are necessary for salvation, as the modes of grace divinely instituted by Christ
Christ
Christ is the English term for the Greek meaning "the anointed one". It is a translation of the Hebrew , usually transliterated into English as Messiah or Mashiach...

 himself. Through each of them, Christ bestows that sacrament's particular grace, such as incorporation into Christ and the Church, forgiveness of sins, or consecration for a particular service.

Eastern and Oriental Orthodox teaching

The seven sacraments are also accepted by Eastern Orthodoxy and Oriental Orthodoxy
Oriental Orthodoxy
Oriental Orthodoxy is the faith of those Eastern Christian Churches that recognize only three ecumenical councils — the First Council of Nicaea, the First Council of Constantinople and the First Council of Ephesus. They rejected the dogmatic definitions of the Council of Chalcedon...

, but the Eastern Orthodox tradition does not limit the number of sacraments to seven, holding that anything the Church does as Church is in some sense sacramental
Sacramentals
Sacramentals are material objects, things or actions set apart or blessed by the Roman Catholic Church, the Orthodox Churches, the Anglican Churches, and Old Catholic Churches to manifest the respect due to the Sacraments, and so to excite good thoughts and to increase devotion, and through these...

. However it recognizes these seven as "the major sacraments", which are completed by many other blessings and special services. Some lists of the sacraments taken from the Church Fathers include the Consecration
Consecration
Consecration is the solemn dedication to a special purpose or service, usually religious. The word "consecration" literally means "to associate with the sacred". Persons, places, or things can be consecrated, and the term is used in various ways by different groups...

 of a Church, Monastic Tonsure
Tonsure
Tonsure is the traditional practice of Christian churches of cutting or shaving the hair from the scalp of clerics, monastics, and, in the Eastern Orthodox Church, all baptized members...

, and the Burial of the Dead
Funeral
A funeral is a ceremony for celebrating, sanctifying, or remembering the life of a person who has died. Funerary customs comprise the complex of beliefs and practices used by a culture to remember the dead, from interment itself, to various monuments, prayers, and rituals undertaken in their honor...

. More specifically, for the Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox Christian the term sacrament is a term which seeks to classify something that may, according to Orthodox thought, be impossible to classify. The Orthodox communion's preferred term is Sacred Mystery. While the Catholic Church has attempted to dogmatically define the sacraments, and discover the precise moment when the act results in the manifestation of the grace of God, the Orthodox communion has refrained from attempting to determine absolutely the exact form, number and effect of the sacraments, accepting simply that these elements are unknowable to all except God. According to Orthodox thinking God touches mankind through material means such as water, wine, bread, oil, incense, candles, altars, icons, etc. How God does this is a mystery. On a broad level, the mysteries are an affirmation of the goodness of created matter, and are an emphatic declaration of what that matter was originally created to be.

Despite this broad view, Orthodox divines do write about there being seven "principal" mysteries. On a specific level, while not systematically limiting the mysteries to seven, the most profound Mystery is the Eucharist or Synaxis
Synaxis
In Eastern Christianity , a Synaxis is an assembly for liturgical purposes, generally through the celebration of Vespers, Matins, Little Hours, and the Divine Liturgy....

, in which the partakers, by participation in the liturgy and receiving the consecrated bread and wine (understood to have become the body and blood of Christ) directly communicate with God. This differs from the Catholic view of transubstantiation in that the Orthodox don't claim to understand how exactly this happens, but merely state "This appears to in the form of bread and wine, but God has told me it is His Body and Blood. I will take what He says as a 'mystery' and not attempt to rationalize it to my limited mind". The emphasis on mystery is characteristic of Orthodox theology, and is often called apophatic, meaning that any and all positive statements about God and other theological matters must be balanced by negative statements. For example, while it is correct and appropriate to say that "God exists", or even that "God is the only Being which truly exists", such statements must be understood to also convey the idea that God transcends what is usually meant by the term "to exist."

Anglican teaching

As befits its prevailing self-identity as a via media or "middle path" of Western Christianity
Western Christianity
Western Christianity is a term used to include the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church and groups historically derivative thereof, including the churches of the Anglican and Protestant traditions, which share common attributes that can be traced back to their medieval heritage...

, Anglican sacramental theology expresses its sacramental perspective in keeping with its status as a church in the Catholic
Catholicism
Catholicism is a broad term for the body of the Catholic faith, its theologies and doctrines, its liturgical, ethical, spiritual, and behavioral characteristics, as well as a religious people as a whole....

 tradition but also a church of the Reformation
English Reformation
The English Reformation was the series of events in 16th-century England by which the Church of England broke away from the authority of the Pope and the Roman Catholic Church....

. With respect to sacramental theology, that Catholic heritage is perhaps most strongly asserted in the importance Anglicanism places on the sacraments as a means of grace
Divine grace
In Christian theology, grace is God’s gift of God’s self to humankind. It is understood by Christians to be a spontaneous gift from God to man - "generous, free and totally unexpected and undeserved" - that takes the form of divine favour, love and clemency. It is an attribute of God that is most...

, sanctification
Sanctification
Sanctity is an ancient concept widespread among religions, a property of a thing or person sacred or set apart within the religion, from totem poles through temple vessels to days of the week, to a human believer who achieves this state. Sanctification is the act or process of acquiring sanctity,...

, and salvation
Salvation
Within religion salvation is the phenomenon of being saved from the undesirable condition of bondage or suffering experienced by the psyche or soul that has arisen as a result of unskillful or immoral actions generically referred to as sins. Salvation may also be called "deliverance" or...

 as expressed in the church's liturgy
Liturgy
Liturgy is either the customary public worship done by a specific religious group, according to its particular traditions or a more precise term that distinguishes between those religious groups who believe their ritual requires the "people" to do the "work" of responding to the priest, and those...

. Anglican and Roman Catholic theologians participating in an Anglican/Roman Catholic Joint Preparatory Commission declared that they had "reached substantial agreement on the doctrine of the Eucharist".

Most Anglican churches recognise seven sacraments; however, two of them — Baptism
Baptism
In Christianity, baptism is for the majority the rite of admission , almost invariably with the use of water, into the Christian Church generally and also membership of a particular church tradition...

 and the Holy Eucharist
Eucharist
The Eucharist , also called Holy Communion, the Sacrament of the Altar, the Blessed Sacrament, the Lord's Supper, and other names, is a Christian sacrament or ordinance...

 — are seen as having been ordained by Christ ("sacraments of the Gospel," as Article XXV of the Thirty-Nine Articles
Thirty-Nine Articles
The Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion are the historically defining statements of doctrines of the Anglican church with respect to the controversies of the English Reformation. First established in 1563, the articles served to define the doctrine of the nascent Church of England as it related to...

 describes them). In this sense, Baptism and the Eucharist are the "precepted, primary, and principal sacraments ordained for our salvation." and the other five sacraments are lesser, deriving their efficacy from the former, if they are sacraments at all. If they are not sacraments, they still are rites to be performed as needed in the Church.

In the Anglican tradition, the sacerdotal function is assigned to clergy in the three orders of ministry
Anglican ministry
The Anglican ministry is both the leadership and agency of Christian service in the Anglican Communion. "Ministry" commonly refers to the office of ordained clergy: the threefold order of bishops, priests and deacons. More accurately, Anglican ministry includes many laypeople who devote themselves...

: bishops, priests and deacons. Many Anglicans hold to the principle of ex opere operato
Ex opere operato
Ex opere operato is a Latin phrase meaning "from the work done" referring to the efficacy of the Sacraments deriving from the action of the Sacrament as opposed to the merits or holiness of the priest or minister....

with respect to the efficacy of the sacraments vis-a-vis the presider and his or her administration thereof. Article XXVI of the Thirty-nine Articles
Thirty-Nine Articles
The Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion are the historically defining statements of doctrines of the Anglican church with respect to the controversies of the English Reformation. First established in 1563, the articles served to define the doctrine of the nascent Church of England as it related to...

 (entitled Of the unworthiness of ministers which hinders not the effect of the Sacrament) states that the "ministration of the Word and Sacraments" is not done in the name of the one performing the sacerdotal function, "neither is the effect of Christ's ordinance taken away by their wickedness," since the sacraments have their effect "because of Christ's intention and promise, although they be ministered by evil men."

Lutheran teaching

Lutherans hold that sacraments are sacred acts of divine institution. Whenever they are properly administered by the use of the physical component commanded by God along with the divine words of institution, God is, in a way specific to each sacrament, present with the Word and physical component. He earnestly offers to all who receive the sacrament forgiveness of sins and eternal salvation. He also works in the recipients to get them to accept these blessings and to increase the assurance of their possession.

Martin Luther
Martin Luther
Martin Luther was a German priest, professor of theology and iconic figure of the Protestant Reformation. He strongly disputed the claim that freedom from God's punishment for sin could be purchased with money. He confronted indulgence salesman Johann Tetzel with his Ninety-Five Theses in 1517...

 defined a sacrament as an act or rite:
  1. instituted by God;
  2. in which God Himself has joined His Word of promise to the visible element;
  3. and by which He offers, gives and seals the forgiveness of sin earned by Christ.


This strict definition narrowed the number of sacraments down to two or three: Holy Baptism, the Eucharist
Eucharist in the Lutheran Church
The Eucharist in the Lutheran Church refers to the liturgical commemoration of the Last Supper....

, and for some, Holy Absolution
Confession in the Lutheran Church
In the Lutheran Church, Confession is the method given by Christ to the Church by which individual men and women may receive the forgiveness of sins; according to the Large Catechism, the "third sacrament" of Holy Absolution is properly viewed as an extension of Holy Baptism.-Beliefs:The Lutheran...

, with the other four rites eliminated for not having a visible element or the ability to forgive sin. Lutherans do not dogmatically define the exact number of sacraments. In line with Luther's initial statement in his Large Catechism some Lutherans speak of only two sacraments, Baptism and the Eucharist, although later in the same work he calls Confession and Absolution "the third sacrament." The definition of sacrament in the Apology of the Augsburg Confession
Apology of the Augsburg Confession
The Apology of the Augsburg Confession was written by Philipp Melanchthon during and after the 1530 Diet of Augsburg as a response to the Pontifical Confutation of the Augsburg Confession, Charles V's commissioned official Roman Catholic response to the Lutheran Augsburg Confession of June 25, 1530...

 lists Absolution as one of them. It is important to note that although Lutherans do not consider the other four rites as sacraments, they are still retained and used in the Lutheran church. Within Lutheranism, the sacraments are a Means of Grace
Means of Grace
The Means of Grace in Christian theology are those things through which God gives grace. Just what this grace entails is interpreted in various ways: generally speaking, some see it as God blessing humankind so as to sustain and empower the Christian life; others see it as forgiveness, life, and...

, and, together with the Word of God
Bible
The Bible refers to any one of the collections of the primary religious texts of Judaism and Christianity. There is no common version of the Bible, as the individual books , their contents and their order vary among denominations...

, empower the Church for mission.

Teachings of other Christian traditions

The enumeration, naming, understanding, and the adoption of the sacraments formally vary according to denomination
Religious denomination
A religious denomination is a subgroup within a religion that operates under a common name, tradition, and identity.The term describes various Christian denominations...

, although the finer theological distinctions are not always understood and may not even be known to many of the faithful. Many Protestants and other post-Reformation traditions affirm Luther's definition and have only Baptism and Eucharist (or Communion or the Lord's Supper) as sacraments, while others see the ritual as merely symbolic, and still others do not have a sacramental dimension at all.

In addition to the traditional seven sacraments, other rituals have been considered sacraments by some Christian traditions. In particular, foot washing
Feet washing
Foot washing or washing of feet is a religious rite observed as an ordinance by several Christian denominations. The name, and even the spelling, of this practice is not consistently established, being variously known as foot washing, washing the saints' feet, pedilavium, and mandatum.For some...

 as seen in Anabaptist
Anabaptist
Anabaptists are Protestant Christians of the Radical Reformation of 16th-century Europe, and their direct descendants, particularly the Amish, Brethren, Hutterites, and Mennonites....

, Schwarzenau Brethren
Schwarzenau Brethren
The Schwarzenau Brethren, originated in Germany, the outcome of the Radical Pietist ferment of the late 17th and early 18th century. Hopeful of the imminent return of Christ, the founding Brethren abandoned the established Reformed and Lutheran churches, forming a new church in 1708 when their...

, German Baptist
German Baptist
The German Baptists movement was founded as a fusion of the Anabaptist and Radical Pietist movements. German Baptists are not to be confused with Primitive, Separate, Southern, Particular, and all other mainline Baptist denominations who, although generally unified on rudimentary doctrines such as...

 groups or True Jesus Church
True Jesus Church
The True Jesus Church is a non-denominational Christian church that originated in Beijing, China, in 1917. The current elected chairman of the TJC International Assembly is Preacher Yong-Ji Lin. Today, there are approximately 2.5 million members in fifty three countries and six continents...

, and the hearing of the Gospel, as understood by a few Christian groups (such as the Polish National Catholic Church
Polish National Catholic Church
The Polish National Catholic Church is a Christian church founded and based in the United States by Polish-Americans who were Roman Catholic. The PNCC is a breakaway Catholic Church in dialogue with the Catholic Church; it seeks full communion with the Holy See although it differs theologically...

 of America), have been considered sacraments by some churches.

Since some post-Reformation denominations do not regard clergy as having a classically sacerdotal
Sacerdotalism
Sacerdotalism is the idea that a propitiatory sacrifice for sin must be offered by the intervention of an order of men separated to the priesthood...

 or priestly function, they avoid the term "sacrament," preferring the terms "sacerdotal function," "ordinance," or "tradition." This belief invests the efficacy of the ordinance in the obedience and participation of the believer and the witness of the presiding minister and the congregation. This view stems from a highly developed concept of the priesthood of all believers
Priesthood of all believers
The universal priesthood or the priesthood of all believers, as it would come to be known in the present day, is a Christian doctrine believed to be derived from several passages of the New Testament...

. In this sense, the believer himself or herself performs the sacerdotal role .

Baptists and Pentecostals, among other Christian denominations, use the word ordinance, rather than sacrament because of certain sacerdotal
Sacerdotalism
Sacerdotalism is the idea that a propitiatory sacrifice for sin must be offered by the intervention of an order of men separated to the priesthood...

 ideas connected, in their view, with the word sacrament.. These churches argue that the word ordinance points to the ordaining authority of Christ
Christ
Christ is the English term for the Greek meaning "the anointed one". It is a translation of the Hebrew , usually transliterated into English as Messiah or Mashiach...

 which lies behind the practice.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons)

Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints use the word "Sacrament" solely for the Lord's Supper
Eucharist
The Eucharist , also called Holy Communion, the Sacrament of the Altar, the Blessed Sacrament, the Lord's Supper, and other names, is a Christian sacrament or ordinance...

, in which participants eat bread and drink wine (or water, since the late 1800s). It is essentially the same as the Eucharist or Holy Communion in other Christian denominations. In LDS congregations, the Sacrament is normally provided every Sunday as part of the Sacrament meeting
Sacrament meeting
Sacrament meeting is the weekly worship service held on Sunday in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints .Sacrament meetings are held in individual wards or branches in the chapel of the meetinghouse. The bishop or branch president of the ward or branch presides, unless a higher authority...

. In LDS teachings however, the word ordinance
Ordinance (Mormonism)
In Mormonism, an ordinance is a religious ritual of special significance, often involving the formation of a covenant with God. Ordinances are performed by the authority of the priesthood and in the name of Jesus Christ...

is used approximately as the word sacrament is used in Christianity in general.. In terms of Ordinances which roughly equate to Christian sacraments in terms of conferring an invisible form of grace the LDS have several which are of a saving nature and are required for "exaltation". These are: baptism, confirmation, Ordination to the Aaronic and Melchizedek Priesthoods (in the case of men),
the temple Endowment
Endowment (Latter Day Saints)
In the theology of the Latter Day Saint movement, an endowment refers to a gift of "power from on high", typically associated with Latter Day Saint temples. The purpose and meaning of the endowment varied during the life of movement founder Joseph Smith, Jr...

, and Celestial Marriage
Celestial marriage
Celestial marriage is a doctrine of Mormonism, particularly The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and branches of Mormon fundamentalism.Within Mormonism, celestial marriage is an ordinance associated with a covenant that always...

.

There are other ordinances which are performed, but which are not required for salvation; these are "Sacrament" or the Lord's Supper, ministering to the sick, the naming and blessing of a child, dedication of a grave, patriarchal blessing
Patriarchal blessing
In the Latter Day Saint movement, a patriarchal blessing is a blessing or ordinance given by a patriarch to a church member. Patriarchal blessings are modeled after the blessing given by Jacob to each of his sons prior to his death...

s, and various other blessings of comfort and counsel.

Community of Christ (formerly the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints)

The Community of Christ
Community of Christ
The Community of Christ, known from 1872 to 2001 as the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints , is an American-based international Christian church established in April 1830 that claims as its mission "to proclaim Jesus Christ and promote communities of joy, hope, love, and peace"...

 holds that the sacraments express the continuing presence of Christ through the Church. They help believers establish and continually renew their relationship with God. Through them believers establish or reaffirm their covenant with God in response to God’s grace. Their denomination recognizes eight sacraments
Sacraments (Community of Christ)
The sacraments are viewed as vital ministries in the Community of Christ for both individual and community spiritual development. They are viewed as essential to the mission, identity and message of the denomination, providing a common foundation for religious practice across the world...

:
Baptism
Baptism
In Christianity, baptism is for the majority the rite of admission , almost invariably with the use of water, into the Christian Church generally and also membership of a particular church tradition...

, Confirmation, The Blessing of Children, The Lord's Supper
Eucharist
The Eucharist , also called Holy Communion, the Sacrament of the Altar, the Blessed Sacrament, the Lord's Supper, and other names, is a Christian sacrament or ordinance...

, Marriage
Marriage
Marriage is a social union or legal contract between people that creates kinship. It is an institution in which interpersonal relationships, usually intimate and sexual, are acknowledged in a variety of ways, depending on the culture or subculture in which it is found...

, Administration to the sick, Ordination, and The Evangelist's blessing.

Non-sacramental churches

Some denominations do not have a sacramental dimension (or equivalent) at all. The Salvation Army
Salvation Army
The Salvation Army is a Protestant Christian church known for its thrift stores and charity work. It is an international movement that currently works in over a hundred countries....

 does not practice formal sacraments for a variety of reasons, including a belief that it is better to concentrate on the reality behind the symbols; however, it does not forbid its members from receiving sacraments in other denominations

The Quakers
Religious Society of Friends
The Religious Society of Friends, or Friends Church, is a Christian movement which stresses the doctrine of the priesthood of all believers. Members are known as Friends, or popularly as Quakers. It is made of independent organisations, which have split from one another due to doctrinal differences...

 (Religious Society of Friends) also do not practice formal sacraments, believing that all activities should be considered holy. Rather, they are focused on an inward transformation of one's whole life. Some Quakers use the words "Baptism" and "Communion" to describe the experience of Christ's presence and his ministry in worship.

Hinduism

The Samskāra
Samskara
Samskara may refer to:* Saṃskāra, Hindu rites* Saṃskāra , in Buddhism, mental and volitional formations* Samskara , a technique in ayurvedic medicine...

 are a series of sacraments, sacrifices and rituals that serve as rites of passage
Rites of Passage
Rites of Passage is an African American History program sponsored by the Stamford, Connecticut US public schools. The program consists of an extra day of schooling on Saturday for 12 weeks, service projects, and a culminating educational trip to Gambia and Senegal. Gambia and Senegal are the...

 and mark the various stages of the human life, such as pregnancy, childbirth, education, marriage, and death. Although, the number of major samskaras fluctuates between 12 and 18 in the Grhya Sutras, later, it became 16 (Hindi: sola) in number,

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