On Christ and Chrism

St. Nicholas Cabasilas ca. 1323-1391

Christ the Lord was Himself anointed, not by receiving chrism poured on the head, but by receivng the Holy Spirit. For the sake of the flesh which He had assumed He became the treasury of all spiritual energy. He is not only Christ [the Anointed One] but also Chrism [anointing], for it says, “Your name is ointment poured forth” (Cant. 1:3) The latter He is from the beginning, the other He became afterwards. As long as that by which God would impart His own did not exist, He was the Chrism and remained in Himself. Afterwards the blessed flesh was created which received the entire fulness of the Godhead (Col. 1:19). To it, as John says, “God did not give the Spirit by measure” (Jn. 3:34), but He infused into Him His entire living riches. It was then that the Chrism was poured forth into that flesh, so it is now called the Christ. By being imparted to the flesh the divine Chrism Himself was poured forth.

He did not change place, nor did He penetrate or pass over a wall, but as He Himself showed, He left no barrier standing which could seperate us from Him. Since God occupies every place He was not seperated from man by place, but by man’s variance with Him. Our nature seperated itself from God by being contrary to Him in everything that it possessed and by having nothing in common with Him. God remained Himself alone; our nature was man, and no more.

When, however, flesh was deified and human nature gained possession of God Himself by hypostatic union, the former barrier opposed to God became joined to the Chrism. The difference gave way when God became man, thus removing the seperation between Godhead and manhood. So chrism represents Christ as the point of contact between both natures; there could be no point of contact were they still seperate. (The Life in Christ, The Third Book 2)