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A religious ceremony or act of the Christian Church which is regarded as an outward and visible sign of inward and spiritual divine grace, in particular (in the Roman Catholic and many Orthodox Churches) the seven rites of baptism, confirmation, the Eucharist, penance, anointing of the sick, ordination, and matrimony, and among Protestants, the two rites of baptism and the Eucharist. In Catholic usage, sacrament (or the Holy Sacrament or the Blessed Sacrament) also denotes the consecrated elements of the Eucharist, especially the bread or Host.

The word comes (in Middle English) via Old French from Latin sacramentum ‘solemn oath’ (ultimately from sacer ‘sacred’), used in Christian Latin as a translation of Greek mustērion ‘mystery’.

See also seven sacraments.

Subjects: History by Period — Christianity.

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