Built of Living Stones 117: Ambry

The ambry is the place for the three sacred oils.

§ 117 § The consecrated oil of chrism for initiation, ordination, and the dedication of churches, as well as the blessed oils of the sick and of catechumens, are traditionally housed in a special place called an ambry or repository.(Book of Blessings 1125) These oils consecrated or blessed by the bishop at the Mass of Chrism deserve the special care of the community to which they have been entrusted.(canon law 847 § 2) The style of the ambry may take different forms. A parish church might choose a simple, dignified, and secure niche in the baptistry or in the wall of the sanctuary or a small case for the oils. Cathedrals responsible for the care of a larger supply of the oils need a larger ambry. Since bright light or high temperatures can hasten spoilage, parishes will want to choose a location that helps to preserve the freshness of the oil.

Three qualities: simple, dignified, and secure. What about your parish: is it near the font? Or placed in the sanctuary? Either solution is fine. In my parish it is placed between (somewhat) the altar and font on the edge of the narthex and nave, and so available for various sacraments with convenience.

All texts from Built of Living Stones are copyright © 2000, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission.


About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
This entry was posted in Built of Living Stones, USCCB documents. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Built of Living Stones 117: Ambry

  1. Dunstan Harding says:

    In my parish the sacred chrism ambry is incorporated into a mosaic depicting the anointing of Christ for burial by the three Marys.and Joseph of Aramithea on the north side of the high altar.

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