Sacramentals help to obtain God’s grace, to sanctify persons, circumstances and things in life.


Sacred signs, which, like the sacraments, express and, at the request of the Church, produce a special spiritual influence. Sacramentals prepare people to receive the main effects of the sacraments and sanctify the various circumstances of life.

First and foremost, the sacramentals are blessings (of persons, food, things, places). Every blessing is the glorification of God and a prayer asking for His gifts. God the Father blesses Christians in Christ with “every spiritual blessing” (Eph 1:3). The Church therefore blesses by calling on the name of Jesus and, as is customary, by making the holy sign of the cross of Christ.

Some blessings work in stable manner: they consecrate persons to God and allocate objects and places for liturgical purposes only. Among the blessings given to individuals (these cannot be equated with sacramental ordination) are the blessing of the abbot and abbess of a monastery, consecration of virgins and widows; monastic vows; the blessings of persons fit for some ecclesiastical services (lecturers, acolytes, catechists, etc.)

Examples of items that receive blessings include holy oils, liturgical vessels and clothing, bells, and so on.

When the Church prays publicly and authoritatively in the name of Jesus Christ for a person or thing to be protected from evil or to be freed from its authority, we call it exorcism. It was performed by Jesus, and the Church received from Him the power and task of casting out demons. In its simple form, exorcism is performed through Baptismal rites. Solemn exorcism, called “the great exorcism”, can only be performed by a priest with the bishop’s permission. Here one must act wisely and strictly follow the rules established by the Church. The purpose of exorcism is to cast out evil spirits or to free people from their influence using the spiritual power entrusted by Jesus to the Church. Illnesses, especially mental illnesses, are a different matter, and should be dealt with by medical science. Therefore, before an exorcism is carried out, it is important to make sure that one is dealing with the presence of the evil one, and not the disease.

(Prepared according to the Catechism of the Catholic Church)