A religious ceremony that confers God's grace upon the recipient. At the Fourth Lateran Council in 1215, the sacraments of Western Christianity were fixed at seven. These seven included: baptism, confirmation, communion, penance, marriage, extreme unction, and ordination. Because ordained priests administer these, and because the sacraments are a route to salvation, the sacramental basis of medieval Christianity was a critical part of the institutional power of the church.
Related term(s): Priest; Eucharist
Category: Western Christianity
Contributor(s): Natalie Kohout
Source information: Hollister, C. Warren and Judith M. Bennett. Medieval History: A Short History. 9th ed. Boston: McGraw-Hill, 2002.
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