On the Tuesday of Holy Week at 10:30 a.m., the clergy of the Episcopal Diocese of California will gather at Grace Cathedral to renew their ordination vows and receive newly blessed oils for healing and baptism. The oil they receive is the “Oil of Chrism,” a mixture of olive oil, cinnamon, cassia, calamus, and myrrh blended according to an ancient recipe prescribed in the book of Leviticus. Priests receive two vials each year to be used in their congregations. Chrism for baptisms and Infirmorum for anointing the sick.
In March of 2016, when Grace Cathedral Verger Charles Shipley prepared the Oil of Chrism, one ingredient was different than usual. The olive oil in the mixture was organic and fairly traded, produced by small-scale Palestinian farmer cooperatives in the West Bank. Please enjoy this video featuring Mr. Shipley preparing that year’s batch of oil: