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Olive Oil And Religion

La Tienda

Besides the use of olive oil as food, it has been used for religious rituals.

The Minoans used olive oil in their religious ceremonies.

The Athenians in Greece not only used olive oil for food, they considered it essential, because it was a gift from goddess Athena. The preferred gift, over Poseidon’s gift.


In the Orthodox religion, olive oil is used to bless, strengthen and prepare the Catechumens for Baptism.

It is used for the anointment of the sick, consecrating religious leaders, kings and Monarchs in their coronation.

To this day Orthodox Christians use olive oil to light their vigilant lamps in their churches, home prayer spots, cemeteries and monasteries (they use extra virgin olive oil, because the best should be offered to God). A vigilant lamp is a glass containing 1/4 water and 3/4 olive oil.  The glass has a metal holder hanging from a bracket on the wall or ceiling. Sometimes it is sitting on a table. A cork floats on the oil with a lit wick, that burns until all the olive oil is gone.

Olive oil for the Orthodox Christians is one of the very few foods that can be used during Lent, except Wednesdays and Fridays, Great Lent and Holly Week.

The good Samaritan of Jesus used olive oil and wine to treat the injured man’s wounds.-Luke 10:33.34.

Catholics also use olive oil in their liturgical ceremonies.


In the Jewish faith olive oil is the only fuel that is allowed to be used in the Menorah (not a candelabrum since the use of candles was prohibited) in the Mishkan service, during the Exodus of Israel from Egypt, and later in the Temple in Jerusalem.

From the Jewish Bible we know that the first recorded olive oil extraction took place in the 13th century B.C. during the Exodus from Egypt.

Anointing the kings of Israel , starting with king David and ending with king Tzidkiyahu, is another use of olive oil in the Jewish religion.


In the Islamic faith olive oil is mentioned in the Quran several times. “God is the light of Havens and Earth. His light is like a torch inside a lantern. The torch is in a glass ball and the ball is like a bright planet lit by a blessed olive tree. Its oil glows without fire touching it, light upon light.”

The olive tree is mentioned in the Quran as a sacred tree.

Prophet Muhammad said: “Consume olive oil and anoint your bodies with it as it comes from the blessed tree.” Muhammad also said that olive oil cures 70 diseases.

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