It was a popular opinion in the middle ages that extreme unction extinguishes all ties and links with this world, so that he who has received it must, if he recovers, renounce the eating of flesh and matrimonial relations.
Some Gnostics sprinkled the heads of the dying with oil and water to render them invisible to the powers of darkness; but in the East generally, where the need to compete with the Cathar sacrament of Consolatio was less acutely felt, extreme unction is unknown.
A violet stole is worn by the priest when giving absolution after confession, and when administering Extreme Unction.
They contend even that extreme unction was so instituted, and that St James in his Epistle did but promulgate it.
The rite of extreme unction was introduced in the crusading epoch, although it was already usual to anoint the bodies of dead priests.