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ROCOR 're-baptizing' orthodox people?


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#1 Jose Lauro Strapasson

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Posted 28 July 2006 - 03:22 AM

Hi.
I am sorry if this topic were already discussed here.
But one thing that started me troubling is this.
For example, I was a Roman catholic, and now I am orthodox from antiochian church, and I was received by crismation.
Ok, I know that if I had joined OC through ROCOR I had to receive the baptism.
But some one who joined OC through crismation (after "baptism" in heterodoxy) must recieve baptism to joing ROCOR?
I know that this happened in Brazil.
Is this a standard procedure in ROCOR?
(an old rite father from rocor in US said me 'no')
And do you think this to be canonical and proper?

Thank you very much!
José Lauro Strapasson.

#2 Olga

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Posted 28 July 2006 - 08:02 AM

Dear Jose

In my humble opinion, this "rebaptism" sounds very improper.

#3 Ken McRae

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Posted 28 July 2006 - 03:07 PM

It's a difficult situation that you describe, for sure, but as you know, there are two types of Orthodox bishops: canonical and "non-canonical" (those involved in some form of schism). If ROCOR judges the Chrismation that you speak of as having been performed by a non-canonical bishop, then it does not recognize it. For them, such a "non-canonical" chrismation, though it may be externally correct, is essentially graceless and powerless, thus no good. I cannot see them requiring baptism of an Orthodox Christian who received Chrismation from a canonical bishop in full-communion with them.

#4 Father David Moser

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Posted 28 July 2006 - 04:28 PM

Hi.
But some one who joined OC through crismation (after "baptism" in heterodoxy) must recieve baptism to joing ROCOR?
I know that this happened in Brazil.
Is this a standard procedure in ROCOR?
(an old rite father from rocor in US said me 'no')
And do you think this to be canonical and proper?


No this is not standard proceure in ROCOR. Once a person has been properly recieved into the Church, they are Orthodox. There is no need for some kind of "retroactive baptism". There is a provision, however, for a conditional baptism for a person who does not know whether he was ever baptized, but this is only rarely used and only with the direct blessing of the ruling bishop. (however, as always, there is the potential for misuse or abuse of the practice)

It is impossible to comment on "what happened in Brazil" since we do not know the full context, nor do we know what passed in private between the person, the priest and the bishop.

Fr David Moser

#5 Jose Lauro Strapasson

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Posted 28 July 2006 - 07:46 PM

Thank you very much!

P.S. Unfortunately this look to be a standart procedure in Brazil, and even faithful of ROCOR here used to think that they do this in all the World. Father Theodore from Church of Nativity was the first to say to me that this is not the case. Unfortunately since bishop Alexander Mileant death they look to be without bishop.

#6 Michael Astley

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Posted 31 August 2006 - 07:19 PM

I feel rather silly in having my maiden post be borrowed from something I said elsewhere, but, well, here is an edited version of something I said elsewhere:

Baptism is a Sacrament of the Church. It (along with Chrismation), is the means whereby a person dies to sin and rises to new life as a regenerated creature, incorporated mystically into the Body of Christ, the Church. This only happens once in a person's lifetime. Even if he falls away from active life in Christ and then returns some time later he is already baptised and so cannot be baptised again.

A person approaching the Church who has been through the "baptism" rites of a body outside the Church (as was the case with me - a former Anglican), is to be received into the Church just as anybody else - by Baptism and Chrismation*, because Baptism, as a Sacrament of the Church, given by God in his mercy as a means of his grace within the Church, cannot, and does not exist outside of the Church. Therefore, any rite performed outside of Orthodoxy, including application of water using a Trinitarian formula, is not the Sacrament of Baptism.

*Some jurisdictions receive converts who have been through the baptismal rites of bodies outside the Church by Chrismation alone. This is an application of what is called economy, and it emphatically does not imply, in any way, a recognition of the non-Orthodox "baptism" as a true Baptism. What it does mean is that it is Baptism & Chrismation together, which are the means whereby a person is received into the Church, and the Chrismation, in addition to being wholly and completely an Orthodox Chrismation, is also seen as supplying that which was lacking from the earlier, non-Orthodox, baptismal rite - namely, the context of the fullness of the Christian Faith, the Church.

Properly, reception by economy (as in all cases of the extension of economy), should only be done where there is a pastoral need to warrant it, such as if the person to be baptised has a water allergy (not as uncommon as you may think! I came across a number of such people while I worked at The Body Shop), where a family rift may be caused by the Baptism, or some other reason peculiar to the person's circumstances, where the bishop authorises the application of economy. Sadly, many jurisdictions now practise it as standard, giving the false and, (in my opinion), dangerous impression to those outside the Church that their sacraments are true Sacraments of the Church.


Therefore, while the Russian Church Abroad does not practise reception by economia as standard, we certainly do practise it where necessity dictates and it sounds strange that any ROCA priest would attempt to baptise somebody who had already been received into the Church, by economy or not, even if this was performed in a jurisdiction with which we are not in communion. The only scenario I can think of where this may happen is if the "chrismation" was actually performed by vagantes, as has been suggested above.

#7 Irene

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Posted 01 September 2006 - 05:23 AM

I was Presbyterian and christened as a baby, I decided to convert to Orthodoxy and I was baptised in 1986 but my Priest gave me the option of being chrismated or being baptised. Baptism sounded more attractive to me so I chose that.

My Priest was fairly old and reposed quite a few years ago so I can't ask him any questions but all the other converts no matter what Church they are converting from have said to me that they have not been given a choice - they have all been baptised, fully immersed in the big baptismal font. I only had my head and shoulders dunked in the little baby sized one.

Except for one of my sister-in-laws, I have never met any Australian convert who was baptised before me, including our Priests who are converts. So I am not sure if it is something to do with the Bishop (Paul) at the time, also long deceased. When I talk to Australian converts they seem to have converted in the last 10 years when the Church here has been headed by an Archbishop (Hilarion). If there are other long term converts I don't know them - converts look the same ad cradle-Orthodox in Church :)

Maybe 20 years ago they didn't really know what to do with converts (here in Australia)?


Anyway the main thing would be bringing people into the Church? I think.

In Christ
irene


#8 Michael Astley

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Posted 01 September 2006 - 01:12 PM

I was Presbyterian and christened as a baby, I decided to convert to Orthodoxy and I was baptised in 1986 but my Priest gave me the option of being chrismated or being baptised. Baptism sounded more attractive to me so I chose that.


How interesting, Irene, that you were given the choice. I had been under the impression that ROCOR (which I assume that you are part of, as you mention His Grace Abp HILARION), baptised as standard, and that it wasn't simply a matter of preference. Still, I'm glad you chose to be baptised as well as chrismated.

My Priest was fairly old and reposed quite a few years ago so I can't ask him any questions but all the other converts no matter what Church they are converting from have said to me that they have not been given a choice - they have all been baptised, fully immersed in the big baptismal font. I only had my head and shoulders dunked in the little baby sized one.


Hmm. Did your parish have the large font at the time of your baptism? It would seem unusual to me not to have full immersion where it was possible. it may be that circumstances were such that wasn't possible. Do you remember?

Except for one of my sister-in-laws, I have never met any Australian convert who was baptised before me, including our Priests who are converts.


I think it's wonderful that you are "older" Orthodox (you know what I mean, I'm sure), than your priests. You can be an honorary babushka! (I'm new here. Are there no smileys?)

I also think it's wonderful that one of your sisters-in-law is also a convert. Over on this side, we Orthodox are so few and far between that related converts would be something of a rarity.

#9 Irene

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Posted 02 September 2006 - 12:52 AM

Hmm. Did your parish have the large font at the time of your baptism? It would seem unusual to me not to have full immersion where it was possible. it may be that circumstances were such that wasn't possible. Do you remember?


Hi Michael, The Church I was baptised in was either the first Russian Church in Australia or at least in New South Wales. A house converted to be a Church in the centre of Sydney. I've been trying to remember ...there isn't much land and nowhere for extra storage so they must have only had the small font.

It is only since I have seen convert baptisms recently that I started to wonder why mine was different. Perhaps there were not enough adult baptisms at the time to warrant a large font - the expense? Perhaps if I had been baptised at a Cathedral where they had room to store one? I don't know.

(My Priest, Father Nicholas, was a lovely old man but always so frail and sickly and I was often afraid he wouldn't make it through a service.)

I think it's wonderful that you are "older" Orthodox (you know what I mean, I'm sure), than your priests. You can be an honorary babushka! (I'm new here. Are there no smileys?)


Oh! Welcome to Monachos then Michael! I do feel a bit like a babushka :) I only wish I had the wisdom to go with that. (I thought there were smileys on here, I don't know where they've gone?)

I also think it's wonderful that one of your sisters-in-law is also a convert. Over on this side, we Orthodox are so few and far between that related converts would be something of a rarity.


I didn't realise that the Orthodox are rare in the UK, I should have guessed though. I have been looking at Orthodox UK sites for a few years I'm very interested in the Saints of my ancestors.

Yesterday I was trying to listen to some talks in the UK by Orthodox Priests on the BBC.

I'm sure that you'll get a lot of benefit from this great site.

In Christ
irene


#10 Michael Astley

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Posted 02 September 2006 - 08:54 AM

What a lovely welcome! Thank you, Irene.

I've just looked up the FAQs, and apparently the smileys only work in certain sections of the site. Hmm. Oh well.

Yes, there aren't as many of us here as there could be, certainly not converts at least, although I am blessed to have my godfather (also a convert) live round the corner from me but this is rather the exception to the rule.

It may well be that your church at the time didn't have a large font, especially as you give a little about the backgound. Many just start out small and get what they can as and when they can. Mine doesn't have a font at all. We baptise babies in a large plastic tub, specially bought for the purpose, and I was baptised in my parish priest's back garden in frosty February in a large tub thingy, the original purpose of which I am completely ignorant of. I don't know whether you are able to identify this.

If you're interested in the Orthodox heritage of Britain, then Father Andrew Phillips's site is a gem. He has also written Orthodox Christianity and the English Tradition, which is a fabulous wealth of information. Also, from another source, is this, which I am rather tempted by.

Keep well. :-)

#11 Kris

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Posted 05 September 2006 - 10:20 AM

The ROCOR receives all non-Orthodox through baptism. However, they will not rebaptise a person brought into a canonical Orthodox jurisdiction by Chrismation.

At the local ROCOR monastery here, I know the priest is happy to administer the Eucharist to people received into the Church by Chrismation, which would hardly be the case if he considered them unbaptised.

#12 Father David Moser

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Posted 05 September 2006 - 05:30 PM



Hi Michael, The Church I was baptised in was either the first Russian Church in Australia or at least in New South Wales. A house converted to be a Church in the centre of Sydney. I've been trying to remember ...there isn't much land and nowhere for extra storage so they must have only had the small font.


I know the Church of which you speak (All Saints of Russia in Sydney) and the priest there (Fr Michael). They do not have a "permanent" adult baptistry (at least not when I was there last) but they do have a large adult size tank that they can bring in and out.

As for the ROCOR practice, the "default" is reception by baptism (on the presumption that no true sacraments can exist outside the Church), however the possiblity of reception by Chrismation and confession of faith, or by Confession of faith alone are also permitted when it is deemed appropriate for the situation (and with the express blessing of the ruling diocesan bishop). Those who are received by such "economia" whether in ROCOR or in some other jurisdiction are fully, completely, without a doubt Orthodox and are not "re-baptized" (unless there is either a special situation blessed by the ruling bishop - very rare - or unless the priest misunderstands or abuses the standard procedure).

As for being given a "choice" - only the priest truly has the "choice" and even then he is subject to the direction of his ruling hierarch. It is certainly possible for a priest to ask a convert what their understanding of their former "baptism" was as a "data point" in making his determination whether or not to apply economy.

Archpriest David Moser

#13 Hieromonk Ambrose

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Posted 03 March 2008 - 02:39 PM

I had been under the impression that ROCOR (which I assume that you are part of, as you mention His Grace Abp HILARION), baptised as standard, and that it wasn't simply a matter of preference.


Speaking as a priest of Archbishop Hilarion's diocese of Australia and New Zealand I can confirm that in general the clergy observe the provisions for the reception of converts as given in Isabel Hapgood's translation of the Service Book which was blessed by Patriarch Saint Tikhon. This is the longstanding tradition of the Russian Orthodox Church and it means that Roman Catholics are not, as a rule, received by Baptism.

Hieromonk Ambrose

#14 Thomas Hardy

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Posted 25 July 2008 - 07:50 PM

In the 1960s in London a group of converts were received by Chrismation into the patriarchal Russian church. They later decided the patriarchal church had been a wrong choice, and they moved to ROCOR. They then persuaded the aged Archbishop Nikodim to baptise them. (They had a very forceful leader!) This scandalised Father Mark Meyrick, who asked the synod in New York for a ruling: they ruled that the economy of the patriachal church ought to have been accepted, even though ROCOR and the patriarchate were at that time very estranged.
Most of this group soon left us for a "stricter" Greek Old Calendar group.
A former postulant of a Benedictine Abbey who joined us was received by bapism( He a former RC) as was I (a former Anglican).

Speaking as a priest of Archbishop Hilarion's diocese of Australia and New Zealand I can confirm that in general the clergy observe the provisions for the reception of converts as given in Isabel Hapgood's translation of the Service Book which was blessed by Patriarch Saint Tikhon. This is the longstanding tradition of the Russian Orthodox Church and it means that Roman Catholics are not, as a rule, received by Baptism.

Hieromonk Ambrose



#15 Ahmet

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Posted 23 April 2011 - 03:50 AM

Would a baptism outside Orthodox Church was conducted in the name of Trinity by forcing the person be considered valid?

#16 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 23 April 2011 - 11:39 AM

I doubt it seriously but that is why we have bishops to make such calls. We don't do "valid". But then how is an infant being baptized any different?

#17 Bryan J. Maloney

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Posted 28 April 2011 - 05:03 PM

"Forcing a person", by dint of how "force" is used in English, means that it was done in violation of the will of the recipient to refuse the baptism. Just as infants are not deemed to have sufficiently developed will to choose whether or not to each mashed carrots vs. chocolate (presuming an infant old enough to eat mashed carrots or chocolate), and it falls upon the parents to take the responsibility of making that choice for the infant, it falls upon the parents to take the responsibility of making the choice of baptism for the infant. Even if a child has enough wilfullness to demand chocolate over carrots at an older age, it is still the child's parents' responsibility to make the appropriate dietary choices. Indeed, one would hardly find any advocates of "believer's baptism" who would be so deranged as to insist that children be permitted to make all their own food choices, unfettered by adult supervision or that children should be the ones deciding what sort of medication they should or should not receive for physical ailments. In that case, is it not even more important that parents take responsibility for their children and ensure they receive the appropriate spiritual medication and food instead of leaving it all up to chance and the child's "choice"?

#18 Christina M.

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Posted 30 April 2011 - 02:21 AM

"Forcing a person", by dint of how "force" is used in English, means that it was done in violation of the will of the recipient to refuse the baptism. Just as infants are not deemed to have sufficiently developed will to choose whether or not to each mashed carrots vs. chocolate (presuming an infant old enough to eat mashed carrots or chocolate), and it falls upon the parents to take the responsibility of making that choice for the infant, it falls upon the parents to take the responsibility of making the choice of baptism for the infant. Even if a child has enough wilfullness to demand chocolate over carrots at an older age, it is still the child's parents' responsibility to make the appropriate dietary choices. Indeed, one would hardly find any advocates of "believer's baptism" who would be so deranged as to insist that children be permitted to make all their own food choices, unfettered by adult supervision or that children should be the ones deciding what sort of medication they should or should not receive for physical ailments. In that case, is it not even more important that parents take responsibility for their children and ensure they receive the appropriate spiritual medication and food instead of leaving it all up to chance and the child's "choice"?


I met a Roman Catholic man today who is interested in Orthodoxy, and I told him the above example about how the parents choose the healthy foods that the infant has to eat, but instead of relating it to baptism, I related it to Holy Communion. It seemed to have worked very well, because the man agreed with me immediately.

Is there anything wrong with using the infant example above to show why we give infants Holy Communion? The way I told it to the man, I said: "Just like the parents decide what foods the child will eat, and the parents would want the child to eat healthy foods and stay away from the harmful foods... how much more should the parents want their infants to partake in the most Divine Food of the Eucharist?"

#19 Fr Raphael Vereshack

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Posted 30 April 2011 - 01:01 PM

You can also try the analogy of an infant needing to be fed. Would we say to not feed the infant until he/she understands what food is? No- such a thing would be very harmful to the infant and they need to be fed even if they do not yet understand what this means.

On the deeper level though this means that with the Eucharist, being sustained is on a much wider and deeper level than just the rational understanding. That's likely what it all comes down to.

In the Risen Christ-
Fr Raphael

#20 Christina M.

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Posted 30 April 2011 - 01:11 PM

Thank you so much, Father! Your explanation is way clearer than the way I said it, so now I shall use your example if I ever run into the same situation.




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