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Be baptised and chrismated, or just chrismated?


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#41 Bogdan

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Posted 28 January 2006 - 03:29 PM

I agree that there exists a catch-22 of sorts with this issue. On the one hand, as you pointed out with your last question, how are we to discern the grace of non-orthodox baptisms? On the other, that the invocation of the Trinity allows for true baptism.

This of course is similar to most debates on other chrstian churches..however even within orthodoxy itself we have this debate, especially with issues such as the calendar and other tensions. I believe when one looks at the fact that even within orthodoxy we search for grace, how are we to determine our strictness towards other sects of chrstianity and their use of God's grace? This is a puzzle I am glad we are trying to solve, but as you stated above, it puts us in a position where the here and now must be dealt with without much guaranteed guidance.

In the solving of this current aspect of the puzzle, I would disagree with your leaning towards the non sanctity of non-orthodox baptism. I respect the reasons you have, and in many ways would agree with them MORE than even my own points. However, there is something about accepting their baptisms that we seem to have glossed over. As you stated in your second paragraph, and is also generally known about this topic, entry into the orthodox church ALWAYS involves a "tool of sacrament". This I believe is where we fulfill the completeness of orthodox faith while allowing the Holy Spirit to do it's work, without our judgement, in that persons baptism. I strongly believe that it is our duty to fulfill the sacrament of chrismation and then also bring about a TRUE conversion and confession in those who would come into the fold of Orthodoxy. In this end, I do not see how excluding a baptism that we were not at or a part of, makes any sense. Are we not righting any and all wrongs by doing OUR parts correctly? Will not God see our deference to his possible baptism, yet also see our determination to make SURE the rest is done by his grace? I for one believe so.


#42 Alec Lowly

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Posted 28 January 2006 - 04:45 PM

"I am not going to say that those merely chrismated into the Church are not fully Orthodox. Then again, they may run into problems if they wish to commune in the previously mentioned places. They may also find themselves being offered baptism there."

Hmm. Whatever happened to "I believe in ~one~ baptism for the remission of sins"? By denying the grace-bearing nature of Trinitarian baptism outside of Orthodoxy, "the great centers of Orthodoxy, Athos, many of the Russian monasteries, Father Ephraim's Monasteries, Saint Catherine's, the Patriarchates of Jerusalem and Alexandria," certainly seem to be 1) asserting that they know where the Holy Spirit is not, and 2) reinterpreting the clear meaning of the Symbol.

We know that Arians were received into Orthodoxy by chrismation. We know that glorified saints have been received into Orthodoxy by chrismation -- including saints that were glorified by the very same Old Calendarist jurisdictions that our brother Edward refers to.

Besides: Those who had received Trinitarian baptism outside of Orthodoxy who then sincerely and conscientiously come to ask reception into Orthodoxy -- is this not prima facie evidence that they have received the grace of the Holy Spirit?

In XC,
Alec Lowly, sinner


#43 Father Anthony

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Posted 28 January 2006 - 05:45 PM

Alec Lowly wrote:

>Hmm. Whatever happened to "I believe in ~one~ baptism...

What happened is that those who do not understand the nature of the Church (or because of some mistaken ecumenical thinking)have misinterpreted that statement by the Apostle incorporated into the Creed. He (the Apostle) actually writes, "...one Lord, one faith, one baptism..." Are we to assume that therefore Lord Krishna, the Buddha, the deity acknowledged by Adventists, Jehovah's Witnesses, etc. are the "one Lord" or that the faith of every person who claims the title "Christian" is of the "one faith" referred to by the Apostle? Obviously not. So there is no defensible reason that only "one baptism" can be made to be a universal.

The Church has never understood "...one baptism..." to mean that *all* baptisms by *anyone* which is performed in the Name of the Trinity are the same. Rather, that the expression "...one baptism..." refers to the baptism done in the Church according to her manner. "...one baptism..." simply does not mean *all* baptisms.

Baptism, like all of the other Mysteries, is given to and is of the Church, who is the guardian and dispenser of those Mysteries. Period. If that were not the case, the Church would be superfluous. If God in His mercy chooses to accept the good will of those who do not know better - and we believe that He does - then we praise Him for that. But it is through the Church that the Mysteries are available (and *only* through the Church).

>By denying the grace-bearing nature of Trinitarian
>baptism outside of Orthodoxy...seem to be 1)asserting
>that they know where the Holy Spirit is not

In this case it's certainly possible to say that the Grace of baptism is *not* present in the rites of the heterodox. But that is not the same as stating that the Holy Spirit does not work in their lives (that's what "grace" means). The statement about knowing where Grace is or is not, is one of the most disingenuously misused comments of the ecumenically-inclined and those ignorant of the Church's Tradition. Yes, there is plenty of Grace outside of Orthodoxy...but *not* Mysteriological Grace, which is available only in the Mysteries dispensed within the Church.

>2) reinterpreting the clear meaning of the Symbol.

Rather, as I pointed out above, to claim that the term "one" means "all" is the reinterpretation. The fact that Arians and others have been received into the Church by Chrismation or any other means indicates only that various types of economia were used in time and place as appropriate for the salvation of those coming to the Church. The Church can use any means she desires to join individuals or groups to the Church, providing the Grace lacking in them before that time. It's called part of binding and loosing.

>Those who had received Trinitarian baptism outside of
>Orthodoxy who then sincerely and conscientiously come
>to ask reception into Orthodoxy -- is this not prima
>facie evidence that they have received the grace of
>the Holy Spirit.

Sure. Just not the Grace of Baptism. All of creation is endowed with Grace, which sustains all. Grace is everywhere present. Those who come to seek to be joined to the Church do so because they have responded to Grace. But it's just as silly to suggest that they have already received the Grace of baptism because of that desire to be joined to the Church than to claim that they have received the Body and Blood of Christ in whatever (if any) rite of communion in which they might have participated - whether they use bread and wine or corn tacos and tequila. Or that every so-called Christian minister/clergy-person forgives and/or retains sins. The obvious anomalies could go on and on.

To hold otherwise is an alternative theology which essentially holds that there is no reason other than smells and bells and personal tastes to join the Orthodox Church...that the means of Grace (the Mysteries) are everywhere - or at least other-where - and not unique to the Church Christ founded and to which He gave the Holy Spirit.

Fr. Anthony


#44 Bogdan

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Posted 30 January 2006 - 03:35 AM

I enjoyed your explanation Fr. Anthony, it definately puts some of the terms used in a different light, and has allowed me personally to see a different side to the argument. Thank you for the analysis.


#45 Guest_Klod

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Posted 30 January 2006 - 11:38 AM

Is the church one? Yes, the church is one!

Are we going to enter a scholastic type discussion as what does ONE in detail mean and what possibility includes and what impossibility excludes?

If we are going to radicalise this being ONE, as something, either inside what we know as church, or, otherwise, nothing at all, then we owed to understand that we will be contradicted by the life of the church in history, in which we will find many examples of people being baptized outside the church, and being accepted through chrismation only at their conversion into the church.

As with regard to what schism and anathema are, WE know what particular people, who caused and issued them, intended, BUT we do not know their real extent of efficacy.

As we know historically, Schism (of 1054) is only a convenient date of latter historiography, which didnt have the same immediate and full effect at the time when happened.

After the schism, communication between east and west continued in many varying ways, culminated in the councils of Bari, Lyons and Florence.

The simple fact that there were efforts of reunification through conciliatory meetings throughout 11-15 century, means that there was the conviction that, in our case, east did not consider west as completely fallen, otherwise those meetings would have been pointless from the point of view of east being the church and west a fallen, apostate human organization.

Orthodox church may not hold a council with budhists, hinduists, muslims and neither with evangelicals!

From this simple point we see the special place roman catholics occupy in regard to orthodoxy.

Moreover, anathemas among Rome and Constantinople have been lifted up from more then 4 decades from today.

As with regard to the way of understanding Trinity, there are a lot of orthodox baptized people who do not have the full understanding required in understanding not only trinity but also other aspects of orthodox docrtine. Moreover, many of them may share a personal view in these things, which might be, if anallytically checked out, heretical. Nevertheless, these many orthodox people have a free acces not only in Communion and Sacraments and church life, but also we, the intelectuals, are happy to call them orthodox on the basis that they are orthodox baptized greeks, serbs, russians, romanians etc...!

How do we measure the right and orthodox intention of the orthodox priests in the way they personally understand Trinity when they baptize people?

Therefore, the importance understanding of Trinity in minute details affecting the efficacy of baptism, is merely an institutional bureaucracy.

So, if someone is baptized with a right intention as a catholic, that person might be much more closer to me, despite him confessing filioque, than a orthodox who might get baptized without having a clue what it is all about, moreover sharing even individual non-orthodox view and scepticism toward what he is doing.

#46 Father Anthony

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Posted 30 January 2006 - 05:36 PM

"Klod" wrote:

>Is the church one? Yes, the church is one!

True. The Church *is* one.

>Are we going to enter a scholastic type discussion as
>what does ONE in detail mean and what possibility
>includes and what impossibility excludes?

It is not "a scholastic type discussion" to point out the belief and teaching of the Church. As I wrote previously, the term "one" as used by the Apostle clearly refers to "only" and to "fulness." The Church indeed is one: it is *not* many. For that reason, it is of extreme importance that each person seek and be joined to the "one" Church. The idea that "one" includes more than that Church - the Orthodox Church - which has preserved the fulness of the Faith is dumbfounding.

>As we know historically, Schism (of 1054) is only a
>convenient date of latter historiography, which didnt
>have the same immediate and full effect at the time
>when happened.

Of course the Schism took time to spread. But it did. The former Church of Rome went into schism and over the centuries became heretical.

>The simple fact that there were efforts of reunification
>through conciliatory meetings throughout 11-15 century,
>means that there was the conviction that, in our case,
>east did not consider west as completely fallen,
>therwise those meetings would have been pointless from
>the point of view of east being the church and west a
>fallen, apostate human organization.

That is partially true. The fact that the Church attempted to reconcile the Latins to herself demonstrated two things primarily: the seeking for unity and political expediency, depending on the time and place of the efforts. History attests to those realities.

>Moreover, anathemas among Rome and Constantinople have
>been lifted up from more then 4 decades from today.

That is basically irrelevant. The Latins long ago entered into heresy and the anathemas of 1054 could not address what would occur in the future.

>As with regard to the way of understanding Trinity, there
>are a lot of orthodox baptized people who do not have the
>full understanding required in understanding not only
>trinity but also other aspects of orthodox docrtine.

The simple misunderstandings or errors of individuals do not make them heretics, only ignorant or misinformed.

>Moreover, many of them may share a personal view in these
>things, which might be, if anallytically checked out,
>heretical.

It has been said that everyone has their pet heresies. However, the sin of heresy which cuts one off from the Church is the obstinate refusal to accept correction when it is given, and the teaching and proclaiming of the false doctrine contrary to the Church's Faith.

>How do we measure the right and orthodox intention of the
>orthodox priests in the way they personally understand
>Trinity when they baptize people?

Speaking of a "scholastic" approach...

The Orthodox Church does not subscribe to the Latin teaching that for a Mystery (Sacrament) to be "valid" are required matter, form, and intention (and the theology that accompanies each of those requirements). That false theology is one of the reasons that the Latins can, for example, practice divorce and remarriage on demand while calling it "annulment" instead of divorce. But that's another whole discussion.

When a person is Baptized in the Orthodox Church, that person is joined to the Church. When an Orthodox Christian receives any Mystery from a canonical Priest or Bishop, the Mystery is true. Any other understanding would make it impossible for one ever to know that one has received a "true" Mystery.

>So, if someone is baptized with a right intention as a
>catholic, that person might be much more closer to me,
>despite him confessing filioque, than a orthodox who
>might get baptized without having a clue what it is all
>about, moreover sharing even individual non-orthodox view
>and scepticism toward what he is doing.

Such an assertion is false on its own face. The Baptized Orthodox Christian has been joined to the Church. The Latin who underwent their baptismal rite becomes part of a schismatic and heretical denomination. It cannot correctly be asserted that any Orthodox Christian could have less in common with another Orthodox Christian - eccesiologically speaking - than with one who is part of a profession of such heresies as papal infallibility, indulgences and the storehouse of merits, original sin/guilt, the immaculate conception, the nature of Grace itself, and so much more. The so-called "filioque" almost (but not actually) pales in comparison to the acculumation of errors among the Latins over the centuries.

I'll leave further explanations to others...

Fr. Anthony


#47 Alec Lowly

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Posted 30 January 2006 - 11:50 PM

Father Anthony writes:

"Baptism, like all of the other Mysteries, is given to and is of the Church, who is the guardian and dispenser of those Mysteries. Period. If that were not the case, the Church would be superfluous. If God in His mercy chooses to accept the good will of those who do not know better - and we believe that He does - then we praise Him for that. But it is through the Church that the Mysteries are available (and *only* through the Church)."

I did not say otherwise, Father.

But would you agree that just as it is true that not all within the visible Church will enter the kingdom, not all outside the visible Church will fail to enter the kingdom? God knows His own, and the Spirit moves as He wills.

Yes, all sacramental grace is in the Church and flows out of the Church. Like abundant water, this grace overflows and seeps under the Church's doors into the street. The Church is so full of light that the radiance shines right through the windows, outside the walls.

Without the Church, however, no grace, no water, no light.

In XC,
A;ec Lowly, sinner


#48 Alec Lowly

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Posted 31 January 2006 - 02:12 AM

Klod writes:

"So, if someone is baptized with a right intention as a catholic, that person might be much more closer to me, despite him confessing filioque, than a orthodox who might get baptized without having a clue what it is all about, moreover sharing even individual non-orthodox view and scepticism toward what he is doing."

Thank you, Klod, for this post. Like you, I do not understand people who run around closing the windows and shutting the doors. We know that the Lord will preserve the Church in all its fullness. We have His word for it. Our faith should be greater than our fear.

In XC,
Alec Lowly, sinner


#49 Guest_Klod

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Posted 31 January 2006 - 08:28 AM

First of all, my name is Klod and not "Klod"!

The church is One, does not answer the point whether a former roman catholic MUST get re-baptized, when converted into orthodoxy. Why it does not answer? Because that ONE church, in course of history, from the first centuries down to our own time, has accepted people from schismatic and even heretical groups through Crismation.

In face of this fact, then, your using of the church being ONE by excluding all others is just a personal attitude, which is not shared by all the ONE church.

I repeatedly say, the fact the eastern byzantine orthodox went into Counclis with roman catholics, shows clearly that, although there was division between east and west, both sides did not consider each other as completely fallen and apostate, otherwise they would not have any reason to sit together in a Council.

The pope was addressed appropriately with his priestly titles.

So that the Councils have been not merely some meetings of the church with some fallen heretics, but rather two sides coming together in reconciliation.

When I write about the right understanding of Trinity in baptism, it was to answer those who say that roman catholic baptism cannot be true because it is addressed to another Trinity than that orthodox, on the grounds that the latins understand trinity differently.

I say that this is de facto bureaucratic, because the vast majority of believers in both churches, including a majority of clergy as well, are not conscientious neither about these differences, nor in the way they refer to God, as Triune.

Therefore, filioque is in many aspects just a formal teaching, that concerns only a tiny group of learned people, without affecting the rest of the church.

As far as it is kept within this learned circle, its importance is fine, otherwise, the fact that the vast majority is neither conscientious nor does it know what it all about is, means that it cannot be forced upon people to distinguish an orthodox from a non-orthodox person.

Let us not forget that Phariseism was all and only about keeping the RIGHT formal faith!
So that let us learn that while keeping the right position, we are doing the same thing.

As for my self I say, of course there is a de facto and de jure division among byzantian and latin churches.

Nevertheless, I concentrate in what brings them together, and I find there are a lot of points, theological, historical and informal, that do so. At the same time, I try to get rid of that which in division was merely an cultural, linguistic and geopolitical factor, while trying to keep only the theological factor.

I know many orthodox clergy who wouldnt even bother that roman catholics are not in union with orthodoxy, moreover some want them out of orthodoxy and dont want neither trust them coming back.

These people have their own 'theology' as well!

#50 Fr Seraphim (Black)

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Posted 31 January 2006 - 11:13 AM

This has certainly become a lively discussion. Many valid points have been raised, often by the same person, who then is criticized because of certain elements in their post.

Klod's point of two 'caste' systems in Orthodoxy is, for me, very well understood. Also, do not forget, almighty American Orthodox, that Klod is writing from Albania. Give him some courtesy. It is very, very true and very, very sad that the Orthodox, in vast majorities, whether Priests or laity do NOT know their faith. So from this very moment forward (to paraphrase our beloved Saint Herman of Alaska) I humbly ask that EVERYONE start from the beginning and become once again truly Orthodox.

How can we proclaim, as we do, so loudly, and with such a sense of 'I am better than you' that (despite our human folly and fraility) we are the ONE CHURCH of CHRIST, when we ourselves, give the best example for not becoming Orthodox?

In the Balkans where Klod lives, and from all the posts he has patiently written in a foreign tongue, what he says, is unfortunately what you see 'on the ground' as it were.

At times I call to mind the saying of a Priest to me years ago: "The right Faith given to the wrong people."

No one seems as yet to 'pick up on' Fr. Raphael's essential point, that despite the fact that both Baptism and Chrismation have been accepted at different historical epochs, it is DISCERNMENT which rests on the shoulders of our Priest and Bishops, that is the final word for each individual persons who with humility seeks entrance into the Church.

Fr. Anthony's post #27 is excellent, very correct, theologically without error.

As I have lived, as Klod lives permanently in the Balkans, allow me this reflection. Klod's reflections, though sometimes not expressed in the English of Fr. Anthony, nevertheless are very actual.

Can I be permitted to say this and this is my personal experience. Though I have been blessed to be an Orthodox monk for over thirty years, that does not mean I am an Orthodox monk in my heart.

Orthodoxy is a pilgrimage for all of us. Whether we are 'cradle' Orthodox, or came to Orthodoxy in early adulthood. Without doubt, being a Catechumen, then being Baptised, then being Chrismated, then partaking of the Holy Mysteries, is not the final fulfillment of our duty to Orthodoxy.

To follow Christ, to read the Gospels over and over, to read the Psalter over and over, demands to become a fool for Christ.

To follow Christ is the most difficult undertaking imaginable. It demands crucifixion. Before the glorious Light of Pascha we must descend into Hades.

Thus, we have the common understanding in Orthodox monasticism that no one, however holy the earthly life, is canonized in this life. Why in the writings of the Desert Fathers, and contemporary Paterikons and Materikons do we see and read time and time again, that the disciples gathered around the bed of their beloved Gerondas or Gerontissa, will hear from their parched mouths: "Woe is me, will the angels come? I am dirt, my sins have only increased since taking the Schema..." and in utter amazement their disciples look at each other and say amongst themselves "but how could Elder N. or Eldress N. have these thoughts, behold the life they lived! They fought the demons for years, truly they put on Christ, why the doubt?"?

But the Elder or Eldress knows better.

Unless, I, Seraphim, can be a living, walking, talking example of a disciple of Christ, why would anyone want to become Orthodox upon beholding my life?

I am a disciple of Father Sophrony, but in my heart I know I am the worst of his disciples and the most unworthy to even mention that I was taught by him. Where are the fruits? In my heart I am a withered branch. This is why God wanted me to live through this latest surgery, because I have not learnt humility, I have not learnt the way of Christ, His Holy Apostles, His Most Pure Mother, nor His saints. I remain a pilgrim still, even after all these years and such excellent instructors. I best pay heed to myself, or my sins will only increase and my Schema will disintegrate due to the stench of my failure to comprehend my Teachers and learn the humility of Christ.


#51 Andrew Williams

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Posted 31 January 2006 - 06:45 PM

Thank you Fr Seraphim for your post on this topic. Such posts make it worthwhile working through the monachos-laden inbox.


#52 Marie+Duquette

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Posted 31 January 2006 - 08:12 PM

Thank you, Father Seraphim for your simple illuminating words, today. For me there lies the TRUTH synthesized in the learning of true humility from Jesus Christ, the Living Word of God!

As I read the Scriptures -- the Gospel -- it seems to me that the only time that Jesus asks us to learn from Him is in Matthew 11:29 when He says,

"Come to me all you who labor and are overburdened, and I will give you rest. Shoulder my yoke and LEARN FROM ME THAT I AM GENTLE AND HUMBLE OF HEART, and you will find rest for your souls. Yes, my yoke is easy and my burden light."

The Scriptures holds the "teachings" and the "example of the teaching" in Christ Jesus, Himself, who is the WAY, the TRUTH and the LIFE. We are invited to hear the Word and keep it; to allow it to be sown into the soil of our hearts; to tend it diligently and watchfully, that it may bear fruit a hundredfold; and all the rest ...........

Pray for me, that I may "learn the gentleness and humility" exemplified in Christ Jesus.

marie_duquette


#53 Alec Lowly

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Posted 31 January 2006 - 11:17 PM

Father Seraphim, bless ...

"No one seems as yet to 'pick up on' Fr. Raphael's essential point, that despite the fact that both Baptism and Chrismation have been accepted at different historical epochs, it is DISCERNMENT which rests on the shoulders of our Priest and Bishops, that is the final word for each individual persons who with humility seeks entrance into the Church."

Respectfully, Father, neither has anyone picked up on the unspoken scandal here: the refusal of the Holy Gifts to faithful chrismated Orthodox on the sole grounds that they were not baptised Orthodox -- in other words, the schismatical rejection of the discernment of Orthodox bishops and priests by other Orthodox bishops and priests, on the sole basis of their particular understanding of faith and praxis. There's a word for this.

That we all must struggle to become authentically Orthodox -- that is, to put on Christ and the fullness of Christ -- is eloquently addressed by your post.

But we are not helped in this struggle, the unity of the faith is not helped, when those who arrogate to themselves an "I'm more Orthodox than you" identity refuse to acknowledge that their brethren are their brethren.

In XC,
Alec Lowly, sinner


#54 Fr Raphael Vereshack

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Posted 01 February 2006 - 04:33 PM

Dear Alec,

The way in which a priest bases his decision about chrismation or baptism is not based on the idea that "I'm more Orthodox than you are." Nor is the priest passing on the message to the newly received that now they are "more Orthodox than you are."

The priest bases his decision on what the basic rule of the Church is and also discernment in regards to the person entering the Church. Hardly anyone would disagree with this. But where disagreement has arisen in the past is over what the rule of the Church is- and in turn at one time at least this was strongly influenced by how one defined the relationship of the Church to the world. In the past this had gotten to the point that jurisdictions were defined by how they answered this question.

We have before us two questions- one of what the rule of the Church about reception into the Church is. And the second is that of dealing with the legacy of the past which we still live with. The first I would say has always been an ongoing question with no cut and dry answers.

The second is much more delicate and takes a lot of hard work since it cuts so close to the bone (mainly how we have invested ourselves as Orthodox- it is difficult to have this challenged)and can thus so easily arouse unfruitful passions.

During my Orthodox life of 27 years I have lived on both sides of the 'great divide' concerning tradition, calendar, baptism/chrismation, etc. When I became Orthodox it was often part and parcel of one's catechism to be thoroughly trained in how those on 'the other side' were schismatics, possibly heretics, and at very least not to be associated with. This was 'normal life' then.

Things now have changed in a positive way I honestly never expected. This change I think is due both to our having much more of a common mind than previously and also to a recognition of some of the mistakes on the extreme ends of both of our houses.

I somehow feel that monachos is itself a fruit of this change within the larger Church. It is not that differences between us do not exist. They do but we needed to get to the point where these differences were something which could be offered to each other as brother to brother instead of being weapons of attack.

This is still very much a work in progress with a lot of trial and error. To learn to be open to what others are saying so that we can see how or if a positive lesson is in fact being offered can only be done in a spirit of love and by humbling ourselves. And this gets down to a lesson in how to express ourselves and in how to react in regards to what we disagree with.

In Christ- Fr Raphael


#55 Alec Lowly

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Posted 02 February 2006 - 02:37 AM

Father Raphael writes:

"... It is not that differences between (Orthodox) do not exist. They do but we needed to get to the point where these differences were something which could be offered to each other as brother to brother instead of being weapons of attack.

"This is still very much a work in progress with a lot of trial and error. To learn to be open to what others are saying so that we can see how or if a positive lesson is in fact being offered can only be done in a spirit of love and by humbling ourselves. And this gets down to a lesson in how to express ourselves and in how to react in regards to what we disagree with."

Father, you're absolutely right. My post No. 97, posted yesterday, has been a burden on my mind all day today. I have sinned by rash and intemperate speech and by lack of charity, and I am sorry. So I ask forgiveness of any whom I may have offended.

I'm tempted to say more concerning the subject of that post and about various comments you've made about it, but it's best just to let it go.

In XC,
Alec Lowly, sinner


#56 Fr Raphael Vereshack

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Posted 02 February 2006 - 02:04 PM

Dear Alec,

Christ's peace be with you. As what I wrote yesterday implies- or actually says as clearly as I could at the time- I also am trying to learn as I go along and so this means that undoubtedly I have made mistakes.

It's a difficult task trying to keep to faithfulness as well as openmindedness to what is not really wrong but only different. The discussion/debate about chrismation and baptism can fall into either or both sides of the above and so it is a challenge for all of us.

Absolutely no offense was taken in any of the words you or anyone else have written. As I wrote yesterday I think monachos is partly an opportunity to heal the past through learning to interact in a way that almost never existed ten years ago. That's amazing when you think about it.

In Christ- Fr Raphael


#57 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 14 January 2016 - 10:45 PM

I thought it better to revive this thread than start a new one since the point I want to make is directly relevant. Furthermore, there have been developments in the Church of England since 2006 which bear on this matter. My point is one I have pondered on a little in recent times but it came into focus this evening; my wife and I are in Moscow and we had a priest to dinner this evening. The reception of converts was one matter which cropped up in conversation (the priest speaks English). I made the point that whilst the Orthodox Church commonly receives converts from confessions such as the C of E which administer a threefold baptism in the Name of the Holy Trinity, there have been changes in western heterodox confessions, notably, as far as England is concerned, the ordaining of women as bishops (since 2014). It seems to me arguable that, whatever argument may have been made before that the C of E had apostolic succession, the ordination of women as bishops breaks that if, indeed, it existed. Consider, then, a case where a person was baptized in a C of E church by a woman priest who acts under a woman bishop. Can the Orthodox Church still regard such a baptism as one which can be accepted in the sense that a convert who received such a baptism may be received just by chrismation? Has the time come for the Orthodox Church to change its policy and no longer accept heterodox baptisms but only receive converts by baptism and chrismation?



#58 Rdr Daniel (R.)

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Posted 15 January 2016 - 12:43 AM

Dear Rdr Andreas,

 

Though I share your concerns, I think two things to bare in mind are, firstly, is apostolic succession linked to accepting baptism? One of the points stressed by early fathers such as St Irenaeus and St Cyprian is that apostolic succession is the handing down of the Apostolic Faith (or Tradition) evidently found only in Orthodoxy, likewise any mystery preformed outside of the Church whether ordination or baptism is not, to use the Catholic term, valid as far as the Orthodox are concerned, it is rather that the Holy Spirit imparts grace to the empty ritual performed outside of the Church. Therefore it can be argued that there is no apostolic succession outside of the Church. Secondly if apostolic succession is not found outside of the Church nor valid baptism why do the Church councils and cannons allow for the reception of some heretics, such as Arians, by Chrismation? I would say that the point is that, as you have said, the baptism is made in the name of the Holy Trinity and that it is by immersion. In my parish, which I presume is the view of the Archdiocese, traditional western baptism are accepted but there is a question regarding younger people who as babies may not have been baptized in the name of the Trinity or may have been baptized in the air or some other abuse of the mystery, certainly the baptisms performed by the Anglican priestess (which is what we grammatically should really call women priests and which also highlights the blatant paganism of the practice) where I live would be questioned. 

 

Having said all that I still 'feel' that the ordination of woman does still pose a question or at least a concern, another more serious concern to me personally as of late is that Western Christianity is essential pagan in its Soteriology, their view of Christ's sacrifice, especially the protestants, essentially introduces a change in God not in man following the pagan error of ascribing change to the Godhead. As we are baptized into Christ's death I think this is also a concern in regards to accepting Western baptisms.

 

In Christ.

Daniel, 



#59 Anna Stickles

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Posted 15 January 2016 - 12:45 AM

I can't remember exactly what I was reading, but it was something that covered the varying practices of Orthodoxy in receiving converts from the 16th-20th centuries, and generally those practices did tend to change depending on how close the Catholics and Protestants were perceived as being to Orthodoxy, but I would guess that this is a move the bishops are going to have to make.  certainly the points you bring up here seem valid to me. 

 

I don't think, though, that the issue is apostolic succession - as far as I understand it when the Orthodox are using economia to receive converts this in no way recognizes Apostolic succession in any other tradition- rather when the Great schism occurred and the Orthodox stopped commemorating the Pope of Rome, and of course they have never commemorated anyone Anglican, this says to us that there is no Apostolic succession there. They are outside the Church, and Apostolic succession only applies to what is in the Church.  

 

Economia is a recognition of the fullness of the Church and how she is capable of adapting to the psychological and spiritual needs, and the cultural context of those being received.   So I think that as we have things like women priests, or priests who are homosexual and preaching this as the proper order of Christianity, then the mode of reception is going to have to reflect our rejection of this way and the need for the convert to adopt a more radically new way of life and thought.



#60 Anna Stickles

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Posted 15 January 2016 - 12:54 AM

Daniel, 

 

I guess we were writing at the same time.

 

Since individual's beliefs tend to vary within a tradition and also tend to change over time I am not sure how much this should effect baptism. If one is being received into the Church, no matter what the method, then the assumption is that there is an effort to convert from our old beliefs. All three modes of reception include a portion of the service in which old beliefs are renounced.  One of the most beautiful reception services I have watched was the reception of some Lutherns where the full set of renunciations was done before they were chrismated.


Edited by Anna Stickles, 15 January 2016 - 12:56 AM.





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