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Be baptised and chrismated, or just chrismated?


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#61 Kosta

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Posted 15 January 2016 - 04:32 AM

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?
Daniel,

The only reason the groups mentioned in the canons were received through chrismation- aside from the fact they still retained the Orthodox form is that their clergy were only once removed from Orthodoxy. As St. Basil the Great says, the schismatic/heretical clergy that have broken from the Church effectively become laymen. Only an ORTHODOX layman can act in an emergency baptism and if the individual survives, the bishop has the option to baptize him or receive him by chrismation. The Church knows no such custom with heterodox twice removed, all those sects mentioned in the canons were only once removed having schismed directly from us. What is practised today is simply bad baptismal theology influenced by ecumenism with the Latins who claim anyone even atheists and muslims can officiate in baptism.
Todays practise is based on policy on the archdiocese level determined by how friendly the heterodox are to us, not to mention foregoing baptism is convenient.
Thus places such as Athos which sometimes insist on baptizing even converts are well within Orthodox praxis.

Edited by Kosta, 15 January 2016 - 04:43 AM.


#62 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 15 January 2016 - 12:20 PM

I take the point about apostolic succession - after all, Methodist baptisms are accepted, and the Methodists have no priesthood. That leaves the matter of how far a confession has to be from the Church for the Church not to accept its baptism, and so perhaps the question is whether many western confessions such as the C of E as it now is have crossed a line from our point of view so that their baptisms may now be so empty that they cannot be accepted anymore.


Edited by Rdr Andreas, 15 January 2016 - 12:21 PM.


#63 Anna Stickles

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Posted 16 January 2016 - 06:01 PM

Dear Andreas,

 

I think you are trying to be too mathematical. :-)  I don't think the Church operates in terms of distinct lines, but fuzzy variables - this is because we ourselves as human beings are not strictly definable nor do we operate in straight lines with perfect consistency.  Part of what I have appreciated starting to learn as I have come into Orthodoxy is to be comfortable with uncertainty and indefinites - this after all is the prerequisite for being able to enter into and love Mystery.

 

I would guess that if they have crossed the line Christ will start to move the various bishops in whatever mysterious way these movements happen in the Church, to start requiring a stricter catechesis and method of reception. - The wind blows where it wills and no one knows where it comes from or where it is going, but we do know that the sails of the Church catch it such that she will start to move according to this Wind.


Edited by Anna Stickles, 16 January 2016 - 06:05 PM.


#64 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 16 January 2016 - 08:26 PM

My concern is that the C of E and western confessions in general have, in recent years, been moving further and further away from Orthodoxy. Whilst not directly to the point but still indicative is today's report that the Archbishop of Canterbury aims, before his retirement, to abolish the current calculation of Easter and have a fixed date for Easter. The legislation to allow this is already in place. Do we not need to signal our reaction to all that has been developing in the western confessions by encouraging our bishops to consider whether we can accept baptisms in the conditions which now prevail in these confessions? Whilst an Orthodox priest will be guided by his bishop, how comfortable might a priest be at only chrismating a convert who had been baptized in a heretical confession by a woman acting by a woman superior or bishop and a confession which in almost every way has propelled itself so far away from the Church? It's not good enough just to say, as is too often said, 'it's the bishops' call': the faithful have a duty in such matters.


Edited by Rdr Andreas, 16 January 2016 - 08:27 PM.


#65 Phoebe K.

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Posted 16 January 2016 - 09:32 PM

I would just say that  I was received nearly three years ago and was baptized as I chose this over being crismated only, although the Romanian bishop for western euroupe prefers crismation, he has also given his Priests decression to decide in individual cases to baptize a convert.  What is of key importance with converts is good catachesis so that those who want to join us know what they are letting themselves in for and have the time over a year or so to begin to live the Orthodox life before being received, I feel that we are approaching a time again when an extended catichisam will be vital again to protect the flock of Christ.

 

What concerns me more than the suggestions coming from the Anglicans is the fact that some Orthodox bishops are involved in the discussions, in the end the Anglicans are heretics so it is not our concern if they chose to go futher from the truth, we can just pray for the individual repentance of people we know.  What is a more imedate concern for me is that some of our bishops are being attracted by these discussions and are in rikt of betraying their flocks, this as their flock is our concern.



#66 Anna Stickles

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Posted 17 January 2016 - 07:20 PM

 Do we not need to signal our reaction to all that has been developing in the western confessions by encouraging our bishops to consider whether we can accept baptisms in the conditions which now prevail in these confessions? Whilst an Orthodox priest will be guided by his bishop, how comfortable might a priest be at only chrismating a convert who had been baptized in a heretical confession by a woman acting by a woman superior or bishop and a confession which in almost every way has propelled itself so far away from the Church? It's not good enough just to say, as is too often said, 'it's the bishops' call': the faithful have a duty in such matters.

 

 

What concerns me more than the suggestions coming from the Anglicans is the fact that some Orthodox bishops are involved in the discussions, in the end the Anglicans are heretics so it is not our concern if they chose to go futher from the truth, we can just pray for the individual repentance of people we know.  What is a more imedate concern for me is that some of our bishops are being attracted by these discussions and are in rikt of betraying their flocks, this as their flock is our concern.

 


Phoebe I completely agree with what you have said about catechesis.

 

What both of you are asking it seems is, "At what point and in what way do the faithful start being more active in speaking up?"  Honestly I don't know. I am not sure what the duty of the faithful are in these situations, or how they ought to go about this duty. This could be the subject of another thread. 

 

Obviously the place to start would be communicating with our own priest and bishop about local concerns. This is definitely our responsibility. Most of us, though, are not in the position of a Fr Seraphim Rose who was able to write public letters and articles that ended up influencing things on a more widespread level. Maybe beyond the local level we have to pray and see if God opens a door, or puts us in a position where it is our responsibility to speak out in a wider forum. I guess all this is a matter of conscience and conviction.

 

My personal experience is that there is a temptation to get caught up in these "big picture" issues, trying to make a difference where God has not opened a door or given us responsibility for, and then lose track of the real difference we can make in our family and parish. Keeping our family and parish faithfully struggling towards the Christian virtues, and faithfully living the Orthodox way will itself will have a great impact on the wider Church, even if it is harder to see because it is not as direct. Personally I think that if family by family, parish by parish we remain faithful, then this provides a type of grounding that is stronger than even the behavior of the bishops.  


Edited by Anna Stickles, 17 January 2016 - 07:22 PM.


#67 Phoebe K.

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Posted 18 January 2016 - 12:00 AM

Anna,

 

I came to the conclusion long ago that the best thing to do was pray and try and tame our passions under obedience to our own spiritual father.  The only time I would make a public comment (other than discussing a situation with friends so we all knew where each other stood) would be if I heard a hericy being preached, and it would simply be to leave the community and go to liturgy somewhere else if there was somewhere to go (in this I would be following St Luke of Crimia in what he instructed his flock before his exile), I would also speak to me Spiritual father.  We can but try to do as St Seripham of Sarov says and acquire peace trusting that in this the Holy spirit will work to save as many as he wills around us.

 

On the main issues of the tread we had a crismation today which lead to a lively debate on crismation or baptism for receiving converts, in the end it came down to differing opinyans in different jurisdictions, between the Russian diocese that parish belong to heavily favoring Crismation to the Cypriot tradition where all are baptized, it was a case of the bishop deciding the rule though as I have found there can be a little wiggle room (the convert can chose to be baptized if they relay wish and in the UK at least that can be as simple as going to another parish in a differing jurisdiction sometimes within the same city).

 

Phoebe



#68 Kosta

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Posted 18 January 2016 - 04:19 AM

Heterodox confessions twice or more removed should be baptized in the one and only baptism of the one Church.
How is it that Orthodox laymen do not have the grace to baptize yet some random guy does? Orthodoxy does not even allow for heterodox to perform emergency baptisms. Only an Orthodox layman in extreme eikonomia is permitted to perform an emergency baptism and if the person survives the bishop has the option to either chrismate him or baptize him for the first time.

#69 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 18 January 2016 - 10:04 AM

Kosta makes a point that I had in mind: where is the line drawn over when a baptism in the Name of the Holy Trinity is not acceptable? What makes a Methodist baptism acceptable over some small sect who perform baptism in the same way? The reception of Anglicans, Episcopalians, and Lutherans decades ago and beyond (the examples of Empress St Alexandra and Grand Duchess St Elizabeth are often cited) was one thing but the situation in those churches is now is totally different, and that difference needs to be considered. Further, there is the point that economia should be just that but in some parts of the Orthodox Church has become the rule, and that is not right. When I raised the issue of the C of E with out priest dinner guest last week (and he works in the Patriarchate here in Moscow) he tended to agree and thought the Russian Church ought to look into the matter.

 

As to the role of the laity, a starting point is the Encyclical of the Eastern Orthodox Patriarchs of 1848. I agree with Phoebe but would go further and say that a groundswell of opinion can be created by discussion and making views known to priests and bishops as the opportunity comes along.



#70 Father David Moser

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Posted 18 January 2016 - 03:32 PM

Actually, Kosta, an Orthodox layman can perform a baptism and that baptism is recognized in the Church.  It is generally accepted that this only done in cases of emergency or some other extreme situation - but it is done.  My own grandson was baptized by his father (not a priest) immediately following his birth because he was in danger of imminent death (he was born prematurely).  When he was finally released from the hospital, that baptism was completed by the priest in the Church (all the prayers were read and he was then chrismated), but the baptism itself was not repeated.  I have had a number of people come into my parish who were born in Soviet Russia and so were baptized in secret at home by their parents or grandparents because it was not possible to do otherwise.  We do not redo the baptism, but simply chrismate to complete the baptism. 

 

This is not exactly the same issue as the reception of converts who have received the form of baptsim in another confession, however, it is permitted.  There are three ways that we are permitted to receive converts - by baptism and chrismation, by renunciation of errors and confession of faith and chrismation and by the renunciation of error and confession of faith alone.  I have received people into the Church in all three manners, but the default is still baptism and any variation from that is simply a matter of pastoral necessity. 

 

One of the misunderstandings of the question is the idea that baptisms of other confessions actually confer grace - they do not.  How can one give what they do not have?  But our Lord is merciful and desires that all men be saved and so when it is necessary the Church opens the doors a little wider to bring in those who might otherwise be lost.

 

Fr David Moser



#71 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 18 January 2016 - 08:07 PM

Since, as Fr  David says, other confessions do not confer grace, does it then make no difference whether a baptism is performed by a male Anglican priest or a female Methodist minister or, anyone else? Do the late developments in the C of E and other confessions which now make them so distant from the Church not affect the acceptance of their baptisms? My own view, for what it is worth, is that we cannot see these confessions growing ever more distant from Orthodoxy and even from basic Christian doctrine, and still accept their utterly empty baptisms. Why not prescribe baptism as the way of entering the Church?



#72 Olga

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Posted 18 January 2016 - 09:51 PM

Since, as Fr  David says, other confessions do not confer grace, does it then make no difference whether a baptism is performed by a male Anglican priest or a female Methodist minister or, anyone else? Do the late developments in the C of E and other confessions which now make them so distant from the Church not affect the acceptance of their baptisms? My own view, for what it is worth, is that we cannot see these confessions growing ever more distant from Orthodoxy and even from basic Christian doctrine, and still accept their utterly empty baptisms. Why not prescribe baptism as the way of entering the Church?

 

This looks increasingly like the only proper option, but it is ultimately up to our bishops to decide upon, and subsequently direct their priests.



#73 Anna Stickles

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Posted 20 January 2016 - 08:08 PM

Andreas,


 

Why not prescribe baptism as a way of entering the Church?

Because we are not under law but under grace, ie the presence, will and action of God Himself in cooperation with the person is what matters, not some mechanical method that automatically "works" if it is performed correctly. That is why there has always been an allowance for pastoral economy.

 

In one way, yes, it makes no difference at all what the other traditions are doing. Their rituals are empty.... as empty as the Jewish law.... but in the same way as the Law could act as a tutor to lead others to Christ, so to the good in other traditions and the remnants of Orthodox tradition from the time before the schism can still be a tutor that has led someone to the Church. 

 

The farther away from the Church the other traditions drift, the less those rituals can help a person move toward the real Christ, and the more they end up living a lie, an illusion of Christ, but the need is not for baptism as something mechanically applied across the board, but for genuine conversion whatever form that may take. 

 

Some people are wanting to use the reception rites as a way to make a statement about Orthodoxy's relationship to the other traditions. This may have some merit, but not at the cost of the real souls involved in the conversion process.


Edited by Anna Stickles, 20 January 2016 - 08:10 PM.


#74 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 20 January 2016 - 09:30 PM

Anna, 'the presence, will and action of God Himself in cooperation with the person' is exactly what the Mystery of baptism is about. This sacrament, this great Mystery should be the first which an Orthodox Christian experiences. The mystical burial and resurrection of the person (see the text of the baptism service) cannot and ought not to be characterised in any sense as a 'mechanical method'. I really cannot see that the heresies - which a convert to Holy Orthodoxy renounces - and the empty rituals of the heretical confessions can tutor anyone towards the Church; only good catechesis can do that. The convert must be instructed to drop their baggage. He begins life anew. I am not aware of those in the Church using its sacraments as a way of making a statement about Orthodoxy and its relation to heretical confessions, and if there are such, that has no merit at all. Why are western adult converts to be deprived of that which is conferred on all so-called cradle Orthodox?






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