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What is the fate of unbaptized babies?


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#21 Father David Moser

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Posted 31 March 2011 - 09:10 PM

There are several martyrs who died before they were baptized,

Note also the good thief who was crucified with Christ - he was certainly "unbaptized" and yet our Lord said to him "Today you shall be with Me in paradise".

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#22 Father David Moser

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Posted 31 March 2011 - 09:17 PM

Yes, but the Lord had not yet instituted the Mystery of Baptism for the Church at the time of the slaughter of the 14,000. The "rules" might be different for the babies that died before the Mystery of Baptism was given to the Church. Does anyone have an answer to this dilemma?


The only dilemma is if you consider the "rules" to be rules that God Himself must follow. The "rules" are given to us by God to guide us on the path of salvation - so we know where we should walk and what we should avoid. There is no dilemma for God is not bound by time and space - He created it and is Himself outside of it. Remember always that God is merciful and the Lover of mankind and desires that NO MAN DIE but that everyone should come to the knowledge of the truth. God embraces all of creation and the only way that we can be excluded from His embrace is if we - by our own will - reject it.

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#23 Matthew Panchisin

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Posted 31 March 2011 - 09:22 PM

Dear Father Alvin,

Firstly, I don't object to your presence. I was just wondering why things from the Vatican would be relevant here. Secondly, I and others very much appreciate the changing of the title of this thread so thanks to the moderator(s) I presume for that indeed.

Anyway Father Alvin, it seems here that you are taking the book of needs and others out of context, in such way this is precisely how things like limbo are created.

The Orthodox Church is not a collection of text applied as one wishes to create distortions, pitting the words of one against another within the total deposit of the faith. The reality is that unbaptised infants that die are often prayed for, by Bishops, Priests, Deacons, Monks, Fathers, Mothers, Brothers and Sisters and the faithful, in Church and in dwellings. We can bring to mind the words of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, in my Father's house there are many mansions.

There can be a rigidness that can be conveyed that simply is not typical of what the Church conveys. We don't look for or anticipate infallible statements from human beings. The Church has always been seen as salvific as we say in the creed (and you say as well) we look for the resurrection of the dead and the life of the age to come. Amen.

That is how we are taught to live, to go to the Church services, struggle, work out our salvation, pray for our relatives living as well as those that have reposed and many others.

Presenting text said to be from the The Great Book of Needs is not how those texted are embraced in the Orthodox Church. They really are not typically used in such a way. Orthodox prayers are peaceful unless they are opposed, they are not opposed from within.

Forgive me if I have offended you and keep us in your prayers.

In Christ,

Matthew Panchisin

Edited by Matthew Panchisin, 31 March 2011 - 09:48 PM.


#24 David Lindblom

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Posted 31 March 2011 - 09:37 PM

Hello Dave,
I'M having a hard time finding the notes and canon in question. Can you provide a link?

Anyhow, there seems to be confusion on baptism by blood. A martyrs death is a true baptism everyway equal to a water baptism- clearly spelled out by our Lord (mk 10.38-39).

Scripture is silent on infants that die without baptism. St Gregory of Nyssa did his best to answer this mystery 'on infants early death'
http://www.ccel.org/...205.ix.iii.html

St John Chrysostom makes a point to say that infants have no personal sin, but there are 10 benefits that baptism does bestow on infants. The church fathers were more concerned with making sure infants were baptised rather than explaining what happens to them if they die unbaptized. The church is agnostic on the exact state of these infants. She rejects a belief that places them in hell while stops short of declaring them in the abode of the glorified saints.


Here's the link. As I said before, I have since been told that most see this Note as being spurious.

#25 Nina

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Posted 31 March 2011 - 09:56 PM

Here's the link. As I said before, I have since been told that most see this Note as being spurious.


In the Orthodox Church we beleive this about the baptism of infants:

"How will the infant be judged or where he will be sent, since he did neither evil nor good in his life? St. Gregory says that the problem is not to be put in this way since it is not a matter of justice, but of a natural state of the health or illness of human nature. [...]

This teaching of St. Gregory of Nyssa gives us the opportunity of underlining here that the soul of a man is not impure at birth, but pure. Man from his birth experiences illumination of the nous. Therefore we see that even infants can have noetic prayer, corresponding of course to the images and representations of their age. When a person is created his nous is in a state of illumination. We have observed many times that there are infants who pray, even in their sleep. A monk of the Holy Mountain says that when small children turn their attention in some direction and laugh without a reason, it means that they see their angel. What happens in the lives of saints, for whom it is altogether natural to be with the angels, happens in little children.

Therefore orthodox theology does not teach what theology in the West says, that man inherits the guilt of the ancestral sin. For we beleive that at birth a person has a pure nous: his nous is illuminated which is the natural state. The inheritance of the ancestral sin, as we said in another place, lies in the fact that the body inherits corruptibility and mortality, which, with the passage of time, and as the child grows and passions develop, darkens the noetic part of his soul. Indeed the developed passions linked with corruptibility and mortality and darkness of the environment darken the noetic part of the souls of children.

There is the problem of what happens at holy Baptism. That is to say, since infants have a pure nous which is in a state of illumination, and they have noetic prayer, then why do we baptise them?

The answer, as we see in the whole patristic tradition, is that by holy Baptism we are not getting rid of guilt from ancestral sin, but we are being grafted on to the Body of Christ, the Church, and are acquiring the power to conquer death. This is how we understand the baptism of babies. We baptise them so they may become members of the Church, members of the Body of Christ, that they may pass over death, overcome the garments of skin, decay and mortality. That is to say that as they grow, whenever the nous becomes darkened by passions and the darkness of the surroundings, they may have the ability to conquer death in Christ, to overcome the passions and to purify the noetic part of their souls once more.

[...]

The deepest purpose of Baptism for both infants and adults is to attain deification, which is achieved only in Christ and in the Church.

Since this point is quite crucial, I may be permitted to quote the words of St. Gregory of Nyssa about the purity of the souls of infants: "Whereas the innocent babe has no such plague before its soul's eyes obscuring its measure of light, it continues to exist in that natural life; it does not need the soundness that comes from purgation, because it never admitted the plague into its soul at all". The infant nous is pure, it has not been ill, it is distinguished by health and the natural state and therefore is not prevented at all from partaking of the divine Light.

[...]

However, the soul which has not tasted virtue but is also not sickened with evil can also share the good to the depth to which it can contain the eternal blessings, empowered by the vision of Him Who is.

Thus infants, although inexperienced in evil, will share in divine knowledge, divine light, empowered by the vision of God, by divine grace; and naturally with the vision of God they will advance to more perfect knowledge. Actually God manifests Himself to all, "giving himself as much as the person in question accepts".

(pp. 99-103) 'Life after death' by Metropolitan of Nafpaktos Hierotheos

#26 Christina M.

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Posted 31 March 2011 - 10:26 PM

Can someone please explain to me why it seems that Metr. Hierotheos (quoted above) and St. Nikodemos haven't differing viewpoints? I've always agreed with Metr. Hierotheos' viewpoint, and the quote given below from St. Nikodemos was always bothering me.

The quote is taken from this post on a different thread.

It is from "Handbook of Spiritual Counsel".

Throughout the early years of childhood (and to a greater degree even during the nine months of pregnancy), the discernment of reason (logikou) is not developed and the nous is unable to utilize the senses of the body in order to activate its own energy and to be preoccupied with its own noetic delight. Consequently, only the body utilizes these senses, and not merely for its necessary nourishment, but also for its impassionate pleasure. And to make things worse, the body even draws the nous itself, being still imperfect and indiscreet, to the same physical pleasure, thereby enslaving the nous to physical pleasure.

I'd be very thankful to hear opinions on the matter.

I've read that some say that St. Nikodemos was highly influenced by Western theology... and that certainly seems to be the case in the above quote. But I would like to have that confirmed by someone else.

#27 Aidan Kimel

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Posted 01 April 2011 - 12:04 AM

Mr. Panchisin, if you had bothered to read the Vatican document I linked to, you would have immediately seen its relevance to this discussion. Its presentation of the biblical and patristic testimony on the question of the salvific necessity of Holy Baptism is of obvious interest; but so is, or at least should be, the theological reflections found in sections 2 & 3. The theologians who composed this document are wrestling with the same concerns and problems posed by Fr Patrick over at the Energetic Procession blog.

Is the Sacrament of Holy Baptism necessary for salvation? This is a question that is directly posed in Holy Scripture and the Church Fathers. As far as I can determine, the Church has always answered this question in the affirmative, with qualifications. Again I refer to Fr Patrick's article and the subsequent discussion. Do even infants need to be baptized? Again the Church has answered yes. Thus Canon 110 of the Council of Carthage:

Likewise it seemed good that whosoever denies that infants newly from their mother's wombs should be baptized, or says that baptism is for remission of sins, but that they derive from Adam no original sin, which needs to be removed by the laver of regeneration, from whence the conclusion follows, that in them the form of baptism for the remission of sins, is to be understood as false and not true, let him be anathema. For no otherwise can be understood what the Apostle says, "By one man sin has come into the world, and death through sin, and so death passed upon all men in that all have sinned," than the Catholic Church everywhere diffused has always understood it. For on account of this rule of faith (regulam fidei) even infants, who could have committed as yet no sin themselves, therefore are truly baptized for the remission of sins, in order that what in them is the result of generation may be cleansed by regeneration.


This canon has apparently been received by the Eastern Church, as it is included in the Pedalion. Here is the Greek rendering, followed by the commentary of St Nicodemus:

121. It has pleased the Council to decree that whosoever denies the little ones newly born from the wombs of their mothers when they are being baptized, or asserts that they are baptized for the remission of sins, but that they have inherited no original sin from Adam obliging them to be purified in the bath of renaissance (whence it follows that in these persons the form of baptism for the remission of sins is not true, but is to be regarded as factitious), let him be anathema; for no other meaning ought to be attached to what the Apostle has said, viz., "Sin entered the world through one human being" (Rom. 5:12), and thus it passed over into all human beings; wherefore all of them have sinned, than that which the catholic Church diffused and spread abroad every-where has ever understood those words to mean. For it is on account of this Canon of the faith that even the little ones too, who are as yet incapable of committing if any sin of their own to render them guilty of any offense, are truly baptized for the remission of sins, in order that what sin they inherited from the primordial birth may be purified in them through the process of renaissance.

This view too was a product of the heretical insanity of the Pelagians: this refers to their saying that newly begotten infants are not baptized for the remission of sins, as the Orthodox Church believes and maintains, but, instead, if anyone say that they are baptized for the remission of sins, yet the infants themselves have not incurred any taint from the original (or primordial) sin of Adam, such as to require to be removed by means of baptism (since, as we have said, those men believed that this original sin is not begotten with the human being, simply because this was not any offense of nature, but a mischoice of the free and independent will). So the Council in the present Canon anathematizes the heretics who say this: First, because the form of the baptism for the remission of sins which is given to infants is not true according to them, but false and factitious, since, according to them, those infants have no sins to be pardoned. Secondly, because the Apostle in what he says makes it plain that sin entered the world through a single human being, namely, Adam, and that death entered through sin, and thus death passed into all human beings, since all of them have sinned just like Adam. This passage, I say, cannot be taken to mean anything else than what the catholic Church of the Orthodox has understood and believed it to mean, to wit, that even the newborn infants, notwithstanding the fact that they have not sinned by reason of any exercise of their own free and independent will, have nevertheless entailed upon themselves the original sin from Adam; wherefore they need to be purified through baptism necessarily from that sin: hence they are truly, and not fictitiously, being baptized for the remission of sins.


The Eastern reception of Canon 110/121 poses one or two interesting hermeneutical problems. Obviously it cannot be claimed that the Eastern Church has fully endorsed a North African understanding of original sin, yet at the same time St Nicodemus makes clear that infants need that gift of spiritual regeneration that Holy Baptism bestows. St Nicodemus's interpretation appears to be reflected in the passage from the Book of Needs that I cited earlier. The salvific necessity of Holy Baptism for infants was also affirmed in the Confession of Dositheus:

We believe Holy Baptism, which was instituted by the Lord, and is conferred in the name of the Holy Trinity, to be of the highest necessity. For without it none is able to be saved, as the Lord says, “Whoever is not born of water and of the Spirit, shall in no way enter into the Kingdom of the Heavens.” {John 3:5} And, therefore, baptism is necessary even for infants, since they also are subject to original sin, and without Baptism are not able to obtain its remission. Which the Lord showed when he said, not of some only, but simply and absolutely, “Whoever is not born [again],” which is the same as saying, “All that after the coming of Christ the Savior would enter into the Kingdom of the Heavens must be regenerated.” And since infants are men, and as such need salvation, needing salvation they need also Baptism. And those that are not regenerated, since they have not received the remission of hereditary sin, are, of necessity, subject to eternal punishment, and consequently cannot without Baptism be saved. So that even infants should, of necessity, be baptized. Moreover, infants are saved, as is said in Matthew; {Matthew 19:12} but he that is not baptized is not saved. And consequently even infants must of necessity be baptized. And in the Acts {Acts 8:12; 16:33} it is said that the whole houses were baptized, and consequently the infants. To this the ancient Fathers also witness explicitly, and among them Dionysius in his Treatise concerning the Ecclesiastical Hierarchy; and Justin in his fifty-sixth Question, who says expressly, “And they are guaranteed the benefits of Baptism by the faith of those that bring them to Baptism.” And Augustine says that it is an Apostolic tradition, that children are saved through Baptism; and in another place, “The Church gives to babes the feet of others, that they may come; and the hearts of others, that they may believe; and the tongues of others, that they may promise;” and in another place, “Our mother, the Church, furnishes them with a particular heart.”


But if even infants, who are innocent of personal sin, need to be baptized, then what are we to say about the eternal destiny of the unbaptized and especially infant children? You appear to think that the answer to this question is obvious; but it was by no means obvious to the Church Fathers nor has it been obvious to Orthodox Christianity down through the ages. The Latin Fathers, especially after the Pelagian crisis, finally concluded that unbaptized infants were doomed to Hell. Though I emphatically disagree with this conclusion, it cannot be dismissed out-of-hand. After all, many of these Fathers are saints recognized not only by the Latin Church but also by the Eastern Church. If we are going to disagree with the opinion of Sts Augustine and Gregory, then we need good reasons and arguments.

If you think I am trying to score polemical points, Matthew, then you simply do not understand why I have been contributing to this forum for the past eight years (yes, I've been a member of this forum as long as you have). In any case, I object to both your public rebuke and your condescending tone, treating me as if I am ignorant of the Orthodox Church. I also resent the insinuation that I am aggressively advancing a "Latin" view in this thread. You are not a moderator of this forum. If you have a problem with my postings, take it up with the moderators.

#28 Father David Moser

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Posted 01 April 2011 - 12:34 AM

Just to add a reminder here that personal comments should remain personal. Comments should apply to the text not to the person or his/her motivations or style. If you have personal comments that you think are relevant and helpful, then please address them through the private message system.

This forum is open to all discussion of (patristic, liturgical and monastic) Orthodox Christianity. While interchurch discussions are out of place here, it is possible to discuss comparative theology when it is applicable to the primary aim (and that means bring up sources and references that are outside of Orthodoxy so that they may be commented upon within the discussion of Orthodoxy.)

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#29 Guillermo M.L.

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Posted 01 April 2011 - 03:52 AM

I would like to ask a couple of questions, which maybe I have always had, and may not only go against OC teachings, but also against my background RC teachings as well:

1) When it is said "God embraces all of creation and the only way that we can be excluded from His embrace is if we - by our own will - reject it", how does this apply to baptism of infants? If infants have no will to commit sin and reject God -at least nominally until 7-, why not wait until people have use of reason to ask if they want to be baptized? In this subject, I think the "old way" -adult converts asking to be baptized, maybe even on the deathbed- was at least the most sure way to "breed" honest-believing Christians.

2) All this talk about "children are pure, they have no evil thoughts, they only get evil when being adults" sounds very nice, somehow resemblant of 19th century romanticism, but I find no correspondence to -at least my own- experience. Infants are selfish, they mind nothing but getting their mom's -and everybody else's- attention, and would prefer -at least in the early years- that no siblings where present. They want everything for themselves, to win all games, to get anything they want, it's all "me, me, me". Only after eager parental teaching and scolding, they learn to be thoughtful about others. I would like to find a pure nous in young children, but it's hard for me to see it. I'm sorry.

I would appreciate to get convincingly rebuked in the two items I have mentioned. Jesus bless you all.

#30 Bryan J. Maloney

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Posted 01 April 2011 - 01:53 PM

There is nothing legal when it comes to Orthodoxy. All judgment belongs to God our Creator. We have a thread about the babies who are miscarried here, (born sleeping and so on) and there is very good explanation about it from Met. Hierotheos. They go to Heaven. For babies who are born and live for a short time we have the emergency baptism. Again you should understand that the responsibility about baptizing and caring for them is ours (adults).


Oh, dear, and does that mean that, if the emergency baptism is not possible, then the infants are condemned? Not every baby is born to Orthodox parents. If my children had all perished before I had ever even heard of the Orthodox Church, would they have been condemned? There still seems to be a great deal of legalism involved in this issue.

#31 Rdr Daniel (R.)

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Posted 01 April 2011 - 03:05 PM

Oh, dear, and does that mean that, if the emergency baptism is not possible, then the infants are condemned?

I'm sorry but I think you should think more about how to word that as it comes across as being patronising to me at least. If that was not your intention then I apologize.

#32 Matthew Panchisin

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Posted 01 April 2011 - 03:38 PM

Dear Father Alvin,

I did read the Vatican document and have read others in the past as well. As such I'm not ignorant of it's content. For us the reality is that they are just one error leading to others etc. I suspect you have heard that before. One could argue that one is not ignorant just through or because of the efforts of others.

You have mentioned:

The Latin Fathers, especially after the Pelagian crisis, finally concluded that unbaptized infants were doomed to Hell. Though I emphatically disagree with this conclusion, it cannot be dismissed out-of-hand. After all, many of these Fathers are saints recognized not only by the Latin Church but also by the Eastern Church. If we are going to disagree with the opinion of Sts Augustine and Gregory, then we need good reasons and arguments.


I'm glad to hear you emphatically disagree with that conclusion since many are uncomfortable with such pronouncements by men.

I think the Orthodox Church in reality dismisses as much more than out of hand notions like unbaptized infants being doomed to hell from the Latin's or elsewhere. I'm sure that is the truth within Orthodoxy, ethos, if you will. I say this because I'm sure if I mentioned that to our Bishop or any of the Priestmonks at the monastery or any Orthodox Bishop, Priests or Monks that I have ever known, it would in fact be very quickly dismissed as being more than out of hand, perhaps along the lines of being out mind. So there and in the Orthodox Church things are seen differently from the outset for sure. This is especially so when they are readily seen as being forced. Many would say dismissing such dooming notions is part of the ascetical tradition from within the Orthodox Church. Your tradition in that regard is different, as you know there is a historical record of Popes dooming people which is also not dismissed as being out of hand by those that follow the same leader in the person of the pope. So to me as well as others it seems you are in a de facto advancing Latin thinking mode.

As far as good reasons or arguments go, I was always taught that judgments relative to human beings being doomed to hell should be avoided to say the least and that such things are Latin and Protestant tendencies, they are often comfortable only while in ignorance, that is with such beliefs and articulations. Sometimes they come to their senses, become Orthodox and teach Orthodox Christians about Orthodoxy. This is nothing new, man can be seen as ignorant since he has been seen as ignorant in the past. Same text as the man is only subjectively applicable. Most of my Orthodox friends for many years now say don't even bother saying anything anymore and they don't because of the way these discussions frequently end up. Putting those things aside you have mentioned:

You appear to think that the answer to this question is obvious; but it was by no means obvious to the Church Fathers nor has it been obvious to Orthodox Christianity down through the ages.


Orthodox Christianity has always known God as loving mankind even unbaptised infants, hence the non-dooming addresses or false loving embraces. That tradition remains intact to this very day. From days of Pentecost in Jerusalem to the Great Church of Christ and so forth the person, every person made in the image and likeness of God and even being made in his image and likeness is precious therein, see Saint Gregory that way. She embraces the mature and the immature, the very old and the very young, the learned and the more simple and so forth. The same Church militant is the very same Church triumphant. In her Christ's yoke is easy and his burden is light. She adds no burden or pain of soul to bosoms of the many women that have suffered much in the loss of children before they would have been baptized. The voice of the good Shepherd is known well therein.

So Father Alvin, in short we believe that the Lord God hears the prayers of the Church for the salvation of others, even when they are offered post Saint Gregory's writings, even when some attempt to migrate them away, that is way out of context. It is said by many that prayers from the heart can be better than reasoning and arguments because of their Christological roots. Those roots are not dooming, they are salvific. What others do with the writings of the Church Fathers is too often way out of hand.

In Christ,

Matthew Panchisin

#33 Kosta

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Posted 01 April 2011 - 07:58 PM

St Nikodemos was indeed influenced by western scolastism. But more importantly many of his writings were tampered with as they were sent to the printing presses in the west . We have already uncovered an interpolation in his writings on the God the Father depictions (and that interpolation is unclear if its from western origins).

#34 Nina

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Posted 01 April 2011 - 08:05 PM

Oh, dear, and does that mean that, if the emergency baptism is not possible, then the infants are condemned? Not every baby is born to Orthodox parents. If my children had all perished before I had ever even heard of the Orthodox Church, would they have been condemned? There still seems to be a great deal of legalism involved in this issue.


If you became Orthodox and you had babies perish before and who were not baptized, our righteous God will place things good as He only knows. About babies born to non - Orthodox people why do you vent it out on me that those non-Orthodox have a free will and have chosen to be what they are?

Why do you have to always come up with the worse case scenario? Also Bryan why do not you read about spirituality and having good thoughts before taking monachos by a storm venting all the frustrations you have about the judgments of God, immigrants, Greeks, women, people who are not white enough and so on?

#35 Kosta

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Posted 01 April 2011 - 08:05 PM

Indeed that is a spurious note on the canon in question. The actual canon is Orthodox in that it emphasis death inherited by adams sin. We inherit the fruit of ancestral sin which is Death not any guilt. Just looking at the note its obvious that its an extreme position taken by an anti-pelagianist. Pelagianism itself was not a heresy taken very serious in the east. In fact many eastern Fathers such as St John Chrysostom can be accused of Pelagianism and would have been condemned as such, were they living in the 5th century west.

#36 Kosta

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Posted 01 April 2011 - 08:22 PM

Oh, dear, and does that mean that, if the emergency baptism is not possible, then the infants are condemned? Not every baby is born to Orthodox parents. If my children had all perished before I had ever even heard of the Orthodox Church, would they have been condemned? There still seems to be a great deal of legalism involved in this issue.


No the Orthodox church has never believed or taught that unbaptised infants are condemned. Infact we do not believe people are condemned simply for being unbaptised. St Gregory of Nyssa who tackled this issue based it on the centuries old greek philosophical debate on 'virtue'. What virtue means, 'what is meant by the virtuous man'. Can something virtuous be attributed to a man when he instigates it by accident, or it happens by dumb luck. St Gregory says that an infant cannot be rewarded for virtue, since one must live and experience to be a 'virtuous man'. On the other hand an infant cannot be condemned for lack of virtue.

St Gregory is not using legalism in his treatise, in that a simple ritual of baptism saves you or condemns you. If God will judge you according to your works in the second coming, what works will infants be judged on? If they have no goof works why give them a reward? But on the opposite side if they have no works at all, why condemn them? This is what St Gregory grappled with. The Orthodox church has never implied these unbaptised infants are condemned but stops short of saying there in the same league as the glorified saints who have finished the marathon.

#37 Father David Moser

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Posted 01 April 2011 - 09:28 PM

I would like to ask a couple of questions, ...
1) When it is said "God embraces all of creation and the only way that we can be excluded from His embrace is if we - by our own will - reject it", how does this apply to baptism of infants? If infants have no will to commit sin and reject God -at least nominally until 7-, why not wait until people have use of reason to ask if they want to be baptized?


"Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is older he will not depart from it". Baptism is not only the antidote to death and the means of reconciling one to God - Baptism is the new birth (the being "born again" as someone asked elsewhere) into the Life of Christ. Why wait and deprive a child of growth and development in the Christian life until he can understand it? It would be like depriving a baby of solid food until he can understand why he eats. The parents give the child that which he needs for his life, both in the present and in the future. Baptism initiates the life in Christ and allows the child to begin to participate in that life from the very first days of his earthly life.

Fr David Moser

#38 Nina

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Posted 02 April 2011 - 03:52 AM

St Gregory says that an infant cannot be rewarded for virtue, since one must live and experience to be a 'virtuous man'. On the other hand an infant cannot be condemned for lack of virtue.



Saint Nephon had a vision of the Last Judgment and here is some part of that vision:

After them entered a large number of idolaters who did not know the law of Christ, but by nature observed it by obeying their conscience. Many glowed like the sun because of their purity and goodness, and the Lord gave them Paradise and radiant crowns braided with roses and lilies. However, they were blind since they had been denied Holy Baptism. They could not see the glory of God at all, because Holy Baptism is the light and the eye of the soul. That's why, he who does not receive it, even if he does an infinite amount of good, he certainly inherits the bliss of paradise and experiences something of its fragrance and sweetness, but he sees nothing.

After them, righteous Nephon saw a host of saints who were the children of the Christians. All of them appeared to be about 30 years old. The Bridegroom looked at them with a gladsome look and said: "Indeed your baptismal garment is spotless, but deeds nowhere! What shall I do with you then?" Then boldly they answered Him: "Lord, you denied us Your earthly goods, at least do not deny us the heavenly ones."

The Bridegroom smiled and granted them heavenly goods. They also received the crowns of purity and goodness, and all the bodiless hosts admired them.

p. 71, Stories, Sermons, and Prayers of St. Nephon: an Ascetic Bishop.

#39 Fr Raphael Vereshack

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Posted 02 April 2011 - 02:02 PM

This account reminds me of the vision of the Elder Arseny of the prison camp where he was in which he saw several of the guards as glowing with light. Just looking at them in 'normal life' you'd think they were all brutes perhaps. But in reality several of them had sparks of goodness within them.

By the way- in the last few days I was given a copy of the latest edition of the life of the Elder Arseny. The new introduction specifically deals with the question which has disturbed many people- whether the Elder really existed. Since the introduction explains with concrete and direct evidence that the Elder really did exist I will see if I have time during the next couple of weeks to translate this into English.

In Christ- Fr Raphael

#40 Bryan J. Maloney

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Posted 02 April 2011 - 05:14 PM

There seems to be a great deal of legalism in this thread. If the question is asked regarding a cut-off, and the answer is "There's a ritual for that", then is not the conclusion to be made that there is no hope at all for unbaptized babies? After all, if the solution is that there is an emergency ritual, what about those babies for whom an emergency ritual is unavailable? Suppose a child dies unbaptized and the parents are not Orthodox at that time, meaning that there was never any thought of an emergency baptism. Have the parents, by some greater power than God has, condemned a person other than themselves? Then the parents convert. Are they held responsible for the irreversible condemnation of their unbaptized children?




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