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Infants sent to hell without Baptism? Surely not.


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#21 Olga

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Posted 31 January 2012 - 01:46 PM

In The Great Book of Needs, there is a service for baptism of an infant who is about to die. If the baby is unable to be immersed, does the Orthodox Church allow baptism by aspersion? Is affusion accepted, according to the Didcache? Or is the only form of baptism accepted, even in the case of imminent death, that of immersion?


The Church recognises emergency baptism in extreme situations, even if full immersion is not possible. Such baptisms can even be performed by a layman if no priest is available, using the simple form of "I baptise you in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit". If the baby does survive, then it is necessary to "complete" the baptism by chrismation by a priest in the usual way.

#22 Aidan Kimel

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Posted 31 January 2012 - 02:02 PM

Brad, the question of the eternal destiny of unbaptized infants has been discussed in an earlier thread that you may find of interest: http://www.monachos....baptized-babies.

#23 Brad D.

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Posted 31 January 2012 - 02:17 PM

Brad, the question of the eternal destiny of unbaptized infants has been discussed in an earlier thread that you may find of interest: http://www.monachos....baptized-babies.


Thank you! That thread did not come up when searching the forum.

#24 Fr Raphael Vereshack

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Posted 31 January 2012 - 02:52 PM

Yes- such emergency baptisms almost always are done by aspersion only. I once received a blessing from my bishop to do such a baptism of an elderly gentleman who was dying in the hospital.

There is no specific service that I am aware of for miscarried or aborted children. In one situation I did the funeral service for a child (this is a special order of service, different than that for an adult) for a miscarried child. But in another situation we just read Psalm 90 and then the parents asked for and received a blessing from the bishop that the foetus be buried in the local Orthodox cemetery.

As for aborted children I have from Russia an Akathist of repentance said by a woman who has had an abortion. At the end of the Akathist is a prayer of the woman for her own repentance.
And then follows: "O Lord for my faith & tears, have mercy on my children who have died in my womb, and for the sake of Thy mercy O Lord do not deprive them of a place in Thy divine light."

In Christ
-Fr Raphael

#25 Brad D.

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Posted 31 January 2012 - 02:59 PM

Yes- such emergency baptisms almost always are done by aspersion only. I once received a blessing from my bishop to do such a baptism of an elderly gentleman who was dying in the hospital.

There is no specific service that I am aware of for miscarried or aborted children. In one situation I did the funeral service for a child (this is a special order of service, different than that for an adult) for a miscarried child. But in another situation we just read Psalm 90 and then the parents asked for and received a blessing from the bishop that the foetus be buried in the local Orthodox cemetery.

As for aborted children I have from Russia an Akathist of repentance said by a woman who has had an abortion. At the end of the Akathist is a prayer of the woman for her own repentance.
And then follows: "O Lord for my faith & tears, have mercy on my children who have died in my womb, and for the sake of Thy mercy O Lord do not deprive them of a place in Thy divine light."

In Christ
-Fr Raphael


Thank you!

#26 Father David Moser

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Posted 31 January 2012 - 03:41 PM

They ultimately did say they did believe in an age of accountability, which would require an age of "unaccountability" for children, up to a certain point.


The idea of "an age of accountability" is not exactly what the Orthodox Church teaches. There is most certainly an age at which a baptized young person becomes aware of himself as a Christian and embraces on his own the commitments made on his behalf by his parents and godparents. But the intricacies of legal accountability and guilt that are inherent in the western doctrine of the "age of accountability" have no place in Orthodoxy.

St Theophan the Recluse in his work "The Path to Salvation" explains this concept in a fairly clear manner:

...through Baptism the seed of life in Christ is placed in the infant and exists in him; but it is as though it did not exist: it acts as an educating power in him. Spiritual life, conceived by the grace of Baptism in the infant, becomes the property of the man and is manifest in its complete form in accordance not only with grace, but also with the character of the rational creature, from the time when he, coming to awareness, by his own free will dedicates himself to God and appropriates to himself the power of grace in himself by receiving it with desire, joy, and gratitude. Up to this time, also, the true Christian life is active in him, but it is as if without his knowledge; it acts in him, but it is as if it is not yet his own. But from the minute of his awareness and choosing, it becomes his own, not by grace only but also by freedom.
...
It goes without saying that after the Baptism of the infant a very important matter stands before the parents and the sponsors: how to lead the baptized one so that when he comes to awareness he might recognize the grace-given powers within himself and accept them with a joyful desire, together with the obligations and way of life which they demand. This places one face to face with the question of Christian upbringing, or the upbringing which is in accordance with the demands of the grace of Baptism, and has as its aim the preservation of this grace.
...
One cannot define just when a person comes to the awareness of himself as being a Christian and to the independent resolve to live in a Christian way. In actual fact this happens at different times: at the age of seven, ten, fifteen, or later. ...


I encourage you to read the entire book to get a more complete grasp of his teaching about the development of the Christian soul.

Fr David Moser

#27 Brad D.

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Posted 31 January 2012 - 04:03 PM

The idea of "an age of accountability" is not exactly what the Orthodox Church teaches. There is most certainly an age at which a baptized young person becomes aware of himself as a Christian and embraces on his own the commitments made on his behalf by his parents and godparents. But the intricacies of legal accountability and guilt that are inherent in the western doctrine of the "age of accountability" have no place in Orthodoxy.

St Theophan the Recluse in his work "The Path to Salvation" explains this concept in a fairly clear manner:



I encourage you to read the entire book to get a more complete grasp of his teaching about the development of the Christian soul.

Fr David Moser


Thank you very much Fr David. I was thinking of reading The Ladder of Divine Ascent during Lent...would you recommend this in its place, for a Lenten reading?

Brad

#28 Father David Moser

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Posted 31 January 2012 - 04:13 PM

Thank you very much Fr David. I was thinking of reading The Ladder of Divine Ascent during Lent...would you recommend this in its place, for a Lenten reading?


Hard to say since I don't know you our your situation. It depends upon what your spiritual needs, strengths and goals are and where you are in your spiritual life. Your spiritual father/parish priest would know this and thus be in a much better position to make such a recommendation. The personal relationship between a Christian person and his priest/spiritual father is a vital part of the Orthodox Christian life because it isn't about obtaining a certain legal status as defined by an objective code of justice, but rather about your spiritual health and development.

Fr David

#29 Fr Raphael Vereshack

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Posted 02 February 2012 - 04:49 PM

I have found another prayer from Russia. I found the line "Baptize them O Lord in the sea of Thy compassion" to be very striking and moving.


Remember O Lord the souls of Thy departed servants, those infants who have died in the womb of their Orthodox mothers, inadvertently through unknown actions, or because of a difficult birth, or from carelessness, or by conscious destruction, and for that reason have not received Holy Baptism. Baptize them O Lord in the sea of Thy compassion and save them through Thine ineffable grace, and forgive me the sinner (name) who have slain the infant in my womb, and deprive me not of Thy mercy. Amen.

#30 Brad D.

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Posted 02 February 2012 - 04:53 PM

I have found another prayer from Russia. I found the line "Baptize them O Lord in the sea of Thy compassion" to be very striking and moving.


Remember O Lord the souls of Thy departed servants, those infants who have died in the womb of their Orthodox mothers, inadvertently through unknown actions, or because of a difficult birth, or from carelessness, or by conscious destruction, and for that reason have not received Holy Baptism. Baptize them O Lord in the sea of Thy compassion and save them through Thine ineffable grace, and forgive me the sinner (name) who have slain the infant in my womb, and deprive me not of Thy loving kindness. Amen.


That is beautiful. Thank you very much.

#31 Fr Raphael Vereshack

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Posted 02 February 2012 - 05:02 PM

Taking context into account, the last phrase is probably better translated as "and deprive me not of Thy mercy."

#32 Niko T.

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Posted 03 February 2012 - 12:13 AM

I'm not sure if it will help, but here is a quote from an article by Metropolitan Ierotheos Vlachos, where he discusses the spiritual state of infants, drawing primarily from the writing alluded to above by St. Gregory of Nyssa:

"Those who have nourished their souls with virtues in this life will in the future life enjoy divine comfort in proportion to the habit which they have acquired in this life. 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"...

The fact is that the infants who depart from life prematurely neither find themselves in a painful state nor become equal to those who have struggled to be purified by every virtue. They are in God's Providence. Anyway, the journey to God and participation in the uncreated Light is a natural state of the soul, and infants cannot be deprived of this, because by the power of divine grace they can attain deification."



#33 Brad D.

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Posted 03 February 2012 - 01:05 AM

I'm not sure if it will help, but here is a quote from an article by Metropolitan Ierotheos Vlachos, where he discusses the spiritual state of infants, drawing primarily from the writing alluded to above by St. Gregory of Nyssa:


Thank you!




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