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Author Topic: Do Oriental Churches Sprinkle for Baptism?  (Read 1643 times) Average Rating: 0
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Alveus Lacuna
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« on: August 16, 2014, 09:26:07 PM »

Do any or all of the Oriental Churches sprinkle when baptizing? I know that some of the Byzantine churches do is places like Romania, parts of Serbia, etc. I was just curious.
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« Reply #1 on: August 16, 2014, 10:29:26 PM »

Do any or all of the Oriental Churches sprinkle when baptizing? I know that some of the Byzantine churches do is places like Romania, parts of Serbia, etc. I was just curious.

What do you mean by "sprinkle"? 
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« Reply #2 on: August 16, 2014, 10:59:36 PM »

Do any or all of the Oriental Churches sprinkle when baptizing? I know that some of the Byzantine churches do is places like Romania, parts of Serbia, etc. I was just curious.

What do you mean by "sprinkle"? 

sprinkle like salt....rather than dunking in marinade thrice


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« Reply #3 on: August 17, 2014, 12:07:28 AM »

Do any or all of the Oriental Churches sprinkle when baptizing? I know that some of the Byzantine churches do is places like Romania, parts of Serbia, etc. I was just curious.

What do you mean by "sprinkle"? 
Variations on these:





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« Reply #4 on: August 17, 2014, 02:49:56 AM »

Edited my post out, wasn't worth saying, sorry  angel
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« Reply #5 on: August 17, 2014, 03:29:25 AM »

Pouring/affusion is not sprinkling/aspersion. 
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« Reply #6 on: August 17, 2014, 03:59:03 AM »

Every infant baptism I've seen in the Armenian Church has been full immersion. I served at an adult baptism that was a sort of pour/sprinkle, for lack of a better option. Normal practice, as nearly every baptism is an infant or small child, is full immersion.
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« Reply #7 on: August 17, 2014, 04:29:49 AM »

Usual practice is immersion with affusion if immersion is not possible.
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« Reply #8 on: August 17, 2014, 02:49:35 PM »

Pouring/affusion is not sprinkling/aspersion.  
Fair enough.

I once saw a baptism in a Presbyterian church in which the minister just kind of flicked water in the baby's face.

I don't think they were Oriental Presbyterians, though.
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« Reply #9 on: August 17, 2014, 02:51:04 PM »

Triple immersion was the rule in the Syriac tradition, and theoretically still is.  But St Dionysius Bar Salibi writes in the twelfth century about how pouring began to take over as the primary method of baptising:

Quote
...one should know that formerly the faithful were baptised when they were adults and men, and they were plunged by this immersion in the font thrice.  But now, the baptised are infants and children, and (therefore) we do not plunge them in the font lest they drown.  But instead of immersions they pour, taking a little water with the left hand, and pour over their heads thrice.  Instead of three immersions, they pour, and by faith they accept the threefold pouring as three immersions.

Treatise on Baptism 8.1

I suspect that there were probably one too many accidents, otherwise I don't see why immersion couldn't continue as it had/has in the rest of the Church.  

The ritual itself is highly symbolic, and so the pouring involved is such that the child's entire body is washed with the pourings in the form of the Cross (s/he is already seated in the water, so half of him/her is already immersed).  This threefold "covering" of the entire body with the baptismal water is what replaces the full immersions (in which the baptismal waters also cover the entire body).  

This video will give you an idea of how the rite is carried out.  A few moments later, you will see how the anointing with Chrism is performed: three Crosses with Chrism on the forehead, one each on the various sense organs, followed by the anointing of the entire body with Chrism.  
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« Reply #10 on: August 17, 2014, 03:22:43 PM »

I suspect that there were probably one too many accidents, otherwise I don't see why immersion couldn't continue as it had/has in the rest of the Church.

I have never heard of infants drowning in baptism in the Byzantine tradition. Does it have to do with the way the infants are plunged in? In the baptisms I've seen the infants are sort of quickly "scooped" through the water in one fluid motion without pause. I really don't know much about this stuff...

Also, why do Indians like to put those tacky Christmas lights in their churches?
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« Reply #11 on: August 17, 2014, 04:03:14 PM »

A few moments later, you will see how the anointing with Chrism is performed: three Crosses with Chrism on the forehead, one each on the various sense organs, followed by the anointing of the entire body with Chrism.  

i love how the rest of the chrismation oil goes on the hair! how very indian!
also i love the music and way the language sounds.

as for the copts, we always immerse. i think there are a few cases, eg. adults with really bad drowning phobia where we wouldn't,
or a disabled person who was too heavy to safely get in and out of the font, but if we say 'baptism', everyone assumes we mean 'immersion'.
(my friends' baby gets baptised soon!)
 Smiley
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« Reply #12 on: August 17, 2014, 04:09:56 PM »

I suspect that there were probably one too many accidents, otherwise I don't see why immersion couldn't continue as it had/has in the rest of the Church.

I have never heard of infants drowning in baptism in the Byzantine tradition.

Now you have.  Unfortunately, accidents happen.  Thankfully, they are exceedingly rare.  

Quote
Does it have to do with the way the infants are plunged in? In the baptisms I've seen the infants are sort of quickly "scooped" through the water in one fluid motion without pause. I really don't know much about this stuff...

I've seen different methods of immersion within the same EO jurisdiction, so I suppose it depends on who trained the priest.  I've seen veteran priests immerse babies thrice but without the head ever getting wet, and I've seen newer priests do standard immersions.  I've seen some immerse with the method you seem to describe (even done cross-wise); one time it looked so violent I wasn't surprised at the vehemence with which the child screamed for the rest of the service.  There doesn't seem to be one way to do it.  

In our tradition, on the other hand, there is very much a standard way to do it, and much of this is due to the symbolic meaning of the rituals.  For instance, the child faces East while the priest faces West in order to baptise him.  The priest keeps his right hand on the child's head and uses the left hand to pour.  This is the exact opposite of what you would expect (right hand to pour, left hand imposed on head), but it's because the priest is facing West and not East: inverting the movements allows for the Cross to be signed from East to West to North to South, whereas the priest doing it as he is accustomed would make an upside down cross (West to East to South to North).  In a similar way, the other rituals are highly symbolic, and changing them pretty much changes their meaning.  I suspect that changing the method of how the washing occurs within the rite was deemed more appropriate than changing the rite itself to accommodate one particular method of washing.  

Quote
Also, why do Indians like to put those tacky Christmas lights in their churches?

Because Bollywood.  

Seriously, I'm not sure.  Tacky Christmas lights seems to be a pretty universal form of adorning churches throughout many parts of the old world.  It's actually a practice that unites EO and OO.  I'm not too keen on tacky, but I live with it when I encounter it.  

A veteran OCA priest once spoke to me about "tacky lights" in at least one of his former parishes.  His explanation was that when it became possible to decorate churches with electric lights in this way, the people didn't consider it to be "tacky" but a "worthy offering" befitting the sanctuary.  Standards change.    
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« Reply #13 on: August 17, 2014, 04:22:27 PM »

Now you have.

I actually did remember this story, but there was bleeding and bruising and all kinds of suspicious things going on with it, so I didn't take it as normative.
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« Reply #14 on: August 17, 2014, 04:32:20 PM »

Now you have.

I actually did remember this story, but there was bleeding and bruising and all kinds of suspicious things going on with it, so I didn't take it as normative.

I don't think it's normative in any of the rites for babies to drown, but fair enough. 
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« Reply #15 on: August 17, 2014, 04:34:18 PM »

A few moments later, you will see how the anointing with Chrism is performed: three Crosses with Chrism on the forehead, one each on the various sense organs, followed by the anointing of the entire body with Chrism.  

i love how the rest of the chrismation oil goes on the hair! how very indian!

LOL.  The anointing is supposed to start at the head and end at the feet.  The cultural appeal of oiled hair is incidental.  Smiley
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« Reply #16 on: August 17, 2014, 06:33:50 PM »

I have had several Romanian parents be very concerned about their infant drowning because there has been a recent instance of a child dying in Romania at baptism, though I think that actually it was the result of some other serious and undiagnosed condition rather than drowning. Others have expressed fears the child would develop a phobia of water.
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« Reply #17 on: August 17, 2014, 07:51:00 PM »

I have had several Romanian parents be very concerned about their infant drowning because there has been a recent instance of a child dying in Romania at baptism, though I think that actually it was the result of some other serious and undiagnosed condition rather than drowning. Others have expressed fears the child would develop a phobia of water.

Why are Romanians going to a Coptic church? Are they confused about the type of church you are, or are you guys the only church in the area?
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« Reply #18 on: August 17, 2014, 08:41:33 PM »

So we don't go into a tangent, I believe you can find the answer to your question here

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,60124.msg1169852.html#msg1169852

and in reply 22 of the same thread.   Smiley
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« Reply #19 on: August 18, 2014, 05:17:55 PM »

Most Coptic priests I have seen do something more or less like this with infants:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=fqqzPJYlR-0#t=227
https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=m4oW1o3u_fo#t=672
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« Reply #20 on: August 18, 2014, 06:52:26 PM »


That is just too darn cute.  angel
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