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Author Topic: Orthodox in Germany now recognize heterodox baptisms  (Read 4046 times) Average Rating: 0
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scamandrius
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« on: July 05, 2007, 04:23:27 PM »

Does anyone have any information as to which Orthodox or Oriental Orthodox hierarchs or representatives were part of this? 

http://www.anglicanjournal.com/issues/2007/133/junejuly/06/article/baptisms-recognized/

Baptisms recognizedEcumenical News International
Jul 3, 2007
Magdeburg, Germany
Eleven German denominations – including Protestant, Roman Catholic, Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox and Anglican churches – have formally recognized each other’s baptism, at an ecumenical ceremony here.

Baptism is a “powerful bond of Christian unity,” said Bishop Wolfgang Huber of the Evangelical Church in Germany, at the recent service.

Bishop Huber noted the “immense symbolism” of celebrating the service at Magdeburg cathedral, which has a 1,000-year-old baptismal font, thought to be the oldest being used in Germany.

“We are gathered round a font at which baptism has been celebrated in the name of the triune God for more than a millennium,” said Bishop Huber. “This font represented the one baptism, to which we bear witness today, even before the division between Eastern and Western Christianity [in 1054] and long before the beginning of the Reformation.”

In Germany this is the first formal agreement on baptism at a national level.
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« Reply #1 on: July 05, 2007, 04:39:02 PM »

I thought there was something along these lines a few years ago as well?
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« Reply #2 on: July 05, 2007, 05:38:04 PM »

That's all nice with warm fuzzies, but I doubt any priest there will give a non-Orthodox Communion.  All this really means is that we kinda-sorta agree on the "outward form" of their "baptisms" in the case they convert to Orthodoxy (i.e. those in the "agreement" would be Chrismated and not Baptized.
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« Reply #3 on: July 05, 2007, 06:35:36 PM »

That's all nice with warm fuzzies, but I doubt any priest there will give a non-Orthodox Communion.  All this really means is that we kinda-sorta agree on the "outward form" of their "baptisms" in the case they convert to Orthodoxy (i.e. those in the "agreement" would be Chrismated and not Baptized.

Uh...no. I seriously doubt the Orthodox prelates involved in that meeting put that spin on it. If they were really concerned about leaving the impression that they recognized other baptisms as true and grace-filled, they would not have participated in that ecumenical gathering---because that is just the impression they have left.
« Last Edit: July 05, 2007, 06:36:01 PM by lubeltri » Logged
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« Reply #4 on: July 05, 2007, 06:49:54 PM »

Interesting. The MP thought it important to issue a "clarification" in response to that joint statement:

A Statement of the Department of External Church Relations of the Russian Orthodox Church concerning the signing of a document on mutual recognition of baptisms by several churches in Germany.

On April 29, 2007, in Magdeburg (Germany), there was signed a declaration of mutual recognition of baptism by several churches of that country, including the Roman Catholic and several Protestant denominations. On the declaration there is also the signature of Archbishop Longin of Klin, who acted in the name of, and as delegated by, the Commission of the Orthodox Church in Germany (KOKiD), headed by a bishop of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, Metropolitan Avgoustinos, and established with the aim of coordinating the activities of various Orthodox jurisdictions in that country.

At the same time, the Orthodox participants in the preparation of this declaration adopted a document titled "A Note from the Working Group of the Commission of the Orthodox Church in Germany concerning the practice implementation of the declaration on baptism".

This document, in part, says that the reception of heterodox Christians into the Orthodox Church by Chrismation "takes place [...] if the baptism which has already been performed outside the Orthodox Church corresponds to the Orthodox understanding".

The document of the Orthodox Working Group also says: "In the Orthodox Church there cannot be one fixed procedure or form for reception of all baptized Christians, since, aside from local traditions, much depends on individual spiritual needs, and therefore is within the competence of the clergy involved in the reception of those who desire to be received into the Church".

It is a known fact that in worldwide Orthodoxy, and in part, in the Russian Orthodox Church, for many centuries there has been a theological discussion which still continues, on the order of receiving heterodox Christians into the Orthodox Church. The changes that now are taking place in the teaching and practice of some Protestant communities, makes it quite necessary to examine this question in a conciliar fashion.

In November of this year, in Moscow there will be an international theological conference of the Russian Orthodox Church on "Orthodox Teaching about the Church's Sacraments", in which Orthodox theologians will be able to discuss this subject.

In connection with this, the Communications Service of the Department of External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate is empowered to declare, that the signing of this
document by Archbishop Longin of Klin, who acted not in the name of the Russian Orthodox Church or her Diocese in Germany, but as a representative of the KOKiD, at the request of her presiding officer Metropolitan Avgoustinos, represents only the personal opinion of Vladyka Longin.
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« Reply #5 on: July 05, 2007, 07:17:22 PM »

Good for them.
I found it hard to believe all 15 churches would agree to that gooey stuff.
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« Reply #6 on: July 05, 2007, 07:41:01 PM »

Good for them.
I found it hard to believe all 15 churches would agree to that gooey stuff.

Yeah, it gets stuck in your teeth.
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« Reply #7 on: July 05, 2007, 08:09:23 PM »

Quote
This document, in part, says that the reception of heterodox Christians into the Orthodox Church by Chrismation "takes place [...] if the baptism which has already been performed outside the Orthodox Church corresponds to the Orthodox understanding".

In other words, "if the outward form of baptism resembles the Orthodox form of baptism then reception by Chrisimation is permissible".
.....I fail to see the issue.

Moscow's insistence on not agreeing with this prior to it's upcoming theological conference is just petty posturing. What are they gonna do? Break Communion with every Church who receives by Chrisimation? Not recognise as Orthodox those who have been received by Chrisimation? Oh please! Stupid power games....nothing more.
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« Reply #8 on: July 06, 2007, 10:26:11 AM »

Are we sure this is a 'power game' ploy? Was Moscow represented?
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« Reply #9 on: July 08, 2007, 04:06:19 PM »

'The mainstream media don't get religion.'

Chances are a Western reporter covering this story wouldn't research each church's understanding of baptism. It's easier to fall back on the common Western Catholic and classical Protestant understandings: these churches recognise each other's baptisms anyway.

As I think the document from the Orthodox Working Group in Germany and the notice from the Russian Church point out all it means from the Orthodox POV is they recognise the orthodox Western form of baptism with water in the name of the Trinity but still define as doctrine that they only know for sure that Orthodox baptism has grace because it's in the Church. The valid form of other churches is filled in with grace when the person is received into Orthodoxy.

Even in a worst-case scenario from the Orthodox POV, if the local Orthodox bishops in Germany signed a doctrinal statement saying all churches' baptisms have grace, they'd only be representing themselves not changing what Orthodoxy teaches.

BTW an Orthodox priest told me that the three biggest Orthodox denominations in the US, the Greek Archdiocese, the Antiochian Archdiocese and the OCA, similarly have agreed not to receive baptised converts from other churches through baptism. In fact it's forbidden in all three. Not the same as saying non-Orthodox baptism has grace in itself but I understand how an observer would think that.
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« Reply #10 on: July 08, 2007, 06:34:30 PM »

I'm not sure, but if I was to take a guess, it wouldn't be the Coptic Church, since we view baptism sorta differently.  If OO's, perhaps Armenians and Indians, the two churches I know that recognize as George described:  "if the outward form of baptism resembles the Orthodox form of baptism then reception by Chrismation is permissible."

God bless.
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« Reply #11 on: July 30, 2007, 08:55:33 PM »

Is this really news to folks?  Huh

The Greek Archdiocese in the U.S. receives baptised Christians through chrismation only - provided they have been baptised with a Trinitarian formula (as I understand, some Protestant churches baptise in the name of "Jesus only" and these are not recognized).

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« Reply #12 on: July 30, 2007, 09:14:40 PM »

you are right in that this isn't new since it has been a debate going on in the Church since the 3rd Century. Different practices have been in effect in different area at different time periods. Nothing new here and it isn't just the Greek Archdiocese who receives by Chrismation in the United States.
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« Reply #13 on: July 30, 2007, 10:08:57 PM »

BTW an Orthodox priest told me that the three biggest Orthodox denominations in the US, the Greek Archdiocese, the Antiochian Archdiocese and the OCA, similarly have agreed not to receive baptised converts from other churches through baptism. In fact it's forbidden in all three. Not the same as saying non-Orthodox baptism has grace in itself but I understand how an observer would think that.

No, that isn't true.  I do not know about the Antiochians or the Greeks, but I do know that there is no such prohibition in the OCA, and in fact the official policy(though often not practiced by a number of priests) in the Diocese of the West is to baptize all Protestant converts, and Catholics can be baptized if they wish.  I was Episcopalian before being Orthodox and I was baptized into the OCA. 
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« Reply #14 on: July 30, 2007, 10:57:34 PM »

No, that isn't true.  I do not know about the Antiochians or the Greeks, but I do know that there is no such prohibition in the OCA, and in fact the official policy(though often not practiced by a number of priests) in the Diocese of the West is to baptize all Protestant converts, and Catholics can be baptized if they wish.  I was Episcopalian before being Orthodox and I was baptized into the OCA. 
I am aware of a couple of OCA-DOW parishes in my home city who baptize converts from Protestantism, but I was not aware that this was ever official diocesan policy.  I think +Tikhon (now retired) preferred to baptize such converts, but I am under the impression that he never contradicted the recommendation out of Syosset (which was his canonical privilege to do so) by mandating (re)baptism.  With +Benjamin at the helm, who knows what will become of our diocesan practice of allowing (mandating?) (re)baptism of Protestants.
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« Reply #15 on: July 31, 2007, 01:28:16 AM »

I am aware of a couple of OCA-DOW parishes in my home city who baptize converts from Protestantism, but I was not aware that this was ever official diocesan policy.  I think +Tikhon (now retired) preferred to baptize such converts, but I am under the impression that he never contradicted the recommendation out of Syosset (which was his canonical privilege to do so) by mandating (re)baptism.  With +Benjamin at the helm, who knows what will become of our diocesan practice of allowing (mandating?) (re)baptism of Protestants.

I don't think it IS "official DOW policy" - just what tends to happen since the DOW has been more traditional than other dioceses.
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« Reply #16 on: July 31, 2007, 01:46:11 AM »

I heard from the abbot of a monastery in the DOW that +Benjamin is even more traditional than Tikhon and advocates the baptism of EVERYONE, and may well make it official policy. 
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« Reply #17 on: July 31, 2007, 02:42:02 AM »

Does the DOW of the OCA require couples who convert to have an Orthodox wedding after they convert? I know this is the practice of the GOA, that all couple who convert must have an Orthodox wedding.
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« Reply #18 on: July 31, 2007, 07:39:49 AM »

I heard from the abbot of a monastery in the DOW that +Benjamin is even more traditional than Tikhon and advocates the baptism of EVERYONE, and may well make it official policy. 

Funny thing about that... IIRC, Dr. Patsavos (our Canon law professor, who also consults the GOA and the Carpatho-Russian Diocese) told us that the issue of baptism of converts and whatnot could only be decided by synod (so, for example, only the GOA's Eparchial Synod, or the OCA's Synod) and not by the individual bishop, since the decision is bigger than a local diocesan one, but rather affects the entire church in a particular area.
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« Reply #19 on: July 14, 2009, 09:16:29 AM »

I think the Orthodox Bishops in Germany have made it quite clear that this means simply that people who have been baptised with a trinitarian formula, will be received by Chrismation if they become Orthodox.
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« Reply #20 on: July 14, 2009, 11:09:50 PM »

Dear Friends:

The divergence in practice regarding the form for reception of converts, like so much in our church life is due to history. The ancient canons provided for two options. Those of the heterodox who wished to convert were to be received by Chrismation, if the group they were converting from had maintained a belief in the Holy Trinity and in the incarnation of the Theanthropos. Those who were converting from other heterodox or schismatic groups were to be received by baptism, their prior baptism being considered null. This practice is still generally followed by the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the Church of Greece and the Antiochian Patriarchate.

Later in Russia, however, during the reign of Tsar Peter the Great, this rule was modified in the civil legislation that governed the church after the abolition of the Russian Patriarchate (i.e. during the Synodal period). This legislation, the Church Regulation (Tserkovniy Regimyent) provided a series of methods of conversion tailored to differing Christian confessions. Eastern Rite Catholics were received simply through sacramental confession and communion. Roman Catholics were received through a Confession of Faith, absolution and communion. Most Protestants were received through a Confession of Faith, absolution, Chrismation and communion. The specific Confession of Faith required of each group was tailored to its particular divergence from Orthodox theology. Muslims and Jews were, of course, received through baptism. This regualtion is, as far as I know, still operative within the Moscow Patriarchate; but is currently being reconsidered, as noted in a previous post.

The provisions of the Tservkovniy Regimyent were observed throughout the Russian church, including all the émigré churches, until the 1960's. Beginning in the 1970's the OCA began to follow the ancient canons, under the influence of Frs. Schmemman and Meyendorff, who were Byzantine scholars. At about he same time, under influence of the Holy Trinity Monastery in Brookline, the ROCOR began to receive all its converts through baptism. This practice went so far, that in the late 1970’ or perhaps early 1980’s a convert parish of former Episcopalians who had been chrismated by the Antiochian Archdiocese were received into the ROCOR and re-baptized, and their priest re-ordained. More recently, the monks of an OCA Monastery went to Mt. Athos where they, too, were re-baptized, to the chagrin of their diocesan bishop, Archbishop Dmitri of Dallas. That community is now part of the Jerusalem Patriarchate.

One of the arguments for re-baptizing all converts is that the various Protestant churches appear to have rapidly evolving theological standards, and it is no longer possible to determine with certainty, whether they indeed do uphold the belief in the Holy Trinity and the Incarnation.

The problem with the changing standards for receiving converts is that it has created confusion about the validity of prior conversions. Here in Oklahoma, one of the ROCOR priests has had to repeatedly defend the validity of his Orthodox identity and his priesthood from other members of the ROCOR because he was received from the Roman Catholic Church through Chrismation back in the 1970’s.

The fact that the OCA has no standard practice is unfortunate; but understandable given the general drift and confusion over recent decades. Sadly, the intellectual weight of the OCA’s founders was not carried on after the first generation, and some of the
OCA’s hierarchs have not had a sound theological education to inform their opinions about various subjects.

There is also a sort of posturing behind a lot of this. Currently, it is very fashionable in certain circles to appear a “traditionalist”, with a trailing beard, maximalist liturgical practices, extreme strictness in various observances, and an artificial nostalgia for some “pure Orthodoxy” of the past.
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« Reply #21 on: July 15, 2009, 01:45:59 AM »

When I was brought into ROCOR, the priest chose to re baptize me.  However he did state that he believed that my RC baptism was valid in his eyes.  It was just that I was considering possibly becoming a ROCOR priest at the time and he thought it a good idea to re baptize me leas the folks up at Jordanville would cause a fuss later on.

Since ROCOR has entered into canonical communion with the MP, do they still observe the re baptism rule or do they now just usually do chrismation?

Also, does the OCA universally do chrismation for converts or do some of their priest re baptize RC's and Prot's?

What about the usual practice in the MP?

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