Author Topic: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries  (Read 109258 times)

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Offline Shanghaiski

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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #270 on: January 07, 2014, 01:24:19 AM »
Also, perhaps those monks thought the people did not have baptisms at all before becoming orthodox, for example, A protestant might get a "baptism" which is not immersion, but sprinkles. second, to say "Father, Son, and Holy Spirit" does God give any grace to the protestant minister who does such a baptism since they are outside the Church? What if it was a female minister of the anglican church? Did the holy spirit have any action in such a baptism which was not correct in any way besides "Father, Son, and Holy Spirit"? Can it be called a baptism? I ask you since you are a priest so perhaps can give me answers since I am not sure.

You stick to your priest's decision. Does not matter whether you like it or not.

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I have another question, do different jurisdictions have different viewpoints on chrismation vs baptism of converts?

Yes. You stick to yours.

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I have heard that at times some heresies, the converts were to be chrismated, in other heresies the converts were to be only baptized, such as for Arians, and of Iconoclasts.

IIRC Arians were chrismated according to Trullo.

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Why to not tell the priest? That is really weird.

Your first point here.

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personally, I did not trust my baptism in any way which I had got in my protestant church, and would not have felt comfortable with chrismation

Your comfort is the least important thing in this.

Yes, because the person's soul has no bearing whatever on the exercise of economy.
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Offline Gunnarr

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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #271 on: January 07, 2014, 01:26:27 AM »
Also, perhaps those monks thought the people did not have baptisms at all before becoming orthodox, for example, A protestant might get a "baptism" which is not immersion, but sprinkles. second, to say "Father, Son, and Holy Spirit" does God give any grace to the protestant minister who does such a baptism since they are outside the Church? What if it was a female minister of the anglican church? Did the holy spirit have any action in such a baptism which was not correct in any way besides "Father, Son, and Holy Spirit"? Can it be called a baptism? I ask you since you are a priest so perhaps can give me answers since I am not sure.

You stick to your priest's decision. Does not matter whether you like it or not.

Quote
I have another question, do different jurisdictions have different viewpoints on chrismation vs baptism of converts?

Yes. You stick to yours.

Quote
I have heard that at times some heresies, the converts were to be chrismated, in other heresies the converts were to be only baptized, such as for Arians, and of Iconoclasts.

IIRC Arians were chrismated according to Trullo.

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Why to not tell the priest? That is really weird.

Your first point here.

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personally, I did not trust my baptism in any way which I had got in my protestant church, and would not have felt comfortable with chrismation

Your comfort is the least important thing in this.

Yes, because the person's soul has no bearing whatever on the exercise of economy.
make sure to add another end quote while quoting that post there is one missing
« Last Edit: January 07, 2014, 01:26:37 AM by Gunnarr »
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Offline frjohnmorris

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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #272 on: January 07, 2014, 03:49:43 AM »
I think the Antiochians have done a lot; changing the name of the church from "Syrian" to "Antiochian" was probably pioneering.

You can thank this man for that:



You can tell by the hat that this Bishop is wearing that he is not Eastern Orthodox. He is Oriental Orthodox. Bishops of the Eastern Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch wear a khamalavikia and veil like all other Eastern Orthodox  Bishops. He could be Syriac or Coptic. I am not sure. 

Fr. John W. Morris

 ;)
« Last Edit: January 07, 2014, 03:52:01 AM by frjohnmorris »

Offline frjohnmorris

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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #273 on: January 07, 2014, 05:42:42 AM »
Unfortunately, I have heard differently directly from people who have been to confession at some monasteries. I have also had the experience of serving a mission close to one of these monasteries. The monks Baptized  children from my parish without having the courtesy to inform me. One of our Antiochian Bishops has told me about the problems caused by monks telling people received into the Orthodox Church by Chrismation that they are were not properly received into the Church and need to come to the monastery for a so called corrective Baptism. It is heresy to Baptize someone who was received into the Eastern Orthodox Church through Chrismation, because it denies the grace that they received through their Chrismation, which perfects whatever was lacking in their non-Orthodox Baptism.

Fr. John W. Morris

Have you gone through the proper jurisdictional channels to address this? 

Glancing at the second Ecumenical Council Canon 7 and sixth Ecumenical Council Canon 95, how is it determined from which group the penitent heretic hails?   

Canon 7:
  "As for those heretics who betake themselves to Orthodoxy, and to the lot of the saved, we accept them in accordance with the subjoined sequence and custom; viz.: Arians, and Macedonians, and Sabbatians, and Novatians, those calling themselves Cathari (or “Puritans”), and (those calling themselves) Aristeri[60] (Note of Translator. — This designation may be based upon the Greek word aristos, meaning “best,” though as a word it signifies “lefthand.”), and the Quartodecimans (quasi “Fourteenthists,” to use the English language in this connection), otherwise known as Tetradites (though in English this term is applied to an entirely different group of heretics), and Apollinarians we accept when they offer libelli (i.e., recantations in writing) and anathematize every heresy that does not hold the same beliefs as the catholic and apostolic Church of God, and are sealed first with holy myron (more usually called “chrism” in English) on their forehead and their eyes, and nose, and mouth, and ears; and in sealing them we say: “A seal of a free gift of Holy Spirit.” As for Eunomians, however, who are baptized with a single immersion, and Montanists, who are here called Phrygians, and the Sabellians, who teach that Father and Son are the same person, and who do some other bad things, and (those belonging to) any other heresies (for there are many heretics here, especially such as come from the country of the Galatians:[61] all of them that want to adhere to Orthodoxy we are willing to accept as Greeks. Accordingly, on the first day we make (Note of Translator. — The meaning of this word here is more exactly rendered “treat as”) them Christians; on the second day, catechumens; then, on the third day, we exorcize them with the act of blowing thrice into their face and into their ears; and thus do we catechize them, and we make them tarry a while in the church and listen to the Scriptures; and then we baptize them."


Canon 95: "As for heretics who are joining Orthodoxy and the portion of the saved, we accept them in accordance with the subjoined sequence and custom. Arians and Macedonians and Novations, who called themselves Cathari[236] and Aristeri,[237] and the Tessarakaidekatitae, or, at any rate, those called Tetradites and Apolinarists, we accept, when they give us certificates (called libelli); and when they anathematize every heresy that does not believe as the holy catholic and Apostolic Church of God believes, and are sealed, i. e., are anointed first with holy myron on the forehead and the eyes, and the nose and mouth, and the ears, while we are anointing them and sealing them we say, “A seal of a gift of Holy Spirit.” As concerning Paulianists who have afterwards taken refuge in the Catholic Church, a definition has been promulgated that they have to be rebaptized without fail. As for Eunomians, however, who baptize with a single immersion, and Montanists who are hereabouts called Phrygians and Sabellians, who hold the tenet Hyiopatoria (or modalistic monarchianism) and do other embarrassing things; and all other heresies — for there are many hereabouts, especially those hailing from the country of the Galatians[238] — as for all of them who wish to join Orthodoxy, we accept them as Greeks. Accordingly, on the first day, we make them Christians; on the second day, catechumens; after this, on the third day we exorcise them by breathing three times into their faces and into their ears. And thus we catechize them, and make them stay for a long time in church and listen to the Scriptures, and then we baptize them. As for Manicheans, and Valentinians, and Marcionists, and those from similar heresies, they have to give us certificates (called libelli) and anathematize their heresy, the Nestorians, and Nestorius, and Eutyches and Dioscorus, and Severus, and the other exarchs of such heresies, and those who entertain their beliefs, and all the aforementioned heresies, and thus they are allowed to partake of holy Communion."





On what exactly are you basing your very public charge of heresy? 

My baptismal certificate from the Greek Archdiocese is signed by the Priest who performed the Sacrament of Baptism, the sponsor and approved by the Metropolitan.  Are you saying that the presiding Metropolitan did not approve those baptisms, or that there is something amiss that should be brought to the attention of the Metropolitan? 

Is it correct protocol to bring these charges on an internet forum, without having the Metropolitan in charge of that monastery present, or possibly not even informed of what has taken place?

Here are the only relevant Canons I could find, and which have given me great pause when considering your post:

Second Ecumenical Canon 6:
 

"If, however, certain persons are neither heretics nor excluded from communion, nor condemned, nor previously charged with any offenses, should declare that they have an accusation of an ecclesiastical nature against a Bishop, the holy Council bids these persons to lodge their accusations before all the Bishops of the province and before them to prove the charges against the Bishop involved in the case. But if it so happen that the provincial Bishops are unable to or incompetent to decide the case against the Bishop and make the correction due, then they are to go to a greater synod of the Bishops of this diocese summoned to try this case. And they are not to lodge the accusation until they themselves have in writing agreed to incur the same penalty if in the course of the trial it be proved that they have been slandering the accused Bishop. But if anyone, scorning what has been decreed in the foregoing statements, should dare either to annoy the emperor’s ears or to trouble courts of secular authorities or an ecumenical council to the affrontment of all the Bishops of the diocese, let no such person be allowed to present any information whatever, because of his having thus roundly insulted the Canons and ecclesiastical discipline."



Fourth Ecumenical Council Canon 9:


If any Clergyman has a dispute with another, let him not leave his own Bishop and resort to secular courts, but let him first submit his case to his own Bishop, or let it be tried by referees chosen by both parties and approved by the Bishop. Let anyone who acts contrary hereto be liable to Canonical penalties. If, on the other hand, a Clergyman has a dispute with his own Bishop, or with some other Bishop, let it be tried by the Synod of the province. But if any Bishop or Clergyman has a dispute with the Metropolitan of the same province, let him apply either to the Exarch of the diocese or to the throne of the imperial capital Constantinople, and let it be tried before him.




Did the standing Bishops of the Americas not just have a meeting to begin to address these jurisdictional issues in real and tangible ways?  Was this issue brought up before the Bishops in that meeting? 

Did they all point fingers and each other and declare one another a heretic?

Fourth Ecumenical Council Canon 12:

It has come to our knowledge that some persons, by resorting to the civil authorities, have obtained pragmatics whereby they have contrived to divide one province into two, contrary to the ecclesiastical Canons, and as a result there are two Metropolitans in one and the same province. The holy Council has therefore made it a rule that no Bishop shall hereafter be allowed to do such a thing. For, if anyone shall attempt to do so, he shall forfeit his own rank. As for all those cities which have already been honored with the name of Metropolis by letters of the Emperor, let them enjoy only the honor, and likewise the Bishop who is administering its church; it being left plain that the rights properly belonging to the real Metropolis are to be preserved to this Metropolis (alone)

Fourth Ecumenical Council Canon 18:


The crime of conspiracy, or of faction (i.e., of factious partisanship), already prohibited by secular laws, ought still more to be forbidden to obtain in the Church of God. If, therefore, there be found any Clergymen, or Monastics, to be conspiring or to be engaged in factiousness of any kind, or hatching plots against Bishops or Fellow Clergymen[103] they shall forfeit their own rank altogether.

Fourth Ecumenical Council Canon 19:

 It has come to our ears that the canonically prescribed Synods of Bishops are not held in the provinces, and as a result of this fact many ecclesiastical matters in need of correction are neglected. The holy Council, therefore, has made it a rule, in accordance with the Canons of the Holy Fathers, for the Bishops to meet twice a year in convention somewhere in each province, wherever the Bishop of the Metropolis designates, and for all matters to be corrected that may come up. As for those Bishops, on the other hand, who fail to attend the meeting, but who, instead of doing so, remain at home in their respective cities, and lead their lives therein in good health and free from every indispensable and necessary occupation, they are to be reprimanded in a brotherly way.



Fourth Ecumenical Council Canon 21:


Clergymen or laymen accusing Bishops or Clergymen are not to be allowed to file charges against them promiscuously and without investigation until their own reputation has been examined into.

Did you perchance wear any non-clerical garb in the week preceding chrismation? 


Sixth Ecumenical Council Canon 6:


 Let no one on the Clerical List don inappropriate clothing, either when living in the city or when walking the road; but, on the contrary, let him wear costumes that have already been assigned to the use of those who are enrolled in the Clergy. If anyone should commit such a violation, let him be excommunicated for one week.



Sixth Ecumenical Council Canon 31:

 As for those Clergymen who hold a liturgy in oratories or prayerhouses or in private residences, or who carry out a baptism therein, without having obtained the consent of the local Bishop to do this, we decree that if any Clergyman fail to guard against doing this, let him be deposed from office.

Sixth Ecumenical Council Canon 34:

In view of the fact that the sacerdotal Canon clearly states that as the crime of conspiracy or of faction is utterly forbidden even by civil laws, it is much more fitting still that this be prohibited from occurring in the Church of God, we too are sedulous to insist that if any Clergymen or Monks be found either conspiring together or engaging in factional intrigues or hatching plots against Bishops or fellow Clergymen, they shall forfeit their own rank altogether.



And for a Father Confessor to speak frankly with soul charged to his care according to his good judgement is provided for in the Canons:



Sixth Ecumenical Council Canon 102


Those who have received from God authority to bind and to loose must take into consideration the quality of the sin, and the willingness and readiness of the sinner to return, and thus offer a treatment suited to the sin in question, lest by employing an immoderate adjustment in one direction or the other, they fail in compassing the salvation of the one ailing. For, the diseases called sin are not simple affairs, but, on the contrary, various and complex, and they produce many offshoots of the injury, as a result whereof the evil becomes widely diffused, and it progresses until it is checked[253] by the power of the one treating it. So that a person who is professing the science of treating ailments as a spiritual physician ought first to examine the disposition of the sinner, and ascertain whether he tends to health or on the contrary provokes the malady to attack him by his own actions; at the same time bearing in mind that he must provide against any reversion, and considering whether the patient is struggling against the physician, and whether the ulcer of the soul is being aggravated by the application of the remedy; and accordingly to mete out mercy in due proportion to the merits of the case. For all that matters to God and to the person undertaking pastoral leadership consists in the recovery of the straying sheep, and in healing the one wounded by the serpent. Accordingly, he ought not to drive the patient to the verge of despair, nor give him rein[254] to dissoluteness and contempt of life, but, on the contrary, in at least one way at any rate, either by resorting to extremer and stringent remedies, or to gentler and milder ones, to curb the disease, and to put up a fight to heal the ulcer for the one tasting the fruits of repentance, and wisely helping him on the way to the splendid rehabilitation to which the man is being invited. We must therefore be versed in both, i.e., both the requirements of accuracy and the requirements of custom. In the case of those who are obstinately opposed to extremities, we must follow the formula handed down to us, just as sacred Basil teaches us outright.

 
And so is the marriage bed held to be undefiled in the Canons. 

As a person who is posting on this forum bearing the title of an Orthodox clergyman and who has leveled a charge of heresy against an Orthodox monastery and, it by association it would seem, on the Metropolitan in whose jurisdiction they reside, I hope this matter will be dealt with in a real way affording the parties being accused a chance to address the issue so as not to further alienate jurisdictions which are in reality one, holy, catholic and Orthodox faith.  Otherwise, it seems an injustice is taking place in the form of an accusation on an internet forum and the inevitable judgement in the court of public opinion with only one side represented.

I for one, have heard a ROCOR priest and other clergy express an opinion that it is better for heterodox to be baptized into the faith.   As far as I had read or heard, chrismation as it is practiced now is an economia.


Have you gone through the proper jurisdictional channels to address this? 

I RESPOND; Yes I did ask my Bishop to bring the problems caused by certain monasteries up to the Greek Orthodox Metropolitan with jurisdiction over the monastery without any result. This is one of the problems these monasteries are under the Greeks and I am Antiochian. I am not in a very good mood right now, so forgive me if I am blunt. I am suffering from a kidney stone and am in so much pain that I cannot sleep. It is 2:21 AM. I am due to have a second lithothrypthy (sp) on Thursday for this kidney stone. So forgive me if I am not in a very good mood. It is hard to be in a good mood when you feel that someone is sticking a knife in your groin.
I know that you are sincere and are trying to be a good and faithful Orthodox Christian.However, you are grossly misinformed on the historical practice of the Church for the reception of converts from schismatic and heretical groups.
At the risk of committing the sin of pride, I have to inform you that  I am quite familiar with this subject. When  the  controversy over the reception of converts began, I was put on the committee to consider this issue by  Metropolitan Philip. Since I am a PhD in history, I prepared a scholarly study of the historical practice of the Church for the reception of converts.  I found that the most common way to receive Catholics and Protestants Baptized with water, “In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” is through profession of faith and Chrismation. The Pan Orthodox Council of Constantinople which rejected the Union of Florence made the decision to receive Catholics through Chrismation in 1485. The Pan Orthodox Council of Jerusalem Bethlehem of 1672 that condemned Protestantism, particularly Calvinism and issued the Confession of Dositheus, one of the Symbolic Books of modern Orthodoxy decreed that Protestants should also be received by profession of faith and Chrismation. Last summer, I was asked by our Antiochian Bishops to revise the guidelines for the reception of converts for our Archdiocese. I did so. It was approved by Metropolitan Philip and sent to every Priest of the Antiochian Archdiocese. Thus, I am well qualified to write on this subject. Because of the fad of so called inclusive language such as “Creator, Redeemer and Sanctifier,” by some liberal Protestant groups our clergy must verify that the correct Trinitarian language was used in the non-Orthodox Baptism. If they cannot,  the convert must be received by Baptism.  I am also a special consultant to the Pastoral Committee of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America on Baptism and the reception of converts. I also serve as a consultant to the Committee on Ecumenical Affairs of the Bishop's Assembly which also deals with this subject. Years ago SCOBA decided that Baptized converts should be received by Chrismation.

Glancing at the second Ecumenical Council Canon 7 and sixth Ecumenical Council Canon 95, how is it determined from which group the penitent heretic hails?   

I RESPOND: Actually you are making a reference to Canon 95 of the Council in Trullo which was recognized as a continuation of the 6th Ecumenical Council by the 7th Ecumenical Council. As I have already mentioned, the most common practice of the Eastern Orthodox Church as ratified by two Pan-Orthodox Councils applies Canon 95 of the Council of Trullo to allow for the reception of Catholics and Protestants who have been Baptized with water “In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,” by profession of faith and Chrismation. The Oros of 1755 issued by Patriarch Cyril V of Constantinople which required all converts to be received by Baptism, was not universally accepted by the Eastern Orthodox Church. Russia ignored it. Antioch rejected it as an innovation. Since 1888 even Constantinople no longer follows the Oros of 1755 which is of questionable authority since it was issued by Patriarch Cyril V without the approval of the Holy Synod of Constantinople.

On what exactly are you basing your very public charge of heresy? 

I RESPOND: It is heresy to deny the power of Chrismation to correct whatever was lacking in the non-Orthodox Baptism because Chrismation completes whatever was lacking in the non-Orthodox Baptism.  That is why Canon 95 of Trullo could allow converts from various heretical groups to enter the Church through profession of faith and Chrismation.

My baptismal certificate from the Greek Archdiocese is signed by the Priest who performed the Sacrament of Baptism, the sponsor and approved by the Metropolitan.  Are you saying that the presiding Metropolitan did not approve those baptisms, or that there is something amiss that should be brought to the attention of the Metropolitan? 

I RESPOND: The official guidelines for the reception of converts into the Greek Archdiocese mandates the reception of a Baptized convert by Chrismation. Actually the official guidelines of every canonical Eastern Orthodox jurisdiction in America allows for the reception of converts by Chrismation. Even ROCOR which routinely receives converts by Baptism, allows a Bishop to receive a baptized Catholic or Protestant by Chrismation as an act of economy. No recognized authority on this subject denies that a convert Baptized outside of the Church can  become Orthodox through Chrismation. Even Fr. George D. Metallinos admits this in his book “I Confess One Baptism.” 

Is it correct protocol to bring these charges on an internet forum, without having the Metropolitan in charge of that monastery present, or possibly not even informed of what has taken place?

I RESPOND: I do not believe that any Metropolitan of the Greek Archdiocese would sanction the practice of so called corrective baptism. Actually, I have not accused anyone of heresy by name. I have simply stated that the practice of so called corrective Baptism is heretical. There was a case years ago in Atlanta in the OCA in which Archbishop Demetri suspended a Priest who submitted to a “corrective baptism.” Once in a private conversation Fr. Alexander Schmemann told me that it is “blasphemy of the Holy Spirit,” to Baptize someone who was received by Chrismation

Here are the only relevant Canons I could find, and which have given me great pause when considering your post:

Second Ecumenical Canon 6:
 

I RESPOND: Have you had  a course in Eastern Orthodox canon law from an accreditedited Eastern Orthodox Seminary? Nothing is more dangerous than for a person without the proper training in the principles of Eastern Orthodox Canon Law to pick up a copy of The Rudder and start quoting canons. You simply are not qualified to interpret the canon law without proper training in the principles of Eastern Orthodox Canon Law.

Did the standing Bishops of the Americas not just have a meeting to begin to address these jurisdictional issues in real and tangible ways?  Was this issue brought up before the Bishops in that meeting? 

I RESPOND: Not yet, because the Pastoral Committee has not completed its report which deals not only with the reception of converts, but marriage, funerals and several other matters. However,  the Pastoral Committee of the Assembly of Bishops met in LA in May. I prepared the report for the meeting on the reception of converts and everyone there agreed with my conclusions. I am also a consultant to the Committee on Ecumenical Affairs of the Bishop's Assembly which also deals with this issue and agrees with my conclusions on this matter.

Did you perchance wear any non-clerical garb in the week preceding chrismation? 

I RESPOND: I wear what my Bishops requires me to wear when I am carrying out my clerical duties and almost always when I leave my home. What I wear at home or even when I am carrying our my Priestly duties is none of your business. It is not your place to judge me or anyone else by what I wear. I wear black pants and a black clerical shirt with a clerical collar, because that is what my Bishop has instructed me to wear.  The canons require clergy to dress as clergy, but does not specify exactly what they should wear. That is because these things have changed through the centuries. In Greece married Priests like myself only began to wear cassocks outside of the Church grounds or a monastery during the 19th century. Before that they dressed as an ordinary layman, but in darker colors. In the 19th century the Holy Synod of Russia decreed that clergy serving outside of Orthodox lands should dress as a proper gentleman. Even St. Tikhon wore a businessman's suite while serving in America.
 
And so is the marriage bed held to be undefiled in the Canons. 

I RESPOND: The official guidelines published by the Holy Synod of Russia for Confessors during the 19th century forbids a Priest hearing a Confession from asking too many personal questions about the intimate sexual relations between a husband and a wife. When  I was told that a monk asked one of my spiritual children questions about the intimate sexual relations with their husband, I asked my Bishop if that is proper and was told that the monk was completely out of line to ask such personal questions of a married woman.

As a person who is posting on this forum bearing the title of an Orthodox clergyman and who has leveled a charge of heresy against an Orthodox monastery and, it by association it would seem, on the Metropolitan in whose jurisdiction they reside, I hope this matter will be dealt with in a real way affording the parties being accused a chance to address the issue so as not to further alienate jurisdictions which are in reality one, holy, catholic and Orthodox faith.  Otherwise, it seems an injustice is taking place in the form of an accusation on an internet forum and the inevitable judgement in the court of public opinion with only one side represented.

I RESPOND: I was very careful how I expressed myself. I did not name any monastery or accuse anyone of heresy. I wrote that the practice of “corrective Baptism” is heretical. The practice of “corrective baptism” of someone who was received by Chrismation and has received Communion in the Church is against the teaching of the Holy Fathers. Read Canon I of the 1st Canonical Epistle of St. Basil the Great. In it he expresses disagreement with the decision of  an unnamed Bishop in Asia to receive by Chrismation someone he believes should be received by Baptism, but recognizes the authority of the Asian Bishops to make decisions how to receive converts in their own diocese, writing,  “Because some in Asia have otherwise determined, let [their baptism] be allowed: but not that of the Encratites; for they have altered their baptism, to make themselves incapable of being received by the Church. Yet custom and the Fathers, that is bishops, who have the administration, must be followed;”
Since you list yourself as Antiochian, you should show proper respect for the decision of our Antiochian Bishops which is to receive Baptized converts by Chrismation.
Archpriest John W Morris, PhD
« Last Edit: January 07, 2014, 05:49:43 AM by frjohnmorris »

Offline Gunnarr

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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #274 on: January 07, 2014, 06:40:25 AM »
Offtopic,

What do you think of Fr. George Metallinos? I have not read the "I confess one Baptism" but rather simply some articles he has written in greek  (By the way do you know more than one language?)
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Offline Santagranddad

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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #275 on: January 07, 2014, 07:24:54 AM »
Offtopic,

What do you think of Fr. George Metallinos? I have not read the "I confess one Baptism" but rather simply some articles he has written in greek  (By the way do you know more than one language?)

It is a very interesting read, not least for the historical perspective he gives. And well qualified too.

Offline TheTrisagion

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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #276 on: January 07, 2014, 10:09:32 AM »
Fr. John, I am sorry to hear of your kidney stones.  I have never had them, but I have heard horror stories.  You are in my prayers.

Thank you for your contributions on this forum.  I greatly appreciate the advice and insight you provide.  :)
God bless!

Offline jah777

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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #277 on: January 07, 2014, 10:44:12 AM »
One of our Antiochian Bishops has told me about the problems caused by monks telling people received into the Orthodox Church by Chrismation that they are were not properly received into the Church and need to come to the monastery for a so called corrective Baptism. It is heresy to Baptize someone who was received into the Eastern Orthodox Church through Chrismation, because it denies the grace that they received through their Chrismation, which perfects whatever was lacking in their non-Orthodox Baptism.

It is important to understand that such a teaching regarding the reception of converts and "corrective baptism" of those not received into Orthodoxy by baptism is a teaching that is very commonly encountered in the Jerusalem Patriarchate, the Church of Greece, Mt. Athos, and elsewhere.  I know people who were received by Chrismation, visited Jerusalem, and were told there that they must have an Orthodox baptism in order to receive communion.  Convert clergy who were received without baptism have been baptized in Greece and Mt. Athos before being allowed to serve in these locations.  The basis of this teaching is very firmly rooted in the canons of the Church, the decree of the Council of 1755 (signed by the Patriarchates of Constantinople, Jerusalem, and Alexandria), the interpretations of the canons made by St. Nikodemos, etc.  The reception of converts by means other than baptism leads to a lot of confusion over whether non-Orthodox sacraments are salvific.

The common practice of accepting converts without baptism who had previously received a "baptism" in the name of the Holy Trinity is based mostly on the teachings of Blessed Augustine and neglects the patristic and canonical tradition of the Orthodox Church.  For instance, the seventh canon of the Second Ecumenical Council states that the Eunomians were to be received by baptism for the sole reason that they had not received three full immersions.  St. Nikodemos was emphatic that Latins must receive baptism since they are heretics and no longer baptized people with three full immersions.  Met Anthony (Khrapovitsky) reviewed all of the canons related to the application of economy in the reception of converts and concluded that a convert could be received without baptism only if 1) they received three full immersions in the name of the Holy Trinity, and 2) the external form of Apostolic Succession was retained by those who performed the baptism.  Today, all of these principles are cast aside and converts are routinely chrismated in many jurisdictions based solely on the claim that the former "baptism" was conducted in the name of the Holy Trinity.

See:

http://www.oodegr.com/english/biblia/baptisma1/par2.htm

http://www.oodegr.com/english/biblia/baptisma1/perieh.htm

http://orthodoxinfo.com/ecumenism/stnikodemos_latinbaptism.aspx

http://orthodoxinfo.com/ecumenism/khrap_econ.aspx

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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #278 on: January 07, 2014, 10:53:32 AM »
I know people who were received by Chrismation, visited Jerusalem, and were told there that they must have an Orthodox baptism in order to receive communion.  Convert clergy who were received without baptism have been baptized in Greece and Mt. Athos before being allowed to serve in these locations. 

Are the convert clergy who undergo such "corrective baptism" also required to submit to "corrective tonsuring as reader" and "corrective ordination as subdeacon, deacon, and/or priest" before being allowed to serve in those places?  If not, why not? 
How this relates to the coming Antichrist? I don't know...

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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #279 on: January 07, 2014, 11:05:29 AM »
I know people who were received by Chrismation, visited Jerusalem, and were told there that they must have an Orthodox baptism in order to receive communion.  Convert clergy who were received without baptism have been baptized in Greece and Mt. Athos before being allowed to serve in these locations. 

Are the convert clergy who undergo such "corrective baptism" also required to submit to "corrective tonsuring as reader" and "corrective ordination as subdeacon, deacon, and/or priest" before being allowed to serve in those places?  If not, why not? 

I admit that I am not well acquainted with such accounts but my understanding is that an Orthodox person who has not received baptism would just receive whatever was lacking in that reception.  This would be done just to make sure all was done properly and to erase any question in the mind of the convert, and in the minds of those with whom the convert clergy might be serving, regarding that convert's status in the Church.  Such an act does not imply that anything was lacking in the chrismation, ordination, etc.; it only completes what was lacking in the initial reception.

That being said, I really don't know if the monasteries under Elder Ephraim perform "corrective baptisms".  Since I was received into the Church by baptism, it is not an issue I have struggled with, though when I was a catechumen I did feel very strongly that we should be baptized and petitioned my priest and bishop in the OCA to this end.  The bishop gave his blessing, and so we were baptized.

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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #280 on: January 07, 2014, 11:15:15 AM »
Concerning the reception of the non-Orthodox by baptism, I though I would include this short personal account of Archimandrite Placide (Deseille), a very well respected patristic scholar and Eastern Rite Catholic abbot who later converted to Orthodoxy and was received into the Church by baptism.  Fr. Placide's account appears in the book:

The Living Witness of the Holy Mountain: Contemporary Voices from Mount Athos
Translated, with introduction and notes by Hieromonk Alexander (Golitzin), pp.63-93.

Note: The book's author/compiler is now Bishop Alexander of Toledo and the Bulgarian diocese in the OCA.

Quote
THE QUESTION OF BAPTISM

During our first conversations with Father Aemilianos, the abbot of Simonos Petras, about our entry into Orthodoxy, he had not concealed from us that, in his eyes, the customary and most appropriate form of entry into the Orthodox Church was through baptism.  I had never thought about this aspect of Orthodox ecclesiology and, at the time, was quite surprised by it.  I made a careful study of the problem, beginning with the canonical and patristic sources.  I also found several articles, written by Catholic and Orthodox theologians and canonists, to be quite helpful.

After a thorough examination of the question, and with the full agreement of our new abbot, it was decided that, when the time came, we would be received into the Orthodox Church by baptism.  This later aroused surprise and sometimes indignation in those Catholic or Orthodox circles that were little acquainted with the theological and canonical tradition of the Greek Church.  Since a large amount of inaccurate information has been circulated on this subject, I think it right to give here some historical and doctrinal details that will serve for a better understanding of the facts.

Since the third century two customs have co-existed in the Church for the reception of heterodox Christians: reception by the imposition of hands (or, by chrismation), and repetition of the baptismal rite already received in heterodoxy.  Rome accepted only the laying on of hands and strongly condemned the repetition of the baptism of heretics.  The Churches of Africa and Asia, on the other hand, held on the second practice, the most ardent defenders of which were Saints Cyprian of Carthage and Firmilian of Caesarea.  The latter two insisted on the bond that exists between the sacraments of the Church.  For them, a minister who had separated himself from the Church’s profession of faith had separated himself at the same time from the Church herself, and so could no longer administer her sacraments.

From the fourth century, the Roman doctrine on the validity of heterodox sacraments, upheld by the exceptional authority of Saint Augustine in the West, was imposed on the whole Latin Church, at least in matters of baptism.  The question of the validity of the heterodox ordination of priests was not generally accepted in the West until the thirteenth century.

In the East, however, thanks especially to the influence of Saint Basil, the ecclesiology and sacramental theology of Saint Cyprian never ceased to be considered as more in conformity with the tradition and spirit of the Church than the doctrine of Saint Augustine [who, in any case, was largely unknown in the Greek-speaking Church – ED.].  Baptism remained the absolute norm, akribeia [lit., exactness]; although, taking into account the practice of those local churches which recognized the baptism of heretics who did not deny the very fundamentals of the faith (the doctrine of the Trinity), it was accepted that when reasons of “economy” demanded it (that is, out of condescension for human weakness) they could be received by the laying on of hands, or Chrismation.

The principal canonical basis for the non-recognition of heterodox sacraments is the 46th Apostolic Canon which declares: “We ordain that a bishop, priest, or deacon who has admitted the baptism or sacrifice of heretics be deposed.”  These Apostolic Canons, confirmed by the VIth Ecumenical Council (in Trullo) in 692, comprise the foundations of Orthodox canon law.  The practice of economy in certain cases is authorized by Canon I of Saint Basil the Great.

At a later time, in the seventeenth century, the Russian Orthodox Church came under a very strong Latin influence, and was partially won over to the position of Saint Augustine.  She then decided to receive Catholics into Orthodoxy by confession and a profession of faith alone.  From the perspective of traditional Orthodox theology, this could only be accepted as a very generous instance of recourse to the principal of economy.

This explains the apparent contradictions found in the canonical texts of the Councils and the Fathers, as well as in the practice of the Orthodox Church down the centuries.  So far as present practice is concerned, the reception of Catholics by baptism is very clearly prescribed in the Pedalion, an official compendium of canon law for the Churches of the Greek language, in which the text of the canons is accompanied by commentaries by Saint Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain, a very great authority.  For the territories under the jurisdiction of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, the decree prescribing the rebaptism of Catholics has never been abolished.  As for the Church of Greece: “Those who with to embrace Orthodoxy must be invited to rebaptism, and only in those cases where this is not possible should they be received by anointing with Holy Chrism.”

Athos is a country were only monks live, who by virtue of their calling must strive to live out as best they can all the demands of Christian life and the Church’s Tradition.  They engage in no pastoral activity, nor do they seek to proselytize, that is, to draw people to Orthodoxy by making things easier for them.  It is therefore normal for them to abide by akribeia, though without blaming those who, finding themselves in different circumstances, have recourse to economy.

Athos’s vocation is akribeia in all spheres.  It is normal for the non-Orthodox who become monks there to be received by baptism.  Yet the monks of Athos are not men given to the constant condemnation of others, nor do they prefer severity to mercy, nor are they attached to a narrow-minded rigorism.  The issue is on an altogether different level.

Some people have written that by “imposing” a new baptism on us, the monks of Athos forced us to repudiate and mock the whole of our past as Catholic monks.  Others have also written that, to the contrary, it was we who asked for baptism, contrary to the wishes of our abbot, in order to satisfy the most rigorous minority of Athonite monks.  

These assertions have nothing to do with reality.  The monks of Athos in fact imposed nothing on us.  They did not oblige us to become Athonite monks, and they left us perfectly free to be received into Orthodoxy by different means elsewhere.  Nor were we looking to please anyone at all.  But since we had chosen, as we said above, to become monks of Mount Athos, we could only be received in the way accepted by men whom we held to be our fathers and brothers, and whose way of thinking we knew perfectly well.  We asked freely to be received by baptism, incomplete agreement with our abbot, because this procedure seemed to us both right and necessary for Athos, both theologically sound and canonically correct.  This was not to “deny” our Catholic baptism received in the name of the Trinity, but to confess that everything it signified was fulfilled by our entry into the Orthodox Church.  It was not to deny the real communion that exists between the Orthodox and Catholic Churches in much of their doctrine and sacramental practice, but it was to recognize that this communion in the faith is not perfect, and that, consequently, according to the most exact form of Orthodox theology, Catholic sacraments cannot be purely and simply recognized by the Orthodox Church.

I have been asked for my retrospective opinion on the sacraments that we had ourselves administered while still priests of the Roman Church.  I would simply reply that the Orthodox Church speaks more willingly about the “authenticity” and ”legitimacy” of sacraments than about their “validity.”  Only sacraments administered and received in the Orthodox Church are “authentic” and “legitimate” and, according to the usual order of things, the validity, or effective communication of grace, depends on this legitimacy.  But the Holy Spirit is free with His gifts, and He can distribute them without going through the usual channels of salvation wherever He finds hearts that are well-disposed.  Saint Gregory the Theologian said once: “Just as many of our own people are not really with us, because their lives separate them from the common body, so on the other hand many belong to us who outwardly are not ours, those whose conduct is in advance of their faith, who lack only the name, although they possess the reality itself.”  He goes on to cite the case of his own father who before his conversion was “a foreign bough, if you wish, but by his way of life, a part of us.”  We can therefore only leave this matter, with complete confidence, to the mercy of God.
« Last Edit: January 07, 2014, 11:20:01 AM by jah777 »

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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #281 on: January 07, 2014, 12:09:29 PM »
Fr. John, I am sorry to hear of your kidney stones.  I have never had them, but I have heard horror stories.  You are in my prayers.

Thank you for your contributions on this forum.  I greatly appreciate the advice and insight you provide.  :)

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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #282 on: January 07, 2014, 12:14:17 PM »
I know people who were received by Chrismation, visited Jerusalem, and were told there that they must have an Orthodox baptism in order to receive communion.  Convert clergy who were received without baptism have been baptized in Greece and Mt. Athos before being allowed to serve in these locations. 

Are the convert clergy who undergo such "corrective baptism" also required to submit to "corrective tonsuring as reader" and "corrective ordination as subdeacon, deacon, and/or priest" before being allowed to serve in those places?  If not, why not? 

No. Because those sacraments were conveyed by the Orthodox Church in Orthodox form. (I don't know about those Eastern Catholic clergy received through vesting--I'm not sure how often this happens.) The so-called corrective baptism, AFAIK, applies only to those who received non-Orthodox baptism. I have yet to hear of a case (in canonical Orthodoxy) where an Orthodox baby or adult was baptized through means other than triple immersion and then years later someone said they had to have a corrective baptism. I suppose this might be done, given St. Basil's teaching on economy in aerobaptism, but that seems a bit of a stretch.

AFAIK, it is not that easy to get a corrective baptism--even from those who do it. It's becoming less and less common. So, in the end, it may not endure as long as the thousand-year controversy about whether or not to kiss the chalice after communing.
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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #283 on: January 07, 2014, 12:17:29 PM »
I heard a story about Elder Sophrony of Essex. He was giving communion and a woman came up and he saw that, unlike the others, the visible grace around her (don't know how to explain it) was flickering, rather than shining like the others. He asked her if she was Orthodox. She said yes, that she had been chrismated. Then the elder gave her communion.
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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #284 on: January 07, 2014, 01:06:14 PM »
I admit that I am not well acquainted with such accounts but my understanding is that an Orthodox person who has not received baptism would just receive whatever was lacking in that reception.  This would be done just to make sure all was done properly and to erase any question in the mind of the convert, and in the minds of those with whom the convert clergy might be serving, regarding that convert's status in the Church.  Such an act does not imply that anything was lacking in the chrismation, ordination, etc.; it only completes what was lacking in the initial reception.

No. Because those sacraments were conveyed by the Orthodox Church in Orthodox form. (I don't know about those Eastern Catholic clergy received through vesting--I'm not sure how often this happens.) The so-called corrective baptism, AFAIK, applies only to those who received non-Orthodox baptism. I have yet to hear of a case (in canonical Orthodoxy) where an Orthodox baby or adult was baptized through means other than triple immersion and then years later someone said they had to have a corrective baptism. I suppose this might be done, given St. Basil's teaching on economy in aerobaptism, but that seems a bit of a stretch.

Baptism is the absolute prerequisite for receiving any of the other sacraments of the Church.  If a person is not baptised, you can't chrismate them, ordain them, and so on because such would have no effect on the person.  It's not like we can take a Jew, ordain him, and then baptise him twenty-five years later and declare him an archpriest in recognition of his years of ministry.  Baptism is necessary before anything else. 

So, as I see it, there are only two options. 

1.  You can accept that bishops have the right to exercise economy in the reception of heterodox Christians, as allowed in the canons, both in terms of the letter (when the type of heterodox Christian is named) and the spirit (applying the principles of the letter to types of heterodox Christian which are not named in the canons for one or the other reason).  If, for example, my bishop exercises strictness in the reception of converts, but another bishop with whom he is in communion exercises economy, my bishop and his local Church ought to accept as Orthodox someone whom he has accepted as Orthodox, even if we would've accepted him differently.  This is basically how the OO do things: some of us are more strict than others, but no one second guesses decisions already made. 

2.  If you believe in applying strictness to such an extent that you would do so-called "corrective baptism", you should have the consistency and the guts to do "corrective chrismation" and, if applicable, "corrective ordination(s)".  If the baptism was faulty, everything else is compromised.  Just because, as Shanghaiski suggests, the other sacraments were conveyed by the Orthodox Church in an Orthodox form doesn't mean anything.  "Corrective baptism" can't retroactively "fix" ordinations. 

ISTM that requiring "corrective baptism" without "correcting" anything else is a cowardly practice: people who advocate such things don't want to rock the boat too much (by requiring too many corrections and implicitly judging the jurisdiction of Orthodox bishops), but they are willing to rock it just enough to satisfy their preference for receiving everyone by baptism.  But in doing so and in rejecting the use of economy in this way, they're actually calling into question their faithfulness to that article of the Creed upon which they base their strictness.   
How this relates to the coming Antichrist? I don't know...

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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #285 on: January 07, 2014, 01:50:55 PM »
Also, perhaps those monks thought the people did not have baptisms at all before becoming orthodox, for example, A protestant might get a "baptism" which is not immersion, but sprinkles. second, to say "Father, Son, and Holy Spirit" does God give any grace to the protestant minister who does such a baptism since they are outside the Church? What if it was a female minister of the anglican church? Did the holy spirit have any action in such a baptism which was not correct in any way besides "Father, Son, and Holy Spirit"? Can it be called a baptism? I ask you since you are a priest so perhaps can give me answers since I am not sure.

You stick to your priest's decision. Does not matter whether you like it or not.

Not quite.

Proper information must be shared by the catechumen in order to insure that a proper decision can be made by the Bishop. One cannot assume anything as serious errors have been made.

I have heard of some Protestant and even Roman Catholic converts whose initial "baptism" was deemed not to be proper. For example, there have been older Roman Catholic priests and Anglican priests who have baptized or who are still baptizing, "In the name of the Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier" or other such genderless language that appeases the feminists. Even the Roman Catholic Pope has ruled that people "baptized" in that improper manner are to be Baptized using the biblical mandate, "In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit." This was discussed in a previous thread here.

There have been ROCOR, Antiochian, Greek, and OCA priests who upon finding that their catechumen was baptized by a militant lesbian priestess in the Anglican or one of the other Protestant denominations have urged the Bishop to consider reception by Baptism, and the Bishop did agree, because the original intention to baptize was accomplished in a rebellious anti-Christian manner. In another case, a catechumen, who had insisted that his baptism by a rabid anti-Catholic and anti-Orthodox protestant was not proper, was allowed to be received by Holy Baptism. Again, it was the rebellious and anti-Christian attitude of the Protestant minister that convinced the Bishop that those candidates did need to be received by Holy Baptism.
« Last Edit: January 07, 2014, 01:55:55 PM by Maria »
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Writings from the Philokalia: On Prayer of the Heart,
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Offline jah777

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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #286 on: January 07, 2014, 02:06:14 PM »
ISTM that requiring "corrective baptism" without "correcting" anything else is a cowardly practice: people who advocate such things don't want to rock the boat too much (by requiring too many corrections and implicitly judging the jurisdiction of Orthodox bishops), but they are willing to rock it just enough to satisfy their preference for receiving everyone by baptism.  But in doing so and in rejecting the use of economy in this way, they're actually calling into question their faithfulness to that article of the Creed upon which they base their strictness.   

Those who advocate "corrective baptisms" in the case of converts received without baptism would probably argue that nothing else needs to be corrected since everything else was done properly.  You and Fr. John may wish to force a certain implication, interpretation, belief, etc. into the minds and hearts of those who do such things; but I think the simple explanation of making sure all of the i's are dotted and t's are crossed is sufficient.  In saying this, I'm really not interested in defending or promoting corrective baptism. 

The story referenced above concerning Elder Sophrony reflects the belief that I have heard from other Athonite monks not associated with Elder Ephraim's monasteries, that experience has demonstrated that people go through a more complete transformation when they are received by baptism than by chrismation.  This is an observation made by those who have the experience and spiritual gifts to perceive such things and is not simply a matter of interpreting canons.  If you have this belief, it is understandable that you would recommend for those received without baptism to receive a proper Orthodox baptism.

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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #287 on: January 07, 2014, 03:41:26 PM »
Offtopic,

What do you think of Fr. George Metallinos? I have not read the "I confess one Baptism" but rather simply some articles he has written in greek  (By the way do you know more than one language?)

There is a whole chapter in my book on Orthodox Fundamentalism published by Light and Life on the issue of the reception of converts. A significant part of that chapter is a critique the book "I Confess One Baptism." To put is simply, he is wrong on several points. The most common historical practice of the Eastern Orthodox Church is to receive converts baptized outside of the Church by Catholics and Protestants with water "In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit..." by profession of faith and Chrismation. This is the only practice that has actually received the endorsement of Pan-Orthodox councils, for Catholics in Constantinople in 1485, for Protestants in Jerusalem and Bethlehem in 1672. This whole issue is an artificial argument being advanced by well meaning, but misinformed people and by some people who are overly influenced by the schismatic Old Calendarist Movement. It is also being advanced by some people who are using this argument to gain a following for themselves. I do not agree with everything in it, because I personally consider the reception of a convert through Chrismation an exercise of economy, but a very good discussion of this issue can be found in the joint statement of the North American Orthodox Roman Catholic dialogue at
http://www.usccb.org/beliefs-and-teachings/ecumenical-and-interreligious/ecumenical/orthodox/baptism-and-sacramental-economy.cfm

When dealing with this or any other matter we must do what the Church does and has done through the centuries, not what we think the Church should do or who can make the best argument on  what the Church should do. The advocates of reception only through Baptism can make a good argument, but that argument does not conform to  the historical practice of the Eastern Orthodox Church for the reception of converts from schismatic or heretical groups. Although canon law does allow a Bishop to instruct his Priests to receive all converts through Baptism, the same canon law also allows as Bishop to instruct his clergy to receive converts through Chrismation. Thus,  it is uncanonical, and in my opinion heretical,  to Baptize someone who has been received by Chrismation if their Bishop has mandated that they should be received by Chrismation. Once some has entered the Church regardless of how, as long as they are following the instructions of their Bishop,  they are fully Orthodox. We must remember that canonically the Bishop alone, following the practices mandated by his Primate and the Holy Synod under which he serves, has the authority to instruct his clergy how to receive converts. The Church has received converts from schismatic and heretical groups by profession of faith and Chrismation for centuries. If canon 95 of Trullo can mandate that a convert from Arianism which denied the divinity of Christ by profession of faith and Christmation, the Church can receive a Catholic or Protestant who does believe in the divinity of Christ by profession of faith and Chrismation.
If a convert came to me and demanded to be received through Baptism rather than Chrismation, I would not receive them. A convert must come to the Church on the Church's terms not their own terms. Any convert must be willing to accept the authority of the Church on this and all other doctrinal matters. One does not come to the Church with conditions. We do not need cafeteria Orthodox who decide for themselves what they believe. We need Orthodox who fully and without reservation accept the teachings and practices of the Church.

Fr. John  W. Morris

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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #288 on: January 07, 2014, 04:03:06 PM »
Those who advocate "corrective baptisms" in the case of converts received without baptism would probably argue that nothing else needs to be corrected since everything else was done properly.  You and Fr. John may wish to force a certain implication, interpretation, belief, etc. into the minds and hearts of those who do such things; but I think the simple explanation of making sure all of the i's are dotted and t's are crossed is sufficient.  In saying this, I'm really not interested in defending or promoting corrective baptism. 

If all bishops would agree to treat all non-Orthodox as if they were never baptised and simply receive everyone by baptism (except those specifically mentioned in the canons whose method of reception has been defined otherwise), I would be OK with that.  If all bishops would agree to respect prudential decisions made by other bishops, whether or not that's how they would've done it themselves, I would be OK with that too.  Of course, I take it for granted that the clergy and faithful would agree to abide by whatever choice the bishops committed themselves to in this regard and not "agitate".  So I'm not interested in "forcing" any particular belief or implication into the minds and hearts of those who correctively baptise because I don't really have an agenda to push regarding them. 

But it must be said that those who do such things, by the very act of doing them, are calling into question decisions made by bishops with whom they are in communion, and that is at the very least confusing to the faithful.  By all means, debate how a person should be received before they are received, but once they are received into the Church by a legitimate bishop (or priest acting in his name) in what is recognised as a legitimate method, why go through these other things?  The responsibility to cross t's and dot i's when receiving a convert belongs to the pastor (bishop and/or priest) of the convert, not to the clergy and/or monks of the place in which the visiting convert wishes to confess, commune, or serve. 

It's not sufficient to say that "everything else (chrismation, ordinations, etc.) was done properly" and so a corrective baptism is all that's necessary.  The sacraments are not simply a matter of performing the proper rites while saying the proper words.  If the baptism was defective to begin with (and "corrective baptism" is basically an affirmation of this), none of the other sacraments actually effected that which they were supposed to effect, because without baptism you can't receive the other sacraments.  Baptism doesn't retroactively correct priestly ordination because by definition baptism has to be the first thing. 

Those who support corrective baptism often justify their position precisely by pointing out that the sacraments are about more than just words and rites (e.g., it's not enough to use water and baptise with the Trinitarian formula) and so economy must not be abused, but somehow when it comes to administering other corrective sacraments along with baptism, they hesitate and fall back precisely on words and rites.  That's not consistent with basic sacramental theology, it's a patchwork theology that mixes economy with strictness and ruins both.           

Quote
The story referenced above concerning Elder Sophrony reflects the belief that I have heard from other Athonite monks not associated with Elder Ephraim's monasteries, that experience has demonstrated that people go through a more complete transformation when they are received by baptism than by chrismation.  This is an observation made by those who have the experience and spiritual gifts to perceive such things and is not simply a matter of interpreting canons.  If you have this belief, it is understandable that you would recommend for those received without baptism to receive a proper Orthodox baptism.

I don't have the requisite ascetic experience and spiritual gifts to perceive whether there is a more complete transformation when a person is baptised as opposed to merely chrismated.  But, IMO, this is not a matter of charismatic discernment, it's basic theology and canonical practice.  The only way a person can be received by chrismation is if the bishop determines that their heterodox baptism is acceptable.  Whether you define it as "the sacrament of baptism, as Orthodox understand it, was conferred by the heterodox" or "chrismation completes and heals whatever was lacking in the heterodox baptism", the grace of baptism is there, otherwise chrismation as economy would make no sense even as a possibility.  So if a non-Orthodox Christian is received through chrismation and is communed, sacramentally the "transformation" is the same. 

In the story above, it is obvious that, whatever Elder Sophrony's reservations were concerning this person and the method of her reception, it didn't prevent him from communing her without requiring a corrective baptism.  Was the spiritual condition of this person, which he observed as a flickering light compared to the others' brilliantly shining lights, merely because of economic chrismation?  Or were the others simply holier than she was?  Perhaps she withheld some sin in confession?  Maybe it was demonic manifestation intended to tempt the Elder into some sin.  Based on whatever was presented in this thread about that story, it's hard to conclude that the only reason for the phenomenon he experienced was the use of economy in the reception of that woman.  And the Elder, whatever his doubts, did not let them cloud his understanding of basic sacramental theology and his canonical/pastoral responsibilities.  It's an interesting anecdote, but essentially useless as evidence on behalf of "corrective baptism".   
How this relates to the coming Antichrist? I don't know...

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Offline Gunnarr

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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #289 on: January 07, 2014, 04:03:47 PM »
Offtopic,

What do you think of Fr. George Metallinos? I have not read the "I confess one Baptism" but rather simply some articles he has written in greek  (By the way do you know more than one language?)

There is a whole chapter in my book on Orthodox Fundamentalism published by Light and Life on the issue of the reception of converts. A significant part of that chapter is a critique the book "I Confess One Baptism." To put is simply, he is wrong on several points. The most common historical practice of the Eastern Orthodox Church is to receive converts baptized outside of the Church by Catholics and Protestants with water "In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit..." by profession of faith and Chrismation. This is the only practice that has actually received the endorsement of Pan-Orthodox councils, for Catholics in Constantinople in 1485, for Protestants in Jerusalem and Bethlehem in 1672. This whole issue is an artificial argument being advanced by well meaning, but misinformed people and by some people who are overly influenced by the schismatic Old Calendarist Movement. It is also being advanced by some people who are using this argument to gain a following for themselves. I do not agree with everything in it, because I personally consider the reception of a convert through Chrismation an exercise of economy, but a very good discussion of this issue can be found in the joint statement of the North American Orthodox Roman Catholic dialogue at
http://www.usccb.org/beliefs-and-teachings/ecumenical-and-interreligious/ecumenical/orthodox/baptism-and-sacramental-economy.cfm

When dealing with this or any other matter we must do what the Church does and has done through the centuries, not what we think the Church should do or who can make the best argument on  what the Church should do. The advocates of reception only through Baptism can make a good argument, but that argument does not conform to  the historical practice of the Eastern Orthodox Church for the reception of converts from schismatic or heretical groups. Although canon law does allow a Bishop to instruct his Priests to receive all converts through Baptism, the same canon law also allows as Bishop to instruct his clergy to receive converts through Chrismation. Thus,  it is uncanonical, and in my opinion heretical,  to Baptize someone who has been received by Chrismation if their Bishop has mandated that they should be received by Chrismation. Once some has entered the Church regardless of how, as long as they are following the instructions of their Bishop,  they are fully Orthodox. We must remember that canonically the Bishop alone, following the practices mandated by his Primate and the Holy Synod under which he serves, has the authority to instruct his clergy how to receive converts. The Church has received converts from schismatic and heretical groups by profession of faith and Chrismation for centuries. If canon 95 of Trullo can mandate that a convert from Arianism which denied the divinity of Christ by profession of faith and Christmation, the Church can receive a Catholic or Protestant who does believe in the divinity of Christ by profession of faith and Chrismation.
If a convert came to me and demanded to be received through Baptism rather than Chrismation, I would not receive them. A convert must come to the Church on the Church's terms not their own terms. Any convert must be willing to accept the authority of the Church on this and all other doctrinal matters. One does not come to the Church with conditions. We do not need cafeteria Orthodox who decide for themselves what they believe. We need Orthodox who fully and without reservation accept the teachings and practices of the Church.

Fr. John  W. Morris

This is such a problem in Orthodoxy, two Archpriests disagreeing with one another, two Ph. D's disagreeing with one another! No wonder the Catholics made an infallible pope, it makes it so much easier! (I am joking by the way)

Thank you for the clarifications
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Offline Shanghaiski

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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #290 on: January 07, 2014, 05:25:14 PM »
I admit that I am not well acquainted with such accounts but my understanding is that an Orthodox person who has not received baptism would just receive whatever was lacking in that reception.  This would be done just to make sure all was done properly and to erase any question in the mind of the convert, and in the minds of those with whom the convert clergy might be serving, regarding that convert's status in the Church.  Such an act does not imply that anything was lacking in the chrismation, ordination, etc.; it only completes what was lacking in the initial reception.

No. Because those sacraments were conveyed by the Orthodox Church in Orthodox form. (I don't know about those Eastern Catholic clergy received through vesting--I'm not sure how often this happens.) The so-called corrective baptism, AFAIK, applies only to those who received non-Orthodox baptism. I have yet to hear of a case (in canonical Orthodoxy) where an Orthodox baby or adult was baptized through means other than triple immersion and then years later someone said they had to have a corrective baptism. I suppose this might be done, given St. Basil's teaching on economy in aerobaptism, but that seems a bit of a stretch.

Baptism is the absolute prerequisite for receiving any of the other sacraments of the Church.  If a person is not baptised, you can't chrismate them, ordain them, and so on because such would have no effect on the person.  It's not like we can take a Jew, ordain him, and then baptise him twenty-five years later and declare him an archpriest in recognition of his years of ministry.  Baptism is necessary before anything else. 

So, as I see it, there are only two options. 

1.  You can accept that bishops have the right to exercise economy in the reception of heterodox Christians, as allowed in the canons, both in terms of the letter (when the type of heterodox Christian is named) and the spirit (applying the principles of the letter to types of heterodox Christian which are not named in the canons for one or the other reason).  If, for example, my bishop exercises strictness in the reception of converts, but another bishop with whom he is in communion exercises economy, my bishop and his local Church ought to accept as Orthodox someone whom he has accepted as Orthodox, even if we would've accepted him differently.  This is basically how the OO do things: some of us are more strict than others, but no one second guesses decisions already made. 

2.  If you believe in applying strictness to such an extent that you would do so-called "corrective baptism", you should have the consistency and the guts to do "corrective chrismation" and, if applicable, "corrective ordination(s)".  If the baptism was faulty, everything else is compromised.  Just because, as Shanghaiski suggests, the other sacraments were conveyed by the Orthodox Church in an Orthodox form doesn't mean anything.  "Corrective baptism" can't retroactively "fix" ordinations. 

ISTM that requiring "corrective baptism" without "correcting" anything else is a cowardly practice: people who advocate such things don't want to rock the boat too much (by requiring too many corrections and implicitly judging the jurisdiction of Orthodox bishops), but they are willing to rock it just enough to satisfy their preference for receiving everyone by baptism.  But in doing so and in rejecting the use of economy in this way, they're actually calling into question their faithfulness to that article of the Creed upon which they base their strictness.   

That's why I related it to St. Basil's economy in aerobaptism. No one who actually does corrective baptism denies the grace of the Holy Spirit operative in how else the convert was received, otherwise they would have redid all the other sacraments. It's one of those weird fuzzy areas, as far as I can tell. We can get red in the face about it as much as we want, but AFAIK, it is a practice that is passing away. And hopefully blanket economy will also pass away as non-Orthodox groups get weirder and weirder. That way, there will be no questions. I agree, it is a rather reckless thing, and frankly I'm not sure if it serves a good purpose for even the person who desires it. The apologists say that Orthodox baptism will aid in the spiritual life, etc. Well, I have seen several people known to me be baptized and then wander off into apostasy.
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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #291 on: January 07, 2014, 05:28:50 PM »
I admit that I am not well acquainted with such accounts but my understanding is that an Orthodox person who has not received baptism would just receive whatever was lacking in that reception.  This would be done just to make sure all was done properly and to erase any question in the mind of the convert, and in the minds of those with whom the convert clergy might be serving, regarding that convert's status in the Church.  Such an act does not imply that anything was lacking in the chrismation, ordination, etc.; it only completes what was lacking in the initial reception.

No. Because those sacraments were conveyed by the Orthodox Church in Orthodox form. (I don't know about those Eastern Catholic clergy received through vesting--I'm not sure how often this happens.) The so-called corrective baptism, AFAIK, applies only to those who received non-Orthodox baptism. I have yet to hear of a case (in canonical Orthodoxy) where an Orthodox baby or adult was baptized through means other than triple immersion and then years later someone said they had to have a corrective baptism. I suppose this might be done, given St. Basil's teaching on economy in aerobaptism, but that seems a bit of a stretch.

Baptism is the absolute prerequisite for receiving any of the other sacraments of the Church.  If a person is not baptised, you can't chrismate them, ordain them, and so on because such would have no effect on the person.  It's not like we can take a Jew, ordain him, and then baptise him twenty-five years later and declare him an archpriest in recognition of his years of ministry.  Baptism is necessary before anything else.  

So, as I see it, there are only two options.  

1.  You can accept that bishops have the right to exercise economy in the reception of heterodox Christians, as allowed in the canons, both in terms of the letter (when the type of heterodox Christian is named) and the spirit (applying the principles of the letter to types of heterodox Christian which are not named in the canons for one or the other reason).  If, for example, my bishop exercises strictness in the reception of converts, but another bishop with whom he is in communion exercises economy, my bishop and his local Church ought to accept as Orthodox someone whom he has accepted as Orthodox, even if we would've accepted him differently.  This is basically how the OO do things: some of us are more strict than others, but no one second guesses decisions already made.  

2.  If you believe in applying strictness to such an extent that you would do so-called "corrective baptism", you should have the consistency and the guts to do "corrective chrismation" and, if applicable, "corrective ordination(s)".  If the baptism was faulty, everything else is compromised.  Just because, as Shanghaiski suggests, the other sacraments were conveyed by the Orthodox Church in an Orthodox form doesn't mean anything.  "Corrective baptism" can't retroactively "fix" ordinations.  

ISTM that requiring "corrective baptism" without "correcting" anything else is a cowardly practice: people who advocate such things don't want to rock the boat too much (by requiring too many corrections and implicitly judging the jurisdiction of Orthodox bishops), but they are willing to rock it just enough to satisfy their preference for receiving everyone by baptism.  But in doing so and in rejecting the use of economy in this way, they're actually calling into question their faithfulness to that article of the Creed upon which they base their strictness.    

That's why I related it to St. Basil's economy in aerobaptism. No one who actually does corrective baptism denies the grace of the Holy Spirit operative in how else the convert was received, otherwise they would have redid all the other sacraments. It's one of those weird fuzzy areas, as far as I can tell. We can get red in the face about it as much as we want, but AFAIK, it is a practice that is passing away. And hopefully blanket economy will also pass away as non-Orthodox groups get weirder and weirder. That way, there will be no questions. I agree, it is a rather reckless thing, and frankly I'm not sure if it serves a good purpose for even the person who desires it. The apologists say that Orthodox baptism will aid in the spiritual life, etc. Well, I have seen several people known to me be baptized and then wander off into apostasy.

Was not Arian, himself, a baptized Orthodox Christian before he fell into heresy? Origen was also a baptized Orthodox Christian before he fell into heresy.

And was not Judas one of the Twelve?

Christ did say that there are wolves among us.

Baptism does not guarantee us a place in Heaven.
« Last Edit: January 07, 2014, 05:29:23 PM by Maria »
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Writings from the Philokalia: On Prayer of the Heart,
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Offline Shanghaiski

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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #292 on: January 07, 2014, 05:34:08 PM »
I admit that I am not well acquainted with such accounts but my understanding is that an Orthodox person who has not received baptism would just receive whatever was lacking in that reception.  This would be done just to make sure all was done properly and to erase any question in the mind of the convert, and in the minds of those with whom the convert clergy might be serving, regarding that convert's status in the Church.  Such an act does not imply that anything was lacking in the chrismation, ordination, etc.; it only completes what was lacking in the initial reception.

No. Because those sacraments were conveyed by the Orthodox Church in Orthodox form. (I don't know about those Eastern Catholic clergy received through vesting--I'm not sure how often this happens.) The so-called corrective baptism, AFAIK, applies only to those who received non-Orthodox baptism. I have yet to hear of a case (in canonical Orthodoxy) where an Orthodox baby or adult was baptized through means other than triple immersion and then years later someone said they had to have a corrective baptism. I suppose this might be done, given St. Basil's teaching on economy in aerobaptism, but that seems a bit of a stretch.

Baptism is the absolute prerequisite for receiving any of the other sacraments of the Church.  If a person is not baptised, you can't chrismate them, ordain them, and so on because such would have no effect on the person.  It's not like we can take a Jew, ordain him, and then baptise him twenty-five years later and declare him an archpriest in recognition of his years of ministry.  Baptism is necessary before anything else.  

So, as I see it, there are only two options.  

1.  You can accept that bishops have the right to exercise economy in the reception of heterodox Christians, as allowed in the canons, both in terms of the letter (when the type of heterodox Christian is named) and the spirit (applying the principles of the letter to types of heterodox Christian which are not named in the canons for one or the other reason).  If, for example, my bishop exercises strictness in the reception of converts, but another bishop with whom he is in communion exercises economy, my bishop and his local Church ought to accept as Orthodox someone whom he has accepted as Orthodox, even if we would've accepted him differently.  This is basically how the OO do things: some of us are more strict than others, but no one second guesses decisions already made.  

2.  If you believe in applying strictness to such an extent that you would do so-called "corrective baptism", you should have the consistency and the guts to do "corrective chrismation" and, if applicable, "corrective ordination(s)".  If the baptism was faulty, everything else is compromised.  Just because, as Shanghaiski suggests, the other sacraments were conveyed by the Orthodox Church in an Orthodox form doesn't mean anything.  "Corrective baptism" can't retroactively "fix" ordinations.  

ISTM that requiring "corrective baptism" without "correcting" anything else is a cowardly practice: people who advocate such things don't want to rock the boat too much (by requiring too many corrections and implicitly judging the jurisdiction of Orthodox bishops), but they are willing to rock it just enough to satisfy their preference for receiving everyone by baptism.  But in doing so and in rejecting the use of economy in this way, they're actually calling into question their faithfulness to that article of the Creed upon which they base their strictness.    

That's why I related it to St. Basil's economy in aerobaptism. No one who actually does corrective baptism denies the grace of the Holy Spirit operative in how else the convert was received, otherwise they would have redid all the other sacraments. It's one of those weird fuzzy areas, as far as I can tell. We can get red in the face about it as much as we want, but AFAIK, it is a practice that is passing away. And hopefully blanket economy will also pass away as non-Orthodox groups get weirder and weirder. That way, there will be no questions. I agree, it is a rather reckless thing, and frankly I'm not sure if it serves a good purpose for even the person who desires it. The apologists say that Orthodox baptism will aid in the spiritual life, etc. Well, I have seen several people known to me be baptized and then wander off into apostasy.

Was not Arian, himself, a baptized Orthodox Christian before he fell into heresy? Origen was also a baptized Orthodox Christian before he fell into heresy.

And was not Judas one of the Twelve?

Christ did say that there are wolves among us.

Baptism does not guarantee us a place in Heaven.

Indeed. Although, with respect to Origen, he died in communion with the Church and was not anathematized until centuries after his death--something at the time strange enough to cause scandal in itself.
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Offline LBK

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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #293 on: January 07, 2014, 05:48:37 PM »
The story referenced above concerning Elder Sophrony reflects the belief that I have heard from other Athonite monks not associated with Elder Ephraim's monasteries, that experience has demonstrated that people go through a more complete transformation when they are received by baptism than by chrismation.  This is an observation made by those who have the experience and spiritual gifts to perceive such things and is not simply a matter of interpreting canons.  If you have this belief, it is understandable that you would recommend for those received without baptism to receive a proper Orthodox baptism.

Then what of those who are proclaimed Orthodox saints, but who were received into the Church by chrismation? New-martyr Elizabeth the Grand Duchess is one that immediately comes to mind. To say that chrismation bestows an imperfect or incomplete transformation is dangerous and damaging, to say the least.

The service for chrismation is the same as that for baptism. Only the sections directly related to the blessing of the baptismal water and the immersion are omitted.
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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #294 on: January 07, 2014, 05:55:44 PM »
That's why I related it to St. Basil's economy in aerobaptism.

I would prefer not to introduce aerobaptism into this discussion unless it's deemed absolutely necessary.  I'm not really sure what to make of the practice for a few reasons (e.g., its only support, AFAIK, is St Basil, it is not common, outside of EO circles no one seems to even know of it let alone accept it, etc.). 

Quote
No one who actually does corrective baptism denies the grace of the Holy Spirit operative in how else the convert was received, otherwise they would have redid all the other sacraments. It's one of those weird fuzzy areas, as far as I can tell. We can get red in the face about it as much as we want, but AFAIK, it is a practice that is passing away. And hopefully blanket economy will also pass away as non-Orthodox groups get weirder and weirder. That way, there will be no questions. I agree, it is a rather reckless thing, and frankly I'm not sure if it serves a good purpose for even the person who desires it. The apologists say that Orthodox baptism will aid in the spiritual life, etc. Well, I have seen several people known to me be baptized and then wander off into apostasy.

Generally, I agree with you.  Regarding that first sentence, though, I would really love to know how they justify corrective baptism for converts with their acceptance of the working of the Holy Spirit in their economic reception. 
How this relates to the coming Antichrist? I don't know...

Quote
The erection of one’s rod counts as a form of glory (Theophylaktos of Ohrid, A Defense of Eunuchs, p. 329).

Offline Shanghaiski

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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #295 on: January 07, 2014, 05:56:38 PM »
The story referenced above concerning Elder Sophrony reflects the belief that I have heard from other Athonite monks not associated with Elder Ephraim's monasteries, that experience has demonstrated that people go through a more complete transformation when they are received by baptism than by chrismation.  This is an observation made by those who have the experience and spiritual gifts to perceive such things and is not simply a matter of interpreting canons.  If you have this belief, it is understandable that you would recommend for those received without baptism to receive a proper Orthodox baptism.

Then what of those who are proclaimed Orthodox saints, but who were received into the Church by chrismation? New-martyr Elizabeth the Grand Duchess is one that immediately comes to mind. To say that chrismation bestows an imperfect or incomplete transformation is dangerous and damaging, to say the least.

The service for chrismation is the same as that for baptism. Only the sections directly related to the blessing of the baptismal water and the immersion are omitted.

I don't think they're saying that.

And the latter assumes that the service of chrismation is done the same every time. I've rarely seen it done the same way twice.

As far as I can tell, whether to baptize or to chrismate a convert is a fuzzy thing, relying more on things like the present political circumstances, what have we been doing for the last few decades, and intuition. The last person to be thought of is the individual convert who is usually overawed in the first place (and willing to do and believe whatever). Later, if the convert has an issue, he's fed more about the need to have faith and obedience. Well, that's all well and good, but the question has not been answered satisfactorily.
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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #296 on: January 07, 2014, 06:01:26 PM »
As far as I can tell, whether to baptize or to chrismate a convert is a fuzzy thing, relying more on things like the present political circumstances, what have we been doing for the last few decades, and intuition. The last person to be thought of is the individual convert who is usually overawed in the first place (and willing to do and believe whatever). Later, if the convert has an issue, he's fed more about the need to have faith and obedience. Well, that's all well and good, but the question has not been answered satisfactorily.

This is a good point.  Even if Orthodox theologians can point to historical precedent and say that economic reception of RC's and Protestants has been accepted and practiced for centuries, there's nothing consistent about it except the inconsistency in practice.  Various local Churches decided on economy or strictness based on current political circumstances, theological predilections, "doing what the other guys don't do", etc.  It would be good, IMO, to remove these factors as far as possible from the decision on whether or not to use economy and judge the matter based on principles of faith and the pastoral needs of the convert and the local community. 
How this relates to the coming Antichrist? I don't know...

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Offline Shanghaiski

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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #297 on: January 07, 2014, 06:02:14 PM »
That's why I related it to St. Basil's economy in aerobaptism.

I would prefer not to introduce aerobaptism into this discussion unless it's deemed absolutely necessary.  I'm not really sure what to make of the practice for a few reasons (e.g., its only support, AFAIK, is St Basil, it is not common, outside of EO circles no one seems to even know of it let alone accept it, etc.). 

Quote
No one who actually does corrective baptism denies the grace of the Holy Spirit operative in how else the convert was received, otherwise they would have redid all the other sacraments. It's one of those weird fuzzy areas, as far as I can tell. We can get red in the face about it as much as we want, but AFAIK, it is a practice that is passing away. And hopefully blanket economy will also pass away as non-Orthodox groups get weirder and weirder. That way, there will be no questions. I agree, it is a rather reckless thing, and frankly I'm not sure if it serves a good purpose for even the person who desires it. The apologists say that Orthodox baptism will aid in the spiritual life, etc. Well, I have seen several people known to me be baptized and then wander off into apostasy.

Generally, I agree with you.  Regarding that first sentence, though, I would really love to know how they justify corrective baptism for converts with their acceptance of the working of the Holy Spirit in their economic reception. 

I would too. It does sound more Latin, if that cliche can be forgiven. But consider that we operate through the tangible. There's no tangible element in the chrismation service that makes reference to baptism. And that non-Orthodox baptism is not properly regarded as a baptism in the first place, but only something thought to have the form--though that is often questionable as well. Consider what is the need, nowadays, to chrismate converts? It used to be they were chrismated due to expediency--to make it easier for them to come in; and for political reasons--so that hostile heretics would not get as upset. I don't think those two reasons exist any longer to the extent they once did. So now there is just the question of the individual convert--does he want to be baptized? Since it's no necessity to chrismate in 99 percent of cases. But instead we fall back on something which is rather nebulous. And we continue to sing "As many as have been baptized..."
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Offline Shanghaiski

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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #298 on: January 07, 2014, 06:03:50 PM »
As far as I can tell, whether to baptize or to chrismate a convert is a fuzzy thing, relying more on things like the present political circumstances, what have we been doing for the last few decades, and intuition. The last person to be thought of is the individual convert who is usually overawed in the first place (and willing to do and believe whatever). Later, if the convert has an issue, he's fed more about the need to have faith and obedience. Well, that's all well and good, but the question has not been answered satisfactorily.

This is a good point.  Even if Orthodox theologians can point to historical precedent and say that economic reception of RC's and Protestants has been accepted and practiced for centuries, there's nothing consistent about it except the inconsistency in practice.  Various local Churches decided on economy or strictness based on current political circumstances, theological predilections, "doing what the other guys don't do", etc.  It would be good, IMO, to remove these factors as far as possible from the decision on whether or not to use economy and judge the matter based on principles of faith and the pastoral needs of the convert and the local community. 

And the inconsistency doesn't speak well for Orthodox sacramentology. If baptism is so important, why rely so much on an understanding of chrismation which is, frankly, not present either in Scripture, that raises more questions than it answers.
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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #299 on: January 07, 2014, 06:06:44 PM »
I would too. It does sound more Latin, if that cliche can be forgiven. But consider that we operate through the tangible. There's no tangible element in the chrismation service that makes reference to baptism.

What do you mean by this?
How this relates to the coming Antichrist? I don't know...

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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #300 on: January 07, 2014, 06:09:54 PM »
I would too. It does sound more Latin, if that cliche can be forgiven. But consider that we operate through the tangible. There's no tangible element in the chrismation service that makes reference to baptism.

What do you mean by this?

In Baptism, there is the anointing with the oil of gladness (olive oil) which is a prefiguration of Holy Chrism, is it not?
The memory of God should be treasured in our hearts like the precious pearl mentioned in the Holy Gospel. Our life's goal should be to nurture and contemplate God always within, and never let it depart, for this steadfastness will drive demons away from us. - Paraphrased from St. Philotheus of Sinai
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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #301 on: January 07, 2014, 06:31:29 PM »
I would too. It does sound more Latin, if that cliche can be forgiven. But consider that we operate through the tangible. There's no tangible element in the chrismation service that makes reference to baptism.

What do you mean by this?

Was I unclear? Water is for baptism. Oil is for chrismation. But where it the tangible sign of the working of the Holy Spirit in the chrismation service for the person who has not received Orthodox baptism? Even if the other elements are there--and they're not always--where is the physical sign? Where is the sacramental theology in practice that is the whole thing to which the understanding of the chrismation filling up the empty form with grace refers? Does that make more sense?
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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #302 on: January 07, 2014, 06:50:15 PM »
I would too. It does sound more Latin, if that cliche can be forgiven. But consider that we operate through the tangible. There's no tangible element in the chrismation service that makes reference to baptism.

What do you mean by this?

Was I unclear? Water is for baptism. Oil is for chrismation. But where it the tangible sign of the working of the Holy Spirit in the chrismation service for the person who has not received Orthodox baptism? Even if the other elements are there--and they're not always--where is the physical sign? Where is the sacramental theology in practice that is the whole thing to which the understanding of the chrismation filling up the empty form with grace refers? Does that make more sense?

It does not have to make sense. Remember the Greek word for "sacrament" is "mystery." The sacramental theology is in the historic practice of the Eastern Orthodox Church, the canons, and the decisions of Pan-Orthodox Councils which without a doubt allow for the reception of a convert through Chrismation.  The Church is guided by the Holy Spirit. Its historical practices are infallible whether we understand them or not and should not be questioned by any faithful Orthodox Christian.

Fr. John W. Morris

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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #303 on: January 07, 2014, 07:03:06 PM »
I would too. It does sound more Latin, if that cliche can be forgiven. But consider that we operate through the tangible. There's no tangible element in the chrismation service that makes reference to baptism.

What do you mean by this?

Was I unclear? Water is for baptism. Oil is for chrismation. But where it the tangible sign of the working of the Holy Spirit in the chrismation service for the person who has not received Orthodox baptism? Even if the other elements are there--and they're not always--where is the physical sign? Where is the sacramental theology in practice that is the whole thing to which the understanding of the chrismation filling up the empty form with grace refers? Does that make more sense?
The Church is guided by the Holy Spirit. Its historical practices are infallible whether we understand them or not and should not be questioned by any faithful Orthodox Christian.

Fr. John W. Morris

Yes the Church is guided by the Holy Spirit. But, no, that does not give a blanket infallibility for its historical practices--which are myriad and certainly need to be questioned.

Consider at least the first three ecumenical councils. Nicea I broke the conciliar tradition up to that point by ejecting the three dissident bishops who would not agree to homoousios. Constantinople 1 reversed that trend and opted not to use St. Gregory's words on the Holy Spirit in the Creed for the sake of bringing in the Macedonians, even though the Church believes St. Gregory's words exactly. And at Ephesus 1, St. Cyril would not even wait for Patriarch John of Antioch to get there before convening and finishing the council, thus opening the future to further problems. You see, each of these three councils were not made in an understanding of infallibility for all time, but were pragmatic and products of their time. That does not leave the faith of these councils open to debate, but if one is going to forbid questioning of anything, then one is going to have far more problems. Certainly the Church can and should be able to handle questions. Bishops all have done and will do different things over time depending on the circumstances. They have acted as seemed right one way, and then reversed course. It is not cut and dried. Much as our understanding of the Holy Spirit guiding the church is not cut and dried.
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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #304 on: January 07, 2014, 07:08:35 PM »
Was I unclear?

Bear with me, because I'm still not getting it.  :P

Quote
Water is for baptism. Oil is for chrismation. But where it the tangible sign of the working of the Holy Spirit in the chrismation service for the person who has not received Orthodox baptism? Even if the other elements are there--and they're not always--where is the physical sign? Where is the sacramental theology in practice that is the whole thing to which the understanding of the chrismation filling up the empty form with grace refers? Does that make more sense?

What do you mean by "tangible sign" if you don't mean the water and the oil? 

What are the "other elements" that may or may not be there?  And where is "there"? 
How this relates to the coming Antichrist? I don't know...

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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #305 on: January 07, 2014, 07:18:55 PM »
It does not have to make sense. Remember the Greek word for "sacrament" is "mystery." The sacramental theology is in the historic practice of the Eastern Orthodox Church, the canons, and the decisions of Pan-Orthodox Councils which without a doubt allow for the reception of a convert through Chrismation.  The Church is guided by the Holy Spirit. Its historical practices are infallible whether we understand them or not and should not be questioned by any faithful Orthodox Christian.

Fr. John W. Morris

Father,

With respect, I really wish you didn't express things in this way.  "Mystery" does not (need to) mean "non-sense".  Our faith teaches us that there are many things which don't make sense to us that are nevertheless not merely true but logical in the deepest sense of that word.  Mystery is not opposed to reason.   

And as for the Church's "historical practices", what is the criterion for determining what is and what is not a "historical practice" enjoying infallibility?  What do "history" and "practice" even mean in this context?  The wearing of cassocks by clergy both "on" and "off duty" is a "historical practice" predating both of us, and yet neither of us would identify that as "infallible" and "not to be questioned".  "Historical practice" is one type of evidence, but it does not a theology make, much less an infallible theology. 
How this relates to the coming Antichrist? I don't know...

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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #306 on: January 07, 2014, 07:29:58 PM »
I realize I have no weight here really, but I would think that when it comes to baptism, whatever the Church has taught has to be pretty much infallible. If not, you are risking people who think they are entering the Church and really are not. If the only way you can be brought in is by baptism and chrismation alone is insufficient, all those who have been brought in that way are deceived.
God bless!

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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #307 on: January 07, 2014, 07:38:03 PM »
I realize I have no weight here really, but I would think that when it comes to baptism, whatever the Church has taught has to be pretty much infallible. If not, you are risking people who think they are entering the Church and really are not. If the only way you can be brought in is by baptism and chrismation alone is insufficient, all those who have been brought in that way are deceived.

I'm not sure why we need to see things always in such stark, black and white terms, given the history we have and the variance of practice. I, personally, have no need of infallibility in anything apart from God. I was taught that only in Him is there infallibility.

"Whatever the Church has taught"--and that has been several things with regard to how to receive converts. There is not some blessed document somewhere on which everyone everywhere has always agreed on and followed. (I, personally, am not at all bothered by this, or by how people are received. Even corrective baptisms don't bother me, given the rest of how converts have been received.
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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #308 on: January 07, 2014, 07:42:20 PM »
Was I unclear?

Bear with me, because I'm still not getting it.  :P

Quote
Water is for baptism. Oil is for chrismation. But where it the tangible sign of the working of the Holy Spirit in the chrismation service for the person who has not received Orthodox baptism? Even if the other elements are there--and they're not always--where is the physical sign? Where is the sacramental theology in practice that is the whole thing to which the understanding of the chrismation filling up the empty form with grace refers? Does that make more sense?

What do you mean by "tangible sign" if you don't mean the water and the oil? 

What are the "other elements" that may or may not be there?  And where is "there"? 

The water is for baptisms. We're talking about chrismations of persons not baptized in the Orthodox manner. The oil is only for chrismation, as a symbol (discounting the oil of gladness before baptism). "There" is the service for the reception of converts--of which each archdiocese seems to have its own version. The "problem" that is not referenced, to my knowledge, in the service itself by some tangible sign--it can even be a prayer--is that whole issue of the grace of the Holy Spirit filling up the form of the heterodox baptism. This is the belief, but it is not referenced in the service. I don't know if it should be, but if it's so important, and if that is what is believed, it would seem to me that something should be there, since that is the overall sacramental trend I have witnessed in my years being Orthodox.
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Offline Santagranddad

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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #309 on: January 07, 2014, 08:02:13 PM »
The Church has when it feel times demand tended to 'strictness' or 'economy' as deemed appropriate. Fr George Metallinos outlines this well in his book referred to earlier. He is, of course, a priest of the Church of Greece and an academic.

As to current attitudes to the reception of converts, it is not true or necessary to simply and repeatedly refer to contemporary controversies in relation to Baptism/chrismation versus Chrismation as something only bought up by so-called 'schismatic' Old Calendarist circles. Athonite reservations (not including Esphigmenou) can hardly or accurately be so identified.

Time inhibits me but some references to Canonicity appear both simplistic and inaccurate. The late Fr Alexander Schmemann has written a lengthy article on precisely this. He cannot be 'dismissed' conveniently as a schismatic or an 'Old Calendarist'.

As to the notion that believers may not question, or withdraw from hierarchs teaching error, then were the faithful supposed to fall into line immediately following their bishops after almost all signed up to the false Ferrara Florence Council?

If time permitted I would expand on this but the need to look after a friend with an unstable cardiac condition limits me, sorry.

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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #310 on: January 07, 2014, 08:05:49 PM »
The Church has when it feel times demand tended to 'strictness' or 'economy' as deemed appropriate. Fr George Metallinos outlines this well in his book referred to earlier. He is, of course, a priest of the Church of Greece and an academic.

As to current attitudes to the reception of converts, it is not true or necessary to simply and repeatedly refer to contemporary controversies in relation to Baptism/chrismation versus Chrismation as something only bought up by so-called 'schismatic' Old Calendarist circles. Athonite reservations (not including Esphigmenou) can hardly or accurately be so identified.

Time inhibits me but some references to Canonicity appear both simplistic and inaccurate. The late Fr Alexander Schmemann has written a lengthy article on precisely this. He cannot be 'dismissed' conveniently as a schismatic or an 'Old Calendarist'.

As to the notion that believers may not question, or withdraw from hierarchs teaching error, then were the faithful supposed to fall into line immediately following their bishops after almost all signed up to the false Ferrara Florence Council?

If time permitted I would expand on this but the need to look after a friend with an unstable cardiac condition limits me, sorry.

Thanks for your valuable input. Yes, we cannot always accept the individual advice of Bishops as they are not infallible like the Pope.  ::)

My prayers for your friend. Lord have mercy and grant health and salvation.
« Last Edit: January 07, 2014, 08:06:49 PM by Maria »
The memory of God should be treasured in our hearts like the precious pearl mentioned in the Holy Gospel. Our life's goal should be to nurture and contemplate God always within, and never let it depart, for this steadfastness will drive demons away from us. - Paraphrased from St. Philotheus of Sinai
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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #311 on: January 07, 2014, 08:36:13 PM »
The water is for baptisms. We're talking about chrismations of persons not baptized in the Orthodox manner. The oil is only for chrismation, as a symbol (discounting the oil of gladness before baptism). "There" is the service for the reception of converts--of which each archdiocese seems to have its own version.

OK, thanks.

Quote
The "problem" that is not referenced, to my knowledge, in the service itself by some tangible sign--it can even be a prayer--is that whole issue of the grace of the Holy Spirit filling up the form of the heterodox baptism. This is the belief, but it is not referenced in the service. I don't know if it should be, but if it's so important, and if that is what is believed, it would seem to me that something should be there, since that is the overall sacramental trend I have witnessed in my years being Orthodox.

I'm unaware of the full gamut of "services" for the reception of converts in Eastern Orthodoxy.  My understanding was that if a baptised non-Orthodox was to be received by the EO by chrismation, it is essentially the chrismation part of the baptismal rite that is used verbatim, along with a confession of faith and, if applicable, a renunciation of past heresies before the chrismation.  If there are other rites, I'd be interested in seeing them and considering how, if at all, they affect my argument. 

If it is in fact the chrismation rite found in the order of baptism which is used, I would argue that the "tangible sign" is the chrismation itself.  The use of the chrism for anointing is an image of the outpouring of the grace of the Holy Spirit who dwells in the oil (see also the prayer before the anointing with the oil of gladness, which speaks of the fruit of the olive as a gift given by God for the completion of the mysteries...surely applicable to the chrism if applicable to this "lesser" oil).  The prayer before the anointing makes clear that the anointing is a seal (seals indicating fulness, perfection, and completion), and the act of anointing itself is the laying on of hands (obscured in the Byzantine rite anytime that dainty little paintbrush implement is used, but not at all obscured in the various Latin and Oriental rites where the chrism must be applied by a finger/hand, even both hands).  Before chrism was ever used in the Church, it was prayer and the laying on of hands which conferred the gift of the Spirit, and these are retained in the rite even if we use an oil now.

Is this chrismation a "tangible sign" specifically of the healing of heterodox baptism?  Probably not, because the service presumes a regular baptism (the prayers and rites are not changed to reflect past history).  But in the sense that chrismation is the fulfillment of baptism in the sense of completion and sealing, I would say it is the same thing and no more really needs to be "said", especially when factoring in the communing of the convert.  At that point, the person is joined to Christ and incorporated into his Body in every possible way.  What more could be done?  Even the suggestion that more could be done borders on blasphemous.   
How this relates to the coming Antichrist? I don't know...

Quote
The erection of one’s rod counts as a form of glory (Theophylaktos of Ohrid, A Defense of Eunuchs, p. 329).

Offline Shanghaiski

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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #312 on: January 07, 2014, 08:50:28 PM »
Well, I have no desire to be blasphemous.

The reception by chrismation presumes baptism, but if there is no Orthodox baptism, there is at most only a form to be filled/healed by the chrismation. But this has, to my mind, rather weak underpinnings given our sacramentology which, to my knowledge, follows St. Cyprian, and the fact that reception by baptism and chrismation of the heterodox are interchangeable and do not follow a concrete, universally-recognized set of circumstances, but vary over time based on many factors.

I get and accept the understanding and the operation of the sacrament and the authority of the Church and the prerogative of the bishops. But it still seems to me that there is a rather, for lack of a better term, "loose" thing going on for something so important. There is a sort of randomness (and, to me, disorder) going on here. We leave it to God--well and good. But we don't necessarily go about other sacraments like this. Marriage is probably closest to it.

Maybe I make something out of not much. But I'm not so sure it's nothing. We do something because we can, but this does not mean that we should do it.
« Last Edit: January 07, 2014, 08:50:55 PM by Shanghaiski »
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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #313 on: January 07, 2014, 09:02:58 PM »
Good writing on the subject by Prof Erickson

http://jbburnett.com/resources/erickson_reception-svtq97.pdf
My cromulent posts embiggen this forum.

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Re: Concerned about Elder Ephraim's Monasteries
« Reply #314 on: January 07, 2014, 11:43:15 PM »
Quote from: Maria link=topic=17649.msg
[/quote

We should not make a mountain out of a mole hill. Rarely will monastics ask personal questions about sex as they are trying to live the angelic life.

Unfortunately, I have heard differently directly from people who have been to confession at some monasteries. I have also had the experience of serving a mission close to one of these monasteries. The monks Baptized  children from my parish without having the courtesy to inform me. One of our Antiochian Bishops has told me about the problems caused by monks telling people received into the Orthodox Church by Chrismation that they are were not properly received into the Church and need to come to the monastery for a so called corrective Baptism. It is heresy to Baptize someone who was received into the Eastern Orthodox Church through Chrismation, because it denies the grace that they received through their Chrismation, which perfects whatever was lacking in their non-Orthodox Baptism.

Fr. John W. Morris

please pm me or post the names of these monasteries

Also, perhaps those monks thought the people did not have baptisms at all before becoming orthodox, for example, A protestant might get a "baptism" which is not immersion, but sprinkles. second, to say "Father, Son, and Holy Spirit" does God give any grace to the protestant minister who does such a baptism since they are outside the Church? What if it was a female minister of the anglican church? Did the holy spirit have any action in such a baptism which was not correct in any way besides "Father, Son, and Holy Spirit"? Can it be called a baptism? I ask you since you are a priest so perhaps can give me answers since I am not sure. I have another question, do different jurisdictions have different viewpoints on chrismation vs baptism of converts?

I have heard that at times some heresies, the converts were to be chrismated, in other heresies the converts were to be only baptized, such as for Arians, and of Iconoclasts. Perhaps it is a difference in jurisdiction, as as far as I can tell these decisions were decided by councils, that such converts were to be chrismated, or to be baptized so perhaps the jurisdictions have different methods? I do not know since you have not named the monasteries, were they of the Antioch jurisdiction?

Why to not tell the priest? That is really weird.

personally, I did not trust my baptism in any way which I had got in my protestant church, and would not have felt comfortable with chrismation

What makes you feel comfortable is not important. If you come to the Eastern Orthodox Church, you have to come on the Church's terms not your own terms. If you want to convert, you must convert according to the practices of the Bishop over the parish in which you convert without any conditions on your part. You do not have the right attitude if you will only convert under your conditions. I know that this is harsh, but the Church is not a cafeteria where you can pick and choose what you believe. You have to accept Orthodoxy without reservation. Part of that acceptance is the requirement that you obey your Bishop. If your Bishop decides that you have to come in through Baptism, you must come in through Baptism. If the Bishop decides that you must come in through Chrismation, you must come in through Chrismation.

Fr. John W. Morris