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Author Topic: What is the fate of heretics?  (Read 11189 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: February 13, 2009, 05:17:30 PM »

What does the Orthodox Church teach is the fate of heretics? What about their sacraments?
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« Reply #1 on: February 13, 2009, 05:23:30 PM »

We don't know???
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« Reply #2 on: February 13, 2009, 05:33:06 PM »

The sacraments are without effect.

Their ultimate state is up to God.

Those who are born outside the Church and never encounter the Church are in a vastly different category than those Orthodox who leave the Church though.  We might even distinguish them by calling the former heterodox instead of heretics per se.
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« Reply #3 on: February 13, 2009, 05:43:24 PM »

The sacraments are without effect.

So they are not 'born of water and the spirit'... no?
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« Reply #4 on: February 13, 2009, 06:16:53 PM »

Did not the Ist Nicaea's canons claim that heretic's baptisms are valid?
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« Reply #5 on: February 13, 2009, 06:43:38 PM »

The sacraments are without effect.

Their ultimate state is up to God.

Those who are born outside the Church and never encounter the Church are in a vastly different category than those Orthodox who leave the Church though.  We might even distinguish them by calling the former heterodox instead of heretics per se.

Right on Father!  I agree with what you say.  But what about those who leave the Orthodox Church without any knowledge of what they are leaving in the first place.  Those who think 'It's all the same.  We all pray to the same God'. 

Is it their responsibility to educate themselves in the faith and if we don't we will be judged for it?

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« Reply #6 on: February 13, 2009, 06:58:30 PM »

The sacraments are without effect.

Father, but my baptism in the Presbyterian Church was considered valid; I was received into the Orthodox Church by Chrismation only, without re-baptism. Calvinism is certainly a heresy, and all Protestant groups are by definition gatherings of ecclesiastical heretics, because they call themselves Church while they aren't the Church. Nonetheless, their Baptism in the name of the Holy Trinity is not quite "without effect," right?
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« Reply #7 on: February 13, 2009, 07:45:09 PM »

The sacraments are without effect.

So they are not 'born of water and the spirit'... no?

Correct.
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« Reply #8 on: February 13, 2009, 07:46:42 PM »

Did not the Ist Nicaea's canons claim that heretic's baptisms are valid?

No. In fact, it specifies rebaptism for a specific group, the Paulitians.

http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/3801.htm

The whole idea of validity is something that requires elaboration, which I will do in another post.
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« Reply #9 on: February 13, 2009, 07:51:26 PM »

The sacraments are without effect.

Their ultimate state is up to God.

Those who are born outside the Church and never encounter the Church are in a vastly different category than those Orthodox who leave the Church though.  We might even distinguish them by calling the former heterodox instead of heretics per se.

Right on Father!  I agree with what you say.  But what about those who leave the Orthodox Church without any knowledge of what they are leaving in the first place.  Those who think 'It's all the same.  We all pray to the same God'. 

Is it their responsibility to educate themselves in the faith and if we don't we will be judged for it?

Orthodoc

What you say is true; one has an obligation to inform himself of the truth of God, and if someone were lazy and relativistic, that would not be an excuse.  We would also have an obligation to tell someone leaving the Church that they are committing a grave sin, although I would say the manner of so doing might be open to one's best judgment (for instance someone just went through a bitter divorce to their Orthodox spouse and they return to their former Church. It might not be a good idea to bring it up the next day).

If someone were truly ignorant, God might have mercy on them--but I think that would be rather uncommon that someone would be that ignorant. Still, I leave the door open because I am not in a position to say it would never happen.
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« Reply #10 on: February 13, 2009, 07:59:58 PM »

The sacraments are without effect.

Father, but my baptism in the Presbyterian Church was considered valid; I was received into the Orthodox Church by Chrismation only, without re-baptism. Calvinism is certainly a heresy, and all Protestant groups are by definition gatherings of ecclesiastical heretics, because they call themselves Church while they aren't the Church. Nonetheless, their Baptism in the name of the Holy Trinity is not quite "without effect," right?

The whole concept of validity derives from St Augustine's theory of valid vs licit sacraments; the basic idea being that if there were valid matter, valid intent, and a valid minister, the sacrament would happen, even in schism, but it would be to the detriment of the schismatic's soul; so a schismatic priest could consecrate communion but it would be illicit and thus condemn the person receiving it and himself for offering it.  But it would still "be" communion. Same with baptism and other sacraments.

Orthodox believe that a sacrament either is or is not.  There is no concept of a sacrament which is valid but illicit.  Still, the terminology that St Augustine used has some useful application if we understand it slightly differently; a sacrament might have a valid "form" in other words baptism in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, with water.  The Orthodox would say that this baptism did not have grace per se--at the time of its offering, it was not grace-bearing--but it can be completed and restored through chrismation.  It is in this context that various heretical groups were given entrance into the Church in later canons.

So when a modern Orthodox says a Protestant baptism is "valid", he probably means the form was acceptable enough to be restored through chrismation (whereas a Jehovah's Witness baptism would not qualify). But the sacrament if considered per se would not have any status on the person; it's only viewed in the context of the person uniting himself to the Church.

This is somewhat different from the minority theory gaining some steam that there is some kind of "vestigial grace" floating about heretical sacraments and that one can say a heretical baptism is grace bearing without reference to a later uniting of the person to Orthodoxy.

It is because of this confusion that I am a proponent of baptizing all converts to Orthodoxy from Protestantism and Catholicism.

I will provide a link to a post I once made detailing various reception practices in history.
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« Reply #11 on: February 13, 2009, 08:06:13 PM »

Unfortunately the formatting is all messed up; maybe I will fix it later
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,4576.msg62519.html#msg62519

There have been several threads on this topic; I am reticent to begin another one. But I will respond to any other questions asked of me.
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« Reply #12 on: February 14, 2009, 12:15:50 PM »

The sacraments are without effect.

So they are not 'born of water and the spirit'... no?

Correct.

So what 'hope' is there for heretics, apokatastasis?

I know that Jesus Christ said to Nicodemus, "Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God". If we interpret this as Baptism as St. Cyprian and others have we would have to say that individuals not born of water and of the Spirit cannot enter into the kingdom of God unless Jesus was in error.

All would suggest that the fate of all heretics, like myself, wife and daughter, would be the Darkness? What 'hope' is there with Orthodoxy that would cause one to say 'We don't know'? If I had to guess, it would be "apokatastasis". Is this correct?
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« Reply #13 on: February 14, 2009, 01:01:44 PM »

So what 'hope' is there for heretics, apokatastasis?

I know that Jesus Christ said to Nicodemus, "Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God". If we interpret this as Baptism as St. Cyprian and others have we would have to say that individuals not born of water and of the Spirit cannot enter into the kingdom of God unless Jesus was in error.

All would suggest that the fate of all heretics, like myself, wife and daughter, would be the Darkness? What 'hope' is there with Orthodoxy that would cause one to say 'We don't know'? If I had to guess, it would be "apokatastasis". Is this correct?

You can be baptized by God Himself!
There are stories of Saints who were outside the faith, even mocking and ridiculing Christianity, who were converted and martyred/killed before they were able to be baptized.  Heck, we've got at least one saint who baptized himself and the Spirit came down upon Him before His martyrdom.
While all those who have the ability, and who have been exposed to the truth, should indeed be born again of water and the spirit, those who have not been baptized cannot be judged based on what we think we know about them - allow the judgment of their final destination to rest in the Hands of the All-Merciful Judge.
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« Reply #14 on: February 14, 2009, 01:27:00 PM »

Who is this Saint, cleveland?

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« Reply #15 on: February 14, 2009, 01:34:35 PM »

Not wanting to derail the topic, however, neither Calvinism or Presbyterianism teaches that it is THE CHURCH.  In fact, the Presbyterian ecclessiologial system identifies the Church in the Presbyters gathered in assembly, to which individual church members are united to by or under a Presbyter of that assembly.  But THE CHURCH in Calvinism is the unknown and unnumberable elect to be revealed only at the end of history (as we know it).

Heretics are those who are put out of the Church.

My friend, who is a Calvinist and Presbyterian is heretical, but never has he been a heretic; however, I who once was a Calvinist and a Presbyterian made myself a heretic to them when I was baptized Orthodox.

The fate of heretics is simple; they are put out of the Church and they are not prayed for by the Church in her Priestly ministry of intercession.

The Apostle John wrote: "Every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that antichrist..." and "Whomever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in Him, and he in God."  also, "whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels ... from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him."

The Good Samaritian may indeed have been a heretic and unable to enter into the Orthodox assembly of Prayer, but it seems to me that he must have been a man of prayer. (I know it was a parable).

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« Reply #16 on: February 14, 2009, 01:40:39 PM »

Who is this Saint, cleveland?  

St. Genesius of Rome, late 3rd or early 4th century.  He may not have baptized himself - there were other actors in the play.  But there wasn't a christian among them.

There is some debate about his martyrdom and story, which I mention now for the sake of disclosure.  However, his relics and martyrdom story come from the 4th century - so if they are wrong, they were wrong since nearly the beginning and not some sort of medieval hoax or anything like that.
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« Reply #17 on: February 14, 2009, 01:50:39 PM »

Once an Orthodox spoke about 'Extraordinary Grace'... what is this?
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« Reply #18 on: February 14, 2009, 06:18:53 PM »

The sacraments are without effect.

Father, but my baptism in the Presbyterian Church was considered valid; I was received into the Orthodox Church by Chrismation only, without re-baptism. Calvinism is certainly a heresy, and all Protestant groups are by definition gatherings of ecclesiastical heretics, because they call themselves Church while they aren't the Church. Nonetheless, their Baptism in the name of the Holy Trinity is not quite "without effect," right?

The whole concept of validity derives from St Augustine's theory of valid vs licit sacraments; the basic idea being that if there were valid matter, valid intent, and a valid minister, the sacrament would happen, even in schism, but it would be to the detriment of the schismatic's soul; so a schismatic priest could consecrate communion but it would be illicit and thus condemn the person receiving it and himself for offering it.  But it would still "be" communion. Same with baptism and other sacraments.

Orthodox believe that a sacrament either is or is not.  There is no concept of a sacrament which is valid but illicit.  Still, the terminology that St Augustine used has some useful application if we understand it slightly differently; a sacrament might have a valid "form" in other words baptism in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, with water.  The Orthodox would say that this baptism did not have grace per se--at the time of its offering, it was not grace-bearing--but it can be completed and restored through chrismation.  It is in this context that various heretical groups were given entrance into the Church in later canons.

So when a modern Orthodox says a Protestant baptism is "valid", he probably means the form was acceptable enough to be restored through chrismation (whereas a Jehovah's Witness baptism would not qualify). But the sacrament if considered per se would not have any status on the person; it's only viewed in the context of the person uniting himself to the Church.

This is somewhat different from the minority theory gaining some steam that there is some kind of "vestigial grace" floating about heretical sacraments and that one can say a heretical baptism is grace bearing without reference to a later uniting of the person to Orthodoxy.

It is because of this confusion that I am a proponent of baptizing all converts to Orthodoxy from Protestantism and Catholicism.

I will provide a link to a post I once made detailing various reception practices in history.

In all honesty, Father, it is strange for me to read posts like this one.

I am confused. Am I baptised, or not?

There must be some uniformity, not just opinions and predilections and partisan "proponements" of Fr. X and Fr. Y and Fr. Z.
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« Reply #19 on: February 14, 2009, 06:27:27 PM »

The most widely-held and what I would consider the standard Orthodox response is that those coming into the Church via chrismation have their prior baptisms corrected and "filled in" in other words, it is when they are chrismated that they receive the grace of baptism freshly.  So the answer would be under this understanding that yes you are baptized.

What I spoke about my personal opinion is that I believe it is better to simply baptize people with the Orthodox ritual, especially as the form of baptism in the West moves ever steadily away from triple immersion water baptism in the name of the Trinity. But this is a pastoral consideration for the most part since chrismation has been an acceptable way to receive various people in history (the articles I link speak to this history).

So from the perspective of your church yes you are baptized because chrismation completed the former rite you received as a Presbyterian.

While there are extreme viewpoints on either end (the Orthodox rite of baptism must be (re)done or the person is not Orthodox, and the other extreme that all baptisms are grace-bearing for all people even if they never become Orthodox) they are just that--extremes.

I am sorry if I confused you by mixing a pastoral consideration with the general history of the matter.
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« Reply #20 on: February 14, 2009, 06:34:26 PM »

The sacraments are without effect.

So they are not 'born of water and the spirit'... no?

Correct.

So what 'hope' is there for heretics, apokatastasis?

I know that Jesus Christ said to Nicodemus, "Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God". If we interpret this as Baptism as St. Cyprian and others have we would have to say that individuals not born of water and of the Spirit cannot enter into the kingdom of God unless Jesus was in error.

All would suggest that the fate of all heretics, like myself, wife and daughter, would be the Darkness? What 'hope' is there with Orthodoxy that would cause one to say 'We don't know'? If I had to guess, it would be "apokatastasis". Is this correct?

God can save anyone he wants, and it would not be a question of apokatastasis -- someone being damned and then restored -- that is a heresy.

It is simply the fact that God can do whatever he wants with whomever. All must be saved by Christ, but he is the dispenser of grace.

As such, an unbaptized person who was on his way to salvation as much as was possible in his estate (i.e. he never found Orthodoxy or he was about to become Orthodox and died beforehand) could be saved, and this is our hope.

I will elaborate on the grace issue below.
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« Reply #21 on: February 14, 2009, 06:37:05 PM »

Once an Orthodox spoke about 'Extraordinary Grace'... what is this?

My friend and co-moderator Pravoslavbob and I have gone back and forth on this before, so I will mention that caveat, but as I understand it, there is sacramental grace only in the Church, but God's charismatic grace (the wind of the Spirit as it were) is everywhere present and filling all things. While it is external to the person (sacramental is internal), it is bringing the person closer to God, and may in fact save someone who has not found the Church but is responding to this grace to the best of their ability.
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« Reply #22 on: February 14, 2009, 07:35:20 PM »

The most widely-held and what I would consider the standard Orthodox response is that those coming into the Church via chrismation have their prior baptisms corrected and "filled in" in other words, it is when they are chrismated that they receive the grace of baptism freshly.  So the answer would be under this understanding that yes you are baptized.

What I spoke about my personal opinion is that I believe it is better to simply baptize people with the Orthodox ritual, especially as the form of baptism in the West moves ever steadily away from triple immersion water baptism in the name of the Trinity. But this is a pastoral consideration for the most part since chrismation has been an acceptable way to receive various people in history (the articles I link speak to this history).

So from the perspective of your church yes you are baptized because chrismation completed the former rite you received as a Presbyterian.

While there are extreme viewpoints on either end (the Orthodox rite of baptism must be (re)done or the person is not Orthodox, and the other extreme that all baptisms are grace-bearing for all people even if they never become Orthodox) they are just that--extremes.

I am sorry if I confused you by mixing a pastoral consideration with the general history of the matter.

No, you don't have to be sorry because it's I who is "mudding the waters."

So, to my joy, my Heterodox (=incomplete) Baptism is corrected and "made complete" by my Orthodox chrismation, so I am baptised.

But then.. is my chrismation really Orthodox? The priest and the bishop who did it belonged (and still belong) to the Milan Synod, the jurisdiction that (AFAIK) started as a canonical Orthodox jurisdiction but then fell off the global Orthodox family because its prelate failed to secure a "tomos" from a canonical Orthodox hierarch of a higher standing. So... again... am I baptised (chrismated)... or not?
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« Reply #23 on: February 14, 2009, 10:49:50 PM »

I am not competent to address your personal situation, because you are not in my jurisdiction nor under my spiritual care, but I am happy to continue to engage you in generalities.

There are additional canons that allow for those coming from schismatic (i.e. not heretical) groups to be received by confession of faith, so someone chrismated in a breakaway group could then be received by confession of faith.
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« Reply #24 on: February 15, 2009, 12:36:31 AM »

The sacraments are without effect.

Their ultimate state is up to God.

Those who are born outside the Church and never encounter the Church are in a vastly different category than those Orthodox who leave the Church though.  We might even distinguish them by calling the former heterodox instead of heretics per se.

It seems inconceivable that the fullness of God's truth would be revealed to roughly 4% of the world's population- the percentage that is officially Orthodox and that the other 96% of the world's population are kind of "up in the air".  We could probably guess that half that number  even attend Church rarely...bringing us to about 2% of the world. Is God's truth really that unrevealed?


Also,

When you say "the Church" do you mean "world Orthodoxy" as well as old calendarist jurisdictions? Last I read, the GOC does not consider world Orthodox sacraments valid.
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« Reply #25 on: February 15, 2009, 12:45:46 AM »

The sacraments are without effect.

Their ultimate state is up to God.

Those who are born outside the Church and never encounter the Church are in a vastly different category than those Orthodox who leave the Church though.  We might even distinguish them by calling the former heterodox instead of heretics per se.

It seems inconceivable that the fullness of God's truth would be revealed to roughly 4% of the world's population- the percentage that is officially Orthodox and that the other 96% of the world's population are kind of "up in the air".  We could probably guess that half that number  even attend Church rarely...bringing us to about 2% of the world. Is God's truth really that unrevealed?

The basic truth of God is written on all men's hearts (cf. the book of Romans).

The fullness of Revelation though is only lived and known by a small number.

Why is that so inconceivable? When Christ ascended to heaven, he left less than a dozen Apostles, less than 100 disciples, and a few hundred other followers, out of the millions of people at that time. So it seems that in actuality, the proportion of people who are in the Church has grown dramatically.

God reaches out to all people and tries to make the truth known to them. Not all people respond. To those whom he knows will not have the chance to hear the truth (i.e. some Muslim living deep in the recesses of Saudi Arabia) he will judge them based on their reaction to the truth written in their heart.

Quote
Also,

When you say "the Church" do you mean "world Orthodoxy" as well as old calendarist jurisdictions? Last I read, the GOC does not consider world Orthodox sacraments valid.

I make a very conscientious effort not to bring my GOC affiliation into threads that are unrelated to the topic. You also may have read various things but that does not mean you have an accurate understanding of the full situation. I've already addressed my thoughts on that in another thread recently and have no interest to discuss it more.

In Christ,

Fr Anastasios
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« Reply #26 on: February 15, 2009, 01:10:24 AM »


The basic truth of God is written on all men's hearts (cf. the book of Romans).

The fullness of Revelation though is only lived and known by a small number.

Why is that so inconceivable? When Christ ascended to heaven, he left less than a dozen Apostles, less than 100 disciples, and a few hundred other followers, out of the millions of people at that time. So it seems that in actuality, the proportion of people who are in the Church has grown dramatically.

God reaches out to all people and tries to make the truth known to them. Not all people respond. To those whom he knows will not have the chance to hear the truth (i.e. some Muslim living deep in the recesses of Saudi Arabia) he will judge them based on their reaction to the truth written in their heart.


If it is written on our hearts and still some come to very different conclusions about the fullness of the truth through the way God has spoken to them, then I don't see how they are somehow off the "ark of salvation". God created them with this innate capability to experience Him, so how can there be judgment against those who with their God given hearts and intelligence chose a path through which they best hear God's call.

What I mentioned above seems inconceivable because according to the Christian worldview we were created in the image and likeness of God and called to be like God, responding to His call to become holy, etc. If we are all called to this, but only 2% of us actually come close to working within the fullest framework that allows us to answer that call (according to the Church), then how is it that God's will is being fulfilled? If only 2% of humanity will experience that "fullness of faith", living in accordance with God's will, then God's will has not panned out for his creatures by any stretch of the imagination and the whole notion of us being created to fulfill that purpose seems rather silly.

If, however, we accepted that the fullness of  the experience of God is found in a number of forms (i.e. outside of the Orthodox Church as well) God's purpose for humanity makes much more sense and is closer to fulfilling His goal in our creation.

I bring up what I read recently about the GOC's position on other Church's sacraments because it does seem relevant to this conversation. If all but the GOC's sacraments have grace, that leaves the number of those "really" experiencing the fullness of God in the thousands, further making it seem as though God's plan has failed if His goal for us was to experience communion with Him. 
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« Reply #27 on: February 15, 2009, 05:25:53 AM »

I make sure GOC is very well
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« Reply #28 on: February 15, 2009, 05:26:41 AM »

Quote
It seems inconceivable that the fullness of God's truth would be revealed to roughly 4% of the world's population- the percentage that is officially Orthodox and that the other 96% of the world's population are kind of "up in the air".  We could probably guess that half that number  even attend Church rarely...bringing us to about 2% of the world. Is God's truth really that unrevealed?

This is something I still struggle with. Generally it comes up when I try to work through the idea that there is a hell, but it's just as relevant on this thread. God's powers of persuasion and ability to communicate effectively seems so lacking at times, if what Christian theology claims is true. At times it seems better to lean more towards a non-orthodox understanding of things... if you want to make sense of things. That's my experience, anyway.
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« Reply #29 on: February 15, 2009, 05:54:47 AM »

I make sure GOC is very well

Que?  Huh
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« Reply #30 on: February 15, 2009, 07:50:22 AM »

But then.. is my chrismation really Orthodox? The priest and the bishop who did it belonged (and still belong) to the Milan Synod, the jurisdiction that (AFAIK) started as a canonical Orthodox jurisdiction but then fell off the global Orthodox family because its prelate failed to secure a "tomos" from a canonical Orthodox hierarch of a higher standing. So... again... am I baptised (chrismated)... or not?

It may be something of a comfort to know that last year, in September, two hieromonks of the Milan Synod (I think I cannot name them because of Forum rules?) were received into the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad.  They were not baptized nor chrismated and they were received in their rank as priests by the rite of Cheirothesia.

Metropolitan Hilarion made the decision to receive the two Milan priests not by Ordination (Cheirotonia) nor even by Vesting but by Cheirothesia which he describes as the regularisation of their existing Orders.

Here is Metropolitan Hilarion's Official Statement:

_______________________________________
This is to certify that on Thursday, September 18, 2008, before the Divine Liturgy, celebrated in St. Sergius of Radonezh Church at the Synod of Bishops in New York City, we regularized through cheirothesia the ordination to the Holy Priesthood of Hieromonk [name removed.]

Hieromonk [name removed] is assigned to the Eastern America & New York
Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia.

[seal]

+ Hilarion [handwritten signature]
Metropolitan of Eastern America and New York,
First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia
____________________________________

Of course this reception took place when the Russian Church Abroad was already united with and a subordinate part of the Moscow Patriarchate (since May 2007.)

So in both the Russian Church Abroad and in the Church of Russia itself, your baptism and chrismation would be accepted by economia if you reached a decision to join one or the other.
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« Reply #31 on: February 15, 2009, 08:57:36 AM »

^^Thank you, Father Ambrose.
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« Reply #32 on: February 15, 2009, 09:02:43 AM »

I am not competent to address your personal situation, because you are not in my jurisdiction nor under my spiritual care, but I am happy to continue to engage you in generalities.

There are additional canons that allow for those coming from schismatic (i.e. not heretical) groups to be received by confession of faith, so someone chrismated in a breakaway group could then be received by confession of faith.

Thank you, Father Anastasios.

When I first came to my current GOA parish, I mentioned to the priest that I am a Ukrainian and that up until that time I had been attending a Milan Synod parish. He said, as I recall, simply this: "That's fine, we welcome all Orthodox." That same day, I went to the Chalice and so was actually received into the Church. Of course, before the Eucharist, I, with all other parishioners, made the confession of faith (i.e. read aloud the Nicene-Constantinople Creed). So, it means that no canons were broken, correct?
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« Reply #33 on: February 16, 2009, 05:17:23 PM »

So what I am reading in this is that we are not saved by faith but actually by efficacious sacraments which are the sole property of an institutional Church? That God does not call individual hearts to a relationship with the Godhead but the Church which isn't the People of God but more of the Body of Christ acting through an institutional... Grace isn't Free... it comes at the price of submission to this institutional body.

The Baptist in me finds this appalling...   laugh

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« Reply #34 on: February 16, 2009, 05:46:26 PM »

So what I am reading in this is that we are not saved by faith but actually by efficacious sacraments which are the sole property of an institutional Church? That God does not call individual hearts to a relationship with the Godhead but the Church which isn't the People of God but more of the Body of Christ acting through an institutional... Grace isn't Free... it comes at the price of submission to this institutional body.

The Baptist in me finds this appalling...   laugh

The Church is not an "institutional body," it is "the new life with Christ and in Christ, moved by the Holy Spirit... She is Christ in His humanity, the accomplishment, the fulfillment of His humanity" (Fr. Sergius Bulgakov, http://www.wco.ru/biblio/books/bulgak1e/Main.htm). She is not merely the gathering of all those who think that they are "people of God." Smiley
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« Reply #35 on: February 16, 2009, 06:00:40 PM »

So what I am reading in this is that we are not saved by faith but actually by efficacious sacraments which are the sole property of an institutional Church? That God does not call individual hearts to a relationship with the Godhead but the Church which isn't the People of God but more of the Body of Christ acting through an institutional... Grace isn't Free... it comes at the price of submission to this institutional body.

The Baptist in me finds this appalling...   laugh

The Church is not an "institutional body," it is "the new life with Christ and in Christ, moved by the Holy Spirit... She is Christ in His humanity, the accomplishment, the fulfillment of His humanity" (Fr. Sergius Bulgakov, http://www.wco.ru/biblio/books/bulgak1e/Main.htm). She is not merely the gathering of all those who think that they are "people of God." Smiley

That sounds like a physical institution or body whom has efficacious sacraments and thus the means of creating the "People of God".  Undecided
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« Reply #36 on: February 16, 2009, 11:26:48 PM »

So what I am reading in this is that we are not saved by faith but actually by efficacious sacraments which are the sole property of an institutional Church? That God does not call individual hearts to a relationship with the Godhead but the Church which isn't the People of God but more of the Body of Christ acting through an institutional... Grace isn't Free... it comes at the price of submission to this institutional body.

The Baptist in me finds this appalling...   laugh

The Church is not an "institutional body," it is "the new life with Christ and in Christ, moved by the Holy Spirit... She is Christ in His humanity, the accomplishment, the fulfillment of His humanity" (Fr. Sergius Bulgakov, http://www.wco.ru/biblio/books/bulgak1e/Main.htm). She is not merely the gathering of all those who think that they are "people of God." Smiley

That sounds like a physical institution or body whom has efficacious sacraments and thus the means of creating the "People of God".  Undecided

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« Reply #37 on: February 17, 2009, 04:28:05 PM »

You can take the boy out of the Baptist, but not the Baptist out of the boy. Grin

Is it possible that the Church is both Invisible and Visible, both Here and There, both Militant and Triumphant? Wink

Hi Jetavan,

Yes, perhaps.

I find claims of exclusivity in the Body of Christ challenging to accept. I believe that membership is found within the heart and not by what Sacraments are efficacious. This claim seems to push me into a more Protestant line of thinking... which I will have to ultimately ponder.

I do believe that the Church is Visible but I don't think that everyone who attends is saved just because they have all the right Sacraments preformed on them in their youth. I find that a bit silly.
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« Reply #38 on: February 21, 2009, 09:58:06 PM »

You can take the boy out of the Baptist, but not the Baptist out of the boy. Grin

Is it possible that the Church is both Invisible and Visible, both Here and There, both Militant and Triumphant? Wink

Hi Jetavan,

Yes, perhaps.

I find claims of exclusivity in the Body of Christ challenging to accept. I believe that membership is found within the heart and not by what Sacraments are efficacious. This claim seems to push me into a more Protestant line of thinking... which I will have to ultimately ponder.

I do believe that the Church is Visible but I don't think that everyone who attends is saved just because they have all the right Sacraments preformed on them in their youth. I find that a bit silly.

Many Baptist churches require one to be baptized or re-baptized to become a member of specific congregations.  Something to think about.  My own parents attend a Baptist church that they aren't members of because they refuse to be re-baptized.
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« Reply #39 on: February 22, 2009, 01:31:11 AM »

It is because of this confusion that I am a proponent of baptizing all converts to Orthodoxy from Protestantism and Catholicism.
So my baptism and that of my Catholic family, including my deceased grandmothers and grandfathers is not acceptable and therefore there is no hope for our salvation? Thank you very much.
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« Reply #40 on: February 22, 2009, 06:29:55 AM »

It is because of this confusion that I am a proponent of baptizing all converts to Orthodoxy from Protestantism and Catholicism.
So my baptism and that of my Catholic family, including my deceased grandmothers and grandfathers is not acceptable and therefore there is no hope for our salvation? Thank you very much.

What makes you say that the non-recognition of your baptism means "there is no hope of salvation"?
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« Reply #41 on: February 22, 2009, 06:34:32 AM »

What does the Orthodox Church teach is the fate of heretics? What about their sacraments?

An heretic is someone who knowingly holds and teaches a false doctrine. I don't think we can call those born into heterodox Churches "heretics". The only heretic would be an Orthodox Christian who leaves Orthodoxy and adopts heterodox doctrines.
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« Reply #42 on: February 22, 2009, 06:39:01 AM »

What makes you say that the non-recognition of your baptism means "there is no hope of salvation"?
"Jesus answered: Amen, amen I say to thee, unless a man be born again of water
and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." (John 3:5)
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« Reply #43 on: February 22, 2009, 07:03:56 AM »

What makes you say that the non-recognition of your baptism means "there is no hope of salvation"?
"Jesus answered: Amen, amen I say to thee, unless a man be born again of water
and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." (John 3:5)

Do you seriously think that this means that anyone who is not baptised is doomed to hell? So all the billions of Hindus, Zoroastrians, Muslims, Buddhists, Animists etc who have died without baptism are in hell?
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« Reply #44 on: February 22, 2009, 07:09:01 AM »

So my baptism and that of my Catholic family, including my deceased grandmothers and grandfathers is not acceptable and therefore there is no hope for our salvation? Thank you very much.

Dear Stanleyy,

The Church has always been well aware of her boundaries. A quick reading of the canons of the Ecumenical Councils leaves no doubt about that. She knows, for example, that the Church is not among the Jehovah's Witnesses or the neo-pagans although she also knows that these people are able to be saved.

People may be saved without visible membership of the Church and without baptism

I think that Khomiakov says it nicely, without blurring the boundaries of the Church:

'Inasmuch as the earthly and visible Church is not the fullness and completeness of the whole Church which the Lord has appointed to appear at the final judgment of all creation, she acts and knows only within her own limits; and ... does not judge the rest of mankind, and only looks upon those as excluded, that is to say, not belonging to her, who exclude themselves. The rest of mankind, whether alien from the Church, or united to her by ties which God has not willed to reveal to her, she leaves to the judgment of the great day' ("The Church is One")

In the words of the holy Metropolitan Philaret who was the Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad when I was a young man:

"It is self evident, however, that sincere Christians who are Roman Catholics, or Lutherans, or members, of other non-Orthodox confessions, cannot be termed renegades or heretics—i.e. those who knowingly pervert the truth... They have been born and raised and are living according to the creed which they have inherited, just as do the majority of you who are Orthodox; in their lives there has not been a moment of personal and conscious renunciation of Orthodoxy. The Lord, "Who will have all men to be saved" (I Tim. 2:4) and "Who enlightens every man born into the world" (Jn. 1.43), undoubtedly is leading them also towards salvation In His own way."

http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/inquirers/metphil_heterodox.aspx
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