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Author Topic: Immersion vs. Infusion  (Read 14017 times) Average Rating: 0
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« Reply #45 on: December 13, 2003, 07:38:37 PM »

The abbot Corlet sets forth the history thus . . . : "In the Orient in the first centuries, baptism was administered by means of a total submersion in the rivers and probably in the baptistries, and not excluding an immersion mixed with infusion (pouring), which has been preserved to the present day in almost all cases in the oriental region. In the Occident, from the fourth to the eighth century, there was a partial immersion in the baptisteries. . . . From the eighth to the ninth, vertical and complete immersion of children in fonts. During this period, and in the whole course of the Middle Ages, various procedures were used for the baptism of adults, when it was not possible to submerge in the bottom of the fonts; from the eleventh to the thirteenth centuries, horizontal and complete immersion in fonts. In the thirteenth and fourteenth, sometimes partial immersion accompanied by infusion, rarely infusion alone. In the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, infusion alone was employed, and immersion was preserved until our time in the Mozarabic and Ambrosian rites; to be noted also the reestablishing of immersion in some religious sects. . . . Nevertheless, in the Latin Church ...along with baptism by immersion, there were employed, if only in exceptional cases, as in case of baptizing a sick or dying person, infusion or sprinkling, which was called baptism of the sick (baptimnus clinicomcm ). If indeed, in the Latin Church, immersion prevailed until the sixteenth century, infusion and sprinkling were adopted from the thirteenth century. The form in use today is infusion
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« Reply #46 on: December 16, 2003, 01:19:53 AM »

One of the things that people over look in this debate is  that the Renaissance mind felt that bathing was unhealthy.  They believed that the bath houses and later the very act were connected to the spread of the plague.  NOW if you felt that, would you immerse your child that you love into a "bath?"
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« Reply #47 on: December 16, 2003, 03:04:35 AM »

I'm not sure how much impact that would have had.

I doubt very much that the Renaissance mind had much force in much of Western Europe, and we are talking 13th/14th century rather than 15th/16th anyhow.

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« Reply #48 on: December 16, 2003, 05:25:34 AM »

Slava Isusu Hristu!

The Holy and Divine Mystery of Baptism is a most profound inscrutable thing.  In Orthodoxy we do not cast this most glorious Mystery before the un-illumined mind.  The Dogmas of  our Orthodox Faith are to be taught and learned with much fasting and prayer.  Remember: "The Doors, the Doors, in Wisdom let us be attentive!"  It is in the uncreated Divine Energy that we are to understand as the Fathers understood and to know as they knew.  Let us cease from this banal treatment of the Mystery and have recourse to prayer and fasting.  

The canonical Principle of Strictness requires threefold-Immersion, but by the Apostolic Authority of the Hierarch the canonical Principle of Economia may be used in regard to this Mystery in its modality i.e. pouring three times.  Abuses of Economia by clergy if left un-repented of are an issue between them and the Judgement Seat of Christ, not our judgement. Amin.

In Christ,


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« Reply #49 on: December 16, 2003, 06:15:25 AM »

Why should the sarament of baptism not be discussed?

It will be very hard to come to an understanding if no-one is allowed to discuss theology and practice.

We should all pray more but God has also given us a mind.

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« Reply #50 on: December 16, 2003, 07:31:22 AM »

Slava Isusu Hristu!

Dear Peter:

In Orthodoxy we do not approach Dogmas in a surgical manner.  To theologize in Orthodoxy is to be in prayer and to receive the Grace of the All-Holy Spirit to understand Truth.  Holy Things cannot be understood without the aid of prayer and fasting.  My spiritual Father has told me never to read Scripture or the Philokalia unless I have fasted and prayed.  When a disconnect has happened between learning about the teachings of Orthodoxy and the aescetic life then heresy is the rational end of such mental praxis.  In Orthodoxy the highest part of us is called the Nous;  it is the part that is in constant Communion with the Holy Trinity.  It is through the Nous that the Apostles received Revelation and the Fathers could interpret rightly and guard and explicate Orthodoxy correctly.  The Jesus Prayer helps us to be raised to the Nous and to receive the Blessed Communion of Sophia and be Enlightened.  Never forget that the Protestant and Latin forms of studying and learning are disconnected from the Noetical and the Eastern manner of study is founded on a life of Christian Aesceticism.  As Eastern Christians we are to approach Truth with the most Reverence and care.  We are not to debate with those whose intention is not to learn to be transformed and we are not to handle Dogmas and teachings without washing the hands of our mind with prayer and fasting not only in the Divine and Holy Liturgy and other services, but also the life of the Domestic Church.

in Christ and the Theotokos,



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« Reply #51 on: December 16, 2003, 08:41:03 AM »

Eastern Christians we are to approach Truth with the most Reverence and care.  We are not to debate with those whose intention is not to learn to be transformed and we are not to handle Dogmas and teachings without washing the hands of our mind with prayer and fasting not only in the Divine and Holy Liturgy and other services, but also the life of the Domestic Church.

I agree wholeheartedly with you concerning the need for prayer and fasting, but are you suggesting that our Roman Catholic and Protestant friends here have no intention or desire to be transformed?

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« Reply #52 on: December 16, 2003, 08:44:51 AM »



 Holy Things cannot be understood without the aid of prayer and fasting.  My spiritual Father has told me never to read Scripture or the Philokalia unless I have fasted and prayed.  When a disconnect has happened between learning about the teachings of Orthodoxy and the aescetic life then heresy is the rational end of such mental praxis.  

Good point.  I have often found that trying to read the Scriptures without prayer and preparation before, I either can not concentrate on what I was reading, or take the wrong meaning from it, or become bored (mainly in reading Leviticus or Deutoronomy) .  When I prepare myself, understanding is much more clear and I have a more active interest in what I am reading even to the point where I can not stop.  There is no doubt that prayer and reading the Scriptures go together.
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« Reply #53 on: December 16, 2003, 09:14:27 PM »

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Also it is at least interesting that until the medieval period the West was universally practicing immersion.

Universally is the wrong word, I think. Most of the time, they practiced immersion, but infusion and sprinkling were known to be used as well. And as to why? I've told you my guess...it's cold in northern and northwestern Europe, and you can't baptize anybody in ice!


Well...Russia is a LOT colder than western Europe, and the Russian Orthodox Church still baptized via immersion.  The Didache speaks of infusion in terms of scarcity of water--not how chilly the water is.

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« Reply #54 on: December 16, 2003, 09:45:24 PM »

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Also it is at least interesting that until the medieval period the West was universally practicing immersion.

Universally is the wrong word, I think. Most of the time, they practiced immersion, but infusion and sprinkling were known to be used as well. And as to why? I've told you my guess...it's cold in northern and northwestern Europe, and you can't baptize anybody in ice!


Well...Russia is a LOT colder than western Europe, and the Russian Orthodox Church still baptized via immersion.  The Didache speaks of infusion in terms of scarcity of water--not how chilly the water is.

gbmtmas

Not to rain on your parade, but Western Europe does have its cold spots, all reached by Rome in the Middle Ages-Greenland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Northern Britain, Denmark, etc.

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« Reply #55 on: December 16, 2003, 10:13:09 PM »

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Also it is at least interesting that until the medieval period the West was universally practicing immersion.

Universally is the wrong word, I think. Most of the time, they practiced immersion, but infusion and sprinkling were known to be used as well. And as to why? I've told you my guess...it's cold in northern and northwestern Europe, and you can't baptize anybody in ice!


Well...Russia is a LOT colder than western Europe, and the Russian Orthodox Church still baptized via immersion.  The Didache speaks of infusion in terms of scarcity of water--not how chilly the water is.

gbmtmas

Not to rain on your parade, but Western Europe does have its cold spots, all reached by Rome in the Middle Ages-Greenland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Northern Britain, Denmark, etc.

Bos.

I don't know how it's "raining on my parade" since my point was that colder climate/water is no *necessary* pretext for infusion since immersion was universally practiced in a very large country whose climate is quite cold.  Sorry to rain on your parade.

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« Reply #56 on: December 16, 2003, 11:56:38 PM »

I'm not sure how much impact that would have had.

I doubt very much that the Renaissance mind had much force in much of Western Europe, and we are talking 13th/14th century rather than 15th/16th anyhow.

PT

It grew up out of the Late medieval period, but became firmly entrenched in the renaissance mind.
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« Reply #57 on: December 17, 2003, 12:44:08 AM »

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Also it is at least interesting that until the medieval period the West was universally practicing immersion.

Universally is the wrong word, I think. Most of the time, they practiced immersion, but infusion and sprinkling were known to be used as well. And as to why? I've told you my guess...it's cold in northern and northwestern Europe, and you can't baptize anybody in ice!


Well...Russia is a LOT colder than western Europe, and the Russian Orthodox Church still baptized via immersion.  The Didache speaks of infusion in terms of scarcity of water--not how chilly the water is.

gbmtmas

Not to rain on your parade, but Western Europe does have its cold spots, all reached by Rome in the Middle Ages-Greenland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Northern Britain, Denmark, etc.

Bos.

I seem to recall a very famous carving ( a woodcut, perhaps?) of Bishop Poppo  (hope I remembered that name correctly) baptizing Harald Bluetooth, the Viking King of Denmark and grandfather of Knut the Great. As I recall, the good bishop was immersing the king in what looked a wooden barrel full of water.
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« Reply #58 on: December 17, 2003, 03:39:08 AM »

Since we know that many of the saints in the British Isles would immerse themselves in the sea or in the freezing cold streams and rivers for hours and hours as part of their ascecis I find it hard to imagine that they would consider a few moments exposure to cold, not necessarily freezing, water to be a difficulty when baptising infants.

As gbmtmas has said, Russia is a lot, lot colder than even Northern Britain, and baptism by immersion remains the practice there, and was the practice here for 1000 years. Why was it universal in the British Isles for so very long, all through the Orthodox Catholic period, if the cold water was an impediment to its practice?

I am sure we must look for another reason.

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« Reply #59 on: December 17, 2003, 09:19:51 AM »

Ok...A) bear in mind a couple of things...and seminarians/clergy...double check me on this....ADULT conversions were usually done at Pascha, but infant baptisms were usually done in the Orthodox Church at 40 days.  in Protestant churches at that time frame, IIRC, it was the custom to baptise children the first Sunday after their birth, regardless of weather. BUT...and this is the thing, here...I have read of Puritan churches in America 1600ish which speak of the ice being broken on the baptismal fonts...but, what was the practice of the Orthodox Church? Meaning, duh, guys...OK, muy frio, as the quote says, but did it not occur to anyone to put some warm water into the font as they were dipping these shivvering little babies?  I'm betting that to everyone other than New England Puritans, it did. Can anyone help out with a historical reference? (We don't use room temperature water NOW, in my home parish, in AUGUST)

Thanks Vicki for sharing this.  I didn't realize that the Puritans actually baptized their infants.  For some reason, not having read much about them, I had them associated with the Anabaptist approach.  Do you recall, from your reading, the manner in which they baptized (immersion, infusion, etc)?

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« Reply #60 on: December 17, 2003, 09:21:36 AM »

Some parishes today say horse troughs for adults Smiley

I was baptized (thrice immersed) in a large plastic pool that my parish rented--right on the front lawn of the Church.

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« Reply #61 on: December 17, 2003, 10:59:47 AM »

I was baptized as a teen in the Mad River, VT in July.  Smiley  I had not been baptized as a child since my parents could not agree on which church in which to have me baptized.  SO when I finally was baptized, it was my own choice.  Our church offers both infant Christening and adult baptisms.  Infants we sprinkle, adults get dunked.  I know that some churches like to dunk 3 times one for each person of the trinity. Personally, I say just dunk'em once and hold them under until they REALLY repent Grin
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« Reply #62 on: December 17, 2003, 11:17:10 AM »

If I were building a new Orthodox Church I'd like to have a baptistery like the one at Ravenna with a central pool big enough to walk into.

I was baptised by my own choice in the Plymouth Brethren by my Dad, and then baptised when i became Orthodox. I had no issues with tha because in my first baptism any sacramental grace or understanding was absolutely rejected. It was not believed or intended to do what Orthodox-Catholic doctrine proposes. So it was not a sacrament as far as I was and am concerned.

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« Reply #63 on: December 17, 2003, 06:00:54 PM »

Peter: we have a baptismal pool for adult baptisms in a separate sanctuary - it’s in the floor, covered and empty except when needed.  It's very handy!  I’ve assisted at many baptisms in that pool.  Especially since we do not have a convenient out door site near us - I wouldn't dunk anyone in the Monongahela for fear of loosing them in the murk. Trouble is that you have to fill it at least 48 hours in advance - even in the summer time - so that the water can warm up!
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« Reply #64 on: December 18, 2003, 04:43:25 AM »

In the PB's we had a hot tap as well as a cold tap so the temperature could be raised a bit as it was filling.

When my infant son was baptised by immersion we did add some warm water because didn't want him catching cold.

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« Reply #65 on: December 18, 2003, 09:08:26 AM »

When my baby daughter Anna was baptized by immersion in the Orthodox Church in December of 2002, the water, which had at one point been warm, was cold by the time she was actually dunked in it.

We dried her off and dressed her pretty quick afterwards, however.

It sure perked her up!  Grin




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« Reply #66 on: December 18, 2003, 12:37:20 PM »

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I am sure we must look for another reason.

Well, I think the reasoning is good, albeit that Russia MAY have baptized by immersion. I'm imagining plague ridden Europe, people dying off, and babies being baptized in freezing cold water and then dying shortly thereafter. It would have seemed to the Europeans that immersing a baby in ice cold water would complicate things, and would make the baby more susceptible to the plague, or whatever other bad diseases there might be.
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« Reply #67 on: December 18, 2003, 12:49:44 PM »

But do you/we have any evidence that this was the reason. The Russians have always baptised by immersion and its a whole lot colder and they had the plague too, it wasn't just Europe. But it was just the churches under Roman Catholic control that changed. If there were several Orthodox churches that had also at the same time then I'd consider it to have weight.

Why only Roman Catholic countries?

I'll look on Questia again and see if there is anyone who's looked at this.

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« Reply #68 on: December 18, 2003, 01:20:54 PM »

Honestly, I don't think the Latin change in this regard was motivated by hygenic concerns, or worry over illness.

Like every minimalization the Latins employed after the schism, it was employed at first for practical reasons, and then kept in place just to "prove" something to those who had problems with it.

Case in point...

It is almost certain that the Latins began the practice of communicating their congregations "under one species" (the Host) for purely practical reasons.  While I'd have hoped they'd have taken a que from the East, and simply introduced the use of the spoon (which makes concerns about spillage, or people palming the Holy Gifts just as irrelevent, without depriving them of the basic form of Communion which it is obvious Christ desired His followers to receive at the Eucharist), this was their "pragmatic" solution, which in turn they could justify on the grounds of "concommittance" (the teaching that, strictly speaking, because Christ is Risen, one cannot receive only His Body when receiving the Host, or only His Precious Blood when drinking from the Chalice; rather, since He is alive and living, one, by connection, receives both in each "species.").

And when the inevitable occured (some complained on the grounds of apostolic tradition), the Latins became more dogged - now rather than simply existing for practicality's sake (and perhaps, in the popular consciousness, to re-inforce clericalism...since the priests certainly did receive "both kinds"), the practice (oddly enough) stood to "resist the heretics" (those who denied, explicitly or implicitly, "concommitance".)

It was long similar with Baptism - I suppose it's "easier" and on the whole less difficult, to pour a little water over someone's head, then dunk them whole and entire into a baptismal pool.  In a minimalistic mentality, the only question was "is this valid?"  And since the Latins answered "yes" to this, they went ahead and did it.  Then, round aboutly, when some people complained (on the grounds of tradition and apostolic practice), they became more stubborn in the practice, simply to confound these dissenters.

I think it is a terrible thing, when Divine Services in general (not just Baptism in particular) are treated in such a calculating way.  Is this the Spirit of the New Testament?  "Do the least we can possibly get away with, just enough so that we can get through the door"?

The problem with such a mentality, is that in our fallen state, the minimalist attitude itself (and not necessarily all of it's particular manifestations) will doom us to self satisfaction, even a "bargaining" mentality towards God, in which we figure "I jumped through the necessary hoops; it's all good."  This is totally alien to the mind of the Fathers - and I include those of the west, first and foremost.

Don't get me wrong - such questions are not totally without value.  However, when they become the way pastoral/liturgical decisions get made, I fear it is poisonous, as it will, one way or another, affect not only people's attitudes within the Temple, but outside of it as well.

Thus, even though the Didache says that if necessary, baptism by infusion is permissable, it certainly does not portray this as the ideal.  And why?  Because while it certainly fulfills some kind of "minimal" symbolism needed to "show" in figure the invisible grace of the Mystery, it leaves out so much.  While baptizing someone with a little water on the head does minimalistically symbolize "washing" and reflects baptism's Trinitarian aspect, does it reflect buriel in Christ, and Ressurection?  Does it even fully demonstrate the total cleansing of the soul which Baptism affords, the way immersing somone in a font (or natural body of water) does?

This "calculating" (it's the best term I can think of) attitude is infectious.  This is part of the reason why in Catholicism the economy of salvation began to be treated solely in a judicial/legal context; even penance was reduced to this (with indulgences serving as a way to avoid them, or at least mitigate them - based on the understanding that the primary purpose of penance is not reform and real, objective change in the soul...but rather the "paying up" of something you owe to God, which strictly speaking can be done by someone else if He's willing to accept that.)

I'm not saying that the particular practice of "baptism by pouring" as a policy is responsible for all of this; only that it is a manifestation of a fundamentally flawed way of thinking.

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« Reply #69 on: December 18, 2003, 02:03:29 PM »

I would add that in Northern Russia affusion was sometimes practiced, so Orthodoxy is not without its exceptions.  On the otherhand, the Ambrosian Rite kept and keeps triple immersion as its practice.  

One thing that seems to underly these types of discussion is a Byzantine (and seemingly Coptic) chauvinism, that is no less wrong than the preeminence the Roman Rite felt it had.  Each Church has the right to decide for itself how liturgically things will be handled within the Catholic and Apostolic Tradition, clearly afusion is within it.  Criticisms of what is a better symbol miss the point, becasue each Rite has different emphases and symbols that inevitably conflict with another of a different Church.  A few examples: The Armenians do not mix water into the wine as everyone else does.  Why? Because they view that as a symbol of corruption as they do leaven, which is why they use unleavened bread.   And no, they did not adopt this from the Latins as is often assumed, their own manuscripts show they practiced this long before the crusades, as did the Assyrians who only later adopted leavened bread.  Now this flies in the face of what we Byzantines and Copts believe concerning mixing water with the wine or using leavend bread, yet the Copts maintain communion with the Armenians.  Should the practice of affusion then be held as a reason for non-communion or calling baptism by this method invalid?  I think it should not.  For if this is they case then we all have a lot more problems before communion can be achieved.

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« Reply #70 on: December 18, 2003, 04:01:00 PM »

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No evidence...I am asking IF anyone has any....Saints...adults...and their ascesis is one thing...and does NOT translate to infants. People realized even then that the sudden shock of being plunged in ice water can kill...(can stop the heart) and that infants are fragile. SO...DID they warm the water? OR just allow infant mortality to soar?  I think from most examples of patristics and monastic writings I have read the rule is to be strict with yourself and merciful to others...I can't imagine someone other than a Puritan saying "Gotta be harsh with the little sprog"...I don't know what was done in Russia...I'm curious enough to research it, though.

I've heard it from a medievalist that babies were indeed baptized in outdoor water fonts until infusion became popular, and many died in the process.

AFAIK, hot water wasn't as easy to come by back then. They didn't have it on tap. Wink I challenge anybody here to fill with warm water a medieval baptismal font in the dead of winter, without hot water on tap. Smiley
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« Reply #71 on: December 18, 2003, 04:18:15 PM »

I accept you points and can assure you that I am not a Coptic chauvinist.

But it seems a legitimate and reasonable question to ask why immersion was universal in the West until AFTER the schism with Eastern Orthodoxy. If the West had a practice of affusion from the beginning then that would be a different set of evidence, but the practice of both baptism and communion changed from being wholly consistent with universal practice to being dissonant in just a hundred years or so and after the schism with the East. It seems entirely sensible to ask what the reason for this change was and what it means.

The Armenians are the oldest Christian nation in the world. They have not changed a practice after a millenia. This is different to the Armenians ceasing to use leaven after say 1300 when it would again be reasonable to ask why they changed. But they have not changed.

I don't think I am saying that affusion is practically a necessary obstacle. But the reason for the change is also expedient to ask. In the case of communion we find that priests who tried to communicate their people in both kinds were threatened with excommunication. This is again a different situation. If communion in one kind were allowed and becae common that is one thing, but if the universal practice which had been used for a millenia became illegal then that seems to me to indicate a change of thinking and not only practice.

All of the fonts I have seen from the period in question are ALL inside churches. They stood near the door to the church. It is not difficult to add hot or warm water to a font. It requires a fire, a metal pot filled with water and perhaps a bucket. All of these are readily available. My own son was baptised by immersion in a cold Anglican church font. It was filled with cold water and we carried a container of hot water a few hundred yards from my parents house and topped the font up with it to take the chill off. He was in the font for about 15-20 seconds and was wrapped up warm immediately afterwards.

The Roman fonts I know of in the UK were all inside wooden structures and were not outside.

Why would the water have been ice water and why then was baptism by immersion the constant rule for 1200 years in Europe if it was so deadly? Why also should we have faith that we can't be made ill by communion but should not have faith that the life-giving waters of baptism will kill our children?

PT
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« Reply #72 on: December 18, 2003, 04:46:20 PM »

British Church history is one of my favourite subjects, and I'm doing an MA in Celtic Christianity, so my interest is not purely, or even majorly from a Orthodox-Roman comparative persepective.

I note in Birth, Marriage, and Death: Ritual, Religion, and the Life-Cycle in Tudor and Stuart England by David Cressy; Oxford University Press, 1997 p139

"As a leader of the Marian counterreformation, Bishop Bonner sought to restore the traditional manner of trine (triple) immersion that had so recently been subverted. Were there any in the diocese, he asked in 1554, 'that will not suffer the priest to dip the child three times in the font, being yet strong, and able to abide and suffer it . . . but will needs have the child in the clothes, and only to be sprinkled with a few drops of water?' In the interest of purity and simplicity English protestants eschewed this 'thrice dipping' of popish baptism and sought to punish it if it occurred."

It would therefore seem, and I will now try to track down Bishop Bonner, that in England baptism by triple immersion was the normal practice even until the reformation.

PT
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« Reply #73 on: December 18, 2003, 05:33:35 PM »

Not proposing this as a proving anything at all, but from the Schaff Ency.

"The Greek word baptizein means "to dip," "to submerge." When we read in the Septuagint (II Kings v, 14) that Naaman went down into the Jordan and "baptized himself" (Gk. ebaptisato), we are compelled to understand a dipping; and there is cited from Greek literature not a single instance of the use of the word in which the idea of submersion is not involved. Wherefore it is held that the rite of baptism as spoken of in the New Testament was always a burial in water and that the command to baptize is a command to immerse. The burial in water has always been the practise of the Greek Church, its older patriarchates holding that there is no other baptism (Stanley, Eastern Church, Lecture i). The Baptists and some other bodies in Western Christendom hold rigidly to this view. Immersion is the only catholic act of baptism, the only one whose validity is recognized semper et ubique et ab omnibus. The burial in water continued to be the standard usage of the Roman Church for more than a thousand years. Thomas Aquinas speaks of it as "the more common" usage. It was the practise in Britain till the reign of Elizabeth, and is still demanded in the order of the Church of England for the baptism of infants unless the parents shall certify that the child is weak. Though pouring or sprinkling is now employed rather as a matter of convenience, effusion was for many centuries resorted to only in case of necessity.

b. Testimony of Cyprian.

The first extended discussion of the question is found in the epistle of Cyprian to Magnus written about the middle of the third century. Being asked whether those can be deemed legitimi Christiani, "Christians in full standing," who, being converted in sickness are non loci sod perfusi, "not immersed in the water but having it simply poured over them," he gives an affirmative opinion but does so with the very greatest hesitation. His words are: "So far as my poor ability comprehends the matter;" and "I have answered your letter so far as my poor and small ability is capable of doing;" and "So far as in me lies I have shown what I think." He disclaims any intention of saying that other officials should recognize effusion as baptism and even goes so far as to suggest that those who have thus received affusion may on their recovery from sickness be immersed. But, citing various sprinklings in the Mosaic ritual, he gives the view, that necessitate cogente, immersion being out of the question, those who have been poured upon may be comforted by being told that they have been truly baptized (Cypriani epiat., lxxv, [lxix], 12-14; ANF, v, 400-401). This epistle makes it clear beyond all controversy that in the third century the ordinary baptism was immersion, and that even in the Latin Church there were those who declared it the only baptism. It further appears with equal clearness that affusion was never practised in the Apostolic Church, for had the apostles resorted thereto even in a single instance Cyprian would certainly have known the fact and would never have presented so mild an apology for a usage which had apostolic precedent, nor indeed would any one have taken exception to the practise.

c. Origin of Affusion.

For a thousand years the resort to the use of effusion was justified only on the ground of necessity. And the supposed necessity existed in the idea that baptism was essential to salvation and so that when immersion, the established rite, was out of the question, something must be put in its place or the soul would be lost. The use of affusion would never have been thought of except for the idea that water baptism was essential to salvation."
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« Reply #74 on: December 18, 2003, 05:40:30 PM »

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we are compelled to understand a dipping; and there is cited from Greek literature not a single instance of the use of the word in which the idea of submersion is not involved.

This is false. When the pharisees washed themselves before eating, the word "baptizein" was used. Are we to think they bathed before eating? It doesn't just mean "to dip, to submerge." False, false, false.
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« Reply #75 on: December 18, 2003, 05:47:23 PM »

This is false. When the pharisees washed themselves before eating, the word "baptizein" was used. Are we to think they bathed before eating? It doesn't just mean "to dip, to submerge." False, false, false.

Surely it does mean "to dip, to submerge" in this instance. It means that ones hands are dipped and submerged in the water. It does not mean "to bathe" it means "to submerge in water". And in the context it is fairly obvious that this means the Pharisees washed their hands by submerging in water.

You have just pulled out this one phrase from the encyclopaedia. What about the statement that baptism by immersion was universal until the medieval period and that Aquinas says it is the normal mode and that in England it was the practice until the Reformation?

Also what's your opinion of the teaching of St Cyprian who opposes the normal form of baptism by immersion to that of pouring, thereby showing that whatever the meaning of the Greek word baptizo the Christian meaning was a washing by immersion in the normal form.

PT
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« Reply #76 on: December 18, 2003, 06:18:02 PM »

It doesn't just mean "to dip, to submerge." False, false, false.

Sorry Caffeinator but it does mean precisely that.

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« Reply #77 on: December 18, 2003, 06:40:17 PM »

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The word Baptism is derived from the Greek word, bapto, or baptizo, to wash or to immerse.

http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/02258b.htm#II

I appreciate the symbolism of baptism by immersion, but I too was baptized into Jesus' death, by infusion.
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« Reply #78 on: December 18, 2003, 06:47:06 PM »

I think the situation in which baptism by infusion becomes the norm is analagous to private confession, with private penances. In the early Church it was thought that penance need be public and severe. The form changed, and it is within the authority of the Catholic Church to recognize such confessions as valid, to establish private confession, private penance as the norm for our Church, and likewise with baptism.
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« Reply #79 on: December 18, 2003, 06:58:16 PM »

I don't think that is what I am questioning now. I am rather asking why in England baptism by immersion was the norm until the reformation and was still being encouraged by Catholic bishops there, and was the norm throughout the West for 1300 years.

My question is why did it change to a non-Catholic form, that is, a form that had never been recognised anywhere as normative.

It can be for practical reasons, but what are they, or it could be for doctrinal/theological reasons, what are they? But it doesn't just happen and in England it obviously didn't until the Anglican Church was established. And in the time of Aquinas it hadn't happened as much.

So why did it happen. The reasons surely must determine how the change should be viewed?

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« Reply #80 on: December 18, 2003, 07:02:48 PM »

Well, I've tried to put it in its historical context, although honestly I wasn't there. The theology is the same. We are baptized into Christ's death and resurrection, for the forgiveness of sins, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. And we always were. Smiley

One of the things that keeps me Catholic is that I couldn't in good conscience allow myself to be re-"baptized." I've told God too many times that I acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
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« Reply #81 on: December 19, 2003, 03:55:02 AM »

Hi, I wasn't there either. I wouldn't have minded the Old English period but I'm not such a fan of the post-Conquest period.

But we must be able to dig up some evidence. I am surprised in fact how little seems out there. Might be a good article in it. If England preserved baptism by immersion then what other countries did, and until when? England is further north than Italy so the cold water argument seems to fall down.

I am not suggesting that it is a major obstacle, or that you have not been baptised. It's not for me to say that at all. But it has become problematic for my own Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate and if I am to be able to write or comment in favour of the RC practice it is necessary at least for me to be able to explain how this change took place and why.

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« Reply #82 on: December 19, 2003, 05:22:42 AM »

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The word Baptism is derived from the Greek word, bapto, or baptizo, to wash or to immerse.

http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/02258b.htm#II

Incorrect. It only means "wash" in the sense that something is completely submerged. "Wash" is a derived meaning from the act of submersion in water. Bapto and baptizo do not have the meaning of "wash" in any other sense.

Remember, they did not have pipes bringing water to showers or taps over wash basins back then.

BTW, I work at the Centre for the Greek Language in Thessaloniki, Greece. I may not be an authority on the Greek language, but the people I work with are  Cool.

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« Reply #83 on: December 19, 2003, 09:28:42 AM »

Summary of my opinion on this matter...

Strictly speaking, as an act of economy (when circumstances merit it), baptizing by infusion ("pouring") is both "valid" and "lawful."

As a pastoral policy ("the rule") however, it is deficient.  To make it the norm, is to confuse condescension with "the ideal", and in so doing we end up deviating from the Apostolic Tradition.  However, I will say that even so it has been admitted as "valid", as the reception of RC converts to Orthodoxy has demonstrated.

I know this may not be the thinking of everyone here, but this is where I'm coming from - my trouble is not so much with the strict "validity" of the form, so much as making what is supposed to be "exceptional" the norm, and the great loss this entails.

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« Reply #84 on: December 19, 2003, 09:52:48 AM »

Dcn. Lance,

Quote
I would add that in Northern Russia affusion was sometimes practiced, so Orthodoxy is not without its exceptions.

Can you give details on this, and any contextual info?

Quote
One thing that seems to underly these types of discussion is a Byzantine (and seemingly Coptic) chauvinism, that is no less wrong than the preeminence the Roman Rite felt it had.

As Peter has said of himself, I will say of myself - there is not a question of blind chauvenism here.  Rather, I find it odd that the Latins would for so long adhere to the universal practice of the Church, and then change it - and with no good reason that anyone here can discern (I think by this point the "cold water kills" or "hygiene" argument has been discounted.)

Quote
Each Church has the right to decide for itself how liturgically things will be handled within the Catholic and Apostolic Tradition, clearly afusion is within it.

Do they have such absolute mastery over the sacraments?  I certainly do not support this idea.  For the Orthodox, part of the concern is the fact that this became normal in the RCC, after it had (from the Orthodox p.o.v.) gone into schism (thus this practice is not evidence of something healthy members of the Church were doing in the west, prior to the close of the first millenia A.D.)

Quote
Criticisms of what is a better symbol miss the point, becasue each Rite has different emphases and symbols that inevitably conflict with another of a different Church.  A few examples: The Armenians do not mix water into the wine as everyone else does.  Why? Because they view that as a symbol of corruption as they do leaven, which is why they use unleavened bread.

As for which is "better symbolism" in the case of Baptism, your argument here is lacking, since the Scriptures themselves go into the details of what Baptism signifies, and they use the normative Apostolic practice of immersion (which is strictly speaking what the very word "baptism" means) to illustrate this...

Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. (Romans 6:4)

Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead. (Colossians 2:12)

Once again, the word "baptism" means "immerse".  In Strong's KJV Greek NT Concordance, we find the following for "baptizo"...

Quote
Strong's Number 907

Definition

1. to dip repeatedly, to immerse, to submerge (of vessels sunk)
2. to cleanse by dipping or submerging, to wash, to make clean with water, to wash one's self, bathe
3. to overwhelm

Not to be confused with [Strong's #] 911, bapto. The clearest example that shows the meaning of baptizo is a text from the Greek poet and physician Nicander, who lived about 200 B.C. It is a recipe for making pickles and is helpful because it uses both words. Nicander says that in order to make a pickle, the vegetable should first be 'dipped' (bapto) into boiling water and then 'baptised' (baptizo) in the vinegar solution. Both verbs concern the immersing of vegetables in a solution. But the first is temporary. The second, the act of baptising the vegetable, produces a permanent change. When used in the New Testament, this word more often refers to our union and identification with Christ than to our water baptism. e.g. Mark 16:16. 'He that believes and is baptised shall be saved'. Christ is saying that mere intellectual assent is not enough. There must be a union with him, a real change, like the vegetable to the pickle! Bible Study Magazine, James Montgomery Boice, May 1989.

Ignoring James Boice's Reformed/Baptistic sounding bias against anything (no matter how obvious) smacking of "baptismal regeneration", the linguistic exposition here is sound, and is the same as everything else I've read on the topic.

While one can get a secondary meaning of "washing" from this term, this is an understanding that comes via association, not what the word itself actually menas - it is also an understanding (washing) which is culturally/historically sensitive, since it can only come about as the result of a time/place when people would have submerged their hands into a basin of water, or for whom washing the body would involve "taking a bath" (since they would have not have had faucet taps or showers back when this term was being used in relation to such common washings.)

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« Reply #85 on: December 19, 2003, 10:01:24 AM »

But do you/we have any evidence that this was the reason. The Russians have always baptised by immersion and its a whole lot colder and they had the plague too, it wasn't just Europe. But it was just the churches under Roman Catholic control that changed. If there were several Orthodox churches that had also at the same time then I'd consider it to have weight.

Why only Roman Catholic countries?

I'll look on Questia again and see if there is anyone who's looked at this.

PT

Oh that's easy!! Because God told the pope to change things and since Russia was full of "GRACELESS HERETIC" schismatics - you guys never got the memo!! Grin
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« Reply #86 on: December 19, 2003, 10:16:28 AM »

I know this may not be the thinking of everyone here, but this is where I'm coming from - my trouble is not so much with the strict "validity" of the form, so much as making what is supposed to be "exceptional" the norm, and the great loss this entails.

I agree with everything Seraphim has written. And I concur with his opinion that what is troubling is not the strict validity of RC baptisms, which I can accept, especially since the theological and sacramental meaning seems the same in both Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism, rather it is hard to see why the manifest symbolism of the ancient and universal and Western as much as Eastern pratice would or should be abrogated.

Is there a movement anywhere in Roman Catholicsm to restore baptism by immersion? Do the Byzantine Catholics baptise by immersion?

I still think there is a good article in this subject since it seems there is no obvious source of information about how and where and why and when this change took place.

I think that St Cyprian would take a stronger line on the issue than I would, and I understand that my bishops take this Cyprianic view. I'm not convinced that I do, but I'm also not sure that dialogue has progressed so far that this is the only outstanding issue, which, if it were, I would probably support the validity of RC baptism.

PT
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« Reply #87 on: December 19, 2003, 11:11:12 AM »

Seraphim,

I will have to dig that up for you.  I seem to recall that it was said this was done in the Novgorod region, I assume because of the severe cold.

When I refer to chauvinsim I refer to the Byzantine and Coptic Churches as a whole, not you or Subdeacon Peter personally.

But while we are speaking of deviating from Apostolic practice the Eastern Churches have done this also.  The Didache states quite clearly that the norm is immersion in running water as Our Lord was, to my knowledge this is rarely, if ever, done.  Immersion in a font is itself a deviation, although to a different degree than affusion, from the Apostolic norm but this is never brought up.

My point is affusion was/is acceptable although not preferred by the East.  To claim that this is invalid or unacceptable is, in my opinion wrong, and an attempt to creat yet further division by decrying the practice of another.

Why did the Latin Church do this?  Out of convenience and minimalism? In part probably.  But please note that Latins could say the same thing about our practice of having priests chrismate instead of the bishop.  Also we tend to forget the Roman Rite of antiquity was very sober.  The simplest action was preferred and it seems this one out in baptism.  Anything that resembles the East in the Roman Rite is a Gallican Rite import.

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« Reply #88 on: December 19, 2003, 11:22:13 AM »

Subdeacon Peter,

In the Latin Church new parishes are usually built with immersion pools.  The Catechism of the Catholic Church as well as the Sacramentary praise the fuller symbol of immersion an recommend it with out requiring it.

In the Byzantine Church baptism of infants is by immersion, but affusion is normal for adults in my experience, although I am sure there are some priests who would bring in the kiddie pool  a la My Big Fat Greek Wedding.

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« Reply #89 on: December 19, 2003, 11:30:33 AM »

Thanks for the info Deacon Lance.

I must suggest though that the COP is not being chauvinistic, but rather takes a stricter Cyprianic line. It also has difficulties in Egypt with the presence of the Coptic Catholic Church which I guess make relations more strained than they might be. This is not an excuse. I do tend towards the more economical line.

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