Author Topic: Do all Orthodox Churches recognize converts received by chrismation?  (Read 3275 times)

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Offline Layman Dan

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Hello,

This is my first post so I will briefly introduce myself.  I am Dan, a catechumen in Georgia, USA.  Nice to be here.

I was wondering if all churches within the Orthodox communion recognize converts that are received by chrismation.  Apparently certain Orthodox churches always baptize those who were previously baptized in non-Orthodox churches.  Would those churches recognize converts received into another jurisdiction by chrismation as being Orthodox?  Do they see it just as a matter of local custom or a salvation issue?  Thanks in advance.

Offline ialmisry

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Re: Do all Orthodox Churches recognize converts received by chrismation?
« Reply #1 on: March 10, 2010, 11:56:36 AM »
Hello,

This is my first post so I will briefly introduce myself.  I am Dan, a catechumen in Georgia, USA.  Nice to be here.

I was wondering if all churches within the Orthodox communion recognize converts that are received by chrismation.  Apparently certain Orthodox churches always baptize those who were previously baptized in non-Orthodox churches.  Would those churches recognize converts received into another jurisdiction by chrismation as being Orthodox?  Do they see it just as a matter of local custom or a salvation issue?  Thanks in advance.

Most who won't recognize the chrismation wouldn't recognize a baptism by any Orthodox jurisdiction but their own.  Everyone else ("World Orthodoxy") would.
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Offline augustin717

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Re: Do all Orthodox Churches recognize converts received by chrismation?
« Reply #2 on: March 10, 2010, 12:03:27 PM »
I,ve heard they don't, on the Holy Mountain.
I actually know that an American,now a monk in Romania, recieved by the Antiochians by chrismation, was (re)baptized there.

Offline FatherGiryus

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Re: Do all Orthodox Churches recognize converts received by chrismation?
« Reply #3 on: March 10, 2010, 12:09:25 PM »
Hello,

This is my first post so I will briefly introduce myself.  I am Dan, a catechumen in Georgia, USA.  Nice to be here.

I was wondering if all churches within the Orthodox communion recognize converts that are received by chrismation.  Apparently certain Orthodox churches always baptize those who were previously baptized in non-Orthodox churches.  Would those churches recognize converts received into another jurisdiction by chrismation as being Orthodox?  Do they see it just as a matter of local custom or a salvation issue?  Thanks in advance.

Dear Dan,

This is a complicated topic, but I will try to break it down as best I can.

1. The Creed states, "I believe in one Baptism for the remission of sins..."
2. Orthodox Baptism consists of a triple immersion in the Name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
3. The Church of Rome and possibly other ancient Sees prior to the schism practiced single immersion (I am not sure of when pouring was introduced).
4. There is controversy as to whether single immersion is valid.
5. There is controversy whether any non-Orthodox Sacrament is valid.
6. Various churches tend to selectively recognize Sacraments of other churches (i.e. OCA received Roman clergy through vesting, whereas Antioch ordains them because they do not recognize the Sacrament as valid).
7. While the churches do not agree amongst themselves, they have not broken Communion amongst each other over it.
8. A majority of the churches at this time do not require Baptism within the Orthodox Church so long as the heterodox Baptism was in the Name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
9. Remember that Baptism and Chrismation presuppose the converts obedience to the Church through the local Bishop.  You, as a convert, do not get a say in how you will be received.  The Bishop does that.
10. If anyone questions how you were received, the best answer is, "Through obedience to my Bishop."  This is a perfectly honest and accurate answer.
11. It is NOT OK for you to attempt to influence the way you are received into the Church, either by purposefully 'losing' your Baptismal certificate or manipulating the situation in any way.  This is dishonest and disobedient.
12. You will get flack from some folks over how you are received, and I suggest you tune it out and have them take complains to your Bishop directly because you did not have a choice other than to obey or not to obey.
13. Apostolic Canons 46, 47, 49 and 50 are the primary canons dealing with this topic.  Their interpretation, however, is a matter for the hierarchy (as are all the canons).
14. Some churches or local communities consider this matter so important that it is a matter that requires, as it is sometimes called, 'corrective Baptism.'  For example, some communities on Mt. Athos have reportedly Baptised Orthodox clergy whom they believe were not properly Baptised, though this somehow did not mean that they were required to receive Chrismation again.  For the record, this is not the policy of the Patriarchate of Constantinople as far as I am aware, but simply a local custom.
15. The service books of the Church do contain specific services for the reception of converts, ranging confession of Faith to Baptism and Chrismation.

Anyway, that's about all that comes to mind right now.

My advice is to follow the instructions of your priest.
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Offline augustin717

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Re: Do all Orthodox Churches recognize converts received by chrismation?
« Reply #4 on: March 10, 2010, 12:17:12 PM »
Not to be a nitpicker, but the church of Rome as all other ancient churches did baptize by THREEFOLD immersion or THREEFOLD pouring.
« Last Edit: March 10, 2010, 12:17:34 PM by augustin717 »

Offline HandmaidenofGod

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Re: Do all Orthodox Churches recognize converts received by chrismation?
« Reply #5 on: March 10, 2010, 12:24:20 PM »
Hello,

This is my first post so I will briefly introduce myself.  I am Dan, a catechumen in Georgia, USA.  Nice to be here.

I was wondering if all churches within the Orthodox communion recognize converts that are received by chrismation.  Apparently certain Orthodox churches always baptize those who were previously baptized in non-Orthodox churches.  Would those churches recognize converts received into another jurisdiction by chrismation as being Orthodox?  Do they see it just as a matter of local custom or a salvation issue?  Thanks in advance.

I just wanted to say "Welcome to the forum!"  :)
"For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope." Jer 29:11

Offline arimethea

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Re: Do all Orthodox Churches recognize converts received by chrismation?
« Reply #6 on: March 10, 2010, 12:41:29 PM »
I,ve heard they don't, on the Holy Mountain.
I actually know that an American,now a monk in Romania, recieved by the Antiochians by chrismation, was (re)baptized there.
This is the practice of some monks but I doubt their Bishops give open approval of this practice.
Joseph

Offline pensateomnia

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Re: Do all Orthodox Churches recognize converts received by chrismation?
« Reply #7 on: March 10, 2010, 01:30:08 PM »
Would those churches recognize converts received into another jurisdiction by chrismation as being Orthodox? 

Depends on what you mean by "churches."

I am unaware of any synod of Bishops (outside of some Old Calendarist synods that have intentionally separated themselves from "World Orthodoxy") that refuses to recognize converts received into another jurisdiction by chrismation. For example, it is not unheard of in some parts of the Church of Greece to baptize converts from many Protestant confessions. However, the Church of Greece does not refuse to recognize or retroactively baptize those who were received in some other way. Such is also the case in canonical Orthodox Churches that follow the Old Calendar (e.g. ROCOR, Jerusalem, Russia, etc.).

That's one understanding of "church" -- official policy, so to speak. However, a certain Bishop or priest may decide to do his own thing in a specific location. This is rare, and, in my experience, happens more frequently in either (1) an Athonite context, or (2) in areas of the diaspora that have less ecclesial organization than North America (e.g. Brazil or Austria or New Zealand).
But for I am a man not textueel I wol noght telle of textes neuer a deel. (Chaucer, The Manciple's Tale, 1.131)

Offline Irish Hermit

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Re: Do all Orthodox Churches recognize converts received by chrismation?
« Reply #8 on: March 10, 2010, 02:30:47 PM »

 Do they see it just as a matter of local custom or a salvation issue? 

You may like to have a look at this message

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,25317.msg414579.html#msg414579

It is about the decision of the Church of Constantinople, that the different practices of various Churches on receiving converts should be left in place meantime, until there can be a pan-Orthodox synod convened to discuss the matter and create unified guidelines.

It seems a very sensible approach.

Offline Alveus Lacuna

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Re: Do all Orthodox Churches recognize converts received by chrismation?
« Reply #9 on: March 10, 2010, 02:59:00 PM »
As I understand it, even ROCOR used to receive many Christians of Protestant background by chrismation. Blessed Seraphim (Rose) of Platina was received this way in the 1960's, and he was an extremely anti-ecumenist conservative.
« Last Edit: March 10, 2010, 02:59:26 PM by Alveus Lacuna »

Offline SolEX01

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Re: Do all Orthodox Churches recognize converts received by chrismation?
« Reply #10 on: March 10, 2010, 03:22:54 PM »
Hello,

This is my first post so I will briefly introduce myself.  I am Dan, a catechumen in Georgia, USA.  Nice to be here.

Welcome to the forum.   :)

Offline Alveus Lacuna

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Re: Do all Orthodox Churches recognize converts received by chrismation?
« Reply #11 on: March 10, 2010, 03:28:30 PM »
Oh, yeah.  I forgot to say hello.  Welcome!

Offline Layman Dan

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Re: Do all Orthodox Churches recognize converts received by chrismation?
« Reply #12 on: March 11, 2010, 09:16:58 AM »
Thank you very much for your responses and welcomes.

So if I understand correctly, a person who is received by chrismation in a church under the Patriarchate of Constantinople would be recognized as a valid convert in, for example, Jerusalem, and not be denied communion although the priest fully knows they weren't baptized Orthodox?  It looks like you are all mostly saying that it is just certain very small communities that would demand re-baptism, not entire jurisdictions.
« Last Edit: March 11, 2010, 09:18:55 AM by Layman Dan »

Offline HandmaidenofGod

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Re: Do all Orthodox Churches recognize converts received by chrismation?
« Reply #13 on: March 11, 2010, 09:22:36 AM »
Thank you very much for your responses and welcomes.

So if I understand correctly, a person who is received by chrismation in a church under the Patriarchate of Constantinople would be recognized as a valid convert in, for example, Jerusalem, and not be denied communion although the priest fully knows they weren't baptized Orthodox?  It looks like you are all mostly saying that it is just certain very small communities that would demand re-baptism, not entire jurisdictions.

You've got it!

Also, in my experience, when visiting another Orthodox parish, the priest will usually not demand to see your baptismal certificate before communing you. If you are visiting a parish, it's just common courtesy to contact the priest ahead of time and let him know you would like to commune.

When one wants to become a member of a new parish (let's say you move across country), then the priest will usually ask to see a copy of your baptism/chrismation certificate.
"For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope." Jer 29:11

Offline Layman Dan

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Re: Do all Orthodox Churches recognize converts received by chrismation?
« Reply #14 on: March 11, 2010, 09:34:41 AM »
11. It is NOT OK for you to attempt to influence the way you are received into the Church, either by purposefully 'losing' your Baptismal certificate or manipulating the situation in any way.  This is dishonest and disobedient.
12. You will get flack from some folks over how you are received, and I suggest you tune it out and have them take complains to your Bishop directly because you did not have a choice other than to obey or not to obey.
13. Apostolic Canons 46, 47, 49 and 50 are the primary canons dealing with this topic.  Their interpretation, however, is a matter for the hierarchy (as are all the canons).

Personally I have no baptismal certificate but I get the impression (although I haven't asked my priest specifically yet) that he would take my word for it that I was baptized before.  I would not try to lie about it but I would indicate to him that to this former church, baptism was nothing more than a symbol.  I was actually baptized at age 12 by my father, who was ordained in the United Church of Christ (the same church that ordained Reverend Jeremiah Wright apparently), and I would explain some things that this church stands for (abortion, homosexual agenda, etc.--even though my father didn't personally support those things).  I have trouble seeing how this would be a valid baptism just because he got his hand wet and said all 3 persons of the Trinity.  Hopefully explaining these things won't be seen as "influencing" the priest too heavily.

Also, where can I take a look at those canons?  Thanks in advance.

Offline Orthodox11

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Re: Do all Orthodox Churches recognize converts received by chrismation?
« Reply #15 on: March 11, 2010, 09:45:25 AM »
As I understand it, even ROCOR used to receive many Christians of Protestant background by chrismation. Blessed Seraphim (Rose) of Platina was received this way in the 1960's, and he was an extremely anti-ecumenist conservative.

And while he did not receive corrective baptism, he was unhappy with the way he had been received and insisted on baptising the converts he received.

Offline FatherGiryus

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Re: Do all Orthodox Churches recognize converts received by chrismation?
« Reply #16 on: March 11, 2010, 12:06:31 PM »
11. It is NOT OK for you to attempt to influence the way you are received into the Church, either by purposefully 'losing' your Baptismal certificate or manipulating the situation in any way.  This is dishonest and disobedient.
12. You will get flack from some folks over how you are received, and I suggest you tune it out and have them take complains to your Bishop directly because you did not have a choice other than to obey or not to obey.
13. Apostolic Canons 46, 47, 49 and 50 are the primary canons dealing with this topic.  Their interpretation, however, is a matter for the hierarchy (as are all the canons).

Personally I have no baptismal certificate but I get the impression (although I haven't asked my priest specifically yet) that he would take my word for it that I was baptized before.  I would not try to lie about it but I would indicate to him that to this former church, baptism was nothing more than a symbol.  I was actually baptized at age 12 by my father, who was ordained in the United Church of Christ (the same church that ordained Reverend Jeremiah Wright apparently), and I would explain some things that this church stands for (abortion, homosexual agenda, etc.--even though my father didn't personally support those things).  I have trouble seeing how this would be a valid baptism just because he got his hand wet and said all 3 persons of the Trinity.  Hopefully explaining these things won't be seen as "influencing" the priest too heavily.

Also, where can I take a look at those canons?  Thanks in advance.

Dear Dan,

As I mentioned before, that's all up to the Priest and his Bishop whether they will take your word or ask for a certificate.

Each jurisdiction has its own rules as to what heterodox Baptisms they recognize or not.  For example, there was a time when Anglican baptisms were considered acceptable, but now there growing resistence to accepting them because of their new lack of requiring belief in the Trinity as Father, Son and Holy Spirit (there is some other formula from what I heard, though it is not yet universally used).  As for the UCC, I'm not sure how they baptize or what the particulars are regarding their recognition.  Again, that's up to the Priest, who must obey his Bishop.

I hope you understand that I wasn't accusing you of anything, but I have heard some converts being advised to 'lose' their baptism certificates so as to 'force' the priest to Baptize them.  That's a type of dishonesty that does not bode well for their salvation, if you get my point.  Not that this is you by any means, I'm just warning you off if someone advises you to do something dishonest to get what you want.

If you do a search for 'Apostolic Canons,' you will find them.  They are the oldest canons and translations abound on the internet.  Just remember that you will be reading them without the context of the subsequent canons that further interpret them, and all the many helpful commentaries of Balsamon, Zonaras and other canon commentators that explain how the Church views these canons and impliments them.  Be careful about the conclusions you draw from them.


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Offline Thomas

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Re: Do all Orthodox Churches recognize converts received by chrismation?
« Reply #17 on: March 11, 2010, 12:44:05 PM »
Father Gyrus's advice is VERY appropriate! It is important to note that it is your Bishop who has the Charism granted to him at ordination to recieve the direction from the Holy Spirit in these matters. It is your Priest's Charism to be obedient and do as his Bishop directs him in these matters. As we have seen many holy and blessed people come through the obedience to those who God has placed in authority over them as shepherds. When in doubt listen to what your pastor and chief pastor counsel you in these matters.

Thomas
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« Last Edit: March 11, 2010, 12:45:06 PM by Thomas »
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Offline Layman Dan

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Re: Do all Orthodox Churches recognize converts received by chrismation?
« Reply #18 on: March 11, 2010, 02:23:25 PM »
I met with my priest today and I briefly brought up this question.  He pretty much agreed with what you are all saying.  Thanks again for your inputs.  And yes, that is very good advice, Father Giryus.