Author Topic: Can you convert and be Chrismated on your death bed?  (Read 2723 times)

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Offline David Lanier

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Can you convert and be Chrismated on your death bed?
« on: May 14, 2010, 11:45:01 PM »
Here's the scenario:

An elderly woman is in a nursing home for long term care, she is still cognoscente but her cognitive abilities aren't what they used to be, so conversations are typically brief and simple. She cannot walk and cannot sit up in a wheelchair for terribly long periods of time because of poor bone density and severe osteoporosis so it would be almost impossible for her to be able to endure the Liturgy on Sundays, but on a good day might be able to endure Vespers if the incense isn't too strong because she has end stage COPD.

She was raised Methodist mostly but was never a regular attendee even though she believes in God. Her son is a convert to Orthodoxy and she's been to a couple of Orthodox services in the past when she still had their health even though she was raised Protestant.

Now that she is approaching the end of her life, she has expressed a desire to have her son's priest come and pray with her and for her and has expressed some interest in converting and becoming Orthodox.

Can she be Chrismated? What kind of catechism would be appropriate for someone with limited cognitive capacities?
« Last Edit: May 14, 2010, 11:46:20 PM by David Lanier »

Offline ialmisry

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Re: Can you convert and be Chrismated on your death bed?
« Reply #1 on: May 14, 2010, 11:49:55 PM »
Here's the scenario:

An elderly woman is in a nursing home for long term care, she is still cognoscente but her cognitive abilities aren't what they used to be, so conversations are typically brief and simple. She cannot walk and cannot sit up in a wheelchair for terribly long periods of time because of poor bone density and severe osteoporosis so it would be almost impossible for her to be able to endure the Liturgy on Sundays, but on a good day might be able to endure Vespers if the incense isn't too strong because she has end stage COPD.

She was raised Methodist mostly but was never a regular attendee even though she believes in God. Her son is a convert to Orthodoxy and she's been to a couple of Orthodox services in the past when she still had their health even though she was raised Protestant.

Now that she is approaching the end of her life, she has expressed a desire to have her son's priest come and pray with her and for her and has expressed some interest in converting and becoming Orthodox.

Can she be Chrismated? What kind of catechism would be appropriate for someone with limited cognitive capacities?
Of course she can be chrismated.  I would think the priest would know what was appropriate.
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Offline David Lanier

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Re: Can you convert and be Chrismated on your death bed?
« Reply #2 on: May 15, 2010, 10:01:43 AM »
The priest of my parish has indicated that he isn't quite sure how to proceed in this case. Any advice?

Offline ialmisry

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Re: Can you convert and be Chrismated on your death bed?
« Reply #3 on: May 15, 2010, 10:25:08 AM »
The priest of my parish has indicated that he isn't quite sure how to proceed in this case. Any advice?
No bishop?

If you asked me (and you did), he should go over the points that a Methodist are required to renounce in the rite of reception.  We can assume that the Church believes those are the important points.  Once she answers to his satisfaction, he can give some general instruction on the elements on the Creed, and once that's done, chrismate her.

Part of the Faith is letting God fill in the blank spaces we cannot.
Question a friend, perhaps he did not do it; but if he did anything so that he may do it no more.
A hasty quarrel kindles fire,
and urgent strife sheds blood.
If you blow on a spark, it will glow;
if you spit on it, it will be put out;
                           and both come out of your mouth

Offline mike

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Re: Can you convert and be Chrismated on your death bed?
« Reply #4 on: May 15, 2010, 10:36:33 AM »
Quote
Now one of the criminals hanging there reviled Jesus, saying, "Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us." The other, however, rebuking him, said in reply, "Have you no fear of God, for you are subject to the same condemnation? And indeed, we have been condemned justly, for the sentence we received corresponds to our crimes, but this man has done nothing criminal." Then he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom." He replied to him, "Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise."
source

Quote
Among the confessors, one yielded and, leaving his companions, sought the warm baths near the lake which had been prepared for any who might prove inconstant. One of the guards set to keep watch over the martyrs beheld a supernatural brilliancy overshadowing them and at once proclaimed himself a Christian, threw off his garments, and placed himself beside the thirty-nine soldiers of Christ. Thus the number of forty remained complete.
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Offline David Lanier

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Re: Can you convert and be Chrismated on your death bed?
« Reply #5 on: May 15, 2010, 10:46:24 AM »
The priest of my parish has indicated that he isn't quite sure how to proceed in this case. Any advice?
No bishop?

If you asked me (and you did), he should go over the points that a Methodist are required to renounce in the rite of reception.  We can assume that the Church believes those are the important points.  Once she answers to his satisfaction, he can give some general instruction on the elements on the Creed, and once that's done, chrismate her.

Part of the Faith is letting God fill in the blank spaces we cannot.
Actually no we are currently without a bishop but the Metropolitan is bishop pro-tem for our diocese until a new bishop can be elected.

Seeing how she wasn't really ever a regular church goer and her mind just isn't as strong as it used to be, I'm not sure if she would even know what the Methodist rite of reception is exactly. I'm sure we'll figure out what to do though and if she really does want to convert then God willing, it will happen.

Offline David Lanier

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Re: Can you convert and be Chrismated on your death bed?
« Reply #6 on: May 15, 2010, 10:46:53 AM »
Quote
Now one of the criminals hanging there reviled Jesus, saying, "Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us." The other, however, rebuking him, said in reply, "Have you no fear of God, for you are subject to the same condemnation? And indeed, we have been condemned justly, for the sentence we received corresponds to our crimes, but this man has done nothing criminal." Then he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom." He replied to him, "Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise."
source

Quote
Among the confessors, one yielded and, leaving his companions, sought the warm baths near the lake which had been prepared for any who might prove inconstant. One of the guards set to keep watch over the martyrs beheld a supernatural brilliancy overshadowing them and at once proclaimed himself a Christian, threw off his garments, and placed himself beside the thirty-nine soldiers of Christ. Thus the number of forty remained complete.
source

Good points.  :)

Offline Thomas

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Re: Can you convert and be Chrismated on your death bed?
« Reply #7 on: May 15, 2010, 11:30:15 PM »
My mother had Alzhiemer's disease. Several weeks before her death, she was chrismated Orthodox---during therecitation of the creed she became lucid and alert. Through out the chrismation, she answered all questions herself without prompting and remained so for three hours afterwards. She went to bed and awoke back to her dementia. MY priest said we had seen the Holy Spirit at work and we knew my mother's true wish to become Orthodox. She reposed the Saturday after her third communion.

THOMAS
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Offline HandmaidenofGod

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Re: Can you convert and be Chrismated on your death bed?
« Reply #8 on: May 16, 2010, 03:24:49 AM »
The priest of my parish has indicated that he isn't quite sure how to proceed in this case. Any advice?
No bishop?

If you asked me (and you did), he should go over the points that a Methodist are required to renounce in the rite of reception.  We can assume that the Church believes those are the important points.  Once she answers to his satisfaction, he can give some general instruction on the elements on the Creed, and once that's done, chrismate her.

Part of the Faith is letting God fill in the blank spaces we cannot.
Actually no we are currently without a bishop but the Metropolitan is bishop pro-tem for our diocese until a new bishop can be elected.

Seeing how she wasn't really ever a regular church goer and her mind just isn't as strong as it used to be, I'm not sure if she would even know what the Methodist rite of reception is exactly. I'm sure we'll figure out what to do though and if she really does want to convert then God willing, it will happen.

I've been told by an OCA priest in Atlanta who is part of the pro-tem, that they have been directed to consult His Eminence, +Met. ALEXIOS of the GOA for "small" matters, and should go up to +Met. JONAH for "big" matters.

I'm sure His Eminence would be happy to provide guidance that for something like this, as it isn't something that would affect the jurisdiction.
"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 ialmisry

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Re: Can you convert and be Chrismated on your death bed?
« Reply #9 on: May 16, 2010, 06:38:02 AM »
The priest of my parish has indicated that he isn't quite sure how to proceed in this case. Any advice?
No bishop?

If you asked me (and you did), he should go over the points that a Methodist are required to renounce in the rite of reception.  We can assume that the Church believes those are the important points.  Once she answers to his satisfaction, he can give some general instruction on the elements on the Creed, and once that's done, chrismate her.

Part of the Faith is letting God fill in the blank spaces we cannot.
Actually no we are currently without a bishop but the Metropolitan is bishop pro-tem for our diocese until a new bishop can be elected.

Seeing how she wasn't really ever a regular church goer and her mind just isn't as strong as it used to be, I'm not sure if she would even know what the Methodist rite of reception is exactly. I'm sure we'll figure out what to do though and if she really does want to convert then God willing, it will happen.
Just to make clear, I was talking about the Orthodox rite of receiving Methodists, not the Methodists receiving anyone.
http://books.google.com/books?id=hVIXAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA603&dq=Hapgood+rite+of+reception+Confession&cd=1#v=onepage&q&f=false
Question a friend, perhaps he did not do it; but if he did anything so that he may do it no more.
A hasty quarrel kindles fire,
and urgent strife sheds blood.
If you blow on a spark, it will glow;
if you spit on it, it will be put out;
                           and both come out of your mouth

Offline GabrieltheCelt

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Re: Can you convert and be Chrismated on your death bed?
« Reply #10 on: May 16, 2010, 02:28:51 PM »
My mother had Alzhiemer's disease. Several weeks before her death, she was chrismated Orthodox---during therecitation of the creed she became lucid and alert. Through out the chrismation, she answered all questions herself without prompting and remained so for three hours afterwards. She went to bed and awoke back to her dementia. MY priest said we had seen the Holy Spirit at work and we knew my mother's true wish to become Orthodox. She reposed the Saturday after her third communion.

THOMAS

+Memory Eternal!

Wonderful, wonderful story, Brother Thomas.  Thank you for sharing this with us!!  :)
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Offline David Carroll

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Re: Can you convert and be Chrismated on your death bed?
« Reply #11 on: May 16, 2010, 03:03:35 PM »
What if you're not on a death bed, but on a death taxi going 70 miles per deadly hour down death Avenue in New York Death City in the dead of winter?
Pray that God would deliver me from hatred and pride.

Offline sainthieu

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Re: Can you convert and be Chrismated on your death bed?
« Reply #12 on: May 16, 2010, 11:41:04 PM »
I would imagine yes. Just as the thief who confessed Christ: "And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise." (Luke 23:43)

Offline bogdan

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Re: Can you convert and be Chrismated on your death bed?
« Reply #13 on: May 17, 2010, 09:14:51 AM »
Wasn't there a period in Church history (I want to say around St Augustine's time) where it was pretty standard to be baptized on your deathbed? There was a scrupulous concern about tarnishing one's baptism with sin.
« Last Edit: May 17, 2010, 09:15:36 AM by bogdan »

Offline ialmisry

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Re: Can you convert and be Chrismated on your death bed?
« Reply #14 on: May 17, 2010, 09:20:34 AM »
What if you're not on a death bed, but on a death taxi going 70 miles per deadly hour down death Avenue in New York Death City in the dead of winter?
Now you are just being a scholastic. Stop it.
Question a friend, perhaps he did not do it; but if he did anything so that he may do it no more.
A hasty quarrel kindles fire,
and urgent strife sheds blood.
If you blow on a spark, it will glow;
if you spit on it, it will be put out;
                           and both come out of your mouth

Offline admiralnick

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Re: Can you convert and be Chrismated on your death bed?
« Reply #15 on: May 17, 2010, 10:15:15 AM »
Anyone want to share the story of how Constantinople had Orthodoxy decreed as its official religion?

-Nick
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Offline David Lanier

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Re: Can you convert and be Chrismated on your death bed?
« Reply #16 on: July 02, 2010, 10:17:35 PM »
With the blessing of his Beatitude, Metropolitan Jonah, my mother was Chrismated this past Sunday in the hospital. She had been unconscious and unresponsive, but awoke to receive Holy Communion and stayed awake for some time thereafter. Again she became unconscious and unresponsive, but again awoke to receive Holy Communion again yesterday. She fell asleep in the Lord today.

Grant repose O Lord to the soul of your servant Jeanette (Chrismated name - Anna), and grant her memory to be Eternal.

Offline Shanghaiski

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Re: Can you convert and be Chrismated on your death bed?
« Reply #17 on: July 03, 2010, 12:13:11 AM »
God grant her rest with the saints and forgiveness of sins!
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Offline genesisone

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Re: Can you convert and be Chrismated on your death bed?
« Reply #18 on: July 03, 2010, 09:27:32 AM »
Memory eternal!

Offline Thankful

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Re: Can you convert and be Chrismated on your death bed?
« Reply #19 on: July 04, 2010, 07:00:07 PM »
May Anna's Memory eternal!! Thank you for telling your story here. 

Offline nrse

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Re: Can you convert and be Chrismated on your death bed?
« Reply #20 on: July 05, 2010, 02:11:53 PM »
being a hospice nurse for 15 years- i am usually the teller of such a happening....i thank you so much for sharing this with us...i am blessed and encouraged...

Offline Thomas

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Re: Can you convert and be Chrismated on your death bed?
« Reply #21 on: July 06, 2010, 09:48:00 AM »
May her memory be eternal!

I am happy that you too have seen the power of the Holy Spirit in your mother's entry into the Church and entry into the saints of heaven.

Thomas
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Offline GregoryLA

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Re: Can you convert and be Chrismated on your death bed?
« Reply #22 on: July 06, 2010, 10:15:24 AM »
Lord have mercy on your handmaiden!  Memory eternal!

And thanks for sharing this story!

Offline David Lanier

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Re: Can you convert and be Chrismated on your death bed?
« Reply #23 on: July 10, 2010, 11:29:26 AM »
Now that I've had a little time to grieve, I want to share a bit more of the story:
http://www.monachos.net/forum/showthread.php?7282-Miracles-of-healing