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Author Topic: Uncomfortable with Chrismation  (Read 4470 times) Average Rating: 0
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Thomasino
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« on: July 10, 2010, 05:40:46 PM »

Hello my dear brothers and sisters in Christ! This is my first post on the forum..
I am a convert from Protestant heresy to holy Orthodoxy and i have some concerns regarding the so-called 'Ecumenism' issue..

Although my metropolitan bishop wanted to receive me through baptism ,the Ecumenical patriarchate rejected this and they received me by chrismation only at the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. When i insisted on a baptism,they told me it is the policy of the church not to 're-baptize' converts from heterodox communities anymore..

When i said 'i believe there are no valid sacraments outside Orthodoxy',they told me to be obedient to the church and accept the Chrismation..

What makes me sad is even my metropolitan bishop was in favor of baptism but the patriarchate refused this..

What should i do? I dont mean to underestimate the holy mystery of Chrismation but i feel uncomfortable..On the other hand,i want to obey the Ecumenical Patriarchate and her jurisdiction..

But i still think there are no valid sacraments outside the 'church' ,so in my opinion Protestants just gave me a 'bath'..but not a baptism...When i shared my concern with my spiritual father and others from the Patriarchate,they said that Chrismation completes the heterodox baptism retroactively-and makes it perfect. They used a similar language..

What do you suggest? I feel bad when i approach to Holy Communion and not worthy to receive the blood and body of Christ because of the 'lack' of proper Orthodox baptism..But i feel desperate,because its the decision of Ecumenical Patriarchate,the head of Orthodox church! I want to be obedient to the church but on the other hand,i want to get baptized ...Is it possible to receive the holy mystery of Baptism once i got chrismated?
Thank you so much..

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« Reply #1 on: July 10, 2010, 06:02:35 PM »

God bless you and welcome to the Church!

God help you if you ever think you are worthy of salvation!

We are received into the Church through obedience.  You have been obedient, and it is not your decision on how to be received.  It may not be 'ideal,' but few things in life are.  You must obey, for it is through obedience to Jesus Christ that we are transformed and saved.

Be obedient, and you will learn the great mystery and spiritual protection it affords you.  Trust in the mercy of God and you will surely be in Paradise with the Son.  Do not fret over things you do not control.
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« Reply #2 on: July 10, 2010, 06:03:19 PM »

Welcome to the forum Thomasino!

Don't feel insecure. You are a member of the Church. Trust in the decision of your bishops, they are following in the footsteps of the decision of the sixth ecumenical council. Persons having received a trinitarian baptism are received by Chrismation while others are baptised. Don't feel bad just because you weren't mormon.  Cheesy

Quote from: Canon 95 of the Sixth Ecumenical Council
As for heretics who are joining Orthodoxy and the portion of the saved, we accept them in accordance with the subjoined sequence and custom. Arians and Macedonians and Novatians, who called themselves Cathari and Aristeri, and the Tessarakaidekatitae, or, at any rate, those called Tetradites and Apolinarists, we accept, when they give us certificates (called libelli); and when they anathematize every heresy that does not believe as the holy catholic and Apostolic Church of God believes, and are sealed, i.e., are anointed first with holy myron on the forehead and the eyes, and the nose and mouth, and the ears, while we are anointing them and sealing them we say, "A seal of a gift of Holy Spirit." As concerning Paulianists who have afterwards taken refuge in the Catholic Church, a definition has been promulgated that they have to be rebaptized without fail. As for Eunomians, however, who baptize with a single immersion, and Montanists who are hereabouts called Phrygians and Sabellians; who hold the tenet of Hyiopatoria (or modalistic monarchianism) and do other embarrassing things; and all other heresies—for there are many hereabouts, especially those hailing from the country of the Galatians—as for all of them who wish to join Orthodoxy, we accept them as Greeks. Accordingly, on the first day, we make them Christians; on the second day, catechumens; after this, on the third day we exorcise them by breathing three times into their faces and into their ears. And thus we catechize them, and make them stay for a long time in church and listen to the Scriptures, and then we baptize them. As for Manicheans, and Valentinians, and Marcionists, and those from similar heresies, they have to give us certificates (called libelli) and anathematize their heresy, the Nestorians, and Nestorius, and Eutyches and Dioscorus, and Severus, and the other exarchs of such heresies, and those who entertain their beliefs, and all the aforementioned heresies, and thus they are allowed to partake of Holy Communion.
« Last Edit: July 10, 2010, 06:05:48 PM by Robert W » Logged
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« Reply #3 on: July 10, 2010, 06:22:30 PM »

Hello my dear brothers and sisters in Christ! This is my first post on the forum..
I am a convert from Protestant heresy to holy Orthodoxy and i have some concerns regarding the so-called 'Ecumenism' issue..

Although my metropolitan bishop wanted to receive me through baptism ,the Ecumenical patriarchate rejected this and they received me by chrismation only at the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. When i insisted on a baptism,they told me it is the policy of the church not to 're-baptize' converts from heterodox communities anymore..

When i said 'i believe there are no valid sacraments outside Orthodoxy',they told me to be obedient to the church and accept the Chrismation..

What makes me sad is even my metropolitan bishop was in favor of baptism but the patriarchate refused this..

What should i do? I dont mean to underestimate the holy mystery of Chrismation but i feel uncomfortable..On the other hand,i want to obey the Ecumenical Patriarchate and her jurisdiction..

But i still think there are no valid sacraments outside the 'church' ,so in my opinion Protestants just gave me a 'bath'..but not a baptism...When i shared my concern with my spiritual father and others from the Patriarchate,they said that Chrismation completes the heterodox baptism retroactively-and makes it perfect. They used a similar language..

What do you suggest? I feel bad when i approach to Holy Communion and not worthy to receive the blood and body of Christ because of the 'lack' of proper Orthodox baptism..But i feel desperate,because its the decision of Ecumenical Patriarchate,the head of Orthodox church! I want to be obedient to the church but on the other hand,i want to get baptized ...Is it possible to receive the holy mystery of Baptism once i got chrismated?
Thank you so much..



I was in your shoes and I was Baptized in another jurisdiction after I was chrismated into a modernist jurisdiction.  I would not recommend that path unless you are prepared to endure a lot of hardships because of your decision.  On the other hand, what is the price of a clean conscience?   
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« Reply #4 on: July 10, 2010, 06:26:24 PM »

Depending on where you live there may be a ROCOR parish nearby. They receive all converts with Holy Baptism (if I'm not mistaken).

Personally, I disagree with the Ecumenical Patriarch's decision. If you're really uncomfortable with just a Chrismation he should allow you to be Baptized as an act of oikonomia. But in the end, you'll receive the same grace as you would if you were being Baptized through your Chrismation. It would be best to just obediently persevere through all this ecumenism/modernism if there's no ROCOR parish in your area.

But if you've already been Chrismated there's nothing you can do.   Sad
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« Reply #5 on: July 10, 2010, 06:35:23 PM »

Listen to your bishop. Be obedient. I was in the opposite position in the Serbian Church, not wanting to be baptized again, but ultimately it is about obedience. Over time I have changed my mind, but obedience is the important thing.
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« Reply #6 on: July 10, 2010, 07:15:40 PM »

I was baptized into ROCOR (yes, I think they receive everyone by baptism), having already been baptized as an adult. I'm so glad I was able to receive this true baptism for the remission of sins-it was one of the best, brightest moments of my life. It seems incomprehensible to think I might have missed out on this experience! Later on, I realized that my first baptism hadn't been a baptism at all, and that I truly have been baptised only once. I am sure the others are right when they mention obedience, but deep down, I think you should be able to be properly baptised!
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« Reply #7 on: July 10, 2010, 07:37:42 PM »

The Romanian Church too, receives Protestant sectarians by baptism. Catholics, I guess, are received by chrismation or confession of faith.
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« Reply #8 on: July 10, 2010, 08:07:20 PM »

I had the same concerns, but it comes down to the fact that the decision is ultimately the bishops' to make. You will still be an equal member of the Church, regardless. Chrismation alone does not mean you are a second-class Orthodox or anything of the sort.

St Elizabeth the New Martyr was received from Protestantism through Chrismation, and her sanctity is undeniable. Fr Seraphim Rose, who is not a saint but is venerated by many people, was also received through Chrismation (which was ROCOR's policy at the time; he himself baptized converts, per his bishops' instruction).
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« Reply #9 on: July 10, 2010, 08:17:09 PM »

Fr Seraphim Rose, who is not a saint but is venerated by many people, was also received through Chrismation (which was ROCOR's policy at the time; he himself baptized converts, per his bishops' instruction).

Exactly! He listened to his bishop. This is a hard pill for many to swallow, but coming from the Protestant world of "my way", in a sense a difficult obedience such as this can be a good introduction to "me" not getting to call all of the shots.

On the other hand, you could go to Mt. Athos and the monks there will gladly baptize you.
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« Reply #10 on: July 10, 2010, 08:39:34 PM »


Exactly! He listened to his bishop. This is a hard pill for many to swallow, but coming from the Protestant world of "my way", in a sense a difficult obedience such as this can be a good introduction to "me" not getting to call all of the shots.

On the other hand, you could go to Mt. Athos and the monks there will gladly baptize you.

I know from experience that people who have a profound longing for an Orthodox baptism and are denied it can continue for years to regret that they were not given an Orthodox baptism.  It can fester and fester.  We see this for example in the OCA abbot of Resaca monastery, who despite the fact that he has been ordained an OCA priest still yearned for baptism.  He ignored the prohibition of his OCA bishop and finally went to Athos for baptism.   With him there was another OCA priest who desired the same.

The Athonite monks -and some of the monasteries in Russia- will refuse to give converts Communion who have been received only by Chrismation.  They will baptize such converts.   I don't agree with this practice.   But it cannot be denied that the impulse for the true baptism of the Church can be deep and ineradicable in some converts.   When the priest encounters such people he should baptize them with the baptism of the Church.  Insisting on some kind of formal "obedience" for a neophyte may be counterproductive.
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« Reply #11 on: July 10, 2010, 08:59:01 PM »

My husband and I were given the choice and we chose to be baptized. I can't give you advice on this. I personally agree with you that baptism is the best route as a convert. But obedience is extremely important as well. I would pray a great deal, speak with your godparents and spiritual father and go from there. I am not qualified to help you here. I will say that I would not view you as "less orthodox" because you were not baptized. Just watch yourself for the reason you desire to be baptized. If there is even a hint of conversion pride I would ABSOLUTELY just adhere to the decision of the Patriarch. Obedience may be your best bet here. But you really need to examine yourself.
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« Reply #12 on: July 10, 2010, 09:59:23 PM »

Well, we certainly know that a Bishop in Holy Orders within the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church has power through his own Ordination to bind and loose sins.

Given that fact, is it really correct to say that Baptism is the only way that he could accomplish this?

(I've actually been wondering this myself.)
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« Reply #13 on: July 10, 2010, 10:11:47 PM »

I can assure folks that ROCOR does indeed allow chrismation for reception of converts on a case-by-case basis, and does not insist that "all must be baptised". I have attended several such chrismations over the last decade.
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« Reply #14 on: July 10, 2010, 10:22:00 PM »

If you are already Chrismated, that's one thing. But, if not, I would strongly recommend being baptized. Go to Mt. Athos if necessary--they're under the EP. It's a sticky issue, but I most strongly object to obedience being brought in here. It is an inappropriate venue for something which so much pertains to the individual's conscience. Of course, the bishops will have to answer for their actions, not you. So, if you are already Chrismated, do not let yourself be disturbed. Many people have been brought into the Church in the same manner and were not turned away from the heavenly kingdom. But a bishop cannot force you to go against your conscience, for goodness sake. That is spiritual malpractice of the vilest kind.
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« Reply #15 on: July 10, 2010, 10:41:26 PM »

Thomasino, are you asking us to help you find a loophole to justify disobedience to your spiritual father, your bishop, and the patriarch? Would doing so make you more "comfortable"?

I've read your post several times and I sense a lot of anger. You seem especially hostile to your Protestant past. Even the heavy bold font that you chose seems to indicate anger. I would encourage you to explore that with your spiritual father.

Your determination to be "as fully Orthodox as you can be" (my words) is commendable. But do remember that it's not the forms of religion that matter, as important as they may be. I am speaking of customs and practices that vary from place to place and from century to century, and that includes the reception of converts.

Keep us posted. And welcome to the forum!
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« Reply #16 on: July 10, 2010, 10:48:19 PM »

If you have been attended to incorrectly, the sin is on them not you. Your role in this play is to be obedient.
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« Reply #17 on: July 10, 2010, 10:49:19 PM »

But a bishop cannot force you to go against your conscience, for goodness sake. That is spiritual malpractice of the vilest kind.

What if a "re-baptism" (I realize this is not the reality) offends one's conscience? Some bishops make no allowance for the hearts of those being baptized.

I apologize for my strong endorsement of obedience before, as this might not be best in this case, it's just that it has taken me a very long time to come to terms with receiving a ritual baptism for the third time in my life, "valid" or not. Also, this very issue might prevent my wife from converting, as her father baptized her, and she cannot imagine rejecting this precious memory as invalid. Yet the traditionalist position of the Serbian Church remains firm, and I am obedient. I know that God will judge my bishop, and not me, for any errors in the matter. I just assumed others were expected to do the same. It would be much easier to switch over to another jurisdiction in my city, all of which would receive us by chrismation, but where is the grace in such obstinacy against the very parish which gave me the Orthodox faith? We are to receive our bishops as we would Christ, and to ask the masters' blessings in all endeavors, unless they fall into heresy. My bishop is no heretic, so I obey.
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« Reply #18 on: July 10, 2010, 10:59:53 PM »

If you have been attended to incorrectly, the sin is on them not you. Your role in this play is to be obedient.

From the news that reaches me,  a lot of silly games are played with this obedience issue on the matter of baptism vs chrismation.  For example, the monastics of the Ephraimite monasteries in the States are forbidden by the Greek bishops to baptize converts so what do they do.  They send them for baptism to the priests of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad.   Obedience....?
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« Reply #19 on: July 10, 2010, 11:04:21 PM »

I can assure folks that ROCOR does indeed allow chrismation for reception of converts on a case-by-case basis, and does not insist that "all must be baptised". I have attended several such chrismations over the last decade.

You are correct.  My wife and I were received into ROCOR by Baptism even though we had been previously Chrismated in the Antiochian Church.  My children were not Baptized and were simply received into the ROCOR by virtue of their Chrismation.  This was discussed in detail and there was good basis for it.  I was originally baptized in the ALC Lutheran Church, which later became part of the ELCA.  We had no idea of the form of baptism used.  The ELCA is also, to some degree, not Christian.  My wife was originally baptized Presbyterian. Again, we had no idea of the form used.  The ROCOR did not look at the matter as a "re-baptism", but rather correcting an irregularity.  There was really no proof that we were baptized in a way that could be recognized as a baptism.  My children were another matter.  They were baptized by my father and we knew exactly what he believed and taught, as well as the fact that all three were baptized as infants three fold in the name of the Father, and in the name of the Son, and in the name of the Holy Spirit.  My father was also known to use LOTS of water.  The ROCOR believed that this baptism was sufficient that the Chrismation could validate it.

As you can see, this is a very complicated issue that weighs heavily on the conscience of some people.  There were a lot of hard feelings between the Antiochian Bishop and I over this matter since he believed that the ROCOR's actions indicated that they believed that he did not have Grace and his Chrismation was invalid.  This was not the case as the ROCOR certainly considered the Antiochian Sacraments valid.  The problem is, my wife and I were considered unbaptized, and you cannot Chrismate an unbaptized person.  There first has to be a baptism that can be "validated" by Economy.  Things finally got straightened out and I am welcome in that Church again.  But it took 15 years and I will still not join a New Calendar Church.  I have been part of ROCOR for that time, and will be accepted as a member of a local Serbian parish next month. 

I have to say that my conscience is completely clean on this matter.  Several years ago, I became very ill and several times nearly choked until I passed out.  I was in the Emergency Room several times, and no doctors could figure out what was wrong with me.  There were times that I was sure that I would die.  My ROCOR priest blessed me to go back to the Antiochian Church because they were much closer (the ROCOR parish was 500 miles away) and it was better for me to have a local Priest care for me.  When I tried to return, I was told by the Bishop that I could not return unless I "renounced my Baptism".  I never thought that I would hear these words from anyone other than the Antichrist.  I could not believe that I was hearing them from an Orthodox Bishop.  I went home and prayed and told God that I would rather choke to death and be buried as a heathen than renounce my Baptism.  To do so would be to renounce those in Who's name I have been Baptized.  I was healed of this infirmity two weeks later.

As to obedience to a Bishop who violates your conscience; we are the Body of Christ and not a cult.  How many Latin altar boys were told to be "obedient" during the latest scandals.  How many Bishops have led their flocks to heresy or worse.  Your soul is the most precious thing that you have.  Be careful in who's care you place it.  The Church is like a hospital and the Bishops are its doctors.  While all doctors have degrees and certifications, not all are competent.  Likewise, while all Orthodox Bishops may have the Grace of Ordination, not all may know what is best for your soul.  Just as we should not medicate ourselves by seek a good doctor, so should we also be under the care of an Orthodox Bishop.  All of us choose our doctors with great care.  Should we not moreso choose our Bishop? 
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« Reply #20 on: July 10, 2010, 11:07:35 PM »

If you are already Chrismated, that's one thing. But, if not, I would strongly recommend being baptized. Go to Mt. Athos if necessary

LOL. And if they are of the female persuasion?
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« Reply #21 on: July 10, 2010, 11:26:12 PM »

If you are already Chrismated, that's one thing. But, if not, I would strongly recommend being baptized. Go to Mt. Athos if necessary

LOL. And if they are of the female persuasion?

Not many people realise that Mount Athos has a bishop.  It is Metropolitan Nikodimos of "Ierissos, Mount Athos and Ardameri."  I wonder if the Athonite monks could visit Ierissos or Ardameri where they would still be within their own diocese and be able to baptize women? 
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« Reply #22 on: July 11, 2010, 08:44:11 AM »

How is it ecumenism or modernism to obey the canons of the sixth ecumenical council?
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« Reply #23 on: July 11, 2010, 08:49:38 AM »

How is it ecumenism or modernism to obey the canons of the sixth ecumenical council?

Nobody is obliged to obey the canons of the Sixth Ecumenical Council, in fact nobody can obey the canons.  The Sixth Ecumenical Council did not issue any canons.   laugh
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« Reply #24 on: July 11, 2010, 10:21:22 AM »

See reply #2 by Robert
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« Reply #25 on: July 11, 2010, 07:17:29 PM »

If you have been attended to incorrectly, the sin is on them not you. Your role in this play is to be obedient.

That's an interesting way of thinking about it. I have been considering this myself lately.
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« Reply #26 on: July 11, 2010, 07:26:58 PM »

When did the West ratify Constantinople I?
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« Reply #27 on: July 11, 2010, 09:23:19 PM »

If you have been attended to incorrectly, the sin is on them not you. Your role in this play is to be obedient.

That's an interesting way of thinking about it. I have been considering this myself lately.

I believe that it is a totally wrong way of thinking of it.  I don't think that Christians that are lazy with their Salvation and do nothing to study the Scriptures and Fathers for the Truth and rely on the "I was only being obedient" defense will fare no better than the Nazis who "were only following orders".  Wrong is wrong, and we are all personally accountable for our beliefs and actions.
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« Reply #28 on: July 11, 2010, 10:58:29 PM »

If you have been attended to incorrectly, the sin is on them not you. Your role in this play is to be obedient.

That's an interesting way of thinking about it. I have been considering this myself lately.

I believe that it is a totally wrong way of thinking of it.  I don't think that Christians that are lazy with their Salvation and do nothing to study the Scriptures and Fathers for the Truth and rely on the "I was only being obedient" defense will fare no better than the Nazis who "were only following orders".  Wrong is wrong, and we are all personally accountable for our beliefs and actions.

Wow..That's the fastest dump off to a comparison to the Nazi's Ive seen yet.. Nice work

So, do you really mean  to say that if a Preist or Bishop has incorrectly received a person the sin is on the person being received?
You're kidding.   
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« Reply #29 on: July 11, 2010, 11:28:19 PM »

If you have been attended to incorrectly, the sin is on them not you. Your role in this play is to be obedient.

That's an interesting way of thinking about it. I have been considering this myself lately.

I believe that it is a totally wrong way of thinking of it.  I don't think that Christians that are lazy with their Salvation and do nothing to study the Scriptures and Fathers for the Truth and rely on the "I was only being obedient" defense will fare no better than the Nazis who "were only following orders".  Wrong is wrong, and we are all personally accountable for our beliefs and actions.

Punch,

In case you haven't read many of my posts on this site so far, what you are describing is very much the position that I am naturally inclined to. While I believe the reality of teaching and defining the faith is properly the job of the Bishop, I believe that preservation of the faith that has historically been talk by the orthodox Bishops of the Church is very much also the job of the laity. As such I am likewise inclined to resist so-called bishops who seem clearly to be contradicting the historically taught faith of the Church.

However, I have also been presented with the criticism that this approach somewhat "Protestantizes" the reality of the Church's authority, and ultimately that it is the job of one's spiritual superior to preserve the faith, not the one who is subject to him. This is an idea that I have been considering, though it is still is not what I subscribe to.
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« Reply #30 on: July 12, 2010, 10:03:20 AM »

I have moved this topic "Uncomfortable with Chrismation" from the Convert Issues board to the Faith board as it has expanded beyond the simple response to a new convert concerned about his baptism into a deeper discussion of canons and will be better served in the Faith issues Board.

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« Reply #31 on: July 12, 2010, 10:26:05 AM »

I think there may be a middle ground between absolute obedience to one's bishop or spiritual father, and wanting to do something simply because one wants to, or feels it's necessary.

If your bishop were to tell you to sell drugs, or machine gun puppies, I'm fairly certain most of you would not follow his directions.

But to insist on baptism because you want it, or you feel it's necessary, in contradiction to your Hierarch's decision, or to try to do an end run around him by going somewhere else, is a whole different kettle of fish.

Wouldn't it be a good idea, if someone feels this way, to examine him or her self honestly, with their priest or spiritual father, to determine the real reason(s) why?
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« Reply #32 on: July 12, 2010, 10:51:49 AM »

It's often not as clear cut as we would like.   I think of the case of an Anglican priest who had had three marriages.   A bishop of one jurisdiction (considered "liberal")said that he would receive him by Chrismation but because of his three wives and three divorces he could not be an Orthodox priest.

A bishop of another jurisdiction (considered "conservative") said that he would baptize him and the Baptism would cleanse him from his previous marriages/divorces and allow the bishop to ordain him an Orthodox priest.

The priest chose the latter bishop and has a very good role now as an Orthodox priest.

I do not think the Anglican priest did anything reprehensible in looking at his options and making choices.   

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« Reply #33 on: July 12, 2010, 11:13:40 AM »

I do not think the Anglican priest did anything reprehensible in looking at his options and making choices.   



Who am I to cast aspersions on this particular person. I'm sure that he made what he considers an honest and prayerful decision.

But I do think "shopping" for a Hierarch who will do what you want is not the way to go about things.

The fact that a Bishop told me that he would not consider me for the priesthood because of my own pre-conversion choices/decisions would cause me to do some serious soul-searching, not searching for a more compliant Bishop.

(It's not exactly the same thing, of course, but I knew going into Orthodoxy that I would have to give up my dearest and most cherished dream and my "calling" (as I thought of it) to the ordained ministry. Of course, finding a more compliant Bishop who would ordain me wasn't a possibility! So I had no choice but to be obedient!)
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« Reply #34 on: July 12, 2010, 02:10:32 PM »

I think there may be a middle ground between absolute obedience to one's bishop or spiritual father, and wanting to do something simply because one wants to, or feels it's necessary.

If your bishop were to tell you to sell drugs, or machine gun puppies, I'm fairly certain most of you would not follow his directions.

But to insist on baptism because you want it, or you feel it's necessary, in contradiction to your Hierarch's decision, or to try to do an end run around him by going somewhere else, is a whole different kettle of fish.

Wouldn't it be a good idea, if someone feels this way, to examine him or her self honestly, with their priest or spiritual father, to determine the real reason(s) why?

I agree with this assessment.

I was in this exact situation not long ago. My new Wife was going to be Baptised in the manner of Rocor, which is to triple immerse everyone with only a rare exception or two ( for Byzantine Roman Catholics).

She was born Anglican, was properly Baptized by the acceptable formula and had her Baptismal record to prove it. I had some question about doing this. I would think, by my own reckoning that her reception into Orthodoxy should be by Chrismation, since she was already Baptized.

I asked about it, but  didn't raise fuss and I certainly didn't go down the road to my good friends in the OCA and do an end run and have her received there by Chrismation. We are not God's precious little gift to Orthodoxy. Sometimes wisdom is understanding just how much you don't know and accepting rules made by those so charged to do so.  
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« Reply #35 on: July 12, 2010, 02:31:16 PM »

I think there may be a middle ground between absolute obedience to one's bishop or spiritual father, and wanting to do something simply because one wants to, or feels it's necessary.

If your bishop were to tell you to sell drugs, or machine gun puppies, I'm fairly certain most of you would not follow his directions.

But to insist on baptism because you want it, or you feel it's necessary, in contradiction to your Hierarch's decision, or to try to do an end run around him by going somewhere else, is a whole different kettle of fish.

Wouldn't it be a good idea, if someone feels this way, to examine him or her self honestly, with their priest or spiritual father, to determine the real reason(s) why?

I agree with this assessment.

I was in this exact situation not long ago. My new Wife was going to be Baptised in the manner of Rocor, which is to triple immerse everyone with only a rare exception or two ( for Byzantine Roman Catholics).

She was born Anglican, was properly Baptized by the acceptable formula and had her Baptismal record to prove it. I had some question about doing this. I would think, by my own reckoning that her reception into Orthodoxy should be by Chrismation, since she was already Baptized.

I asked about it, but  didn't raise fuss and I certainly didn't go down the road to my good friends in the OCA and do an end run and have her received there by Chrismation. We are not God's precious little gift to Orthodoxy. Sometimes wisdom is understanding just how much you don't know and accepting rules made by those so charged to do so.  

Very true. On the other hand, since we do not (or should not) check out our brains at the Narthex, when we have the freedom to choose our jurisdiction, we should vote with our feet for that jurisdiction that best corresponds to our understanding of Orthodoxy. How else are we to exercise our responsibility as the laity, that of the Royal Priesthood? Of course, when there is no choice, you select the available Orthodox church as the differences in practice are not important enough to choose a heterodox church over an Orthodox Church. (So with non-critical things like the calendar differences, head coverings, etc.).
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« Reply #36 on: July 12, 2010, 02:54:39 PM »

1. Obedience to our bishop as though the bishop is Christ Himself is very much part of the bedrock of our Tradition.  So if your bishop refuses to re-baptize you and chooses to receive you into the Church via chrismation alone, who are you to argue?  Obey the mandate of your bishop.

2. Obedience to your conscience is also very much a part of the bedrock of our Tradition.  So if your bishop demands that you do something that will seriously violate your conscience (e.g., embrace a heresy), it is proper and even canonical to refuse to obey the mandate of your bishop.  Ultimately, it's you and you alone who will have to give an account for how you live your life, and if obedience to an unlawful command may cause you to stumble, it's up to you to recognize this and act accordingly.

Now, to find the proper balance between the two poles... Undecided
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« Reply #37 on: July 12, 2010, 02:59:30 PM »

Quote from: Second Chance link=topic=28663.msg452689#msg452689
 On the other hand, since we do not (or should not) check out our brains at the Narthex, when we have the freedom to choose our jurisdiction, we should vote with our feet for that jurisdiction that best corresponds to our understanding of Orthodoxy. How else are we to exercise our responsibility as the laity, that of the Royal Priesthood?

Unfortunately, one of the things that we probably should check at the Narthex, but more often than not, don't, is also our ego, pride and conviction that the way we think is absolutely the correct way, and everyone who doesn't agree with us is a benighted heretic.

Maybe it's just me, and I'm unfairly projecting onto others, but I have learned the hard way that those times I'm most certain of what is right, and what I feel I need is necessary, are the times that I most need to be on my guard, and examine myself  honestly and ruthlessly. Because those are the times when I am most likely to be operating on ego and pride.

I have learned so many useful and salutary spiritual lessons by being obedient. And trust me, obedience doesn't come easily!
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« Reply #38 on: July 12, 2010, 03:03:26 PM »

Quote from: Second Chance link=topic=28663.msg452689#msg452689
 On the other hand, since we do not (or should not) check out our brains at the Narthex, when we have the freedom to choose our jurisdiction, we should vote with our feet for that jurisdiction that best corresponds to our understanding of Orthodoxy. How else are we to exercise our responsibility as the laity, that of the Royal Priesthood?

Unfortunately, one of the things that we probably should check at the Narthex, but more often than not, don't, is also our ego, pride and conviction that the way we think is absolutely the correct way, and everyone who doesn't agree with us is a benighted heretic.

Maybe it's just me, and I'm unfairly projecting onto others, but I have learned the hard way that those times I'm most certain of what is right, and what I feel I need is necessary, are the times that I most need to be on my guard, and examine myself  honestly and ruthlessly. Because those are the times when I am most likely to be operating on ego and pride.

I have learned so many useful and salutary spiritual lessons by being obedient. And trust me, obedience doesn't come easily!

Yes, the almighty ego. Tongue In light of what I said in my previous post, this can so easily cloud our reasoning so that what appears to be an unlawful command is really just our egotistical insistence on doing things our own way, regardless of how we might try to spin that. That's why continued conversation with a spiritual father who can help us examine what's truly in our hearts is so vitally important.
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« Reply #39 on: July 12, 2010, 03:06:44 PM »

so that what appears to be an unlawful command is really just our egotistical insistence on doing things our own way, regardless of how we might try to spin that. 

Exactly. Well said, sir.
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« Reply #40 on: July 12, 2010, 05:00:59 PM »

Quote from: Second Chance link=topic=28663.msg452689#msg452689
 On the other hand, since we do not (or should not) check out our brains at the Narthex, when we have the freedom to choose our jurisdiction, we should vote with our feet for that jurisdiction that best corresponds to our understanding of Orthodoxy. How else are we to exercise our responsibility as the laity, that of the Royal Priesthood?

Unfortunately, one of the things that we probably should check at the Narthex, but more often than not, don't, is also our ego, pride and conviction that the way we think is absolutely the correct way, and everyone who doesn't agree with us is a benighted heretic.

Maybe it's just me, and I'm unfairly projecting onto others, but I have learned the hard way that those times I'm most certain of what is right, and what I feel I need is necessary, are the times that I most need to be on my guard, and examine myself  honestly and ruthlessly. Because those are the times when I am most likely to be operating on ego and pride.

I have learned so many useful and salutary spiritual lessons by being obedient. And trust me, obedience doesn't come easily!


I am certainly in the same boat (about obedience not being easy). On the other hand, the ego is a problem that affects all, not just the laity, and there is no earthly reason for the laity not to make decisions, especially for themselves. Peter's post about the tension between the two is on point. The important thing is striving to make a decision as we should not shirk that responsibility. How to make a correct decision is a different issue, although it may be much more important than just making a decision. So, how about agreeing that we have a difficult task set for us and to learn from each other, as well as our Lord, His Holy Apostles, saints, and other learned and inspired theological and inspirational writers and elders?

BTW, I just finished a fascinating book by Archimandrite Meletios Webber, "Bread & Water, Wine & Oil: An Orthodox Christian Experience of God," which is published by Conciliar Press and should be widely available. I am reluctant to go any further than to say that it is a "must" reading. Best regards, Carl
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« Reply #41 on: July 12, 2010, 05:11:19 PM »

there is no earthly reason for the laity not to make decisions, especially for themselves...Peter's post about the tension between the two is on point. The important thing is striving to make a decision as we should not shirk that responsibility. How to make a correct decision is a different issue, although it may be much more important than just making a decision.

But isn't choosing to obey a decision? That is, one thinks to oneself, "On this matter and for these reasons, I will follow the advice of my Bishop (or spiritual father)."
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« Reply #42 on: July 12, 2010, 05:57:16 PM »

there is no earthly reason for the laity not to make decisions, especially for themselves...Peter's post about the tension between the two is on point. The important thing is striving to make a decision as we should not shirk that responsibility. How to make a correct decision is a different issue, although it may be much more important than just making a decision.

But isn't choosing to obey a decision? That is, one thinks to oneself, "On this matter and for these reasons, I will follow the advice of my Bishop (or spiritual father)."

You are surely correct. So is: "On this matter and for these reasons, I will not follow the advice of ________ but the advice of ______ or the writings of _______ or the following Scriptural verses." I agree wholeheartedly that it would be extremely dangerous to accommodate the ego or follow one's inclinations in making such decisions. What I am trying to point out that we should make a decision (including that of obeying our priest or spiritual father) and not abdicate making any decision at all. For some of us, it may even be necessary to give priority to choosing to obey one's spiritual father. Again, what I am trying to say (rather clumsily) is that a general propensity to obey is as wrong as a general propensity to follow one's own inclinations. In either case, the hard work required of us is being eschewed in favor of easy routes.
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« Reply #43 on: July 12, 2010, 06:24:50 PM »

I am not sure what is going on here.  Time and again enquirers are told to go "parish shopping" visiting the parishes in their area and making a choice as to the one which suits them the best.  So why is there this almost adamantine attitude that an enquirer is obliged to stick with the first parish and the first bishop that he happens to come across and asks questions of?   As I say, it's not making much sense to me.
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« Reply #44 on: July 12, 2010, 06:34:53 PM »

So, do you really mean  to say that if a Preist or Bishop has incorrectly received a person the sin is on the person being received?
You're kidding.   

The Priest or Bishop is the one who has committed the immoral act, but none the less we could understand the person being received as suffering the consequences of it.
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