Hello all, I was chrismated into the Orthodox Church from the Methodist Church over a year ago, and I still wish that I had been baptized. I always viewed chrismation-only into Orthodoxy as not something favorable, and this was only reinforced upon me reading that St. Cyprian always "re"-baptized those who were baptized by heretics. Is there an explanation for our current "chrismation-only" procedure?
The article on the use of economia in the reception of converts, by ROCOR’s Met Anthony (Khrapovitsky), is very important for understanding this subject:http://orthodoxinfo.com/ecumenism/khrap_econ.aspx
This article provides the proper basis for the application of economy in receiving converts. Met Anthony made it very clear that all sacraments performed outside of the Orthodox Church are mere empty forms and devoid of grace. However, he states that if a person previously received the correct form of baptism, they could be received into the Orthodox Church without baptism, and the previously empty form would be completed and rendered grace-filled when the person is received into the Church by another rite. A few things need to be noted, however. First of all, while I completely agree with Met Anthony’s position and the canonical foundation upon which his position is based, I do not know to what extent his position agrees with the historic practice of the Russian Orthodox Church. The Russian Orthodox Church, in its service books, indicates that converts with a Trinitarian baptism are to be received by chrismation. The canons (specifically the 7th canon of the 2nd Ecumenical Council) state that if a convert had only been previously baptized with a single emersion, they should be received into the Orthodox Church by baptism. Following this canon, and in agreement with Met Anthony, all those who have been “baptized” as Protestants or Roman Catholics by sprinkling, pouring, or a single emersion should definitely be baptized, even if their original “baptism” was in the name of the Holy Trinity. Also, according to Met Anthony, since apostolic succession is another essential ingredient for a valid *form* of baptism, Protestants should all be received by baptism (perhaps with the exception of Anglicans who have the form of apostolic succession).
Another important consideration with regard to this article that one should keep in mind, is that in 1971 ROCOR adopted official policy that all converts should, as a rule, be received by baptism. Obviously, exceptions could be made based on need – for instance, an elderly, infirm, or very obese person for whom a triple emersion would be physically impractical if not infeasible. This was done precisely, and I think wisely, because of the constant confusion that persists even now regarding what is meant that non-Orthodox have “valid” sacraments. Met Anthony was very clear that non-Orthodox may have “valid” sacraments in the sense of valid *form*, though the forms are empty of sacramental grace. Today, people who are received without baptism often say “my baptism was accepted”, or “I was told I had a valid baptism”, and they take this to mean that their first “baptism” was grace-filled and a true baptism in every way. This idea that non-Orthodox have grace-filled sacraments is extremely problematic, if not heretical.
Why? Why not just submit to being received the way your priest and your bishop wish to receive you?
Hello all, I was chrismated into the Orthodox Church from the Methodist Church over a year ago, and I still wish that I had been baptized. I always viewed chrismation-only into Orthodoxy as not something favorable, and this was only reinforced upon me reading that St. Cyprian always "re"-baptized those who were baptized by heretics. Is there an explanation for our current "chrismation-only" procedure?I am in a smimilar situation except that i have not been recieved into the church yet. I know that I will probably be recieved by chrismation when that time comes but I still hope that I can somehow convince the priest to baptize me.
Priests will tell us that people converting who strongly desire Baptism but are only chrismated by the receiving priest may find the wish that they had been baptized will not leave them. It lives in their souls and niggles away at them. Some of these people will visit Jerusalem where the priests will baptize those Orthodox not received by Baptism. Or the Holy Mountain where the monks will refuse communion unless you are baptized, or even some of the Russian monasteries which will also not give communion to those who have not had an Orthodox baptism. So the person, encountering this in Jerusalem or Athos or Russia will agree to Baptism.
My personal opinion is that these Baptisms, sometime years after reception into Orthodoxy, should not take place but the fact is that they do.
In our case, we were first received into the Church through a jurisdiction where chrismation of Protestant converts is the norm. However, we wrote to our bishop requesting baptism and our bishop gave his blessing. I am very thankful that we were received by baptism, however I have known a number of people who were received into the Orthodox Church without baptism, for whom this became a major struggle and constant concern for them. Regardless of the explanations given to them by their priests and bishop as to why converts can or should be received without baptism, people sometimes simply cannot come to terms with the fact that they were not baptized. I know a few such people who left the Orthodox jurisdiction where they had been received and joined one of the Greek Old Calendarist groups specifically because the latter would agree to baptize these people. Some of these eventually returned back into communion with the rest of the Orthodox Church, but some have remained with the Greek Old Calendarists mostly because of this one issue.
I think a person should do all that they can to be received into the Orthodox Church by baptism. The baptismal service itself is extremely meaningful, and in being baptized one comes to a more complete understanding of the significance of their entry into the Orthodox Church. Also, while the explanation Met Anthony gives for receiving converts by chrismation may make sense at a certain level (previously administered empty forms are filled with grace), converts and non-Orthodox continue to be misled about the meaning of “validity” when baptism is not required. Requiring baptism is extremely important for helping converts and non-Orthodox to understand Orthodox ecclesiology. The ecclesiological confusion that persists today, and the confusion as to what the Orthodox Church thinks of non-Orthodox churches, is largely perpetuated by this practice of receiving converts without baptism. Some spiritual fathers of the Athonite tradition will also say that a person is more completely transformed through an Orthodox baptism than is the case simply through chrismation, though I realize this is controversial.
As to one’s ability to receive the mysteries in the Holy Land or on Mt. Athos without baptism, and regarding corrective baptism, I do know one man who went to the Holy Land many years after his Orthodox chrismation and was baptized in the Jordan specifically because he could not receive mysteries in the Holy Land without an Orthodox baptism. I have heard that on Mt Athos there is a similar understanding about the need for an Orthodox baptism, but I will say that I know one Greek Old Calendarist priest who was chrismated by the Antiochians and later went to Mt. Athos to get a “corrective baptism”, yet on Mt. Athos his request was refused. Of course, he eventually left the Antiochians to find a group that would baptize him, and today he is a Greek Old Calendarist priest. There may be others who went to Mt. Athos and did successfully receive a corrective baptism upon request. I’m not sure if some monasteries will do it and others will not, but the corrective baptism of an Orthodox Christian who has been receiving the mysteries for years after his chrismation is obviously controversial.
I do not mention cases where people have broken communion with “World Orthodoxy” to join the Greek Old Calendarists in order to encourage such a step, but rather to say that I do think it very important that a person is received by baptism so as to prevent the nagging concern that may lead a person to leave “World Orthodoxy” altogether.
I am pretty sure St Cyprian wasn't an Eastern Bishop he was a Western one.
St. Cyprian was the bishop of Carthage, located in northern Africa.