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Author Topic: Valid chrismation?  (Read 611 times) Average Rating: 0
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Tgebar
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« on: April 17, 2012, 12:05:32 AM »

When I was chrismated two others were chrismated alongside me. Recently, one of them confided in me that they felt somewhat guilty about their first, lifetime confession. They confessed that they had fornicated with three women, which was correct, but when Father asked them how long ago they had last committed this sin, they 'partly in nervousness, partly because in the heat of the moment forgot' told him the time before the last time they had committed the sin (a year and a half ago, when they had in fact last done it about eight months ago). They are intensely worried that their chrismation is invalid, and that they partook of Holy Communion unto condemnation. They said that they confessed the sin the evening before they were chrismated fervently during prayer, that they have abandoned the lifestyle of lust and plan to never return to it, and that they truly love Christ and His Church. They also said that they 'felt' the grace of the Holy Spirit enter them during the chrismation ceremony, and that they felt truly born anew afterwards. What do you fellas have to say, especially perhaps the priests here? I feel sorry for them, and want to comfort them, but I told them the truth, which is that I have no clue how to answer their concerns.
« Last Edit: April 17, 2012, 12:07:47 AM by Tgebar » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: April 17, 2012, 12:19:55 AM »

I think everyone holds back a bit at their first confession, I know I did. 

Don't worry about your friend.  they'll do what makes them comfortable, but let them figure this out on their own.

What I would do is confess that I wasn't 100% honest at my last confession (which is it's self a sin), and then tell father the dirty details of my sin that I left out.


When I forget something or leave a detail out, I try to bring it to the confessional.  Even if I can't, I know God understands.

This does not invalidate their communion or chrismation.   Smiley
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« Reply #2 on: April 17, 2012, 12:21:54 AM »

I know that they plan to confess what they did at their next confession, they just wanted to make sure that they are still now part of God's Church, as I know that like myself it was so very important to them to be received. That is why they are so concerned, because they want to receive His healing and His grace! I'm very happy that I can tell them that they are indeed an Orthodox Christian. Cheesy
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« Reply #3 on: April 17, 2012, 12:23:02 AM »

Maybe start by having your friend look at the (Greek?) formula of absolution?

I'm sure there's something in there about sins not confessed, either out of forgetfulness or reticence.
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« Reply #4 on: April 17, 2012, 12:25:34 AM »

I know that they plan to confess what they did at their next confession, they just wanted to make sure that they are still now part of God's Church, as I know that like myself it was so very important to them to be received. That is why they are so concerned, because they want to receive His healing and His grace! I'm very happy that I can tell them that they are indeed an Orthodox Christian. Cheesy

Of coarse, Of coarse!  I'm very happy for you and your friend, many years to you!!!

We mustn't get tied up in the legality of it all, which I'm told by certain Greek priests Orthodox tend to do. 

You're Orthodox Christians, which means that your now a part of Christ's Church!  But as you've probably already found out, that doesn't make dealing with the struggles in everyday life any easier.  You'll have God, the angels and saints behind you, but you'll still struggle and fall.  But now you can confess to the Lord and receive Him in the Eucharist!
« Last Edit: April 17, 2012, 12:27:06 AM by trevor72694 » Logged

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« Reply #5 on: April 17, 2012, 12:27:51 AM »

We mustn't get tied up in the legality of it all, which I'm told by certain Greek priests Orthodoxy tends to do.

This is somewhat amusing, considering how the Greeks are constantly accused by the Eastern Slavs of eroding the nexus between confession and communion, and of allowing the laity too much scope to exercise discernment as to whether it is necessary on any particular occasion of sin to confess.
« Last Edit: April 17, 2012, 12:29:18 AM by akimori makoto » Logged

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« Reply #6 on: April 17, 2012, 12:29:53 AM »

Confession is sometimes called the sacrament of reconciliation. It sounds like this person does not feel fully reconciled to Christ because he did not make a complete confession. I've been told by priests I trust that if this happens, to simply go to confession and confess it again, or confess something that was forgotten, even though we are forgiven of things we honestly forgot.

It's not so much a question about validity or whether forgotten sins are forgiven. It's a matter of reconciliation to Christ and the Church. He does not seem reconciled, so my advice is to go to confession and say what's weighing on his heart. If he knowingly concealed it, confess that too. But he should not let it keep eating at him, because that will only drive him into more despair. Let it out, all the darkness and soot, empty it out of the soul; that is what confession is for.

But your friend is most certainly Orthodox. He was chrismated and sealed with the gift of the Holy Spirit, who knows our weaknesses and has nothing but joy and open arms for those who approach Him with repentance.

* Sometimes fear over making a full confession can lead to scrupulosity, the other extreme. This should also be avoided. I struggled at first to find that balance, but I expect most any priest would help to find the balance.
« Last Edit: April 17, 2012, 12:33:33 AM by age234 » Logged
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« Reply #7 on: April 17, 2012, 12:31:16 AM »

We mustn't get tied up in the legality of it all, which I'm told by certain Greek priests Orthodoxy tends to do.

This is somewhat amusing, considering how the Greeks are constantly accused by the Eastern Slavs of eroding the nexus between confession and communion and allowing the laity to exercise discernment as to whether it is necessary on any particular occasion of sin to confess.
Yes, I have experienced this personally.  I think that the Slavs and the Greeks exercise two extremes.  It's just a ridiculous idea that leaving out a detail of a sin in confession would invalidate an entire communion, which washes away the sins of the world.
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« Reply #8 on: April 17, 2012, 12:32:15 AM »

I would say that this is one of those issues that's properly addressed only between your friends and their priest. I know that it was totally your friends' prerogative to tell you what they told you and that they're really not bound to the absolute secrecy that their confessor priest must protect, unless they're sharing with you the counsel their priest gave them in confession, but the public revelation of what was discussed in confession is still a gravely serious business. I would ask you to consider this.
« Last Edit: April 17, 2012, 12:42:46 AM by PeterTheAleut » Logged
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« Reply #9 on: April 17, 2012, 12:34:36 AM »

Maybe start by having your friend look at the (Greek?) formula of absolution?

I'm sure there's something in there about sins not confessed, either out of forgetfulness or reticence.

Further to the above, I understand the critical part of the Greek formulation is as follows:

"Whatever you have said to my humble person, and whatever you have failed to say, whether through ignorance or forgetfulness, whatever it may be, may God forgive you in this world and the next…"

I assume the priests of the Church of Antioch pronounce the same words of absolution.
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« Reply #10 on: April 17, 2012, 12:37:22 AM »

Thanks for the advice everyone! Akimori, I will try to find the formula of absolution you spoke of and show it to him. age234, my friend told me that he plans to confess for this sin and his failure to confess it completely the next chance he is able to. He said that it only weighed heavy on his heart for a short period after the confession, and that when he confessed it during his prayers he felt the weight lift and was not letting it haunt him by the morning he was chrismated. I felt truly sorry for him, so praise be to God's infinite mercy and forgiveness! Peter, I know it's a delicate subject to be mentioning in a public forum, but the friend mentioned, as is the case with me, doesn't live close to the parish we attend (although he lives a good deal closer), and I wanted to give him a definite answer before he had to wait a few weeks to confess again.
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« Reply #11 on: April 17, 2012, 12:40:32 AM »

We mustn't get tied up in the legality of it all, which I'm told by certain Greek priests Orthodoxy tends to do.

This is somewhat amusing, considering how the Greeks are constantly accused by the Eastern Slavs of eroding the nexus between confession and communion and allowing the laity to exercise discernment as to whether it is necessary on any particular occasion of sin to confess.
Yes, I have experienced this personally.  I think that the Slavs and the Greeks exercise two extremes.  It's just a ridiculous idea that leaving out a detail of a sin in confession would invalidate an entire communion, which washes away the sins of the world.
Fr. Cleopa says it multiplies the sins by 7. Shocked God's math.
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« Reply #12 on: April 17, 2012, 12:44:16 AM »

Huh, oh boy! I will be praying for him then!
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« Reply #13 on: April 17, 2012, 12:47:39 AM »

Maybe start by having your friend look at the (Greek?) formula of absolution?

I'm sure there's something in there about sins not confessed, either out of forgetfulness or reticence.

There is indeed: “Whatever you have said to my humble person, and whatever you have failed to say, whether through ignorance or forgetfulness, whatever it may be, May God forgive you in this world, and in the next.”

source:http://www.orthodoxresearchinstitute.org/articles/liturgics/maxwell_confession.htm
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« Reply #14 on: April 17, 2012, 12:49:33 AM »

Thanks for the advice everyone! Akimori, I will try to find the formula of absolution you spoke of and show it to him. age234, my friend told me that he plans to confess for this sin and his failure to confess it completely the next chance he is able to. He said that it only weighed heavy on his heart for a short period after the confession, and that when he confessed it during his prayers he felt the weight lift and was not letting it haunt him by the morning he was chrismated. I felt truly sorry for him, so praise be to God's infinite mercy and forgiveness! Peter, I know it's a delicate subject to be mentioning in a public forum, but the friend mentioned, as is the case with me, doesn't live close to the parish we attend (although he lives a good deal closer), and I wanted to give him a definite answer before he had to wait a few weeks to confess again.
I'm still not sure you understand how serious this issue is. A priest can actually be defrocked for divulging what is shared with him in confession, even if civil law requires him to do so. If a priest is so bound to protect the confidentiality of the confessional, how much more so should you see yourself.
« Last Edit: April 17, 2012, 12:56:10 AM by PeterTheAleut » Logged
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« Reply #15 on: April 17, 2012, 12:50:55 AM »

Forgive me Peter, I was only trying to help.
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« Reply #16 on: April 17, 2012, 12:51:23 AM »

Huh, oh boy! I will be praying for him then!
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« Reply #17 on: April 17, 2012, 12:52:56 AM »

Forgive me Peter, I was only trying to help.
I understand, so I'm not scolding you. I'm just trying to bring the perspective of my own concerns to this discussion.
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« Reply #18 on: April 17, 2012, 12:54:34 AM »

 Cheesy Thanks for the advice, but I figured that comment wasn't entirely serious. I was just playing along with my reply. I respect your words of caution, by the way. As I said, I just wanted to help my friend.
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« Reply #19 on: April 17, 2012, 01:09:58 AM »

When I was chrismated two others were chrismated alongside me. Recently, one of them confided in me that they felt somewhat guilty about their first, lifetime confession. They confessed that they had fornicated with three women, which was correct, but when Father asked them how long ago they had last committed this sin, they 'partly in nervousness, partly because in the heat of the moment forgot' told him the time before the last time they had committed the sin (a year and a half ago, when they had in fact last done it about eight months ago). They are intensely worried that their chrismation is invalid, and that they partook of Holy Communion unto condemnation. They said that they confessed the sin the evening before they were chrismated fervently during prayer, that they have abandoned the lifestyle of lust and plan to never return to it, and that they truly love Christ and His Church. They also said that they 'felt' the grace of the Holy Spirit enter them during the chrismation ceremony, and that they felt truly born anew afterwards. What do you fellas have to say, especially perhaps the priests here? I feel sorry for them, and want to comfort them, but I told them the truth, which is that I have no clue how to answer their concerns.

Nothing to worry about. It's not like it was deliberate. Just tell the priest. The grace of God is not invalidated because of forgetfulness, especially over a matter of months a sin was last committed. My goodness! I cannot remember exactly when I committed sins. I try to estimate, but God knows, and He knows that I repent of them. And that, is that.
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« Reply #20 on: April 17, 2012, 01:12:34 AM »

When I was chrismated two others were chrismated alongside me. Recently, one of them confided in me that they felt somewhat guilty about their first, lifetime confession. They confessed that they had fornicated with three women, which was correct, but when Father asked them how long ago they had last committed this sin, they 'partly in nervousness, partly because in the heat of the moment forgot' told him the time before the last time they had committed the sin (a year and a half ago, when they had in fact last done it about eight months ago). They are intensely worried that their chrismation is invalid, and that they partook of Holy Communion unto condemnation. They said that they confessed the sin the evening before they were chrismated fervently during prayer, that they have abandoned the lifestyle of lust and plan to never return to it, and that they truly love Christ and His Church. They also said that they 'felt' the grace of the Holy Spirit enter them during the chrismation ceremony, and that they felt truly born anew afterwards. What do you fellas have to say, especially perhaps the priests here? I feel sorry for them, and want to comfort them, but I told them the truth, which is that I have no clue how to answer their concerns.
Since we are not into legalism that makes chrismation a contract that can be voided, nor a statute of limitations on sin-it doesn't matter really the difference of a couple months, they confessed to the act, THAT is what matters-the chrismation is "valid."
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« Reply #21 on: April 17, 2012, 01:27:22 AM »

When I was chrismated two others were chrismated alongside me. Recently, one of them confided in me that they felt somewhat guilty about their first, lifetime confession. They confessed that they had fornicated with three women, which was correct, but when Father asked them how long ago they had last committed this sin, they 'partly in nervousness, partly because in the heat of the moment forgot' told him the time before the last time they had committed the sin (a year and a half ago, when they had in fact last done it about eight months ago). They are intensely worried that their chrismation is invalid, and that they partook of Holy Communion unto condemnation. They said that they confessed the sin the evening before they were chrismated fervently during prayer, that they have abandoned the lifestyle of lust and plan to never return to it, and that they truly love Christ and His Church. They also said that they 'felt' the grace of the Holy Spirit enter them during the chrismation ceremony, and that they felt truly born anew afterwards. What do you fellas have to say, especially perhaps the priests here? I feel sorry for them, and want to comfort them, but I told them the truth, which is that I have no clue how to answer their concerns.
Since we are not into legalism that makes chrismation a contract that can be voided, nor a statute of limitations on sin-it doesn't matter really the difference of a couple months, they confessed to the act, THAT is what matters-the chrismation is "valid."

+1
Chrismation is not a legal contract that is voided by a mistake in one of the clauses. Even less is it a magic ceremony that is ineffective if someone makes a mistake and doesn't carry it out perfecty. Chrismation is an act of power by a Divine Person, the Holy Spirit who is all-knowing and almighty. Your friend's error is not powerful enough to invalidate an act of God.

""But beware of supposing this to be plain ointment.  For as the Bread of the Eucharist, after the invocation of the Holy Ghost, is mere bread no longer, but the Body of Christ, so also this holy ointment is no more simple ointment, nor (so to say) common, after invocation, but it is Christ's gift of grace, and, by the advent of the Holy Ghost, is made fit to impart His Divine Nature ....  and while thy body is anointed with the visible ointment, thy soul is sanctified by the Holy and life-giving Spirit." (St. Cyril of Jerusalem)

If one forgets or even actively misrepresent a sin during confession, one should certainly bring it up at the next confession. And the priest might even impose a sterner penance to help the individual internalize the importance of self-examination and full confession as part of their reconciliation. But beware the twisted sense of pride that ever thinks one's human errors are powerful enough to interfere with the Grace of God--only one thing can do that and that is a failure to repent.
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