OrthodoxChristianity.net
December 22, 2014, 03:08:46 AM *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
News: Reminder: No political discussions in the public fora.  If you do not have access to the private Politics Forum, please send a PM to Fr. George.
 
   Home   Help Calendar Contact Treasury Tags Login Register  
Pages: 1   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: Baptism Concerns  (Read 697 times) Average Rating: 0
0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.
elizkolo
Newbie
*
Offline Offline

Faith: RC but converting to
Jurisdiction: Coptic Orthodoxy
Posts: 4


« on: May 22, 2012, 09:41:35 AM »

Hello everyone,

This is my first post, although I've been lurking for quite awhile.
Long story short, I am a cradle RC, but have been attending a Coptic Orthodox church for three years on a regular basis.

I finally really have the ball rolling as far as baptism is concerned, although I have been ready and willing for years. I do have a couple of real concerns about baptism. The thing is, none of my concerns have anything to do with core doctrine or dogmas.

Concern #1
I have chronic claustrophobia, and have a real fear of drowning, to the point where I don't even like to wet my own face. I have nightmares about both of these things on a regular basis; please don't think I don't pray for strength and courage. I do. I know that they are somewhat illogical fears, but they stem from a traumatic experience as a child.

Tonight at my meeting Abouna asked if I would "practice" the baptism. That is, climb into the empty tank and kneel down. I felt woozy and sick, and began to hyperventilate. I told him about my fears, and he just said that it's very quick and not to worry. Thinking about having someone's hand push my head under water makes me panic. I feel like crying just thinking about it.

I don't know what to do. I think I could probably suffer through it, but baptism should be a holy and joyful experience, not one that must simply be tolerated. I also know from know that I will feel lightheaded, nauseous, and I will probably sob from terror.

Concern #2

Assuming that I make it through the actual baptism, how do I tell other people at church that I would prefer if it was just me, the priest, my boyfriend, and a female to assist me? My family lives in another country, and so cannot attend although they are supportive. I'm immensely self-conscious about my phobias, and I also believe that this sacrament is an intensely private experience for me. I strongly dislike being the centre of attention, and so the idea of being paraded around the church (heaven forbid the zaghroota) and having the red ribbon ceremoniously (and publicly) removed kind of makes my skin crawl.

All in all... I promise I'm not a snob. I sincerely love the church for what it is, and I don't intend on reforming anything. I just wish I could work through these issues. Like I mentioned, I have spoken to my priest, but he's not entirely understanding, and I think the cultural barrier plays a role in this.

What do you think? I respect all opinions.

-Elizabeth
« Last Edit: May 22, 2012, 09:43:50 AM by elizkolo » Logged
Jonathan
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Faith: Oriental Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Coptic
Posts: 810


WWW
« Reply #1 on: May 22, 2012, 10:29:16 AM »

Welcome to the forum, and to the Church!

I'm sorry this is such a difficult experience for you. I hope that it goes well for you.

Have you been completely open with your priest about the extent of your fears? He may not understand the magnitude. Maybe you can work something out with him, like he puts his and on your shoulder instead of your head, doesn't apply too much pressure but just guides you, submerges as briefly as possible and mostly splashes over head,. etc.?

If you must suffer through it, you are in good company. Do not feel that it makes your Baptism any less if it is not a joyful experience to you. Think of the martyrs, many of whom were baptised in their own blood. Baptism is a mysterious participation in the death and resurrection of Christ. If for you, it really feels like death, this is a crown that you will be rewarded for.


Baptism must be an act of the community. It is not a magical act of the priest. There should be no such thing as a private baptism, or a private Eucharist. You are becoming a member of the Body of Christ, and it is a logical contradiction for this to be done apart from the Body. Being received into the congregation is a part of it. However, the actual act of Baptism should be private, with just you, the priest, and a female servant, such as his wife, in order to protect your modesty. Then you emerge from the baptistry to join the faithful for the Liturgy of the Eucharist, and to commune with them for the first time. At the end there is a procession around the Church, as the angels in heaven, and the people in the Church, celebrate over your repentance and rebirth. In Catholicism, religion can be private, with private Masses, and a private spiritual life apart from the community. This is not possible in Orthodoxy. The assembly of the faithful is central. However, if there is pressing psychological need to make accommodations to make the day bearable to you, this would be at the discretion of your priest (or his bishop if he needs to take advise on how to deal with it), so you should discuss it openly with him.

You have mentioned a cultural barrier. Perhaps it is the culture of the priest to just say don't worry, it's ok, and to present a solution, and if you don't protest he thinks you've accepted and are happy. He may be expecting you to be very forceful with your concerns, that may be what he is used to and he may not appreciate how concerned you are apart from that. Don't be afraid to press, to insist that it be discussed more. Just tell him how uncomfortable you are, and that you need to talk about it. He is becoming your spiritual father, and it is very important that you develop a relationship where you can be open with him, even if it requirers cultural accommodation on both of your parts to get there. If you need a practice run, just tell him, "Abouna, I need to practise this and see if I can keep my fear under control, please help me with this".

Logged
witega
Is it enough now, to tell you you matter?
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Diocese of the South
Posts: 1,614


« Reply #2 on: May 22, 2012, 11:45:35 AM »

I don't know what to do. I think I could probably suffer through it, but baptism should be a holy and joyful experience, not one that must simply be tolerated. I also know from know that I will feel lightheaded, nauseous, and I will probably sob from terror.

I was just reading this last night from St. Cyril of Jerusalem's Mystagogical Catachesis II: On the Rites of Baptism
Quote
5. O strange and inconceivable thing! we did not really die, we were not really buried, we were not really crucified and raised again; but our imitation was in a figure, and our salvation in reality.  Christ was actually crucified, and actually buried, and truly rose again; and all these things He has freely bestowed upon us, that we, sharing His sufferings by imitation, might gain salvation in reality.  O surpassing loving-kindness!  Christ received nails in His undefiled hands and feet, and suffered anguish; while on me without pain or toil by the fellowship of His suffering He freely bestows salvation.

6.  Let no one then suppose that Baptism is merely the grace of remission of sins, or further, that of adoption; as John’s was a baptism conferring only remission of sins:  whereas we know full well, that as it purges our sins, and ministers to us the gift of the Holy Ghost, so also it is the counterpart of the sufferings of Christ.  For this cause Paul just now cried aloud and said, Or are ye ignorant that all we who were baptized into Christ Jesus, were baptized into His death?  We were buried therefore with Him by baptism into His death.  These words he spoke to some who were disposed to think that Baptism ministers to us the remission of sins, and adoption, but has not further the fellowship also, by representation, of Christ’s true sufferings.

7.  In order therefore that we might learn, that whatsoever things Christ endured, for us and for our salvation. He suffered them in reality and not in appearance, and that we also are made partakers of His sufferings, Paul cried with all exactness of truth, For if we have been planted together with the likeness of His death, we shall be also with the likeness of His resurrection.  Well has he said, planted together

I do not wish to make light of your issues and to the extent that anyone here (or in your parish) is able to do something to alleviate them, I hope that happens. But to the extent that they cannot, perhaps you can take some solace in the fact that your fears allow you a more visceral experience of the participation in the sufferings of Christ that we all go through in the Mystery of Holy Baptism.
Logged

Ariel Starling - New album

For it were better to suffer everything, rather than divide the Church of God. Even martyrdom for the sake of preventing division would not be less glorious than for refusing to worship idols. - St. Dionysius the Great
Big Chris
Formerly "mint"
Elder
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Inquirer
Jurisdiction: Roman Catholic Diocese of Charlotte, NC
Posts: 277

I live by the river where the old gods still dream


« Reply #3 on: May 22, 2012, 12:56:44 PM »

I do not wish to make light of your issues and to the extent that anyone here (or in your parish) is able to do something to alleviate them, I hope that happens. But to the extent that they cannot, perhaps you can take some solace in the fact that your fears allow you a more visceral experience of the participation in the sufferings of Christ that we all go through in the Mystery of Holy Baptism.

Well said. 
Logged

Tasting is Believing
Azul
Moderated
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Faith: Român Ortodox
Jurisdiction: Eastern Orthodox
Posts: 988



« Reply #4 on: May 22, 2012, 01:22:12 PM »

Welcome to the forum.. Just do it, ask the priest if he can program the ceremony when there is not much people in the Church... In my country in the EO at Baptism (of course they are generally infant baptism) the Churches are empty.. Only family of the one who is baptized attends.The same goes for weddings..
« Last Edit: May 22, 2012, 01:22:30 PM by Azul » Logged

Every formula of every religion has in this age of reason, to submit to the acid test of reason and universal assent.
Mahatma Gandhi
NicholasMyra
Avowed denominationalist
Taxiarches
**********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Antiochian/Greek
Posts: 6,077


Nepsis or Sepsis™


« Reply #5 on: May 22, 2012, 04:07:13 PM »

Welcome to the forum.. Just do it, ask the priest if he can program the ceremony when there is not much people in the Church... In my country in the EO at Baptism (of course they are generally infant baptism) the Churches are empty.. Only family of the one who is baptized attends.The same goes for weddings..
You silly dacians.
Logged

Quote from: Orthonorm
if Christ does and says x. And someone else does and says not x and you are ever in doubt, follow Christ.
neon_knights
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Faith: Christian
Posts: 513


My political hero.


« Reply #6 on: May 22, 2012, 04:19:39 PM »

Why do you need to be baptized? I thought people who were already baptized were received by chrismation.
Logged
Alveus Lacuna
Moderated
Taxiarches
**********
Offline Offline

Posts: 6,968



« Reply #7 on: May 22, 2012, 04:30:11 PM »

Why do you need to be baptized? I thought people who were already baptized were received by chrismation.

Copts always baptizes Latins because of the improper form of baptism. Others in the "Miaphysite" communion do things differently, as it also varies in Eastern/Chalcedonian Orthodoxy. For example, the Serbian Church baptizes everyone, save "Miaphysites". My Roman Catholic (infant) and Protestant (Southern Baptist "believer's baptism") baptisms were insufficient.
« Last Edit: May 22, 2012, 04:32:15 PM by Alveus Lacuna » Logged
Rdunbar123
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Antiochian
Posts: 161


« Reply #8 on: May 22, 2012, 06:03:48 PM »


I was a RC and was recieved by confession of faith into the Antiochian Church(Western Rite) I had expected to be Chrismated at first.


Why do you need to be baptized? I thought people who were already baptized were received by chrismation.
Logged
elizkolo
Newbie
*
Offline Offline

Faith: RC but converting to
Jurisdiction: Coptic Orthodoxy
Posts: 4


« Reply #9 on: May 22, 2012, 06:59:25 PM »

Thank you all sincerely for your replies. The new perspective makes me feel a little more at ease. I will speak to the priest and perhaps request (if possible) a gentle hand on the shoulder to guide me under water.

He has told me the baptism will be very private, for modesty more than anything else (as a wet white tunic doesn't leave a whole lot to the imagination). The baptismal font is not actually in the church, which makes things easier.

As for the goings-on after that, I may see if I can have all of this occur in the middle of the week instead of on Sunday. At least that way, me being received into the church will still go ahead ceremoniously and traditionally, just on a smaller scale.

Thank you all again. I can do this Smiley
Logged
LBK
No Reporting Allowed
Warned
Toumarches
************
Online Online

Faith: Orthodox
Posts: 11,641


Holy Father Patrick, pray for us!


« Reply #10 on: May 22, 2012, 07:28:31 PM »

Quote
as a wet white tunic doesn't leave a whole lot to the imagination

All the adult female converts I've seen baptized have worn a swimsuit under their white tunic. Ask your priest if you can do this.
Logged
Alveus Lacuna
Moderated
Taxiarches
**********
Offline Offline

Posts: 6,968



« Reply #11 on: May 22, 2012, 11:30:15 PM »

Imagine baptism totally naked!  Shocked  That's the old school way.
Logged
jmbejdl
Count-Palatine James the Spurious of Giggleswick on the Naze
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Church of Romania
Posts: 1,480


Great Martyr St. John the New of Suceava


« Reply #12 on: May 23, 2012, 03:55:51 AM »

Welcome to the forum.. Just do it, ask the priest if he can program the ceremony when there is not much people in the Church... In my country in the EO at Baptism (of course they are generally infant baptism) the Churches are empty.. Only family of the one who is baptized attends.The same goes for weddings..

That's not my experience. The entire village turned out for my wedding and almost everyone stayed behind after DL for my daughter's baptism. Had we asked specifically to have quiet ceremonies I'm certain the priest and congregation would have agreed, but it didn't happen by default.

James
Logged

We owe greater gratitude to those who humble us, wrong us, and douse us with venom, than to those who nurse us with honour and sweet words, or feed us with tasty food and confections, for bile is the best medicine for our soul. - Elder Paisios of Mount Athos
Azul
Moderated
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Faith: Român Ortodox
Jurisdiction: Eastern Orthodox
Posts: 988



« Reply #13 on: May 23, 2012, 11:05:22 AM »

Welcome to the forum.. Just do it, ask the priest if he can program the ceremony when there is not much people in the Church... In my country in the EO at Baptism (of course they are generally infant baptism) the Churches are empty.. Only family of the one who is baptized attends.The same goes for weddings..

That's not my experience. The entire village turned out for my wedding and almost everyone stayed behind after DL for my daughter's baptism. Had we asked specifically to have quiet ceremonies I'm certain the priest and congregation would have agreed, but it didn't happen by default.

James

But only your familly at wedding and the ones you invited.. doh... I didn`t attend many baptism maybe 1,2 but there were no people during the ceremony, or there were very few, except my familly..
Logged

Every formula of every religion has in this age of reason, to submit to the acid test of reason and universal assent.
Mahatma Gandhi
jmbejdl
Count-Palatine James the Spurious of Giggleswick on the Naze
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Church of Romania
Posts: 1,480


Great Martyr St. John the New of Suceava


« Reply #14 on: May 23, 2012, 12:03:17 PM »

Welcome to the forum.. Just do it, ask the priest if he can program the ceremony when there is not much people in the Church... In my country in the EO at Baptism (of course they are generally infant baptism) the Churches are empty.. Only family of the one who is baptized attends.The same goes for weddings..

That's not my experience. The entire village turned out for my wedding and almost everyone stayed behind after DL for my daughter's baptism. Had we asked specifically to have quiet ceremonies I'm certain the priest and congregation would have agreed, but it didn't happen by default.

James

But only your familly at wedding and the ones you invited.. doh... I didn`t attend many baptism maybe 1,2 but there were no people during the ceremony, or there were very few, except my familly..

No, there were definitely a LOT of people at my wedding service that I didn't know and that we didn't invite - most of the village turned up as I said. The Church was full to bursting. I don't know where you're from but maybe it's the region? I know my godmother (who is from Sibiu) was not familiar with customs in Bucovina (such as the fact that we had sweets thrown at us during the Dance of Isaiah - think that's the right term) so I am aware that there are wide variations within Romania.

James
Logged

We owe greater gratitude to those who humble us, wrong us, and douse us with venom, than to those who nurse us with honour and sweet words, or feed us with tasty food and confections, for bile is the best medicine for our soul. - Elder Paisios of Mount Athos
Tags:
Pages: 1   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.18 | SMF © 2013, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!
Page created in 0.075 seconds with 41 queries.