That's pretty much true, though I don't believe the triple immersion part was universally practiced in the Orthodox Church, as can be seen in the Didache various forms of water baptism were allowed without mandating another baptism be performed.
In the Didache
, "Baptism by pouring" is suggested if sufficient water for proper immersion is not available. Current Orthodox practice on this matter, and in ages past, also makes that pretty clear, I think (that pouring is allowed as economia.)
We've uncovered baptismal fonts from the Byzantine period which are only a few inches deep, which would rule out a full immersion.
Without disputing such finds (asking details - where, when they were from exactly, etc.), I think it's important to consider that just because one finds evidence of something here or there, does not necessarily means one is observing the artificats of a legitimate, canonical practice. The Church has had Her lows, or cases where regions were (relatively speaking) temporarily dominated by anti-canonical situations or lapses. I'd submit, given a "Vincentian" understanding of such things, it's quite clear that the practice of "pouring" as something normal in the Orthodox milieu is an abbheration, and not to be taken as something permissable. IOW, such findings would not create a precedent.
The Russian Church has also always received Lutherans and Catholics through chrismation, despite the previous baptisms performed through pouring (though ROCOR jumped from this practice after the OCA was granted autocephaly in the early 1970's).
Actually, not always
. Prior to Peter the Great, there wasn't a hard "standard" for this - and actually there was a brief period (following the Council of Patriarch Philaret in 1620) where Baptism of all western-heterodox was required
. Even after Russia adopted a fairly liberal policy about this, there were still plenty of Baptism-conversions going on, and not just by crackpots either - apparently this went on at the monasteries in Optina and Valaamo, amongst others.
That's probably true. My concern is a rebaptism performed because someone wants it. This is the exact same reasoning behind granting economia because we don't want to offend. The Church should't be applying its sacraments based upon what the convert wants to make him happy. If the convert is unhappy either because his prior baptism is rejected, or because he's denied another baptism (which he believes will make him feel better), it should be irrelevant. Otherwise, we're just Protestantizing our faith.
Well, it does become a significant pastoral problem if you have someone struggling with scruples, precisely over something which was intended to make life easier for them. That just doesn't make any sense, and the responsible pastors I'm familiar with will actually do the kind thing and give such persons a proper, canonical Baptism. The only people who have kittens about this I've found, are either those who feel slighted by this (because of their own pasts perhaps? i.e. they were received into Orthodoxy via economia...), or more often than not, convinced ecumenists who have some very conflicted/mixed-up views on the subject which when examined closely, do not line up well with what the Church has "always and everywhere believed."
Simply put, the history of receiving people given a form of Baptism other than triple-immersion via Chrism (or less than this even, confession and profession of faith), is actually very
brief when one see's things in their 1900+ plus year (and proper) perspective. I'm not saying that means what has gone on thus far (for the most part) is reprehensible and totally
without justification. However, I do have my own concerns whether those past justifications (such as the shifting borders and Uniatism) which brought about this extremely liberal practice still hold today - where there is no compulsion and mass confusion (leading to endless possibilities for scandal - such as when you had Uniates who did not even understand they were not in fact 'Pravoslavni
', or who were told lies like "oh the Pope has become Orthodox" or somehow really is
However in the end, those concerns are private ones, which thank-God I do believe are actually being slowly addressed by the legitimate, authoritative voice of the Church (Her legit pastors - the Bishops.) As it stands, I certainly do not plan on "shunning" people, simply because they were received according to economia