Fwiw, I wasn't required to get a baptismal certificate when I was chrismated, though the priest did ask me to get a copy if I could.
While I'm sure the Priest here had no reason to doubt you were baptized by your previous church, this strikes me as "playing it loose" even within the parameters of the "extreme economy" which the SCOBA Churches are accustomed to practice (which basically imitates old Russian practice). This becomes doubly apparent when, as far as I've been told, if there is doubt about someone who is apparently Orthodox being in fact Baptized, there are rules dictating that he is to be Baptized (even if there is a danger of giving him two Orthodox Baptisms). For example, if a 6 month old child is dropped off at an orphanage in Greece in an ostensibly "very religious" area and there are no witnesses to the effect the child is Baptized, he must be Baptized anyway...even if one could conjecture "hey, he probably
Thank you for the very detailed (and yet concise) review. It seems like a lot of reading must have gone into that little condensed bit!
Being a "Church enthusiast", it's a topic I've read a lot on, and recently even more so. It almost rolls off the tongue (or keyboard) by rote now.
I only have one question, you mentioned conditional baptisms performed by Catholics, but I also believe that Orthodox sometimes do this, and I'm curious what you think of that? The place that I remember this from is a hagiographical text in which a woman (I think) was at a monastery and wasn't sure if she had ever been baptized, and someone came to her in a dream and told her to tell the priest to look at such-and-such a canon, which allowed for conditional baptisms in a case like hers. Apparently, the priest looked and did find the canon--at least in the story.
My understanding is that there are canons for "when in doubt" - but they don't call for "conditional Baptism", but just "plain ole' Baptism". What I do know is that such practices have popped up in some Slavic countries (and perhaps elsewhere), but this was due to the influence of Roman Catholicism, where the practice in fact originated. Thus it's credentials as an "Orthodox practice" are poor, and insisting that this form must be used (and not simply doing what the Church has always done in cases of doubt) is an even poorer position to take.
Is it possible that by "conditonal baptism" what is meant in the story is simply "Baptism just in case" like I've mentioned? Either way, the practice within Orthodoxy of using the Roman Catholic formula is relatively new, provincial, and ultimately hinges (at least in part) upon a different understanding of the sacraments than the Church has both theoretically and practically possessed. The sacrelige of trying to "Baptize someone twice" is in the intentions, not in the rite itself - it's not as if you're going to force "God to show up twice" to renovate the person being so Baptized if it turns out you were wrong and they had in fact been given an Orthodox Baptism. It's not as if the sacraments are a form of crude magic; they're essentially synergistic acts, like the Prophet Elijah raising his hands and asking God's Fire to descend from the Heavens.