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#307189 - 12/15/08 03:29 PM Re: specific Orthodox disagreements with the Catholic Catechism [Re: Hieromonk Ambrose]
JSMelkiteOrthodoxy Offline
Member

Registered: 08/18/06
Posts: 2406
Loc: Georgia U.S.
Originally Posted By: Hieromonk Ambrose
Originally Posted By: JSMelkiteOrthodoxy
Oh, and I've also recently discovered that not all Orthodox Churches baptize adults by triple immersion. I know at least one Orthodox in my Church (Antiochian) who was baptized by an Orthodox priest by having water poured over his head. Is this valid?

Yes, but really not the preferable way.

See

http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/ecumenism/pouring.aspx

What is very interesting is that this article was written in 1754 and predates the discovery of the Didache and its instruction of how to baptize under varying conditions. The Didache was rediscovered in 1873 by Bishop Philotheos Bryennios, bishop of Nicomedia.


Dear Father Ambrose, thank you for pointing out this article to me. I take it also that because I was received by Chrismation that my baptism was then made efficacious? Am I right in thinking that all Orthodox jurisdictions that are in communion with each other accept the decisions (based on "economia") of the various jurisdictions even when they don't entirely agree? What I mean to ask is this, let us suppose a jurisdiction decides to receive all converts by Baptism. Will they also accept the fact that other jurisdictions receive converts by Chrismation and honor the decisions of those churches?

Joe

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#307191 - 12/15/08 03:44 PM Re: specific Orthodox disagreements with the Catholic Catechism [Re: JSMelkiteOrthodoxy]
Hieromonk Ambrose Offline
Member

Registered: 03/22/06
Posts: 1520
Loc: New Zealand
Originally Posted By: JSMelkiteOrthodoxy
[I take it also that because I was received by Chrismation that my baptism was then made efficacious? Am I right in thinking that all Orthodox jurisdictions that are in communion with each other accept the decisions (based on "economia") of the various jurisdictions even when they don't entirely agree? What I mean to ask is this, let us suppose a jurisdiction decides to receive all converts by Baptism. Will they also accept the fact that other jurisdictions receive converts by Chrismation and honor the decisions of those churches?
Joe


Yes, I doubt if there is a bishop in the world who will not accept Chrismation performed in another Church even if he himself would prefer to baptize.

The only people who dissent from this are not bishops but some (not all) of the monasteries on Mt Athos and a very few monasteries in Russia who will want to baptize a man received only by Chrismation before they offer him Holy Communion.

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#307194 - 12/15/08 04:15 PM Re: specific Orthodox disagreements with the Catholic Catechism [Re: Hieromonk Ambrose]
JSMelkiteOrthodoxy Offline
Member

Registered: 08/18/06
Posts: 2406
Loc: Georgia U.S.
Originally Posted By: Hieromonk Ambrose
Originally Posted By: JSMelkiteOrthodoxy
[I take it also that because I was received by Chrismation that my baptism was then made efficacious? Am I right in thinking that all Orthodox jurisdictions that are in communion with each other accept the decisions (based on "economia") of the various jurisdictions even when they don't entirely agree? What I mean to ask is this, let us suppose a jurisdiction decides to receive all converts by Baptism. Will they also accept the fact that other jurisdictions receive converts by Chrismation and honor the decisions of those churches?
Joe


Yes, I doubt if there is a bishop in the world who will not accept Chrismation performed in another Church even if he himself would prefer to baptize.

The only people who dissent from this are not bishops but some (not all) of the monasteries on Mt Athos and a very few monasteries in Russia who will want to baptize a man received only by Chrismation before they offer him Holy Communion.


Dear Father,

Thank you for the clarification. Since it is unlikely that I'll ever have the opportunity to visit Mt. Athos or some of these other monasteries, I'm not going to worry too much. I am curious though. Are there really a number of Orthodox Churches in the west that are baptizing by pouring instead of immersion? I was shocked to find out that this has been done in at least a few Antiochian parishes.

Joe

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#307196 - 12/15/08 04:37 PM Re: specific Orthodox disagreements with the Catholic Catechism [Re: JSMelkiteOrthodoxy]
ajk Offline
Member

Registered: 05/22/07
Posts: 1658
Loc: MD
Originally Posted By: JSMelkiteOrthodoxy
I've been wrestling with this issue of sacramental validity and economia in the past few weeks.... Is this valid?


I answer here for myself only, but as a Catholic (Byzantine).

If you were water baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and if it was not against your will, and whatever the defect in the minister or the theology, then you received baptism. God, through the Church, would not allow such a defect or even deception to affect you and the integrity of the mystery/sacrament. The Church supplies the intent and proper theology. One cannot give what one doesn't have [Qui non habet, ille non dat - He who has not, does not give.], but the Church can always give what it always has. If a defect were known then properly it would need to be addressed and corrected. If it wasn't properly addressed and corrected then the needed corrective is supplied by the Church.

I can not see the insistence on the triple immersion. I think it is a very powerful sign as a ritual element, but as I recall early practices do not require it and seem to put the emphasis instead on the fact that the water must be "living", that is, running, fresh, not stagnant. Water poured is running, "living."

Baptism is a real rebirth, and not a figurative one. We are born only once as a son of Adam, and born only once of the second Adam, Christ. After baptism you are a new and different person. Of the various images, the symbolic shapes of the baptismal font, the round one representing the womb of the Church is quite expressive. Having experienced this rebirth it would be improper to have it repeated. From the Catholic viewpoint, a known or indiscriminate repetition violates the lex orandi thereby implying an incorrect lex credendi.

So the approach is to acknowledge and deal with problems and issues as best as possible and not sweep them under the carpet. We do our best, we acknowledge there can be defects. We have the Church, the Holy Spirit, even as the prayer of ordination puts it “Divine grace, always healing what is weak and supplying what is deficient, ordains... Let us therefore pray for him, that the grace of the Holy Spirit may come upon him...” Only then do we properly say Axios.

Baptism as a real rebirth, and not just a metaphor for faith came to the fore in the west concerning the theology of “justification”, and the “Decree Concerning Justification” of the sixth session of Trent* resulted and expresses a theology that can be embraced by east (although not itself emphasizing justification per se) and west. It is amazingly concise but focuses on and corrects the core principle of Protestant theology:

Quote:
In which words is given a brief description of the justification of the sinner, as being a translation from that state in which man [homo] is born a son [filius] of the first Adam, to the state of grace and of the adoption of the sons [filiorum] of God through the second Adam, Jesus Christ, our Savior. This translation however cannot, since the promulgation of the Gospel, be effected except through the laver of regeneration or its desire, as it is written: Unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.



- - - - - - - - - - -
* “...celebrated on the thirteenth day of January, 1547.” The decree is presented in 16 short Chapters and 33 Canons, of which Chapter 4 can be considered the essence. H. R. Schroeder, Canons and Decrees of the Council of Trent (St. Louis: B. Herder Book Co., 1950), 31 (English, slightly modified by me); 310 (Latin):Quibus verbis justificationis impii descriptio insinuatur, ut sit translatio ab eo statu, in quo homo nascitur filius primi Adae, in statum gratiae et adoptionis filiorum Dei [Rom. 8:23] per secundum Adam Jesum Christum salvatorem nostrum; quae quidem translatio post evangelium promulgatum sine lavacro regenerationis aut ejus voto fieri non potest, sicut scriptum est: Nisi quis renatus fuerit ex aqua et Spiritu Sancto, non potest introire in regnum Dei.[John 3:5].


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#307199 - 12/15/08 04:47 PM Re: specific Orthodox disagreements with the Catholic Catechism [Re: ajk]
JSMelkiteOrthodoxy Offline
Member

Registered: 08/18/06
Posts: 2406
Loc: Georgia U.S.
Thank you Father Deacon. What you write here also makes much sense. Of course, the question of whether my baptism was efficacious in itself (prior to becoming Orthodox) is precisely a question that doesn't seem settled for me. I understand that the Catholic Church does have an answer that is logical and has some justification.

Joe

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#307200 - 12/15/08 05:15 PM Re: specific Orthodox disagreements with the Catholic Catechism [Re: JSMelkiteOrthodoxy]
MrsMW Offline
Member

Registered: 01/26/07
Posts: 301
Loc: Southern California
I have not really been following this talk but has anyone mentioned to you that St Elizabeth was never rebaptized when she joined the Orthodox Church? She was baptized a Lutheran.

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#307201 - 12/15/08 05:17 PM Re: specific Orthodox disagreements with the Catholic Catechism [Re: JSMelkiteOrthodoxy]
ajk Offline
Member

Registered: 05/22/07
Posts: 1658
Loc: MD
Originally Posted By: JSMelkiteOrthodoxy
Thank you Father Deacon. What you write here also makes much sense. Of course, the question of whether my baptism was efficacious in itself (prior to becoming Orthodox) is precisely a question that doesn't seem settled for me. I understand that the Catholic Church does have an answer that is logical and has some justification.

Joe
You raise here a very interesting and focused point that I hadn't thought about although I've encountered the question of efficacy. So just thinking it through on the basis of what I wrote:

The sacraments are not isolated from one another and are personal encounters with Christ, oriented to the Church and sustained by the Church. The efficacy is not primarily determined by considering the individual, but the person in the Church, in a faith community, in a relationship. The efficacy, the good, of the baptism (not the baptism itself) would be expected to be influenced by how well the church/community is able, fundamentally, i.e. by the sacraments, to support it. So a baptism (a baptized person) in a Christian community that does not have, or care much to have, or cannot have the Eucharist is in a sense deprived. On the other hand, one in a Church with true sacraments is in its element and would be expected to thrive. At any rate, that is where it belongs, where it is intended to be.

So the well-being and growth and potential of the child, the baptized, is influenced and significantly determined by the quality and integrity of the mother, the church/community.


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#307206 - 12/15/08 05:49 PM Re: specific Orthodox disagreements with the Catholic Catechism [Re: Irish Melkite]
ajk Offline
Member

Registered: 05/22/07
Posts: 1658
Loc: MD
Originally Posted By: Irish Melkite
Deacon,
...The stances taken by the two Churches are what they are - the presentation is factually accurate and verifiable by any number of examples in real life - it is not opinion. Thus, that I should be asked to defend it, by analyzing how I would react were it applied to me, seems to be neither here nor there, wholly speculative, and - frankly - no one's business.


Neil,

I thought your essay/monograph was very well written, a model of clarity and economy of words in what it addresses. I do not question the accuracy of the facts. While those facts are not opinion, your opinion was expressed in the essay as in the post to which I am responding here. And opinion is - well - opinion.

You say: "Thus, that I should be asked to defend it, by analyzing how I would react were it applied to me, seems to be neither here nor there, wholly speculative, and - frankly - no one's business."

It should hardly be speculative in applying it to yourself. You did write that it is "no one's business" but I presumed the intent was no one else's business, since it should be eminently yours.

Regarding the piece (essay/monograph): You wrote it, and as you say it has been generously and knowingly disseminated. It is quite legitimate that you as the author be challenged to defend it. I have not done so explicitly, I have merely asked you to apply what you wrote to well known concrete circumstances, ones that illustrate that the theory is, as you say, "verifiable by any number of examples in real life." What is more verifiable and real life than the truth one expresses about himself?

You are certainly free to retract or modify what you have written, or request it not be further disseminated or presented as your conclusions or opinion.

I don't see why asking anyone if they are a Christian, especially in the context of this forum and this discussion, is inappropriate. Even to ask you if some one else is a Christian (as elaborated in the question) regarding a situation known to you, is to ask no more than a particular about which you have written both definitively and with expressed opinion, in general.

--------------------

Father Ambrose sees no intended offense. There is no offense intended on my part. He has in fact urged further participation by "other Orthodox" and I would suggest the same from other Catholics.

Consequently, while open to all, it would be especially informative to have the answers of those who have expressed well-considered views on the theories and their application. So to complete the round of questions (asking of all, but Apotheoun and Neil in particular) applying the appropriate theory, answers please of yes, no, maybe, I don't know:

Apotheoun, Neil: Is Fr. Ambrose a Christian? Has he been baptized, thereby putting on Christ?

Also, what theory was applied in making the determination? Do you consider this to be the correct theory and application? If not, what theory and application would you consider correct and then in applying it, how would you answer the question?


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#307208 - 12/15/08 06:00 PM Re: specific Orthodox disagreements with the Catholic Catechism [Re: ajk]
Administrator Offline

John
Member

Registered: 11/02/01
Posts: 6231
Loc: Virginia
Several posters have referenced specific individuals - whether they are Christian, whether they are baptized. This crosses the line into uncharity. I had originally closed this thread for that reason but a poster has asked me to reopen the thread. I will do so with the requirement that the discussions and questions be kept generic. It is not necessary to reference any specific individual. If it happens again the thread will be closed. Pose your questions generically: "An individual who (was baptized by X Church)", etc.

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#307225 - 12/15/08 09:08 PM Re: specific Orthodox disagreements with the Catholic Catechism [Re: ajk]
Hieromonk Ambrose Offline
Member

Registered: 03/22/06
Posts: 1520
Loc: New Zealand
Originally Posted By: ajk
I can not see the insistence on the triple immersion. I think it is a very powerful sign as a ritual element, but as I recall early practices do not require it

Dear Father Deacon,

Here are some things from an old Irishman....

Triple immersion and full immersion was considered essential in the Church of the British Isles and this emphasis was maintained up to the 17th c.

1. St. Theodore, 7th c. Archbishop of Canterbury, has in his Penitential:

"If any Bishop or Presbyter shall celebrate in Baptism not a threefold submerging, but shall submerse one time, which would seem to give it in the death of Christ, he shall be deposed, for the Lord did not say to us, "Baptize in My death," but "Go, teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit." (cap. xxxviii. 1, xlviii.20), Thorpe, Vol. 2, pp. 45, 58.

Saint Theodore, on the authority of the Pope, ordered that any Celtic priest who had received only a single immersion had himself received an invalid baptism and such priests were rebaptized with a triple immersion by the new missionaries from Rome. The Celts (Welsh in the main) did not accept this and the indigenous British Church went into schism for a while.


2. A Canon of the Council of Calchuth (or Cloveshoo or Chalkheath, take your pick) in the year 816, says:

"Also let the Presbyters know, when they administer Sacred Baptism, that they shall not pour water over the infants' heads, but they shall always be submerged in the font, as the Son of God offered example in Himself to every believer, when He was thrice immersed in the waves of Jordan."



3. Gerald of Wales, in his early 12th c. "Jewel of the Church," says:

"Midwives, friends, and advisors of a wife who is with child ought to assist her in preparing a trough of water in the home, so that if she should give birth unexpectedly, and the infant be in danger of death,
they may immerse (him) straightway three times, saying: I baptize thee in the name of the Father (immerse) and of the Son (immerse) and of the Holy Ghost. Amen. (immerse)"

Does anybody have information about the practice on the Continent? When did the Church of the West cease baptizing by triple immersion? Could this not be revalourized?



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#307226 - 12/15/08 09:23 PM Re: specific Orthodox disagreements with the Catholic Catechism [Re: Hieromonk Ambrose]
AMM Offline
Member

Registered: 04/04/05
Posts: 3393
Loc: Etc
Quote:
It would be great if other Orthodox participated in answering Father Deacon's questions. It would be interesting to hear other views and other ways of expressing things.


My own opinion, which is nothing more than my own opinion, is that Catholic baptism is valid and grace filled. My understanding is Chrismation is normal for reception now.

On a historical note, everyone is probably aware of the history of the Carpatho-Russian diocese to which I belong. In my reading of the history, it would seem to me that all of the faithful were received as they were, and the clergy in their orders as well. I could be mistaken though.

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#307229 - 12/15/08 10:08 PM Re: specific Orthodox disagreements with the Catholic Catechism [Re: Hieromonk Ambrose]
Hieromonk Ambrose Offline
Member

Registered: 03/22/06
Posts: 1520
Loc: New Zealand
Originally Posted By: Hieromonk Ambrose
[Does anybody have information about the practice on the Continent? When did the Church of the West cease baptizing by triple immersion? Could this not be revalourized?

An answer in the Catholic Encyclopedia... about immersion but not about the triple aspect of it.

"The most ancient form usually employed was unquestionably immersion. This is not only evident from the writings of the Fathers and the early rituals of both the Latin and Oriental Churches, but it can also be gathered from the Epistles of St. Paul, who speaks of baptism as a bath (Ephesians 5:26; Romans 6:4; Titus 3:5).

"In the Latin Church, immersion seems to have prevailed until the twelfth century. After that time it is found in some places even as late as the sixteenth century. Infusion and aspersion, however, were growing common in the thirteenth century and gradually prevailed in the Western Church."

http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/02258b.htm#VI

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#307264 - 12/16/08 08:15 AM Re: specific Orthodox disagreements with the Catholic Catechism [Re: AMM]
Hieromonk Ambrose Offline
Member

Registered: 03/22/06
Posts: 1520
Loc: New Zealand
Originally Posted By: AMM
My own opinion, which is nothing more than my own opinion, is that Catholic baptism is valid and grace filled. My understanding is Chrismation is normal for reception now.

In the United States, yes.

Throughout the Orthodox world there is a variety of practices...

Church of Jerusalem - Baptism, always

Church of Serbia, - Baptism, most always

Mt Athos - Baptism, always

Church of Greece - Baptism, most always.

Here is a letter from earlier this year from a Greek Catholic priest protesting the Orthodox baptizing Catholics
http://www.elcathex.com/eke/index.php?option=content&task=view&id=1040&Itemid=

Russia - Chrismation, nearly always

Bulgaria - ?

Romania - ?

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#307265 - 12/16/08 08:42 AM Re: specific Orthodox disagreements with the Catholic Catechism [Re: ajk]
Irish Melkite Offline
Global Moderator
Member

Registered: 10/27/03
Posts: 9932
Loc: Massachusetts
Originally Posted By: ajk
Originally Posted By: Irish Melkite
Deacon,
...The stances taken by the two Churches are what they are - the presentation is factually accurate and verifiable by any number of examples in real life - it is not opinion. Thus, that I should be asked to defend it, by analyzing how I would react were it applied to me, seems to be neither here nor there, wholly speculative, and - frankly - no one's business.


Neil,

I thought your essay/monograph was very well written, a model of clarity and economy of words in what it addresses. I do not question the accuracy of the facts. While those facts are not opinion, your opinion was expressed in the essay as in the post to which I am responding here. And opinion is - well - opinion.

You say: "Thus, that I should be asked to defend it, by analyzing how I would react were it applied to me, seems to be neither here nor there, wholly speculative, and - frankly - no one's business."

It should hardly be speculative in applying it to yourself. You did write that it is "no one's business" but I presumed the intent was no one else's business, since it should be eminently yours.

Regarding the piece (essay/monograph): You wrote it, and as you say it has been generously and knowingly disseminated. It is quite legitimate that you as the author be challenged to defend it. I have not done so explicitly, I have merely asked you to apply what you wrote to well known concrete circumstances, ones that illustrate that the theory is, as you say, "verifiable by any number of examples in real life." What is more verifiable and real life than the truth one expresses about himself?

You are certainly free to retract or modify what you have written, or request it not be further disseminated or presented as your conclusions or opinion.


Deacon Anthony,

My final thoughts on the matters you raise above. I have neither intention, desire, nor need to retract or modify what I've written, nor am I in the least concerned regarding its further dissemination or attribution to me. It's not my habit to take fingers to keyboard lightly, a self-discipline that helps me avoid eating crow, a taste that I've never developed.

As best I can recollect, the piece was 1st offered (and, I believe, this to have been the case in its 2nd and 3rd iterations as well) to explain the differing interpretations of the two Communions toward apostolic succession in the specific context of discussions regarding vagante and "independent" hierarchs.

I have just re-read the essay, in its entirety, and even copied it into a WP document, to facilitate highlighting what might pass for opinion. What I discovered was that there were more lines of text than I had thought which could be construed as "opinion". However, in no instance did I discern myself to have voiced opinion as to which Church was correct in its choice as to which theory to apply.

My opinions repeatedly expressed that the then-prevalent Catholic viewpoint was generally more problematic in its application than that of the Orthodox - for the simple reason that it potentially accorded validity, if not licity, to any number of individuals whose claim to such was tenuous at best. In that context (the vagante and "independent" movements), regarding which I have particular interest and am acknowledged some measure of expertise, I hold to that opinion.

As to application of the differing theories to the efficacy accorded to the Mysteries administered by priests of our respective Churches, I offered no opinion as to which Church was correct in its stance. Rather, I noted only that I considered it understandable - given its historic views on the matter - that the Orthodox Church might be reluctant or disinclined to acknowledge Catholic Mysteries as grace-filled.

Whether right or wrong on their part to do so (and that would be a matter of opinion, had I elected to voice one - which I did not), it is a logical conclusion that they would do so - not an opinion.

You'll find that I am not much given to public expression of opinion on matters theological. I am, by nature and by choice, an information-mongerer. My interest lies in educating and being educated, those are objectives best achieved with facts from which others can then formulate their own informed opinions.

Oh, I do have opinions - hit me up on the topic of "self-governance" in the sui iuris Churches sometime, in an appropriate thread or ask my opinion as to the episcopal genealogy of some obscure vagante sect that you discover. But, in the ordinary course of events, I am basically one of those inscrutable Melkites. As I once expressed, it's easy to imagine a Catholic-Orthodox dialogue session in which the attendees sit across the table from one another, glance toward the Melkite representatives, and ask - in unison - "what's with those Melkites anyway?"

Many years,

Neil
_________________________
"One day all our ethnic traits ... will have disappeared. Time itself is seeing to this. And so we can not think of our communities as ethnic parishes, ... unless we wish to assure the death of our community."

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#307356 - 12/17/08 04:10 AM Re: specific Orthodox disagreements with the Catholic Catechism [Re: Hieromonk Ambrose]
ajk Offline
Member

Registered: 05/22/07
Posts: 1658
Loc: MD
Originally Posted By: Hieromonk Ambrose
Originally Posted By: AMM
My own opinion, which is nothing more than my own opinion, is that Catholic baptism is valid and grace filled. My understanding is Chrismation is normal for reception now.

In the United States, yes.

Throughout the Orthodox world there is a variety of practices...


This gives new meaning to "God bless America." For a grace filled Catholic baptism by Orthodox standards, come to America; as for the rest of the world: take your chances?


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