These divergent practices at the very least in the case of baptism, likely in the case of chrismation, and conceivably for ordination, in Orthodox theology, impart a sphragis and therefore are not repeatable.
Dear Father Deacon,
Agreed, Baptism is irrepeatable.
Our Churches impose slightly differing criteria as to what constitutes valid Baptism. In the case of the Orthodox the criteria include not only the matter and form (as of course it does for Catholics also) but also the minister
- who must be a member of the Orthodox Church.
Chrismation has always been repeatable in the Eastern Church. Chrismation is repeated if a man lapses into apostasy (say, by becoming a Mormon) and needs to be taken back into the Church. I do not know the parallel history of Confirmation in the West.
Orders - also irrepeatable within Orthodoxy.
A quick note on the notion of the indelible mark - sphragis. It seems to be a fairly recent notion of the Scholastics....
No Indelible Mark of the Priesthood in Patristic Teaching
"....no evidence concerning the indelible mark theory can be found in
Patristic teaching. On the contrary, the canonical data leave no doubt that
a defrocked priest or bishop, after the decision of the Church to take back
his priesthood, returns to the rank of the laity. The anathematized or the
defrocked are in no way considered to maintain their priesthood."
"Christian Priesthood and Ecclesial Unity: Some Theological and Canonical
By Professor Constantine Scouteris
School of Theology of the University of Athens
This.... comes to point that the priest does not possess in himself an indelible mark as if it were a magical seal which grant him a private efficacy to perform the Eucharist or any other liturgical action, apart from the ecclesial body. The priestly ministry is rather a charismatic gift to serve and edify the body of the Church. It is a permanent rank of service only in union and by the discerning authority of the Church.
The doctrine of the "indelible mark" attained at ordination to the priesthood seems to have originated in the Scholastic period of the Western Church. This same conception was at times borrowed by Eastern theologians thereafter. The teaching purports the grace of ordination as an indelible irrevocable mark upon the soul of the ordained individual that sets him apart for priestly service analogous to the Levite rank and the priesthood according to the order of Melchizedek in the Old Testament. It is interesting to mention here that the sixth Ecumenical Council in its 33rd canon condemns the practice of Armenian Christians who had embraced the Old Testament custom concerning the Levitic rank and did not accept for the priesthood anyone who was not of this so called "priestly lineage". The reasoning for the adoption of the Old Testament typology in both cases seems to be that an identification mark is a constitutive element of priesthood. In the later case it is conceived as an inherited trait, while in the former which concerns us here, it is viewed as irrevocably and individually attained at the ordination rite.
The logical conclusion of the "indelible mark" is that the ordained individual possesses forever this peculiar mark of priesthood which can never be removed by anyone nor can it be surrendered in any circumstance. It is evident that such a doctrinal consideration absolutizes and isolates priesthood from the event itself of the ecclesial communion. Priesthood here is distortingly objectified and over-estimated assuming a totalitarian magnitude. It is imposed over the Church which is unable to deprive the
ordained. individual of its characteristic mark, even if he is unworthy to maintain the ecclesial grace. In fact this doctrine concerning the indelible mark divorces the priesthood from its organic context of the ecclesial life. Thus the ordained person possess a self sufficient power which is higher than the Church itself And the Church is not able to take back the indelible mark from an individual even if he is defrocked and excommunicated.
Interpreting the 68th Apostolic Cannon which refers to the impossibility of repeating the sacrament of ordination16, St. Nicodimos the Agiorite explains that ordination cannot be repeated because it is done according to the Type of the First and Great Priest who entered once and for all into the holy of holies and there granted eternal salvation. Yet, he unswervingly rejects the doctrine of the "indelible mark" of priesthood and attests that it is the "invention of scholastics"17. Nevertheless, according to St. Nicodimos, the doctrine is borrowed by Nicholas Bulgaris, Koresios and many other theologians of the past century and some still somehow adhere to it today.
Despite the fact that the indelible mark theory acquired dogmatic formulation in the Council of Trent18, in most circles of the Roman Catholic Church, after the Second Vatican Council, the foundational framework of effecient causality and ex opere operato
, which gave rise to such an understanding of priesthood, is reckoned as belonging to a bygone age and abandoned for a more dynamic and ecclesiological approach of sacrament19.
It should be mentioned in this connection that as far as we know, no evidence concerning the indelible mark theory can be found in Patristic teaching.
On the contrary, the canonical data leave no doubt that a defrocked priest or bishop, after the decision of the Church to take back his priesthood, returns to the rank of the laity. The anathematized or the defrocked are in no way considered to maintain their priesthood. The canonical tradition that in the case of his ministerial rehabilitation this person is not re-ordained does not imply a recognition that he was a priest during the period of his punishment20. It simply means that the Church recognizes that which had been sacramentally performed and the grace of
ecclesiastical ministry is restored upon his assignment to an ecclesial community with no other sacramental sign or rite.