24 July 2010
Do I Need To Be Baptized?
Q: In the past some heterodox have been accepted into the church via "economy" and Chrismation. This was done many times in the past long before modernism. When is this acceptable and when not? It's a difficult concept for me to grasp....seems it was up to the bishop.
A: It still is up to the bishop. Although, the bishop might give the decision to the priest. Choose your bishop carefully. Choosing your Bishop is more important than choosing your parish.
Baptism is the one sacrament that is possible outside the Church. Even a layman can baptize [in an emergency].
About 30 years ago ROCOR decided that EVERY convert would be baptized regardless. That decision was made because of the many crazy things that are out there in the contemporary world - and our Synod deemed that rather than risk it, to be on the safe side, everyone would be baptized. That policy remains in effect.
Q: But Fr. Seraphim Rose was accepted by Chrismation.
Yes, he was the one of the last ones. And his entry into the Church was supervised by St. John S&SF. Soon after this, St. John reposed. The Russian synod resolved that since we have no clairvoyant elders in our times to tell us who needs baptism and who does not, that we would henceforth baptize everyone to be on the safe side.
Maybe 30 years ago, before things got as bad as they are now: An OCA priest told me the story of when he was co-serving at another parish where there was a visiting monk from Mt. Athos who was blind and was held in high regard by many.
At the end of the liturgy the faithful lined up to kiss the cross and get the priest's blessing, and also to get a blessing from the blind monk. My priest was standing there with the monk and the parish priest. A certain woman was in the line who came up and took her blessings and went on as the others.
After the woman had passed the monk turned to the parish priest and asked, "Who is that woman?" The parish priest answered that she is a Roman Catholic convert brought into the Church by chrismation. The monk paused, then said, "She is still Roman."
Nobody said anything further to each other or to the woman. But several weeks later the woman came to the parish priest and asked to be baptized.
About 20 years ago: There was another priest [OCA] in southern USA whose wife was dying of cancer and she asked to be baptized. He did baptize her and got punished severely by his bishop for doing it. He ended up having to leave the OCA and take refuge in ROCOR.
In ROCOR, a man I met more recently [year 2004] was being told by his mother-in-law that he was not brought into the Church acceptably, since he was brought in my chrismation alone.. He wanted to be baptized, but our priest would not baptize him because the man had already been receiving the sacraments. This issue caused him great agony.
So, you see, it is possible in the future to regret being brought into the Church by chrismation alone. But nobody ever is questioned if they are brought in the Church by baptism and chrismation, (except if the Church that brought them in is somehow bogus, then it could be questioned).