The Struggle for True Communion

For many Protestants (and some others) whose Church experience has largely been shaped in the past few decades, one of the most disconcerting aspects of a first visit to an Orthodox Church is the fact that not everybody, not all Baptized Christians, are permitted to receive communion. Indeed, communion is restricted to Orthodox Christians who have made preparation to receive (that’s another topic). For some, this is a surprise, for others, not, and for still some few, this is a welcome fact. When I first visited an Orthodox Church I fell into this last group. I did not rejoice that I was not able to take communion, but I rejoiced that I was not allowed to (in the state of schism in which I was living). Someone was saying to me, “There are things in your Christian life that must be addressed before you approach the Cup.” I understood this as healthy. Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

Following atheist trend, Britons seek ‘de-baptism’

baptism of jesusMore than 100,000 Britons have recently downloaded «certificates of de-baptism» from the Internet to renounce their Christian faith.

The initiative launched by a group called the National Secular Society (NSS) follows atheist campaigns here and elsewhere, including a London bus poster which triggered protests by proclaiming «There’s probably no God.»

«We now produce a certificate on parchment and we have sold 1,500 units at three pounds (4.35 dollars, 3.20 euros) a pop,» said NSS president Terry Sanderson, 58.

John Hunt, a 58-year-old from London and one of the first to try to be «de-baptised,» held that he was too young to make any decision when he was christened at five months old. Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

On Holy Scripture, By Elder Cleopa of Romania

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Ch. 2 from The Truth of Our Faith:: A Discourse from Holy Scripture on the Teachings of True Christianity

Inquirer: What do we mean by the term “Holy Scripture?”

Elder Cleopa: The term Holy Scripture denotes the sum of holy books that were written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit within a time period of close to 1,500 years, namely, from Moses, 1,400 years before Christ, until the writer of the Apocalypse, nearly 100 years after Christ. Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

Sacrament of Chrismation

The Pentecost. Painting by Jean Restout (1732).

The Pentecost. Painting by Jean Restout (1732).

From earliest times the church has practised chrismation immediately following baptism. In the sacrament of chrismation (Gr. chrismatis, «anointing») the newly baptised person receives the Holy Spirit through the anointing with oil by the bishop or priest. The roots of this sacrament are clear in both the Old and New Testaments, and are especially brought to light on the Day of Pentecost. Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

The Sacrament of Holy Baptism in the Orthodox Christian Church

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Why infant Baptism ?

Holy Baptism is the first of seven Sacraments in the Orthodox Christian Church. Together with the Sacrament of Holy Chrism it joins the candidate to the Mystical Body of Christ, the Church. Some people argue that the only valid baptism is that of an adult who believes in Christ first. They argue that to baptise a helpless infant only a few weeks old who is unable to believe is meaningless. So why baptise a baby when it doesn’t know yet what is happening? Why not wait for the baby to grow and believe in Christ and ask for baptism? If we were to follow this line of reasoning, we wouldn’t inoculate the baby against diphtheria until he grows up and asks for it! But we know better. Baptising infants before they know what is going on is an expression of God’s great love for us. It shows that God loves us and accepts us before we can ever know and love Him. It shows that we are wanted and loved by God from the very moment of our birth. Nothing shows the nature of God’s grace more than infant baptism. The Orthodox Church does not belittle personal faith in an adult who seeks baptism, but instead insists that the whole emphasis of baptism is not an what the baby does or the parents or the godparents, but on what God does. The fact that we are Christians is not due to any act on our part; it is due to the act of God in Christ through the Holy Spirit. Of course Baptism demands a personal response on the part of the baptised child when it reaches the age of reason. The child must accept what God did for him or her in Baptism. Baptism is not a divine pass that will get us into Heaven automatically. It must be followed by a personal awareness or awakening to the many gifts of God’s love bestowed upon us through this great sacrament. Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »