Church of Russia uncertain of status of Roman Catholic and Protestant Baptism
- A Statement of the Department of External Church Relations of the Russian
Orthodox Church concerning the signing of a document on mutual recognition
of baptisms by several churches in Germany.
On April 29, 2007, in Magdeburg (Germany), there was signed a declaration of
mutual recognition of baptism by several churches of that country, including
the Roman Catholic and several Protestant denominations. On the declaration
there is also the signature of Archbishop Longin of Klin, who acted in the
name of, and as delegated by, the Commission of the Orthodox Church in
Germany (KOKiD), headed by a bishop of the Patriarchate of Constantinople,
Metropolitan Avgoustinos, and established with the aim of coordinating the
activities of various Orthodox jurisdictions in that country.
At the same time, the Orthodox participants in the preparation of this
declaration adopted a document titled "A Note from the Working Group of the
Commission of the Orthodox Church in Germany concerning the practice
implementation of the declaration on baptism".
This document, in part, says that the reception of heterodox Christians into
the Orthodox Church by Chrismation "takes place [...] if the baptism which
has already been performed outside the Orthodox Church corresponds to the
The document of the Orthodox Working Group also says: "In the Orthodox
Church there cannot be one fixed procedure or form for reception of all
baptized Christians, since, aside from local traditions, much depends on
individual spiritual needs, and therefore is within the competence of the
clergy involved in the reception of those who desire to be received into the
It is a known fact that in worldwide Orthodoxy, and in part, in the Russian
Orthodox Church, for many centuries there has been a theological discussion
which still continues, on the order of receiving heterodox Christians into
the Orthodox Church. The changes that now are taking place in the teaching
and practice of some Protestant communities, makes it quite necessary to
examine this question in a conciliar fashion.
In November of this year, in Moscow there will be an international
theological conference of the Russian Orthodox Church on "Orthodox Teaching
about the Church's Sacraments", in which Orthodox theologians will be able
to discuss this subject.
In connection with this, the Communications Service of the Department of
External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate is empowered to
declare, that the signing of this document by Archbishop Longin of Klin, who
acted not in the name of the Russian Orthodox Church or her Diocese in
Germany, but as a representative of the KOKiD, at the request of her
presiding officer Metropolitan Avgoustinos, represents only the personal
opinion of Vladyka Longin.
(From mospat.ru, translated by JRS).