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7572Re: [orthodox-synod] Baptism of heretics

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  • Fr. John R. Shaw
    Feb 3, 2003
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      > JRS had written:
      >
      > At the 1971 Sobor in Montreal (I was there, incidentally, as the
      > secretary of Archbishop Nikon of blessed memory, and heard exactly
      what
      > the discussion had been on the day that decision was passed, from him
      > that evening) -- an *attempt* was made, to pass such a rule, changing
      > the way in which converts were to be received into the Church.
      >
      > However, Archbishop Afanassy firmly rejected the change (and it may be
      > of interest that he was the one who in 1983 suggested the "anathema
      > against ecumenism").
      >
      > Therefore, the bishops never forbade the reception of converts by
      > chrismation. The matter was still left open, up to the local bishop.
      > And it is thus even now, today.

      Fr. Gregory Williams wrote:

      > Well, it's obviously always possible to read things more than one
      way, but,
      > assuming the following decree is not a forgery, it would seem that the
      > intent of its last paragraph is quite different from a matter "left
      open, up
      > to the local bishop."
      >
      > --- from Living Orthodoxy, #113:
      >
      > FROM THE DECREES OF THE SOBOR OF BISHOPS OF THE ROCA, SEPTEMBER 1971
      > CONCERNING THE BAPTISM OF HERETICS (SEPT. 15/28)

      > With regard to Roman Catholics and those Protestants who claim to
      preserve
      > baptism as a sacrament (for example, the Lutherans), in Russia since
      the
      > time of Peter I the practice was introduced of receiving them without
      > baptism, through a renunciation of heresy and the chrismation of
      Protestants
      > and unconfirmed Catholics. Before Peter, Catholics were baptized in
      Russia.

      JRS: This entire text was, of course, written by Protopresbyter George
      Grabbe (to those who knew him and his writings, the style is
      unmistakable, even if I had not been present myself when all of this
      took place).

      However, here he has made a misleading statement: before the time of
      Peter the Great, Roman Catholics had been baptized, but only over a
      period of about 20 years, as Fr. Alexander has demonstrated. Before
      that, they were *not* baptized.

      ‹ only in case of necessity and with the permission
      > of the bishop allowing, for reasons of economy or pastoral
      condescension,
      > any other practice with regard to certain persons ‹ i.e., the
      reception into
      > the Church of Roman Catholics and those Protestants baptized in the
      name of
      > the Holy Trinity, through a repudiation of heresy and chrismation.

      JRS: You can argue about this all you want, but the fact remains that
      *I was there*, and that on the evening of the day that the actual
      *decision* was made (at the urging of Fr. George Grabbe, who in turn
      did this to please then-archimandrite Panteleimon of HTM)-- the Vice-
      President of the Synod of Bishops explained the matter to me fully.

      In Christ
      Fr. John R. Shaw
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