Corrective Baptism = Excommunication for Antiochian Orthodox Christians in UK

Originally appeared at: Byzantine TX

On the 9th of this month Metropolitan Silouan of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of the British Isles and Ireland put out some clear directives on how people should be brought into the Church.

Of the many things it deals with, of great import is the current practice of "corrective baptisms." It is cause for no little confusion and outrage in the US and I am heartened to see a hierarch handle it head on. The full document is available here (PDF).

The topic is hotly debated online and quotations are thrown around like projectiles. My opinion, for those interested, is clear: As heterodox bodies drift further and further away from orthodoxy it becomes less and less tenable for us to accept sacraments in any form outside of it. Eventually we will come to a place where every convert starts "from scratch."

Still, if the bishop says you are to be received thus and you agree and are chrismated, you did in fact accept the guidance of that hierarch. Deciding that you now know better than he does and go elsewhere to "fix" the problem, imperils you and the person baptizing you. The time to request baptism is when you complete your catechumenate, not after you have been a communicant for months or years.

As I will continue to say: This is the very thing the episcopal assembly in the United States should be doing, but it is replete with committees who produce nothing and resolve nothing. It would almost be better if they didn't exist so that it didn't give the illusion that there was a place that things were being handled so that no forward motion happens in reality.

Some recently have been endorsing "corrective baptism," a baptism after reception in the Orthodox Church by Chrismation. This is encouraged in some monasteries (including Mt. Athos) and perhaps in some jurisdictions. The practice of corrective baptism is forbidden in the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of the British Isles and Ireland. Any lay person who receives a corrective baptism will be excommunicated and a clergyman will be deposed. This is a serious offense breaking the unity of the Church and as such, is dealt with in an uncompromising manner. Any person who receives a corrective baptism is not eligible for ordination in the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of the British Isles and Ireland.
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