Fr. Sergei Sveshnikov

Random Quotes from an Unpublished Paper: Part 6

Posted in D.Min. Study Notes by Fr. Sergei Sveshnikov on 24 August 2015

These are random quotes from an unpublished paper. I will post more quotes from the same paper every few days during the Dormition Fast (Old Calendar).

Many Orthodox lay people and even some clergy believe that once a person has been baptized as an infant, he remains Orthodox for the rest of his life.  This really should be the case: “We, then, enter the font once. Our sins are washed away once, for they should never be repeated.” But often it is not the case.  Baptism is the entrance into the Church—both as the mystical Body of Christ and as a human institution established by God.  But neither one of these is a prison, and anyone is free to leave at any time.

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In this context, we should all ponder the prayer of Saint Ignatius of Antioch: “Only request on my behalf that I may not merely be called a Christian, but may really be found to be one.”

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Archimandrite Ianuarii (Ivliev) noted another aspect of baptism. According to Fr. Ianuarii, Christian baptism closely resembles the rites associated with the transfer of slaves in the Roman empire. A newly-purchased slave was stripped of his old clothing, immersed in water in a symbolic death to his old master and re-emerged as a servant of the new master. This immersion was done in the name of the new master. New clothing was given to the newly-baptized slave, and he was then sealed with a seal or a brand of his new master. From that point forward, the slave belonged to the new master, served him, represented him, and also enjoyed his protection.

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