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The Position of Bp. Kirykos Regarding Re‐Baptism Differs From the Canons of the Ecumenical Councils In the last few years, Bp. Kirykos has begun receiving New Calendarists and even Florinites and ROCOR faithful under his omophorion by re‐baptism, even if these faithful received the correct form of baptism by triple immersion completely under water with the invocation of the Holy Trinity. He also has begun re‐ordaining such clergy from scratch instead of reading a cheirothesia. But this strict approach, where he applies akriveia exclusively for these people, is different from the historical approach taken by the Holy Fathers of the Ecumenical Councils. Canon 7 of the Second Ecumenical Council declares that Arians, Macedonians, Sabbatians, Novatians, Cathars, Aristeri, Quartodecimens and Apollinarians are to be received only by a written libellus and re‐chrismation, because their baptism was already valid in form and did not require repetition. The Canon reads as follows: “As for those heretics who betake themselves to Orthodoxy, and to the lot of the saved, we accept them in accordance with the subjoined sequence and custom; viz.: Arians, and Macedonians, and Sabbatians, and Novatians, those calling themselves Cathari, and Aristeri, and the Quartodecimans, otherwise known as Tetradites, and Apollinarians, we accept when they offer libelli (i.e., recantations in writing) and anathematize every heresy that does not hold the same beliefs as the catholic and apostolic Church of God, and are sealed first with holy chrism on their forehead and their eyes, and nose, and mouth, and ears; and in sealing them we say: “A seal of a free gift of Holy Spirit”…” The same Canon only requires a re‐baptism of individuals who did not receive the correct form of baptism originally (i.e. those who were sprinkled or who were baptized by single immersion instead of triple immersion, etc). The Canon reads as follows: “As for Eunomians, however, who are baptized with a single immersion, and Montanists, who are here called Phrygians, and the Sabellians, who teach that Father and Son are the same person, and who do some other bad things, and (those belonging to) any other heresies (for there are many heretics here, especially such as come from the country of the Galatians: all of them that want to adhere to Orthodoxy we are willing to accept as Greeks. Accordingly, on the first day we make them Christians; on the second day, catechumens; then, on the third day, we exorcize them with the act of blowing thrice into their face and into their ears; and thus do we catechize them, and we make them tarry a while in the church and listen to the Scriptures; and then we baptize them.” Thus it is wrong to re‐baptize those who have already received the correct form by triple immersion. The Holy Fathers advise in this Holy Canon that only those who did not receive the correct form are to be re‐baptized. Now then, if the Holy Second Ecumenical Council declares that such heretics as Arians, Macedonians, Quartodecimens, Apollinarians, etc, are to be received only by libellus and chrismation, how on earth does Bp. Kirykos justify his refusal to receive Florinites and ROCOR faithful by chrismation, but instead insists upon their rebaptism as if they are worse than Arians? The 95th Canon of the Quinisext (Fifth‐and‐Sixth) Ecumenical Council declares that those baptized by Nestorians, Monophysites and Monothelites are to be received into the Orthodox Church by a simple libellus and anathematization of the heresies, without needing to be re‐baptized, and even without needing to be re‐chrismated! The Canon reads: As for Nestorians, and Eutychians (Monophysites), and Severians (Monothelites), and those from similar heresies, they have to give us certificates (called libelli) and anathematize their heresy, the Nestorians, and Nestorius, and Eutyches and Dioscorus, and Severus, and the other exarchs of such heresies, and those who entertain their beliefs, and all the aforementioned heresies, and thus they are allowed to partake of holy Communion. Now then, if the Quinisext Ecumenical Council allows even Nestorians, Monophysites and Monothelites to be received by mere libellus, without requiring to be baptized or even chrismated, and following this mere libellus they are immediately free to receive Holy Communion, how is Bp. Kirykos’s approach patristic, if he requires the re‐baptism of even Florinites and ROCOR faithful?!!! Is Bp. Kirykos not trying to outdo the Holy Fathers in his attempt to be “super‐Orthodox”? Can such an approach taken by Bp. Kirykos be considered Orthodox if the Holy Fathers in their Canons request otherwise? Are the Canons of Ecumenical Councils invalid for Bp. Kirykos? Certainly the Latins (Franks, Papists) are unbaptised, because their baptisms consist of mere sprinklings instead of triple immersion. Likewise, various New Calendarists are also unbaptised if they were not dunked completely under the water three times. But can such be said for those Orthodox Christians, and even Genuine Orthodox Christians (be they Florinite, ROCOR or otherwise), who do have the correct form of baptism? In the Patriarchal Oros of 1755 regarding the re‐baptism of Latins, the Orthodox Patriarchs make it quite clear that their reason for requiring the re‐ baptism of Latins is because the Latins do not have the correct form of baptism, but rather sprinkle instead of immersing. The text of the Patriarchal Oros actually refers to the Canons of the Second and Quinisext Councils as their reasons for re‐baptizing the Latins. The relevant text of the Patriarchal Oros of 1755 is as follows: “...And we follow the Second and Quinisext holy Ecumenical Councils, which order us to receive as unbaptized those aspirants to Orthodoxy who were not baptized with three immersions and emersions, and in each immersion did not loudly invoke one of the divine hypostases, but were baptized in some other fashion...” Thus we see in the above Patriarchal Oros of 1755, that even as late as this year, the Orthodox Church was carrying out the very principles of the Second and Quinisext Ecumenical Councils, namely that it is only those who were baptized by some obscure form other than triple immersion and invocation of the Holy Trinity, that were required to be re‐baptized. How then can the positions of the Holy Ecumenical Councils and the Holy Pan‐Orthodox Councils be compared to the extremist methods of Bp. Kirykos and his fellow hierarchs of late? Is Bp. Kirykos’ current practice really Orthodox? Is it possible to preach contrary to the teachings of the Ecumenical and Pan‐Orthodox Councils and yet remain Orthodox? And as for those who believe that there is nothing wrong with being strict, let them remember that the Pharisees were also strict, but it was they who crucified the Lord of Glory! The Orthodox Faith is a Royal Path. Just as it is possible to fall to the left (as the New Calendarists and Ecumenists have done), it is also quite possible to fall to the right and spin off on a wrong turn far away from the tradition of the Holy Fathers. It is this latter type of fall that has occurred with Bp. Kirykos. In fact, even Bp. Matthew of Bresthena was quite moderate compared to Bp. Kirykos. For Bp. Matthew of Bresthena knew the Canons quite well, and required New Calendarists to be received only by chrismation, or in some cases by only a libellus or Confession of Faith.
THE TEACHING OF BLESSED MATTHEW OF BRESTHENA REGARDING FREQUENT RECEPTION OF COMMUNION Written in 1933 by Archimandrite Matthew [Carpathaces] of Great Laura, the future Bishop of Bresthena (1937‐1949), and Metropolitan of Athens (1949‐1950), of the Genuine Orthodox Church of Greece (+14 May, 1950). Is it possible, you ask me, to receive Communion? Why, don’t we have to become saints in order to be worthy, as Blessed Chrysostom calls out in his liturgy, “The Holies for the holy?” And who can become a saint? You’re not able? Then, are the Holy Scriptures false? “And ye shall be holy men unto me (Exodus 22:31);” “I said ye are gods (Psalms 81:6).” This is what God says about us. So, who is able? As many as desire this, cleanse yourselves from every bodily and spiritual sin, and you will immediately become saints. I do not tell you this myself, God says it through the Apostle. “So clean yourselves, brethren, from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God (2 Corinthians 7:1).” But is it difficult? I do not deny it. But it is probably not as difficult as you think. Consider this… An infant or even a very sinful old man, upon leaving the baptismal font, is he not worthy to commune of the Holy Mysteries? Yes, and who can doubt this? Baptism is a divine bath, it is a purification of sins, it is a spiritual rebirth. In the baptismal font we bury the old person of sin, and we put on the new man, Jesus Christ. “For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ (Galatians 3:27),” says he who ascended to the third heaven. So, what if it was possible to multiply the Mystery of Holy Baptism? What I am trying to say is, if it was possible for us to be baptized every time we wished, then you would no longer have any doubt that we worthily commune of the Mystery of the Frightful Eucharist. So if I prove to you that every time you wish, it is possible to enter the baptismal font and to get baptized, then you would no longer be able to leave [i.e., shun the Mystery of Holy Communion]. You must conclude then, that it is possible to become worthy of the Mystery of Holy Communion. And is not Repentance, my brethren, a second baptismal font, into which it is possible to enter every time we wish and as many times as we wish, and nobody can prevent us? Is not Repentance a font equivalent to the font of Holy Baptism? “Tears dropped are equivalent to the font.” Yes, the tear, whenever it drops from our eyes for our sins, has the power of Holy Baptism. “And toilsome lamentation brings back the grace which departed for some time.” A lamentation from the heart ascends to heaven, and brings down that grace, which we have lost because of the multitude of our sins. It is not my opinion, but that of Gregory of Nyssa and the moral teachers of the Church. See now, upon what that which seemed impossible and most difficult to you depends? Upon one tear, one lamentation! “Tears dropped are equivalent to the font, and toilsome lamentation brings back the grace which departed for some time.” (Gregory of Nyssa, Words Concerning Repentance). What is this? I knew it! In the midst you bring to me the canons of St. Basil, the revealer of heavenly things, to St. Amphilochius, in order to oppose me. And you tell me, “Does not St. Basil, the revealer of heavenly things, define in his canons that for those who steal to not receive Communion for two years; for those who murder, twenty; for those who commit adultery, fifteen years; and so forth? For nearly all sins he appoints many years for us to abstain from Communion.” And what is concluded from this? Is it concluded that it is not possible for us to become worthy to receive Communion? Or rather that Repentance does not have the same power that Baptism has? Both conclusions are erroneous. They are erroneous because from these same canons of St. Basil, it is concluded that it is possible for us to become worthy to receive Communion, since he himself appoints that after so many years, depending upon the sin, we may receive Communion. So the revealer of heavenly things himself says that it is possible for us to become worthy. Basil also believed that Repentance is equivalent to Baptism and that there is no other difference between Baptism and Repentance, except that Repentance only blots out the voluntary sins, while Baptism also blots out the ancestral sin. But because he was most exact and perfect in everything, he desired a sure and true Repentance. And because he knew how easy it is for man to fall into evil, especially after he has fallen once, for this reason he appointed the years so that everybody be informed, and for us ourselves to be informed, that our Repentance is sure and true. So whenever Repentance is perfect and true, what then remains? Then everything remains to the judgment of the corrector of our souls and spiritual father, as St. Basil himself, the revealer of heavenly things, clearly appoints in his second canon, and informs us, how he agrees with all the other fathers: “To also define the therapy of Repentance not based on time but on manner.” And behold how Repentance is equivalent to Baptism even according to St. Basil, if you interpret his opinion correctly. And behold how you no longer have any reply to a truth so evident. Tell me, my Christians, after Pascha, which will be in a few days, what will you do? Do you celebrate Pascha? What a ridiculous question! Yet, this is what I ask you. Do you celebrate Pascha as all Christians have the obligation to do? Do we celebrate Pascha? Indeed, all of us with such eagerness await Pascha. The Lord grant! [i.e., God willing!] But I am afraid that few of us celebrate Pascha. Pascha, O Christians, is not that which is commonly called pascha, to wit, the partaking of meat and the rest of the foods. That is called eating; that is called nourishment. Pascha, however, is the Communion of the Mysteries! This is Pascha, as God told Moses, “and ye shall eat it in haste: it is the Lord’s Pascha (Exodus 12:11).” Know therefore, all of you who do not wish to commune of this mystical Pascha, that you will not have any reply; you will not be able to find any excuse when you appear before the judgment of the fearful God. —“And why did you not condescend,” the God‐man will tell you then, “when I was crying out to you to come eat my bread, and drink my wine, which I have treated to you? Why such contempt for me, when I have showed you so much love? You see this Cross? You see these wounds? Out of love for you I endured them.” —“Lord we were not worthy.” Is this what you have to respond to Him? —“And you do not know how to cleanse yourselves with Repentance, to wash yourselves with tears, to bathe yourselves with Confession?” —“But it was difficult for us to stop sinning.” —“So you preferred your passions and your sins above me? Therefore, since you desired to be separated from me while you were living on earth, separated from my word you must also be in heaven. Is this really so, O wretched and unfortunate ones, as many of you as are wounded by your passions, and full of your uncleanness and sins?” O my Lord, I am the first [among sinners], and what will become of me then during so many frightful censures? And what will become of all of you who are similar to me? It would have been better if we were never born. —“Such contempt for my blood? Such contempt for my body?” the Judge will cry, “Are your hands filthy and have you sacrificed me and cut me to pieces, and touched me, as did the Jews? Are your lips foul and have you kissed me, as did Judas? Is your heart dirty and have you partaken of me? Is your soul sinful, and have you been insolent?” And what will I say, what will I reply, when, after the censures, Hades immediately swallows me up? My Christian brethren, please listen to me carefully. We cannot remain without Holy Communion: “If we do not eat of the body of the Son of Man and drink His blood, we have no life in us.” And we cannot receive Communion unworthily: “For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself.” If we do not receive Communion: despair. If we receive Communion unworthily: hell. Therefore, we must receive Communion worthily (which, as I have shown you, is possible) in order to inherit eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom be glory and power unto the ages of ages. Amen. Thus in the above homily by Blessed Matthew Carpathaces, we see that the worthiness of a communicant is obtained by the Mystery of Repentance, which is equal to Baptism, and is sealed by receiving Holy Communion itself.
The Position of Bp. Kirykos’ Romanian Counterparts Regarding Re‐Baptism is Extremely Hypocritical The Romanians who are in communion with Bp. Kirykos require all New Calendarists, Florinites, Glicherians, ROCOR faithful, etc, to be re‐ baptized, even if their baptism was performed in the canonical manner, by triple immersion and invocation of the Holy Trinity. They have even begun re‐baptizing people who had already been received into the Matthewite Church by chrismation. Thus, in Cyprus, several laymen who had been received even decades ago by chrismation, are now being rebaptized by the Romanian bishop Parthenios! So then, one might ask, all of these years were they communing or not? If they were communing as members of the Church, then how is it that they are now being regarded as foreign to the Church and in need of baptism? This isn’t Orthodox ecclesiology, it is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, a crime that the Lord has declared to be unforgivable. But this very act of rebaptizing by the Romanians is extremely hypocritical considering their own origins. The truth is that according to their own principles, they themselves are very much in need of being rebaptized. This is because the Romanian bishops derive their Apostolic Succession from Bishop Victor Leu, who was consecrated in 1949 by three bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad. The main consecrating hierarch who actually passed the Apostolic Succession (for the other two were mere witnesses, as is the case), was Metropolitan Seraphim (Lyade) of Berlin. Metropolitan Seraphim was actually born into a Protestant family and was “baptized” by sprinkling in the Lutheran Church. When he was received into the Russian Orthodox Church, he was received by mere chrismation, despite not having the correct form of baptism. He was then elevated to the deaconate and priesthood within the Russian Orthodox Church. However, on 1st of September, 1923, he was “consecrated” as a “bishop” by Renovationist hierarchs who had been anathematized a year earlier by Patriarch St. Tikhon. In 1929, the Renovationist “bishop” Seraphim Lade was received into communion by the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, but he was not reordained nor was a cheirothesia read on him, but he was received by mere repentance. Thus, according to the strict point of view, Metropolitan Seraphim Lyade was both un‐baptized and un‐consecrated! Yet this Metropolitan Seraphim is the very source of priesthood of the Romanian hierarchs. Thus, if they have their origins from a bishop who was un‐baptized and un‐consecrated, how is their baptism and priesthood valid? If the Romanian hierarchs are so strict that they reject economia, should they not be the first to re‐enter the baptismal font before they dare to re‐baptize others?
BAPTISM AND ITS IMPORT That our Lord and his apostles practiced and enjoined upon all followers— “ even to the end of the world,” or present dispensation, an outward rite called baptism, in which water was used in some manner, cannot reasonably be questioned.
Jesus’ journey began with baptism in water, followed by receiving the Holy Spirit;
Jesus’ journey began with baptism in water, followed by receiving the Holy Spirit;
BELIEF THAT ONE IS MADE “WORTHY” BY THEIR OWN WORKS RATHER THAN THE MYSTERIES IS PELAGIANISM Pelagius (c. 354‐420) was a heretic from Britain, who believed that it was possible for man to be worthy or even perfect by way of his free will, without the necessity of grace. In most cases, Pelagius reverted from this strict form and did not profess it. For this reason, many of the councils called to condemn the false teaching, only condemn the heresy of Pelagianism, but do not condemn Pelagius himself. But various councils actually do condemn Pelagius along with Pelagianism. Various Protestants have tried to disparage the Orthodox Faith by calling its beliefs Pelagian or Semipelagian. But the Orthodox Faith is neither the one, nor the other, but is entirely free from Pelagianism. The Orthodox Faith is also free from the opposite extreme, namely, Manicheanism, which believes that the world is inherently evil from its very creation. The Orthodox Faith is the Royal Path. It neither falls to the right nor to the left, but remains on the straight path, that is, “the Way.” The Orthodox Faith does indeed believe that good works are essential, but these are for the purpose of gaining God’s mercy. By no means can mankind grant himself “worthiness” and “perfection” by way of his own works. It is only through God’s uncreated grace, light, powers and energies, that mankind can truly be granted worthiness and perfection in Christ. The most commonly‐available source of God’s grace within the Church is through the Holy Mysteries, particularly the Mysteries of Baptism, Chrism, Absolution and Communion, which are necessary for salvation. Baptism can only be received once, for it is a reconciliation of the fallen man to the Risen Man, where one no longer shares in the nakedness of Adam but becomes clothed with Christ. Chrism can be repeated whenever an Orthodox Christian lapses into schism or heresy and is being reconciled to the Church. Absolution can also serve as a method of reconciliation from the sin of heresy or schism as well as from any personal sin that an Orthodox Christian may commit, and in receiving the prayer of pardon one is reconciled to the Church. For as long as an Orthodox Christian sins, he must receive this Mystery repeatedly in order to prepare himself for the next Mystery. Communion is reconciliation to the Immaculate Body and Precious Blood of Christ, allowing one to live in Christ. This is the ultimate Mystery, and must be received frequently for one to experience a life in Christ. For Orthodox Christianity is not a philosophy or a way of thought, nor is it merely a moral code, but it is the Life of Christ in man, and the way one can truly live in Christ is through Holy Communion. Pelagianism in the strictest form is the belief that mankind can achieve “worthiness” and “perfection” by way of his own free will, without the need of God’s grace or the Mysteries to be the source of that worthiness and perfection. Rather than viewing good works as a method of achieving God’s mercy, they view the good works as a method of achieving self‐worth and self‐perfection. The most common understanding of Pelagianism refers to the supposed “worthiness” of man by way of having a good will or good works prior to receiving the Mystery of Baptism. But the form of Pelagianism into which Bp. Kirykos falls in his first letter to Fr. Pedro, is in regards to the supposed “worthiness” of Christians purely by their own work of fasting. Thus, in his first letter to Fr. Pedro, Bp. Kirykos does not mention the Mystery of Confession (or Absolution) anywhere in the text as a means of receiving worthiness, but attaches the worthiness entirely to the fasting alone. Again, nowhere in the letter does he mention the Holy Communion itself as a source of perfection, but rather entertains the notion that mankind is capable of achieving such perfection prior to even receiving communion. This is the only way one can interpret his letter, especially his totally unhistorical statement regarding the early Christians, in which he claims: “They fasted in the fine and broader sense, that is, they were worthy to commune.” St. Aurelius Augustinus, otherwise known as St. Augustine of Hippo (+28 August, 430), writes: “It is not by their works, but by grace, that the doers of the law are justified… Now [the Apostle Paul] could not mean to contradict himself in saying, ‘The doers of the law shall be justified (Romans 2:13),’ as if their justification came through their works, and not through grace; since he declares that a man is justified freely by His grace without the works of the law (Romans 3:24,28) intending by the term ‘freely’ nothing else than that works do not precede justification. For in another passage he expressly says, ‘If by grace, then is it no more of works; otherwise grace is no longer grace (Romans 11:6).’ But the statement that ‘the doers of the law shall be justified (Romans 2:13)’ must be so understood, as that we may know that they are not otherwise doers of the law, unless they be justified, so that justification does not subsequently accrue to them as doers of the law, but justification precedes them as doers of the law. For what else does the phrase ‘being justified’ signify than being made righteous,—by Him, of course, who justifies the ungodly man, that he may become a godly one instead? For if we were to express a certain fact by saying, ‘The men will be liberated,’ the phrase would of course be understood as asserting that the liberation would accrue to those who were men already; but if we were to say, The men will be created, we should certainly not be understood as asserting that the creation would happen to those who were already in existence, but that they became men by the creation itself. If in like manner it were said, The doers of the law shall be honoured, we should only interpret the statement correctly if we supposed that the honour was to accrue to those who were already doers of the law: but when the allegation is, ‘The doers of the law shall be justified,’ what else does it mean than that the just shall be justified? for of course the doers of the law are just persons. And thus it amounts to the same thing as if it were said, The doers of the law shall be created,—not those who were so already, but that they may become such; in order that the Jews who were hearers of the law might hereby understand that they wanted the grace of the Justifier, in order to be able to become its doers also. Or else the term ‘They shall be justified’ is used in the sense of, They shall be deemed, or reckoned as just, as it is predicated of a certain man in the Gospel, ‘But he, willing to justify himself (Luke 10:29),’—meaning that he wished to be thought and accounted just. In like manner, we attach one meaning to the statement, ‘God sanctifies His saints,’ and another to the words, ‘Sanctified be Thy name (Matthew 6:9);’ for in the former case we suppose the words to mean that He makes those to be saints who were not saints before, and in the latter, that the prayer would have that which is always holy in itself be also regarded as holy by men,—in a word, be feared with a hallowed awe.” (Augustine of Hippo, Antipelagian Writings, Chapter 45) Thus the doers of the law are justified by God’s grace and not by their own good works. The purpose of their own good works is to obtain the mercy of God, but it is God’s grace through the Holy Mysteries that bestows the worthiness and perfection upon mankind. Blessed Augustine does not only speak of this in regards to the Mystery of Baptism, but applies it also to the Mystery of Communion. Thus he writes of both Mysteries as follows: “Now [the Pelagians] take alarm from the statement of the Lord, when He says, ‘Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God (John 3:3);’ because in His own explanation of the passage He affirms, ‘Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God (John 3:5).’ And so they try to ascribe to unbaptized infants, by the merit of their innocence, the gift of salvation and eternal life, but at the same time, owing to their being unbaptized, to exclude them from the kingdom of heaven. But how novel and astonishing is such an assumption, as if there could possibly be salvation and eternal life without heirship with Christ, without the kingdom of heaven! Of course they have their refuge, whither to escape and hide themselves, because the Lord does not say, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot have life, but—‘he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.’ If indeed He had said the other, there could have risen not a moment’s doubt. Well, then, let us remove the doubt; let us now listen to the Lord, and not to men’s notions and conjectures; let us, I say, hear what the Lord says—not indeed concerning the sacrament of the laver, but concerning the sacrament of His own holy table, to which none but a baptized person has a right to approach: ‘Except ye eat my flesh and drink my blood, ye shall have no life in you (John 6:53).’ What do we want more? What answer to this can be adduced, unless it be by that obstinacy which ever resists the constancy of manifest truth?” (op. cit., Chapter 26) Blessed Augustine continues on the same subject of how the early Orthodox Christians of Carthage perceived the Mysteries of Baptism and Communion: “The Christians of Carthage have an excellent name for the sacraments, when they say that baptism is nothing else than ‘salvation,’ and the sacrament of the body of Christ nothing else than ‘life.’ Whence, however, was this derived, but from that primitive, as I suppose, and apostolic tradition, by which the Churches of Christ maintain it to be an inherent principle, that without baptism and partaking of the supper of the Lord it is impossible for any man to attain either to the kingdom of God or to salvation and everlasting life? So much also does Scripture testify, according to the words which we already quoted. For wherein does their opinion, who designate baptism by the term salvation, differ from what is written: ‘He saved us by the washing of regeneration (Titus 3:5)?’ or from Peter’s statement: ‘The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (1 Peter 3:21)?’ And what else do they say who call the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper ‘life,’ than that which is written: ‘I am the living bread which came down from heaven (John 6:51);’ and ‘The bread that I shall give is my flesh, for the life of the world (John 6:51);’ and ‘Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink His blood, ye shall have no life in you (John 6:53)?’ If, therefore, as so many and such divine witnesses agree, neither salvation nor eternal life can be hoped for by any man without baptism and the Lord’s body and blood, it is vain to promise these blessings to infants without them. Moreover, if it be only sins that separate man from salvation and eternal life, there is nothing else in infants which these sacraments can be the means of removing, but the guilt of sin,—respecting which guilty nature it is written, that “no one is clean, not even if his life be only that of a day (Job 14:4).’ Whence also that exclamation of the Psalmist: ‘Behold, I was conceived in iniquity; and in sins did my mother bear me (Psalm 50:5)! This is either said in the person of our common humanity, or if of himself only David speaks, it does not imply that he was born of fornication, but in lawful wedlock. We therefore ought not to doubt that even for infants yet to be baptized was that precious blood shed, which previous to its actual effusion was so given, and applied in the sacrament, that it was said, ‘This is my blood, which shall be shed for many for the remission of sins (Matthew 26:28).’ Now they who will not allow that they are under sin, deny that there is any liberation. For what is there that men are liberated from, if they are held to be bound by no bondage of sin? (op. cit., Chapter 34) Now, what of Bp. Kirykos’ opinion that early Christians “fasted in the fine and broader sense, that is, they were worthy to commune?” Is this because they were saints? Were all of the early Christians who were frequent communicants ascetics who fasted “in the finer and broader sense” and were actual saints? Even if so, does the Orthodox Church consider the saints “worthy” by their act of fasting, or is their act of fasting only a plea for God’s mercy, while God’s grace is what delivers the worthiness? According to Bp. Kirykos, the early Christians, whether they were saints or not, “fasted in the fine and broader sense, that is, they were worthy to commune.” But is this a teaching of Orthodoxy or rather of Pelagianism? Is this what the saints believed of themselves, that they were “worthy?” And if they didn’t believe they were worthy, was that just out of humility, or did they truly consider themselves unworthy? Blessed Augustine of Hippo, one of the champions of his time against the heresy of Pelagianism, writes: “In that, indeed, in the praise of the saints, they will not drive us with the zeal of that publican (Luke 18:10‐14) to hunger and thirst after righteousness, but with the vanity of the Pharisees, as it were, to overflow with sufficiency and fulness; what does it profit them that—in opposition to the Manicheans, who do away with baptism—they say ‘that men are perfectly renewed by baptism,’ and apply the apostle’s testimony for this,—‘who testifies that, by the washing of water, the Church is made holy and spotless from the Gentiles (Ephesians 5:26),’—when, with a proud and perverse meaning, they put forth their arguments in opposition to the prayers of the Church itself. For they say this in order that the Church may be believed after holy baptism—in which is accomplished the forgiveness of all sins—to have no further sin; when, in opposition to them, from the rising of the sun even to its setting, in all its members it cries to God, ‘Forgive us our debts (Matthew 6:12).’ But if they are interrogated regarding themselves in this matter, they find not what to answer. For if they should say that they have no sin, John answers them, that ‘they deceive themselves, and the truth is not in them (1 John 1:8).’ But if they confess their sins, since they wish themselves to be members of Christ’s body, how will that body, that is, the Church, be even in this time perfectly, as they think, without spot or wrinkle, if its members without falsehood confess themselves to have sins? Wherefore in baptism all sins are forgiven, and, by that very washing of water in the word, the Church is set forth in Christ without spot or wrinkle (Ephesians 5:27); and unless it were baptized, it would fruitlessly say, ‘Forgive us our debts,’ until it be brought to glory, when there is in it absolutely no spot or wrinkle.” (op. cit., Chapter 17). Again, in his chapter called ‘The Opinion of the Saints Themselves About Themselves,’ Blessed Augustine writes: “It is to be confessed that ‘the Holy Spirit, even in the old times,’ not only ‘aided good dispositions,’ which even they allow, but that it even made them good, which they will not have. ‘That all, also, of the prophets and apostles or saints, both evangelical and ancient, to whom God gives His witness, were righteous, not in comparison with the wicked, but by the rule of virtue,’ is not doubtful. And this is opposed to the Manicheans, who blaspheme the patriarchs and prophets; but what is opposed to the Pelagians is, that all of these, when interrogated concerning themselves while they lived in the body, with one most accordant voice would answer, ‘If we should say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us (1 John 1:8).’ ‘But in the future time,’ it is not to be denied ‘that there will be a reward as well of good works as of evil, and that no one will be commanded to do the commandments there which here he has contemned,’ but that a sufficiency of perfect righteousness where sin cannot be, a righteousness which is here hungered and thirsted after by the saints, is here hoped for
Baptism-cleansing a soul of the legacy of Adam and Eve's Original Sin;
In the early Church, being born of water was clearly understood to imply water baptism.
The Position of Bp. Kirykos Regarding Re‐Baptism Differs From the Position of Bp. Matthew of Bresthena When Bp. Kirykos receives New Calendarists, Florinites, ROCOR faithful, etc, under his omophorion, he insists on rebaptising them even if they had already been baptized in the correct form of triple immersion and invocation of the Holy Trinity. He insists on doing this due to his belief that he is the only valid bishop left on earth and that anyone baptized out of communion with him, even if baptized in the correct form, is in need of re‐ baptism by his hands. But was this the position of Bp. Matthew of Bresthena? In 1937, Bp. Matthew of Bresthena issued an Encyclical in which he declared the following: “…We knock against the slander that supposedly we re‐baptize or request the repetition of the service of marriage. We request only, according to our sacred obligation, as Genuine Orthodox Christians, to follow the Sacred Ecclesiastical Tradition, and according to which, we must guide the faithful towards salvific pastures, and thus to those approaching the Genuine Orthodox Church, those who are of age we receive by libellus, as for the children which were baptized by Schismatics, we re‐chrismate them according to the 1st Canon of St. Basil the Great.” So there you have it. Bishop Matthew of Bresthena adhered to the correct practice of the Second and Quinisext Ecumenical Councils, and of St. Basil the Great, whereby he received New Calendarist converts to his Synod only by chrismation, and sometimes only by mere libellus, because the converts had already received the correct form of baptism. This clearly correct method is that practiced today by the Kiousis Synod, Makarios Synod, Nicholas Synod, Gregorians, Maximites, HOCNA, Tikhonites, Valentinites, ROCIE, etc. Almost every Old Calendarist Synod adheres to the Patristic use of receiving Orthodox converts by chrismation. Thus all of these Synods prove by their methods to be truly “Matthewite,” since they adhere to Bishop Matthew’s practice. Only Bp. Kirykos has fallen from this principle and has ignored the Patristic Matthewite approach, by beginning to “re‐baptize” those who are already baptized in the canonical form of triple immersion!
Our team also saw new people could be felt throughout the believers receive baptism as a mark of their relationship with Jesus Christ.
3 IMPORTANCE OF BAPTISM [Ree revision of this article in issue of December, 1881.] Before considering what constitutes Scriptural baptism, let of his body, obeying no will but that of "the head,"
By the time he was around thirty years old, the Holy Spirit (the tree of life) came upon Him and into him a holy spirit, during his baptism in water that was administered by John the Baptist.
Shortly after the baptism, God breathed His Holy Spirit into Jesus and declared him to be His Son.
CAN FASTING MAKE ONE “WORTHY” TO COMMUNE? In the first paragraph of his first letter to Fr. Pedro, Bp. Kirykos writes: “... according to the tradition of our Fathers (and that of Bishop Matthew of Bresthena), all Christians, who approach to receive Holy Communion, must be suitably prepared, in order to worthily receive the body and blood of the Lord. This preparation indispensably includes fasting according to one’s strength.” To further prove that he interprets this worthiness as being based on fasting, Metropolitan Kirykos continues further down in reference to his unhistorical understanding about the early Christians: “They fasted in the fine and broader sense, that is, they were worthy to commune.” Here Bp. Kirykos tries to fool the reader by stating the absolutely false notion that the Holy Fathers (among them St. Matthew of Bresthena) supposedly agree with his unorthodox views. The truth is that not one single Holy Father of the Orthodox Church agrees with Bp. Kirykosʹs views, but in fact, many of them condemn these views as heretical. And as for referring to St. Matthew of Bresthena, this is extremely misleading, which is why Bp. Kirykos was unable to provide a quote. In reality, St. Matthew’s five‐page‐ long treatise on Holy Communion, published in 1933, repeatedly stresses the importance of receiving Holy Communion frequently and does not mention any such pre‐communion fast at all. He only mentions that one must go to confession, and that confession is like a second baptism which washes the soul and prepares it for communion. If St. Matthew really thought a standard week‐long pre‐communion fast for all laymen was paramount, he certainly would have mentioned it somewhere in his writings. But in the hundreds of pages of writings by St. Matthew that have been collected, no mention is made of such a fast. The reason for this is because St. Matthew was a Kollyvas Father just as was his mentor, St. Nectarius of Aegina. Also, the fact St. Matthew left Athos and preached throughout Greece and Asia Minor during his earlier life, is another example of his imitation of the Kollyvades Fathers. As much as Bp. Kirykos would like us to think that the Holy Fathers preach that a Christian, simply by fasting, can somehow “worthily receive the body and blood of the Lord,” the Holy Fathers of the Orthodox Church actually teach quite clearly that NO ONE is worthy of Holy Communion, except by the grace of God Himself. Whether someone eats oil on a Saturday or doesnʹt eat oil, cannot be the deciding point of a person’s supposed “worthiness.” In fact, even fasting, confession, prayer, and all other things donʹt come to their fulfillment in the human soul until one actually receives Holy Communion. All of these things such as fasting, prayers, prostrations, repentance, etc, do indeed help one quench his passions, but they by no means make him “worthy.” Yes, we confess our sins to the priest. But the sins aren’t loosened from our soul until the priest reads the prayer of pardon, and the sins are still not utterly crushed until He who conquered death enters inside the human soul through the Mystery of Holy Communion. That is why Christ said that His Body and Blood are shed “for the remission of sins.” (Matthew 26:28). Fasting is there to quench our passions and prevent us from sinning, confession is there so that we can recall our sins and repent of them, but it is the Mysteries of the Church that operate on the soul and grant to it the “worthiness” that the human soul can by no means attain by itself. Thus, the Mystery of Pardon loosens the sins, and the Mystery of Holy Communion remits the sins. For of the many Mysteries of the Church, the seven highest mysteries have this very purpose, namely, to remit the sins of mankind by the Divine Economy. Thus, Baptism washes away the sins from the soul, while Chrism heals anything ailing and fills all voids. Thus, Absolution washes away the sins, while Communion heals the soul and body and fills it with the grace of God. Thus, Unction cures the maladies of soul and body, causing the body and soul to no longer be divided but united towards a life in Christ; while Marriage (or Monasticism) confirms the plurality of persons or sense of community that God desired when he said of old “Be fruitful and multiply” (or in the case of Monasticism, “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!”). Finally, the Mystery of Priesthood is the authority given by Christ for all of these Mysteries to be administered. Certainly, it is an Apostolic Tradition for mankind to be prepared by fasting before receiving any of the above Mysteries, be it Baptism, Chrism, Absolution, Communion, Unction, Marriage or Priesthood. But this act of fasting itself does not make anyone “worthy!” If someone thinks they are “worthy” before approaching Holy Communion, then the Holy Communion would be of no positive affect to them. In actuality, they will consume fire and punishment. For if anyone thinks that their own works make themselves “worthy” before the eyes of God, then surely Christ would have died in vain. Christ’s suffering, passion, death and Resurrection would have been completely unnecessary. As Christ said, “They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick (Matthew 9:12).” If a person truly thinks that by not partaking of oil/wine on Saturday, in order to commune on Sunday, that this has made them “worthy,” then by merely thinking such a thing they have already proved themselves unworthy of Holy Communion. In fact, they are deniers of Christ, deniers of the Cross of Christ, and deniers of their own salvation in Christ. They rather believe in themselves as their own saviors. They are thus no longer Christians but humanists. But is humanism a modern notion, or has it existed before in the history of the Church? In reality, the devil has hurled so many heresies against the Church that he has run out of creativity. Thus, the traps and snares he sets are but fancy recreations of ancient heresies already condemned by the Church. The humanist notions entertained by Bp. Kirykos are actually an offshoot of an ancient heresy known as Pelagianism.
In Gen 2:7, the breath of life that God breathed into Adam was the same Holy Spirit that Jesus received immediately after baptism in water.
It included the celebration of Christ’s birth, the adoration of the Wisemen, and all of the childhood events of Christ such as his circumcision and presentation to the temple as well as his baptism by John in the Jordan.