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"I CONFESS ONE BAPTISM…"
APPLICATION OF THE CANON
3. Explanation of the Orthodox Church’s action in dealing with the Latins
In confronting the arguments of the Latins and Latinizers of their time, our theologians also found it necessary to explain the Orthodox Church’s past action in dealing with the West. As we know, this action ‘’was not single and uniform, but fluctuated between acrivia and economia,’’ since ‘’this or that policy and action of the Church was usually determined by more general reasons and aims of greater benefit to her, or to avert any harm and danger threatening her.’’
According to the prevailing view, after the schism the Orthodox Church recognized ‘’the validity of the Latin sacraments,’’ and indeed that of baptism. Upon their conversion, the Church applied Canon VII of the Second Ecumenical Council or XCV of Penthekte to them, or occasionally received them by a mere recantation of their foreign doctrines. Even after the Crusades and the Council of Ferrara/Florence (1438-1439), when the relations between Orthodox and Latins became strained, and the stance of the Orthodox East in dealing with the Latins became more austere, the East considered the application of Canon VII of the Second Ecumenical Council to be an adequate measure of defense, that is she received them by chrismation and a written statement. This action was officially ratified by the Local Council of Constantinople in 1484, with the participation, moreover, of all the Patriarchs of the East. This Council also wrote an appropriate service. Thus, according to I. Karmiris (and also according to the arguments of the Latinizers and pro-westerners during the Turkish rule), the cases of ‘’rebaptism’’ were exceptions, owing ‘’to individual initiative,’’ and ‘’not to an authoritative decision of the Church.’’
This custom, however, was overturned in 1755 under Cyril V, Patriarch of Constantinople, by the imposing of the (re)baptism of Latins and all Western converts in general, again through the application of Canon VII of the Second Ecumenical Council and the other relevant Canons of the Church. This action, to this day the last ‘’official’’ decision of the Orthodox Church, was opposed by those who disagreed. It was considered to have subverted the decision of the Council of 1484. because of its circumstantial character, not having gained universal acceptance and application, it was often not adhered to. In addition, the practice of the Russian Church from 1667 differed from that of the other Orthodox Patriarchates, and indeed that of Constantinople. This, then, is what is commonly accepted to this day concerning the issue in question.
Among our writers, Neophytos and C. Oikonomos deal with the history of the problem more extensively than the others. They begin by calling upon the testimony of those who reject the Latin ‘’baptism.’’ Then they note the cases in which Latins were received by baptism, and likewise justify the cases (propounded by those who disagreed with them) wherein either the Latin ‘’baptism’’ was overlooked as unimportant, or wherein the economia of the Second Ecumenical Council was exercised towards the Latins. Their teaching specifically can be summarized as follows.
a) Until the Council of Florence
1) The Ecumenical Patriarch Michael Cerularius, in his epistle to Peter of Antioch, includes, together with the other Latin innovations, also their baptism ‘’by one immersion.’’ According to Oikonomos, if this was not ‘’declared to be a common crime of the entire Western Church,’’ and thus specific measures were not taken, it is due to the fact that this type of baptism was not yet universally prevalent in the West, but ‘’usually the Apostolic baptism’’ was administered. It is significant, however, that the papal legate Humbert criticized the East for baptizing Latins.
2) Likewise, the Lateran Council of 1215 ‘’accused the Greeks…that they baptize the Latins who join their Church.’’ Since, however, according to Oikonomos, ‘’the baptism by single immersion, or by affusion or aspersion, was sometimes performed by the West in some areas and only sporadically,…the Greeks baptized only those who had been baptized in this manner.’’ And that is what the testimony of this Council is referring to.
3) Even the ‘’highly renowned exegete of the sacred Canons, Theodore Valsamon,’’ affirms that ‘’those baptized with one immersion are all to be baptized again,’’ having in mind the practice of his time (12th-13th cen.). True, a problem arises from his fifteenth reply, in which, explicitly referring to the Latins, he says: ‘’Those of Latin descent should not be sanctified by the divine and immaculate mysteries [i.e. the Eucharist] at the hands of the priests, unless they first declare their decision to desist from the Latin dogmas and customs, and are, in accordance with the Canons, catechized and made equal to the Orthodox.’’ The problem, according to Oikonomos, lies in the fact that he did not expressly add, ‘’and baptized.’’ The answer, according to him, is that the Latins had not yet universally accepted the ‘’baptism by one immersion.’’ Therefore, so that the one group not be confused with the other, ‘’he used more general terms, saying, in accordance with the Canons,’ and the ‘equality’ of the converts with the Orthodox.’’ ‘’In saying Canons,’’ he means XCV of the Sixth Council and VII of the Second. And if Valsamon’s contemporaries, the pro-union Nikitas Mytilineos Archbishop of Thessaloniki, John of Kitros, and Demetrios Chromatinos Archbishop of Bulgaria, ‘’say nothing about the baptism,’’ this was so because the Franks, already masters of Constantinople, ‘’were raging against the Orthodox’’; but also they had in mind the three immersions which the Latins as yet still officially preserved.
4) During the reign of the pro-union emperor John Dukas (1206), according to an ‘’unverifiable’’ opinion, ‘’it was synodically voted only to anoint with chrism those who join the Church.’’ This, according to Oikonomos, is not curious, for ‘’it was because of the current circumstances that such a decision was taken by a Local Council,’’ given that the ‘’genuine baptism’’ still survived in the West. The uncertainty that prevailed in the East regarding the form of the Western baptism made the Orthodox hesitant to make a definite decision, this uncertainty, among other things, is apparent in the following words of Matthew Vlastares (in 1335): ‘’If in fact, as some say, they baptize by one immersion…’’ The distance, therefore, but also the rupture in ecclesiastical communion, did not allow the Orthodox to have direct knowledge and to determine a specific position for dealing with the West.
5) Someone anonymous, writing against the Latins during the reign of Manuel Paleologos (1391-1396), and basing himself on Canon VII of the Second Ecumenical Council, remarks: ‘’[The Canon] does not deem necessary the rebaptism of those who, equally as with us, were administered divine baptism by three immersions.’’ Oikonomos points out here: ‘’The prevailing order in the Orthodox Church, in accordance to be sure with the canonical definition, considered that the Latins were at that time still being administered the salvific baptism equally as with us.’’ Besides, this work, he says, was written during a period of preparation for union talks, and thus it avoided all acuteness in expression.
6) One of the strongest arguments of those of the opposite mind, however, was that nothing was said about the Latin baptism at the Council of Florence (1439). If the Latin innovation constituted such a significant difference, why was it not included in the list of topics for discussion? Oikonomos responds that the Council limited itself to the ‘’five’’ most fundamental dogmatic differences; that is, ‘’the already legislated papal illegalities,’’ inasmuch as the innovation regarding baptism still had not yet become general practice in the West, nor been officially and synodally ratified, but continued to be an occasional, local custom. Neophytos adds that other differences too were not discussed at Florence, such as fasting on Saturdays, kneeling on Sundays, divorce of the clergy, eating of blood and strangled animals, etc., for other reasons, but also ‘’because of the hurry to return.’’ But, again according to Neophytos, even if this Council had decided something regarding this problem, its decision would not be of any special significance, for ‘’correct sacramental practice, like Orthodoxy itself, has its origin and institution and proof not from what was said or done in Florence, but from the Evangelists and the Apostolic and synodal Canons.’’ What is significant in this regard is primarily the practice of the early Church, rather than the current tradition, and indeed of those who participated in the Council of Florence. ‘’For is it because we lack proofs dating back any earlier than Florence that we must pay attention to – I am loathe to say traitors of the faith – men of but yesterday’’
Of those who participated in this Council, St. Mark of Ephesus of course is of especial importance. He is usually presented as an unshakable argument in favor of receiving Latins by economia. For, while absolutely Orthodox as regards the faith, yet in testifying ‘’about the Orthodox Church’s universal practice,’’ he admits that we chrismate those who come over to us from them (i.e. the Latins)…as being heretics’’, that is, he affirms the way if economia. To this our writers respond as follows:
St. Mark and those around him, according to Neophytos, gave priority ‘’to the faith issues.’’ They did not deal with the problem of baptism, for ‘’the baptism issue was secondary.’’ It is, however, significant that St. Mark does bluntly call the Latins ‘’heretics,’’ and he does reject and ‘’dauntlessly expose’’ the aspersion that was spreading among them, writing that ‘’twofold are the baptisms’’ of the Greco-Latin Uniates. St. Mark explicitly includes the Latins, as heretics, in the group of early heretics mentioned in Canon VII of the Second Ecumenical Council. If he seems to affirm their reception by chrismation, i.e. in the manner prescribed for the Arians and Macedonians, this, according to Oikonomos, is due to the fact that up until the Council of Trent (16th cen.) – and even up until the eighteenth century – ‘’the Apostolic form’’ of baptism also survived in the West. Thus, St. Mark went along with the reception of Latins by economia, 1) to avoid repetition of the one baptism due to indiscriminate zeal or ignorance; and 2) as a concession, in order to expedite the union. Thus, St. Mark applies Canon VII of the Second Ecumenical Council to the Latins in part, receiving them ‘’as having kept the form of the Apostolic baptism.’’
b) After Florence
1) Concerning the Council of Constantinople in 1450, called ‘’the last in Hagia Sophia,’’ the argument was propounded that ‘’this one also did not mention baptism,’’ in spite of the fact that it dealt with the Latin innovations which led to the schism. Indeed, here we have a very strong argument, and even Oikonomos is forced to admit that this is ‘’most extraordinary.’’ His attempted critical analysis of the text leads to the conclusion that there is a ‘’deletion of words’’ in the copying of the Acts of the Council. Neophytos, however, in his own peculiar manner, responds to the problem with the following counterargument: ‘’Well, then, I suppose we should not even chrismate Latins, since the aforesaid Council did not mention chrism, i.e. chrismation. And not only that, but I suppose we should also ordain for money, since it somehow attempts to applaud this as well!’’ he continues, though, with the observation that, before this Council, St. Mark had already expressed his view concerning the Latin innovation in baptism and had disapproved of it, and that this constituted the ‘’opinion on the Latin baptism’’ of those synodal Fathers as well.
2) Nevertheless, the Council of Constantinople in 1484 creates the greatest difficulties for an acceptance of our theologian’s position on Latin baptism. This Council decided ‘’only to anoint with chrism the Latins who come over to Orthodoxy,…after they submit a written statement of faith.’’ In other words, it ranks them in the class of the Arians and Macedonians of the Second Ecumenical Council (Canon VII). Both the Kollyvades and Oikonomos, of course, are well aware of this, but they offer the following response.
According to Oikonomos, ‘’since among the Orthodox there existed no formula concerning the reception of these (i.e. the Latins) by concession (inasmuch as from the beginning most preserved…the acrivia of the Ecumenical Councils), this Council ruled to imitate the followers of St. Mark,’’ and thus it took the above decision, again, inasmuch as in the West neither affusion nor aspersion had yet been synodally canonized. Yet how can we explain the fact that this synodal decision was not universally accepted in the East, if it was an official decision of the Orthodox Church? For, even after this Council, ‘’neither did the Latin baptism seem acceptable…nor did [the Orthodox] think of the Latins as having priesthood, referring to the innovation regarding the rite which again had spread in many places.’’ Hence, despite the synodally given solution and the composition of a special service, ‘’the East, aiming with conviction at the acrivia of the holy Ecumenical Councils,’’ in practice received Western converts by baptism, for they saw no benefit arising from the concession made by economia, but rather ‘’harm…to the simpler and afflicted Orthodox.’’
Moreover, it was observed that the cunning of the Latins had increased. For in their proselytization, they took advantage of the willingness on the part of the Orthodox to make this concession, and interpreted it as proving that there really was no difference between Orthodox and Latin baptism. From that time, continues Oikonomos, this custom [of baptizing converts] prevailed in the Great Church [i.e. the Ecumenical Patriarchate] and also in all the Patriarchates of the East to this day,’’ the synodal decision notwithstanding.
Neophytos and the rest offer a more realistic interpretation on this issue. The reason for the lack of daring on the part of our people to call the Latins heretics after the fall of Constantinople and to condemn their ‘’baptism’’ was, according to them, the fear arising from the situation that had developed in the East. They avoided this ‘’from cowardice alone,’’ says Neophytos. And he cites the following testimony of George Scholarios: ‘’For it is not ours, being in such a state of poverty and weakness, to use such epithets on a Church of such power…’’ This was the first reason. However, Neophytos does not exclude the ‘’hope of rectification’’ of the Latins, i.e. their conversion.
St. Nikodemos responds in much the same way. In receiving the Latins by chrismation in accordance with the decision of 1484, the Church expressly declares that she considers them heretics. The early Canons were, therefore, not annulled, but ‘’the Church wanted to use some big economia on the Latins, having that great and holy Second Ecumenical Council as an example to this end.’’ That is to say that the saint discerns in the fourth and fifteenth centuries a similarity of conditions and decisions. Thus, he continues, whereas in earlier times the East baptized the Latins, ‘’later they used the chrism method,’’ i.e. the way of economia, ‘’for it was not good, given the utter weakness of our nation, to further excite the fury of the Papacy.’’ Besides, ‘’much agitation’’ had been created among the Latins because of the pan-Orthodox rejection of the Council of Florence. And while the Orthodox East groaned under the yoke of slavery, ‘’the Papacy was at its height, and had all the power of the kings of Europe in its hands, whereas our kingdom was breathing its last. Hence, if this economia had not been exercised, it was imminent that the Pope would have roused the Latin nations against the East.’’ In other words, both before the fall of the Ruling City (i.e. Constantinople), but more so after, the political situation demanded avoiding by all means the irritation of the West which was hostile towards Orthodoxy. So, it was political and not ecclesiastical criteria that took precedence. Therefore he concludes: ‘’With economia passed, the Apostolic Canons should resume their place.’’ This means that in his time (18th cen.) the West was incapable of politically threatening the nation under Turkish rule, and thus there was no reason to fear the West.
Athanasios Parios also offers a similar response: ‘’Those who propound the so-called synodal decree of 1484, which received Latin converts by chrismation, do not understand that the churchmen of that time were using economia, and that they thus formulated their decree because of the Papacy’s agitation and tyranny.’’ He, too, observes: ‘’Now the season of economia has passed...and the papal fury no longer has any power over us.’’
3) As it spread more and more, the innovation of the Latin baptism provoked reactions on the part of the Orthodox. This is apparent from the decision of a twenty-four bishop Council in the year 1600 in Constantinople, which decreed the reception of Latins by chrismation. This synodal formulation permits us, according to Oikonomos, to conclude that the East was in fact baptizing Latins. The decision of this Council can be explained ‘’in two ways: for either it had in view the previously published earlier Definition (1484), without meddling with it any further,’’ for as long as trine immersion survived in the West, the fear existed of repeating the correct baptism a second time; or, for the sake of economia, ‘’to mollify the West’s…brutal impulses and attacks,’’ and to attract them to Orthodoxy.
4) The Council of Moscow in 1620-21 decided to baptize Western converts. However, the ‘’great’’ Council of Moscow in 1666-67, in which the Patriarchs of Alexandria and Antioch also participated, approved the decision of the 1484 Council of Constantinople, and thus rejected the (re)baptism of Western converts.
The decision of this Council is explained by Oikonomos as follows: a) the Council of Moscow wished to remain loyal to the Council of Constantinople; b) Czar Alexios ‘’was forced by local circumstances’’ to side in favor of such a decision, because of the inroads of the ‘’neighboring pro-Latin Poles and Lithuanians, and especially those among them who had become Uniates’’; c) this Council in no way conflicted with that of 1621, for the first ‘’voted in accordance with acrivia,’’ while this one ‘’in accordance with concession.’’ But ‘’concession’’ was possible for the following reason. Among Russia’s ‘’enemies’’ were Uniates who had received ‘’the genuine baptism of the Church.’’ Hence, the Council ‘’correctly combined acrivia with concession,’’ so that the baptism of the Uniates who became Orthodox not be repeated a second time, and so as to attract the Latins more easily, after the example of Mark of Ephesus; d) this concession was confined within Russia and was not practiced in the other Patriarchates, just as the decision of 1484 had also not taken a universal character.
5) The Patriarch of Jerusalem Dositheos, although he accepts the ‘’concessive discernment’’ of Mark of Ephesus, is nevertheless in favor of baptizing the Latins, in accordance with acrivia.
6) The reply in 1718 of Ecumenical Patriarch Jeremias III to Czar Peter the Great, i.e. to receive Latins ‘’by mere chrismation,’’ had in view only the situation in Russia, and the ‘’internal peace of…that multi-ethnic realm of Orthodoxy.’’
7) Finally, the Council of Constantinople at which Cyril V presided in 1755 decided and imposed the baptism of Latins, the decision of 1484 notwithstanding. The Council’s Definition (known as the Oros), which was also signed by the Patriarchs of Alexandria and Jerusalem, continues to be the Orthodox Church’s last official decision on the issue. Regarding its application during the eighteenth century, Neophytos notes: ‘’Let me also point out, for the sake of the coming generation,’’ that, as regards the Latins, while Mark of Ephesus baptized ‘’with reserve,’’ and ‘’the bishop of Smyrna baptized openly,’’ Cyril V, on the other hand, ordered ‘’all to be baptized.’’ And after Cyril, the Ecumenical Patriarch Sophronios II (1774-1780), ‘’in the Great Church publicly also baptizes the Armenians, the Arians, and the Nestorians together with the Latins who join the Church, and by own example has predisposed his people everywhere to do the same.’’ It is also known that the Ecumenical Patriarch Procopios (1785-1789) enforced the Oros even on the Uniates who converted in 1786.
 See Karmiris, vol. II, pp. 972-973. Cf. Ware, p. 66ff.
 Karmiris, p. 979.
 Ibid., p. 980.
 Ibid., pp. 981-982, 987-989.
 Ibid., p. 979.
 Ibid., p. 984.
 Androutsos, (Symbology…), p. 321. Papadopoulos, p. 447. Christophilopoulos, article in Èåïëïãßá, pp. 203-204; cf. pp. 120-121. Gritsopoulos, È.Ç.Å. 7 (1965), col. 1196.
 See, in this regard, Skouvaras, p. 52ff. Cf. Metropolitan Germanos, p. 309ff.
 According to Kotsonis (Problems…, pp. 189-190), ‘’as far as the Patriarchate of Constantinople is concerned…until 1756 [write 1755], it recognized ‘by acrivia’ the validity of the baptism of those coming over from the Western Church, whereas through the Oros of 1756 [write 1755], it rejected it.’’ On the other hand, in the Russian Church, ‘’until 1441, what prevailed as acrivia was that those coming over from the Western Church were to be baptized anew. But from 1666/7 and to this day, the Russian Church ‘by acrivia’ recognizes the validity of their baptism.’’
 In this list Oikonomos includes, among others, Photios the Great (pp. 421f, 450f – he condemned the ‘’single-immersion’’ baptism), Michael Cerularius (p. 460), Th. Valsamon (p. 463), Germanos II Patr. Of Const. (p. 465), St. Meletios the Confessor (p. 466), Matthew Vlastaris (p. 467), St. Mark of Ephesus (p. 470), Manuel the Rhetor (p. 474), Patriarch Jeremias II (475), Dositheos Patriarch of Jerusalem (p. 476), and Patriarch Jeremias III (p. 476).
 On this point, Sergios Makraios is presented as a witness by Cyril’s opponents. In his History, he declares that ‘’…from the time of the schism until the year of our Lord 1750, that is both before and after the fall of Constantinople, they used to anoint converts with chrism according to the Definition enacted under Patriarch Symeon. Before , the Eastern Church did not accuse the Western Church of rejecting the baptism instituted by the Lord and His Apostles, neither at that Council in Florence, nor afterwards.’’ In, ‘’ÕðïìíÞìáôá åêêëçóéáóôéêÞò éóôïñßáò’’ (‘’Records of Church History’’) by C. Sathas, ÌåóáéùíéêÞ ÂéâëéïèÞêç, vol. III (Venice, 1872), p. 403. We shall return below, however; for Makraios’ text here was abridged! (See n. 312 below.)
 Karmiris, vol. I, p. 342.
 O, pp. 460-461.
 O, p. 498. Cf. E, p. 147 ix.
 O, pp. 462-463. P, p. 56. E, p. 147 vii.
 O, pp. 463, 498-499.
 ‘’Orthodox, that is,’’ clarifies Oikonomos (p. 464).
 O, pp. 463-464.
 O, p. 464.
 O, p. 466.
 O, p. 467.
 This would be Makarios of Ancyra. See O, p. 468 n. 1 (the note is by the editor Soph. Oikonomos).
 O, pp. 467-468, 502f.
 O, pp. 469, 499.
 ‘’The evil was occasional and local. The Western Church had not yet adopted this or made it law by proclamation.’’ O, p. 469.
 E, p. 147 viii.
 E, p. 147 vii.
 Karmiris, vol. II, p. 981.
 E, pp. 146, 147 viii. O, pp. 468, 499f. Cf. Karmiris, vol. I, p. 422: ‘’two baptisms, one performed by trine immersion, and the other by pouring water over the head…’’
 O, pp. 503, 504.
 For the Acts of this questionable Council, see Dositheos, Ôüìïò ÊáôáëëáãÞò (Jassy, 1692), p. 457ff. Cf. Archim. V. C. Stephanidis, ÅêêëçóéáóôéêÞ Éóôïñßá, 2nd ed. (Athens, 1959), pp. 395-396.
 E, p. 147 viii.
 In the Acts we find the phrase: ‘’Nor is the chrism immediately applied to the head of the baptized,’’ without, however, there being any previous mention of baptism. ‘’How could the innovation on baptism have been passed over in silence, it being such and so?’’ asks Oikonomos (p. 471).
 E, p. 147 viii.
 Karmiris, vol. II, pp. 981f, 987f. O, p. 473f. The decision of this Council, with some exceptions to be sure, was in force until 1755. Ware, p. 67.
 O, p. 505.
 Oikonomos sagaciously observes (pp. 473-4, n. 2), that in the Service published by the Council, baptism is not even listed among the differences, because the innovation had not yet become official.
 O, p. 474. Oikonomos relies on an anti-Latin work by Manuel the Rhetor of the Great Church (1550).
 O, pp. 505-506.
 O, p. 506. And he adds: ‘’Also all our most ancient monasteries, such as those of Athos, etc., uphold this same conviction.’’
 E, p. 146. Cf. also what was said by Sylvester Syropoulos: ‘’We are people enslaved to the Latins, and what we say will find no acceptance.’’ Vera Historia, ch. 6:11. In V. Laurent, Les ‘’Memoires’’ de Sylvestre Syropoulos sur le Concile de Florence (Paris, 1971), pp. 534-536.
 P, p. 56.
 P, p. 57.
 P, p. 56.
 P, p. 57.
 M, pp. 267-268. Of course, the opposite opinion has also been stated. E.g. Ware writes in this connection: ‘’Neither of these Councils [i.e. Constantinople, 1484, and Moscow, 1667] was exposed to foreign pressure or acted from fear of Papist reprisals; why then did they reach conclusions so different from those of Argenti?’’ (p. 95). Is this certain? And even if there were no immediate dangers, was the prevailing situation, at least in the Balkans, of no consequence? See below Oikonomos’ explanation of this case also.
 O, pp. 474-475.
 O, pp. 476, 507.
 O, pp. 507-509.
 O, p. 509. ‘’For they who (without necessary cause) are not baptized with three emersions and immersions are in danger of being unbaptized. Wherefore the Latins, who perform baptism by aspersion, commit mortal sin.’’ Dodekavivlos, p. 525; in O, p. 509.
 O, pp. 509-510.
 O, pp. 477ff, 510ff. The ‘’Oros’’ of this Council (July 1755) was generally dated 1756, for that is when it was first published in print in the work, Ñáíôéóìïý Óôçëßôåõóéò (A Denunciation of Sprinkling) (pp. clxxiii - clxxvi). (Reprinted in Mansi 38:617-622. See also Appendix II below.) The work, A Denunciation of Sprinkling, was formerly considered to have been written by E. Argentis (e.g. see O, pp. 477, 511), but it is rather the work of Christophoros Aitolos. See Ware, p. 99.
 S. Runciman, The Great Church in Captivity (Oxford, 1968), p. 359. Runciman calls the Oros ‘’a result of a sincere conviction.’’
 E, p. 147 xxv.
 Karmiris, vol. II, p. 984 n. 4.
Article published in English on: 14-9-2007.
Last Update: 15-9-2007.