Tag Archives: Baptism

Some Notes on the Byzantine Practice of (Re)Baptizing Latins

by Nicolas Kamas

The impending Great and Holy Council has provoked a number of reactions, from joy to hostility, on many of the topics it has promised to address. Among these has been the relationship of the Orthodox Church to other forms of Christianity, which highlights the long-standing problem of the reception of converts who have already received some form of Trinitarian baptism. One approach has been taken by those who insist on the loss of grace and totally heretical nature of those not belonging to the Orthodox Church, whose incorrect baptismal ritual prevents the application of economia and their reception by any means other than baptism. This view has found its fullest recent expression in the works of George Metallinos. The opposite view, recently articulated by George Demacopoulos in this forum, insists that “no Byzantine canonist or apologist ever thought that Latin theological errors, such as the filioque, were so great that they required rebaptism.” Demacopoulos accuses his opponents of relying “on a highly selective and reductionist appropriation of our rich canonical tradition to justify simplistic ideological conceits.” While the latter statement may have some truth to it, Demacopoulos fails to acknowledge the extent to which the practice of receiving Latin Christians by (re)baptism was discussed and applied in Byzantium from the eleventh century through the end of the Middle Ages. Continue Reading…