St. Nicodemos on the baptism and priesthood of the non-Orthodox

These words of St. Nicodemos the Hagiorite are not innovative, but rather, are a expression of the teaching of the entire Church throughout all ages and localities…

“The baptism administered by heretics and schismatics is unacceptable, and they ought to be baptized when they return to the Orthodoxy of the Catholic Church*. (The reasons are as follows):

*Catholic Church in this text refers to the One, Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church which is also called the Orthodox Church.

1st) Because there is but one baptism, and because this is to be found only in the catholic Church. Heretics and schismatics, on the other hand, being outside of the catholic Church, have, in consequence, not even the one baptism.

2nd) The water used in baptism must first be purified and be sanctified by means of prayers of the priests, and by the grace of the Holy Spirit; afterwards it can purify and sanctify the person being baptized therein. But heretics and schismatics are neither priests, being in fact rather sacrilegists; neither clean and pure, being in fact impure and unclean; neither holy, as not having any Holy Spirit. So neither have they any baptism.

3rd) Through baptism in the catholic Church there is given a remission of sins. But through the baptism administered by heretics and schismatics, inasmuch as it is outside of the Church, how can any remission of sins be given?

4th) The person being baptized must, after he is baptized be anointed with the myrrh prepared from olive oil and various spices, which has been sanctified by visitation of the Holy Spirit. But how can a heretic sanctify any such myrrh when as a matter of fact he has no Holy Spirit because of his being separated from there on account of heresy and schism?

5th) The priest must pray to God for the salvation of the one being baptized. But how can a heretic or a schismatic be listened to by God when, as we have said, he is a sacrilegist and a sinner (not so much on account of his works, but rather on account of the heresy or schism, these being the greatest sin of all sins), at a time when the Bible says that God does not listen to sinners.

6th) Because the baptism administered by heretics and schismatics cannot be acceptable to God as baptism, since they are enemies and foes with God (i.e. mutually), and are called anti-Christs by John.

Variety of texts: Gregor Isiopili

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