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Sacraments of Baptism and Chrismation

Sacraments of Baptism and Chrismation

Baptism

Baptism is a God-instituted ceremony by which those immersed into water in the name of the Holy Trinity are regenerated. The institution of Baptism is witnessed in Scripture. The need for baptism for sanctification and justification was formulated by the Church in the 10th article of the Nicene Creed.

The energy of baptism gives life to the soul, assisting and advancing the faith in God as well as hpe and love, and grants the gifts of sonship and eternity. The cleasing of sin and the giving of newness of life are not seperate results of the two-fold energy of baptism but in reality are one ad the same. In baptism burial of sins also takes place. The Grace of God is given through the Sacrament of Baptism for advancing in the faith and newness of life.

In baptism every kind of sin, both ancestral and personal, is forgiven and cleansed.

The energy of baptism is transmitted by perceptible signs and acts instituted by Christ and His Apostles and the early Church. The indispensable elements of the perceptible acts of baptism are the invocation of the Holy Trinity and the thrice-fold immersion into water. The faith of the believer in the Holy Triniy and divine assistance for the newness of life is the foundation of the ceremony of Baptism. The ancient Church did not know any other canonical pattern of baptism save the 3 fold immersion into water. There are limited exceptions to water baptism for special circumstances - emergencies.

The canonically ordained bishop or presbyter is the officiator of the Sacrament of Baptism. The Apostles received the commission and the authority to baptize from Christ. They in turn ordained other disciples into the priesthood with this authority to baptize. The Sacrament of Baptism is witnessed in both Scripture and Sacred Tradition as the right and duty of bishops and presbyters.

The recipient must prepare himself to receve the Grace of God through Baptism. Baptism is the only gate through which man enters the Kingdom of God. The preparation of the recipient is two-fold: faith in Christ and His Gospel and repentance of sin, both ancestral and personal.

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Chrismation

The Sacrament of Chrismation (confirmation) is a God-ordained ceremony in which the newly-baptized person is annointed by chrisma (myron-oil), thus reinforcing the spiritual life which began with baptism. Chrismation is the "seal" of the Grace of the Holy Spirit. Chrismation is not to be confused with baptism in regard to gifts bestowed. The Apostles applied chrismation to already baptized Christians as a sacred act by which the Grace of God is bestowed. Newly-baptized persons in the early Church who had not yet received the seal of the Grace of the Holy Spirit were called to do so.

The Sacrament of Chrismation was originally practiced in 2 forms. One by using only oil for Chrismation, the other by the laying of the hands on the baptized persons. Regardless of the form used, the purpose remains that of transmitting the Grace of God to the baptized person for his salvation. The annointing with oil was a practice in the Old Testament where the priests and the prophets involked divine blessings for the preservation of the faith and moral life.

Chrismation is bestowed on the newly-baptized person through holy oil (myron), which consists of many substances symbolizing the various chrismata (gifts) of the Holy Spirit. The holy oil is placed in the form of a cross on various parts of the body with the words "the seal of the gift of the Holy Spirit, Amen". The indispensable elements of the perceptible sign and act of chrismation are the myron and the invocation of the seal of the gift of the Holy Spirit. This practice existed from the very begining of the Church and is acknowledged by the Fathers.

The sanctification of the myron (oil) is only by bishops. Its origin is seen in early church ecclesiastical literature; it is mentioned in Apostolic teachings and by the Fathers of the Church. Responsibility for the myron belongs only to bishops, as does the ordination of priests.

The preparation for receiving chrismation is the same as that for baptism, in faith and piety. The Sacrament of Chrismation takes place immediately following that of Baptism. Chrismation is inseparably united with baptism for the redemptive Grace bestowed on the recipient.