The Orthodox Pages





















Question 41.

My husband and I got married in a Greek Orthodox Church in 1983. He is baptised in a Catholic Church but desperately would like to convert to our church, we would like to know how this can be done.


Answer to Question 41.


Basically there are two ways of being received into the Orthodox Church, either by baptism or chrismation (confirmation).  According to the strict application of the canons of the Church everyone converting from another church or religion must be baptized into the Orthodox Church. Bishops who strictly adhere to the canons will insist that the person must be baptized. This is not considered a re-baptism because the church does not recognize the priesthood of other religions and therefore any sacraments performed by any religion outside of the Orthodox Church is not valid.  In Limassol where I serve we follow the very strict application of the canons and so we insist that anyone wishing to join the Church must be baptized. This would be preceded with a course of Catechism lessons so that the person fully understands the Orthodox faith and the differences that exist between the Orthodox Church and the Catholic Church. How many lessons depend on what the person already knows and the priest who will be assigned to give the lessons. 

But the majority of bishops follow a rule called “economia” which means allowing a dispensation, a leniency towards members of the Catholic Church and Church of England by accepting their baptism and receiving them into the church with only Chrismation. Chrismation is similar to the Catholic Church Confirmation and involves the application of a holy oil called Myron. The service is basically 5 minutes with a single prayer and the anointing of the Holy Oil on certain parts of the face, chest, arms and feet.  England follows the lenient approach so your husband will be received only with Chrismation. Go to your local church and talk to the priest. He may insist on a course of Catechism lessons or simply book the date for the Chrismation. It’s that simple.