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3. The policy in Russia

            C. Oikonomos, however, also found himself of forced to explain the opposite stands on Western baptism taken by the Church of Russia and the Ecumenical Patriarchate in his time. His answer is that the Russian Church does not overlook the acrivia of the holy Canons, despite her decision of 1667. although they use economia in Russia, ‘’they do not declare implacable war on the Church’s perfect baptism by dismissing those who seek it.’’[313] Moreover, the Russian catechizers of Western converts ‘’first and foremost instruct those who join about this acrivia of the Apostolic baptism, then about the reception by concession.’’[314] So, a discrepancy between the Churches such as this does not destroy the oneness of Orthodoxy, since the other Patriarchates accept ‘’those perfected in Russia by concession as legitimate children.’’[315]

            Of course, in his personal correspondence, and indeed with individuals residing in Russia, Oikonomos could not point-blank condemn the practice prevalent there, for he not only had moral but also worldly ties with the Church in Russia,[316] though he does not cease to side the decision of Patriarch Cyril V (1755). He does not neglect, however, to reprove it indirectly, writing: ‘’I honor and respect the Russian Church as the undefiled bride of Christ and inseparable from her Bridegroom, and in addition as my own benefactress, by which the Lord has done and shall do many great and marvelous things, as she unerringly and verily follows the rule of piety. Hence, I do not doubt that it was in a spirit of discernment that she chose the older rule, in accordance with which she accepts the baptism of the other Churches [sic], merely chrismating those who join when they renounce their patrimonial beliefs with a written statement and confess those of the Orthodox faith.’’[317] Later, though, speaking ‘’about the attitude of the Orthodox Churches outside Russia,’’ and advocating the necessity of exercising acrivia on the Latins, he asks: ‘’What are we to do about the aspersion? shall we receive them who were never baptized at all?’’[318] And elsewhere, addressing the recipient A. Stourzas, he openly recommends to the ‘’local servants and ministers of the Church’’ in Russia to do the opposite, that is to exercise acrivia![319]


[313] O, p. 513; cf. p. 486f.

[314] Ibid.

[315] O, p. 514.

[316] He was receiving a lifetime pension from Russia.

[317] O, pp. 486-487.

[318] O, p. 489.

[319] O, p. 480f. Oikonomos maintained that if economia be deemed necessary by an ‘’Ecumenical Council,’’ ‘’in any case, the Church of Christ shall do what is deemed right.’’ And he continues: ‘’The individual servants and ministers of the Church… speaking what befits sound doctrine…shall not act unjustly towards the most sacred rules of our Fathers on account of the reconciliation of those who had been separated, by spinning flax and wool together, and by accepting what is vainly propounded by the heterodox in defense and justification of the unlawful innovations which have been dared by them… And when they, who from heresies wish to come over to Orthodoxy, for one reason or another request the concession and economia regarding baptism, to them the approved and unashamed laborer of God shall unadulteratedly teach aright the word of truth when he catechizes them, gently instructing and reminding them that it is not arrogance which prescribes the divine laws and resolves the restitution by rejection.’’


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Article published in English on: 14-9-2007.

Last Update: 15-9-2007.