OCA Guidelines for Reception of Converts
The following directions, from the Guidelines for Clergy (Orthodox Church in America, 1998), address various issues surrounding the reception of converts and are considered normative for our practice at Christ the Savior Orthodox Church.
- After the established catechetical instruction as been administered, non-Chalcedonians are to be received through Holy Confession, Penance, Confession of the Orthodox faith, and the reception of the Holy Eucharist. These include Monophysites (Armenians, Copts, Ethiopians, and Syro-Jacobites), and Nestorians.
- Catechumens who previously have been baptized in the name of the Holy Trinity in a manner recognized as authenticate by the Church, after having completed the established catechetical instruction and making a personal affirmation of the Orthodox faith, are received through the Mysteries of Penance, Chrismation, and Holy Eucharist according to the prescribed ritual. This group includes Roman Catholics and some Protestants.
- Catechumens from non-Christian religions who do not believe in the Holy Trinity, or from those that do not baptize with water in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, are to be received into the Church through the Mysteries of Baptism, Chrismation, and Holy Eucharist. This is preceded by an adequate period of catechetical instruction as determined by the local hierarch. This group includes Baptists, Buddhists, Jews, etc.
- Catechumens from all non-Trinitarian groups and cults, including Christian Scientists, Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons, Quakers, Unitarians, and adherents of Bah’ai, Unification, and Unity, must be baptized.
- In any case of doubt as to the rite of the reception to follow, or doubt about a prior baptism, the hierarch must be consulted. In instances of reasonable doubt about a prior baptism, after approval is given by the hierarch, the Office of Holy Baptism is performed conditionally with addendum: "if not already baptized, the servant of God, (Name), is baptized…" (Holy Apostles, c. 49).
- After having performed the prescribed rites of reception, the priest must enter the required information in the parish metrical book.