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The Patristic View of the Baptism of Heretics

Excerpt from the Synaxarion (Lives of the Saints) of the Orthodox Church and the Procatecheis of St. Cyril of Jerusalem

SYNAXARION for December 7th

Verse

The woman hated the doctrine of the wicked-minded * Wondrously she endured burning. O what manliness!

On December seventh, we celebrate the memory of a certain Orthodox woman of Rome. Her name is unknown to us, but we must surely call her blessed. In the year 474, the Arians raised up a terrible persecution against the Orthodox Catholic Christians. Sunilda, the wife of the Arian ruler of Rome, took it upon herself to attempt to force one Orthodox woman to accept the baptism of the Arians. The woman would not consent, so the Arians seized her, took her by force to one of their churches, and immersed her into the water in the presence of the Arian bishop. As she came out of the water, she turned to her handmaid who was holding a purse. She took two coins out of the purse, handed them to the Arian bishop, and said to him, “Thanks for the bath.” This so enraged the Arians, they dragged her out of their temple, tied her to a post, and burned her alive. Through her holy intercessions, O God, have mercy and save us. Amen.

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On the One Baptism and the Baptism of Heretics, from the Procatechesis (7) of St. Cyril of Jerusalem

"The washing (of baptism) is not received two or three times. In such a case it might be said, 'Failing once, I will do it successfully a second time.' But if you fail the first time, there is no making it right. 'For there is one Lord, and one faith, and one baptism'" (Eph 4.5). For only heretics are re-baptized, since their former baptism was not really baptism."

(Οὐκ ἔνι δὶς καὶ τρὶς λαβεῖν τὸ λουτρόν· ἐπεὶ ἦν εἰπεῖν· Ἅπαξ ἀποτυχών, δεύτερον κατορθῶ· ἐὰν δὲ τὸ ἅπαξ  ἀποτύχῃς, ἀδιόρθωτον τὸ πρᾶγμα. «Εἷς γὰρ κύριος, καὶ μία πίστις, καὶ ἓν βάπτισμα·» μόνον γὰρ αἱρετικοί τινες ἀναβαπτίζονται, ἐπειδὴ τὸ πρότερον οὐκ ἦν βάπτισμα.)

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Posted on January 25th, 2018

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