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The Stance of St Iakovos of Euboea on the Reception of Converts and the Baptism of the Heterodox

- Dr. Nicholas Baldimtsis

The entire wondrous life of Elder Iakovos, with his spiritual and bodily struggles, was based on his Orthodox faith. Particular events and practices of the wise and discerning Elder confirm the precise observance of the dogmatic teaching of the Church. The Elder taught in practice. Let’s refer to one of the many such examples.

When an adherent of Catholicism expressed a desire to become Orthodox, he told him, “what prevents you to be baptized” (Acts 8:36). Out of respect to the ecclesiastical hierarchy he counseled us to go to the bishop of the area and to announce the man’s decision. “You will go to the bishop who, immediately upon hearing of your decision, will rise from his throne and embrace you, my child, out of joy that you want to become Orthodox.” In saying this, he was actually describing his own spiritual state and desire.

To our great surprise we were not able to even see the face of the Bishop! Through his Deacon he communicated to us that, according to a decision of the Holy Synod [of the Church of Greece], the baptism of Latins is valid and does not need to be repeated. He simply needs to sign a written confession and the Mystery of Chrismation is be performed.

When we informed the Elder of this, he said: I don’t know what the Holy Synod decided. I know what the Gospel says: “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved” (Mark 16:16). He said this and went and brought a large baptismal font, appropriate for adults, from nearby Limni, Euboea. In the chapel of St. Haralambos, which was the cell of Saint David of Euboea, the Holy Elder performed the Mystery of Baptism with great splendor, and also the Mystery of Chrismation according to the Orthodox typikon, with help of the Archimandrite Father Paul Ioannou, his spiritual child, who later became the Metropolitan of Siatista. I, who write these words, was The Godfather (sponsor).

- An excerpt from the Synaxarion of our Venerable and God-bearing Father Iakovos of Euboea, by Dr. Nicholas Baldimtsis, Volos, Greece

Posted on April 24th, 2021

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