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Two Traditions Of The Sacraments Of Initiation: East And West

929 words - 4 pages

When it comes to the Sacraments of Initiation, that is Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist, the Eastern Church and the Western Church have taken different paths in regards to when the Sacraments of Initiation are administered. To understand the development of these two distinct traditions we have to look at the history that surrounds the Churches and the Sacraments of Initiation themselves. It is easy for one to assume that it was the Great Schism in 1054 that led to the differences in administering the Sacraments of Initiation but the differences actually started much farther back than that.
During the early centuries of the Church, Confirmation was almost always celebrated in conjunction ...view middle of the document...

In 867 the Patriarch of Constantinople, St. Photius, argued the following:
The first error of the Westerners was to compel the faithful to fast on Saturdays. (I mention this seemingly small point because the least departure from Tradition can lead to a scorning of every dogma of our Faith.) Next, they convinced the faithful to despise married presbyters, thereby sowing in their souls the seeds of the Manichean heresy. Likewise, they persuaded them that all who had been chrismated by presbyters had to be anointed again by bishops. In this way, they hoped to show that Chrismation by presbyters had no value, thereby ridiculing this divine and supernatural Christian Mystery. From whence comes this law forbidding presbyters to anoint with Holy Chrism? From what lawgiver, Apostle, Father, or Synod? For, if a presbyter cannot chrismate the newly-baptized, then surely neither can he baptize. Or, how can a presbyters consecrate the Body and Blood of Christ our Lord in the Divine Liturgy if, at the same time, he cannot chrismate with Holy Chrism? If this grace then, is taken from the presbyters, the episcopal rank is diminished, for the bishop stands at the head of the choir of presbyters.
Ratramnus of Corbie, a ninth century monk French monk argued in favor of the position of the Western Church. He said that it has to be the bishop that confirms because the bishop ordains (Holy Orders) and Confirmation is the ordination of the laity. He also said that it is the sacramental celebration of the priesthood of the people of God and the universal priesthood of the faithful.
The practice of administering both sacraments at once in the Eastern Churches gives a greater emphasis on...

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