about infant baptism?]
How do we understand Initiation?
The rite of initiation is the primary rite of the
church. It combines seven holy Sacraments into one occasion - once in a
Initiation marks the devotee's entry to, and access
to that circle in the Church where the secrets of the becoming-in-Christ
(Gk. Gignestai) is shared most intimately. This sharing takes place
between devotees and their teachers, God our Holy Mother and Holy Father and
Christ the Son our Lord.
Where does this Rite originate from?
We can see the development of this Rite in the Acts
of Thomas. In the beginning of this Acts the procedure of Baptism is not
very clear except that devotees are naked, water is used and the two aspects
of God, Holy Spirit and Holy Mother is invoked.
Later on in the book we see how the instructions
become more defined. St. Thomas performs Initiations, which include baptism,
anointing, acceptance into the fellowship, and the Mystery Meal.
Baptism is performed by St. Thomas either in a
river or from a city fountain or in a room by means of using water from a
beaker. Devotees strip themselves of their old coverings and present
themselves naked before God for the sacrament. The baptism is a dual one -
of fire and Spirit (male) and water and Wisdom (female), of God the Holy
Father and God the Holy Mother. After baptism the anointing is done. A new
covering is presented to the initiate and s/he is symbolically reborn and
clothed again in a new body. Immediately after this the initiate and the
parties present partake of the Mystery of Mysteries, the five thousand
year-old rite of sharing bread and wine in holy intention.
Church of the East takes from its Scriptures the
formulae for Initiation. Although some of the elements of this Rite are
older than history itself (more than 5 000 years) the specific combination
of the elements of the Rite dates back to the first half of the first
century when St. Thomas ministered in India. This is the specific and unique
rite which Church of the East regards to be holy Tradition on which the
Church was founded.
We regard the heritage to be of historical
importance in the sense that the illusion which time is, is shattered for a
brief moment during this rite.
The initiate and the selected audience partakes in
the heritage, standing in this alongside the legends of time Artemis,
Dionysus, Demeter, the rich Zoroastrian tradition and Abraham as he receives
the bread and wine from his priest Melchizedek, and Yesu as he prepares the
meal for his disciples. The passage of Time is of no consequence as ancient
Truth unfolds from the same coverings which the Therapeutae, the Essene, the
White Brotherhood, the Nazoraens and the Magadhalenes wrought their secrets.
From that moment on the devotee aspires to walk the
inner Way under guidance of teachers. The inner-way, esoterics and the
mystical teachings of Scripture are now of a prime importance in the
We learn from St. Thomas that Initiation is also
practical and not only powerful in symbolism.
At Initiation the Seal is conferred on the disciple
by the Energies of God. The Seal is received during the Initiation ceremony.
It is a free gift given by God and is not received from the Church, the
priest or through any of the rites.
The Seal is received by the spirit child which
reaches out to its Spirit Father and Mother - it is a movement into the
circle of our Father's protection and into the circle our Mother's nurture
and into the circle of our Brother Christ's loving guidance.
This Seal on our spirit is one of protection,
nurture and guidance and it equips us with spiritual insight, spiritual
awareness, spiritual gifts, and spiritual powers which are needed as weapons
and a shield against one's two great enemies - one-self and those entities
of evil-intent which are set to waylay us from our prosperous inheritance.
As Christians we feel confident to wage this war, to run this race, with
Christ as our yoke-fellow and battle partner. As Arjuna had Christ as the
driver of his chariot (body and soul vehicle), we also receive this gift
when we receive the Seal from God. Christ becomes the driver of our
Initiation is a solemn rite which is duly prepared
for by the initiate, the initiate's spiritual director and the initiating
priest. The rite of Initiation customarily takes place in the district's
main church. Initiation consists of seven aspects: Desire, Preparation,
Renunciation, Baptism, Anointing, partaking in the Mystery Meal,
We do not baptize infants because we believe that
mysteries such Baptism should be partaken of by devotees who chose the Way
and who will look to the mystical moment of the sacrament as a regeneration
and new departure in life.
Church of the East has a special sacrament when
babies or children are named in church, before his/her extended spiritual
family. This basically involves the new mother and her child to go forward,
where the priest will pray over the child and introduce them to the rest of
the community. The priest asks the people to accept the children amongst
This is also a thanksgiving service for the mother
and the father new child in the family.
print this page
Copyright © 2001
Church of the East (Canada) Inc.. All rights