Gleanings from Orthodox Christian Authors and the Holy Fathers

baptism

173 Entries

"The Church was redeemed at the price of Christ's blood. Jew or Greek, it makes no difference; but if he has believed, he must circumcise himself from his sins [in baptism Col. 2:11-12)] so that he can be saved . . . for no one ascends into the kingdom of heaven except through the sacrament of baptism. . . . `Unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God'"



'I have heard, sir,' said I, 'from some teacher, that there is no other repentance except that which took place when we went down into the water and obtained the remission of our former sins.' He said to me, 'You have heard rightly, for so it is'" The Shepherd ofHermas (80 AD), 4:3:1

...from the instant we are baptized, grace is hidden in the depths of the intellect, concealing its presence even from the perception of the intellect itself. When someone begins, however, to love God with full resolve, then in a mysterious way, by means of intellectual perception, grace communicates something of its riches to his soul. Then, if he really wants to hold fast to this discovery, he joyfully starts longing to be rid of all his temporal goods, so as to acquire the field in which he has found the hidden treasure of life (cf. Matt. 13:44). This is because, when someone rids himself of all worldly riches, he discovers the place where the grace of God is hidden. For as the soul advances, divine grace more and more reveals itself to the intellect. St. Diadochos of Photiki (On Spiritual Knowledge no. 77)

...since man is of twofold nature, soul and body, the purification [of baptism] also is two-fold, the one incorporeal for the incorporeal part, and the other bodily for the body: the water cleanses the body, and the Spirit seals the soul; that we may draw near unto God, 'having our heart sprinkled' by the Spirit, 'and our body washed with pure water' (Heb. 10:22). When going down, therefore, into the water, think not of the bare element, but look for salvation by the power of the Holy Spirit: for without both you cannot possibly be made perfect. It is not I that say this, but the Lord Jesus Christ, who has the power in this matter: for He says, 'Except a man be born anew', and He adds these words, 'of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God'. St. Cyril of Jerusalem (Catechetical Lectures: Lecture 3 no. 4)

...when a wound has gone deep into the body, even if there has been a healing, the scar remains, so sin wounds soul and body, and the marks of its scars remain in all; and they are removed only from those who receive the washing of Baptism. The past wounds therefore of soul and body God heals by Baptism; against future ones let us one and all jointly guard ourselves, that we may keep this vestment of the body pure, and may not for practicing fornication and sensual indulgence or any other sin for a short season, lose the salvation of heaven, but may inherit the eternal kingdom of God; of which may God, of His own grace, deem all of you worthy. St. Cyril of Jerusalem (Catechetical Lectures: Lecture 18 no. 20)

...when you have been deemed worthy of the grace [of baptism], He [Christ] then gives you strength to wrestle against the adverse powers. For as after His baptism He was tempted forty days (not that He was unable to gain the victory before, but because He wished to do all things in due order and succession), so you likewise, though not daring before your baptism to wrestle with the adversaries, yet after you have received the grace and are henceforth confident in 'the armor of righteousness' (2 Cor. 6:7), must then do battle, and preach the Gospel, if you will. St. Cyril of Jerusalem (Catechetical Lectures: Lecture 3 no. 13)

10. If any man receive not Baptism, he hath not salvation; except only Martyrs, who even without the water receive the kingdom. For when the Saviour, in redeeming the world by His Cross, was pierced in the side, He shed forth blood and water; that men, living in times of peace, might be baptized in water, and, in times of persecution, in their own blood. For martyrdom also the Saviour is wont to call a baptism, saying, Can ye drink rite cup which I drink, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with[1]? And the Martyrs confess, by being made a spectacle unto the world, and to Angels, and to men[2] Catechetical Lectures Of Our Holy Father, Cyril, Archbishop Of Jerusalem - Lecture 3. On Baptism

13. Moreover, when thou hast been deemed worthy of the grace, He then giveth thee strength to wrestle against the adverse powers. For as after His Baptism He was tempted forty days (not that He was unable to gain the victory before, but because He wished to do all things in due order and succession), so thou likewise, though not daring before thy baptism to wrestle with the adversaries, yet after thou hast received the grace and art henceforth confident in the armor of righteousness[4], must then do battle, and preach the Gospel, if thou wilt.*** Catechetical Lectures Of Our Holy Father, Cyril, Archbishop Of Jerusalem - Lecture 3. On Baptism

2. If any here is a slave of sin, let him promptly prepare himself through faith for the new birth into freedom and adoption; and having put off the miserable bondage of his sins, and taken on him the most blessed bondage of the Lord, so may he be counted worthy to inherit the kingdom of heaven. First Catechetical Lecture Of Our Holy Father Cyril, Archbishop Of Jerusalem, To Those Who Are To Be Enlightened, Delivered Extempore At Jerusalem, As An Introductory Lecture To Those Who Had Come Forward For Baptism

256 AD Cyprian of Carthage "[I]t behooves those to be baptized ... so that they are prepared, in the lawful and true and only baptism of the holy Church, by divine regeneration, for the kingdom of God . . . because it is written `Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God'" St Cyprian of Carthage (253 AD)72[73]:21).

5. But if any one wishes to know why the grace is given by water and not by a different element, let him take up the Divine Scriptures and he shall learn. For water is a grand thing, and the noblest of the four visible elements of the world. Heaven is the dwelling-place of Angels, but the heavens are from the waters[4]: the earth is the place of men, but the earth is from the waters: and before the whole six days' formation of the things that were made, the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the water[5]. The water was the beginning of the world, and Jordan the beginning of the Gospel tidings: for Israel deliverance from Pharaoh was through the sea, and for the world deliverance from sins by the was of water with the word[6] of God. Where a covenant is made with any, there is water also. After the flood, a covenant was made with Noah: a covenant for Israel from Mount Sinai, but with water, and scarlet wool, and hyssop[7]. Elias is taken up, but not apart from water: for first he crosses the Jordan, then in a chariot mounts the heaven. The high-priest is first washed, then offers incense; for Aaron first washed, then was made high-priest: for how could one who had not yet been purified by water pray for the rest? Catechetical Lectures Of Our Holy Father, Cyril, Archbishop Of Jerusalem - Lecture 3. On Baptism

9. Let thy feet hasten to the catechisings; receive with earnestness the exorcisms[3]: whether thou be breathed upon or exorcised, the act is to thee salvation. Suppose thou hast gold unwrought and alloyed, mixed with various substances, copper, and tin, and iron, and lead: we seek to have the gold alone; can gold be purified from the foreign substances without fire? Even so without exorcisms the soul cannot be purified; and these exorcisms are divine, having been collected out of the divine Scriptures. Procatechesis, Or, Prologue To The Catechetical Lectures Of Our Holy Father, Cyril, Archbishop Of Jerusalem

Baptism Forgives all sins

15. Make ready then the vessel of thy soul, that thou mayest become a son of God, and an heir of God, and joint-heir with Christ[9]; if, indeed, thou art preparing thyself that thou mayest receive; if thou art drawing nigh in faith that thou mayest be made faithful; if of set purpose thou art putting off the old man. For all things whatsoever thou hast done shall be forgiven thee, whether it be fornication, or adultery, or any other such form of licentiousness. What can be a greater sin than to crucify Christ? Yet even of this Baptism can purify. For so spoke Peter to the three thousand who came to him, to those who had crucified the Lord, when they asked him, saying, Men and brethren, what shall we do[1]? For the wound is great. Thou hast made us think of our fall, O Peter, by saying, Ye killed the Prince of Life[2]. What salve is there for so great a wound? What cleansing for such foulness? What is the salvation for such perdition? Repent, saith he, and be baptized every one in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost[3]. Catechetical Lectures Of Our Holy Father, Cyril, Archbishop Of Jerusalem - Lecture 3. On Baptism



Abba Gregory said, 'These three things God requires of all the baptized: right faith in the heart, truth on the tongue, temperance in the body.' Gregory the Theologian in The Desert Christian

According to Job, there was in the waters the dragon that 'draws up Jordan into his mouth' (Job 40:23). Since, therefore, it was necessary to 'break the heads of the dragon in pieces, (Ps. 74:14), He [Christ] went down and bound the strong one in the waters [of His baptism], that we might receive power to 'tread upon serpents and scorpions (Luke 10:19). The beast was great and terrible. 'No fishing-vessel was able to carry one scale of his tail (Job 40:26 LXX) destruction ran before him' (Job 41:13 LXX), ravaging all that met him. The Life encountered him, that the mouth of Death might henceforth be stopped, and all we that are saved might say, 'O death, where is your sting? O grave where is your victory?' (I Cor 15:55). The sting of death is drawn by Baptism. St. Cyril of Jerusalem (Catechetical Lectures: Lecture 3 no. 11)

After His resurrection He promises in a pledge to His disciples that He will send them the promise of His Father; and lastly, He commands them to baptize into the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost, not into a unipersonal God. And indeed it is not once only, but three times, that we are immersed into the Three Persons, at each several mention of Their names" 211 AD Tertullian Against Praxeas 26).

After the foregoing instructions, baptize in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, in living [running] water. If you have no living water, then baptize in other water, and if you are not able in cold, then in warm. If you have neither, pour water three times on the head, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Before baptism, let the one baptizing and the one to be baptized fast, as also any others who are able. Command the one who is to be baptized to fast beforehand for one or two days" Didache 7:1

After the world had been hereupon set in order through its elements, when inhabitants were given it, 'the waters' were the first to receive the precept 'to bring forth living creatures.' Water was the first to produce that which had life, that it might be no wonder in baptism if waters know how to give life." Tertullian (140-230 AD), "On Baptism," Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 3, page 670) (not a church father)

Although we are baptized with water and the Spirit, the latter is much superior to the former, and is not therefore to be separated from the Father and-the Son. There are, however, many who, because we are baptized with water and the Spirit, think that there is no difference in the offices of water and the Spirit, and therefore think that they do not differ in nature. Nor do they observe that we are buried in the element of water that we may rise again renewed by the Spirit. For in the water is the representation of death, in the Spirit is the pledge of life, that the body of sin may die through the water, which encloses the body as it were in a kind of tomb, that we, by the power of the Spirit, may be renewed from the death of sin, being born again in God" Ambrose of Milan (381 AD), The Holy Spirit 1:6[75-76]).

And I said, 'I heard, sir, some teachers maintain that there is no other repentance than that which takes place, when we descended into the water and received remission of our former sin.' He said to me, 'That was sound doctrine which you heard; for that is really the case.'" Hermas, (200 AD) "The Shepherd," Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 2, pg. 22

And [Naaman] dipped himself . . . seven times in the Jordan' [2 Kgs. 5:14]. It was not for nothing that Naaman of old, when suffering from leprosy, was purified upon his being baptized, but [this served] as an indication to us. For as we are lepers in sin, we are made clean, by means of the sacred water and the invocation of the Lord, from our old transgressions, being spiritually regenerated as new-born babes, even as the Lord has declared: `Except a man be born again through water and the Spirit, he shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven'" St. Irenaeus of Lyons (190 AD), Fragment 34

And in the gospel our Lord Jesus Christ spoke with his divine voice, saying, `Except a man be born again of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.' . . . Unless therefore they receive saving baptism in the Catholic Church, which is one, they cannot be saved, but will be condemned with the carnal in the judgment of the Lord Christ" 256 AD Council of Carthage VII

And the bishop shall lay his hand upon them [the newly baptized], invoking and saying: 'O Lord God, who did count these worthy of deserving the forgiveness of sins by the laver of regeneration, make them worthy to be filled with your Holy Spirit and send upon them thy grace [in confirmation], that they may serve you according to your will" Hippolytus (215 AD), The Apostolic Tradition 22:1).

And the whole faith is summed up, and secured in this, that a Trinity should ever be preserved, as we read in the Gospel, 'Go ye and baptize all the nations in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost' (Matt. 28:19). And entire and perfect is the number of the Trinity. 361 AD St Athanasius the Great, On the Councils of Arminum and Seleucia 2:28).

And we, in receiving Baptism, . . . conceal ourselves in [the water] as the Savior did in the earth: and by doing this thrice we represent for ourselves that grace of the Resurrection which was wrought in three days. And this we do, not receiving the sacrament in silence, but while there are spoken over us the Names of the Three Sacred Persons on Whom we believed, in Whom we also hope, from Whom comes to us both the fact of our present and the fact of our future existence St. Gregory of Nyssa (383 AD), Sermon For the Day of Lights

And what need is there of many words, when it is possible to refute falsehood in few? We provide that those who year by year come up for holy baptism should carefully learn the faith set forth at Nicaea by the holy and blessed Fathers; and initiating them as we have been bidden, we baptize them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, pronouncing each name singly" 444 AD Theodoret of Cyr, Letters 145

Are we only dying with the Master and are we only sharing in His sadness? Most of all, let me say that sharing the Master's death is no sadness. Only wait a little and you shall see yourself sharing in His benefits. 'For if we have died with Him,' says St. Paul, `we believe that we shall also live together with Him.' For in baptism there are both burial and resurrection together at the same time. He who is baptized puts off the old man, takes the new and rises up, `just as Christ has arisen through the glory of the Father.' Do you see how, again, St. Paul calls baptism a resurrection? St. John Chrysostom, Baptismal Instructions

As many as are persuaded and believe that what we teach and say is true, and undertake to be able to live accordingly, are instructed to pray and to entreat God with fasting, for the remission of their sins that are past, we praying and fasting with them.

Then they are brought by us where there is water, and are regenerated in the same manner in which we were ourselves regenerated. For, in the name of God, the Father and Lord of the universe, and of our Savior Jesus Christ, and of the Holy Spirit, they then receive the washing with water. For Christ also said, 'Except ye be born again, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.'

Now, that it is impossible for those who have once been born to enter into their mothers' wombs, is manifest to all ... And for this we have learned from the apostles this reason. Since at our birth we were born without our own knowledge or choice, by our parents coming together, and were brought up in bad habits and wicked training; in order that we may not remain the children of necessity and of ignorance, but may become the children of choice and knowledge, and may obtain in the water the remission of sins formerly committed, there is pronounced over him who chooses to be born again, and has repented of his sins, the name of God the Father and Lord of the universe." Justin Martyr (110-165 AD), "First Apology," Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 1, pg. 183



As we are lepers in sin, we are made clean from our old transgressions by means of the sacred water and the invocation of the Lord. We are thus spiritually regenerated as newborn infants, even as the Lord has declared: 'Except a man be born again through water and the Spirit, he shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.'" Irenaeus, (120-205 AD ) "Fragments From Lost Writings", no. 34, Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 1, pg. 574

Aurelius of Utica said: Since the apostle says that we are not to communicate with other people's sins, what else does he do but communicate with other people's sins, who holds communion with heretics without the Church's baptism? And therefore I judge that heretics must be baptized, that they may receive forgiveness of their sins; and thus communion may be had with them." "The Seventh Council of Carthage Under Cyprian," (200-258 AD), Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 5, pg. 569.

Baptism does not destroy our self-will and willfulness but it frees us from the tyranny of the devil, who can no longer rule over us against our will. After baptism, it begins to lie within our will either of our own accord to obey the commandments of our Lord and God Jesus Christ, in Whose name we were baptized, or to deviate from the right path, and return again to the devil, our adversary and foe. St. Simeon the New Theologian (Practical and Theological Precepts no. 121, Writings from the Philokalia on Prayer of the Heart; Faber and Faber pg. 126)

Baptism does not destroy our self-will and willfulness but it frees us from the tyranny of the devil, who can no longer rule over us against our will. After baptism, it begins to lie within our will either of our own accord to obey the commandments of our Lord and God Jesus Christ, in Whose name we were baptized, or to deviate from the right path, and return again to the devil, our adversary and foe." St. Simeon the New Theologian (Practical and Theological Precepts no. 121, Writings from the Philokalia on Prayer of the Heart; Faber and Faber pg. 126)

Baptism does not take away our free will or freedom of choice, but gives us the freedom no longer to be tyrannized by the devil unless we choose to be. After baptism it is in our power either to persist willingly in the practice of the commandments of Christ, into Whom we were baptized, and to advance in the path of His ordinances, or to deviate from this straight way and to fall again into the hands of our enemy, the devil. St Symeon the New Theologian

Baptism in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost has Christ for its authority, not any man, whoever he may be; and Christ is the truth, not any man" Blessed Augustine,On Baptism, Against the Donatists 4:24[57]

Baptism itself is a corporal act by which we are plunged into the water, while its effect is spiritual, in that we are freed from our sins" Tertullian, (140-230 AD), Baptism 7:2) (not a church father)

Be ye likewise contented with one baptism alone, that which is into the death of the Lord [Rom. 6:3, Col. 2:12-13] . . . [H]e that out of contempt will not be baptized shall be condemned as an unbeliever and shall be reproached as ungrateful and foolish. For the Lord says, `Except a man be baptized of water and of the Spirit, he shall by no means enter into the kingdom of heaven.' And again, `He that believes and is baptized shall be saved, but he that believes not shall be damned'" [Mark 16:16] The Apostolic Constitutions (400 AD) 6:3:15

Being baptized, we are illuminated; illuminated, we become sons; being made sons, we are made perfect; being made perfect, we are made immortal... This work is variously called grace, and illumination, and perfection, and washing. Washing, by which we cleanse away our sins; grace, by which the penalties accruing to transgressions are remitted; and illumination, by which that holy light of salvation is beheld, that is, by which we see God clearly." Clement of Alexandria (150-200 AD), "The Instructor," Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 2, pg. 215

But as often as water is named alone in the Holy Scriptures, baptism is referred to, as we see intimated in Isaiah: 'Remember not,' says he, 'the former things, and consider not the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing, which shall now spring forth; and ye shall know it. I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the dry place, to give drink to my elected people, my people whom I have purchased, that they might show forth my praise.' There God foretold by the prophet, that among the nations, in places which previously had been dry, rivers should afterwards flow plenteously, and should provide water for the elected people of God, that is, for those who were made sons of God by the generation of baptism.... Christ... cries and says, 'If any man thirst, let him come and drink. He that believeth on me, as the Scripture saith, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.'

And that it might be more evident that the Lord is speaking there, not of the cup, but of baptism, the Scripture adds, saying, 'But this spake He of the Spirit, which they that believe on Him should receive.' For by baptism the Holy Spirit is received... As also, in another place, the Lord speaks to the Samaritan woman, saying, 'Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again; but whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him, shall not thirst for ever.' By which is also signified the very baptism of saving water, which indeed is once received, and is not again repeated.." St Cyprian of Carthage (200-258 AD ), "The Epistles of Cyprian," Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 5, pg. 360)



But if anyone wishes to know why the grace [of baptism] is given by water and not a different element, let him take up the Divine Scriptures and he shall learn. For water is a grand thing, and the noblest of the four visible elements of the world. Heaven is the dwelling-place of Angels, but the heavens are from the waters: the earth is the place of men, but the earth is from the waters: and before the whole six days' formation of the things that were made, 'the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the water' (Gen. 1:2). The water was the beginning of the world, and Jordan the beginning of the Gospel tidings: for Israel's deliverance from Pharaoh was through the sea, and the world's deliverance from sins 'by the washing of water with the word' (Eph. 5:26) of God. Where a covenant is made with any, there is water also. After the flood, a covenant was made with Noah: a covenant for Israel from Mount Sinai, but 'with water, and scarlet wool, and hyssop' (Heb. 9:19). Elias is taken up, but not apart from water: for he first crosses the Jordan, then in a chariot mounts the heaven. The high-priest is first washed, then offers incense; for Aaron first washed, then was made high-priest: for how could one who had not yet been purified by water pray for the rest? Also as a symbol of baptism there was a laver set apart within the Tabernacle. St. Cyril of Jerusalem (Catechetical Lectures: Lecture 3 no. 5)

But if the baptism of heretics can have the regeneration of the second birth, those who are baptized among them must be counted not heretics, but children of God. For the second birth, which occurs in baptism, begets sons of God." St Cyprian of Carthage (200-258 AD ), "The Epistles of Cyprian," Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 5, pg. 393)

But indeed you are worse than all heretics. For when many, as soon as their error is known, come over to you from them that they may receive the true light of the Church, you assist the errors of those who come, and, obscuring the light of ecclesiastical truth, you heap up the darkness of the heretical night; and although they confess that they are in sins, and have no grace, and therefore come to the Church, you take away from them remission of sins, which is given in baptism, by saying that they are already baptized and have obtained the grace of the Church outside the Church, and you do not perceive that their souls will be required at your hands when the day of judgment shall come." Firmilian, "The Epistles of Cyprian," Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 5, pg. 396)

But not yet perhaps is there formed upon your soul any writing good or bad; and you want to be written upon today . . . I will baptize you and make you a disciple in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost; and These Three have One common name, the Godhead. And you shall know, both by appearances and by words that you reject all ungodliness, and are united to all the Godhead" 380 AD St. Gregory Nazianz, Orations 40:45)

But they roll back an objection from that apostle himself, in that he said, 'For Christ sent me not to baptize;' as if by this argument baptism were done away! For if so, why did he baptize Gaius, and Crispus, and the house of Stephanas? However, even if Christ had not sent him to baptize, yet He had given other apostles the precept to baptize. But these words were written to the Corinthians in regard of the circumstances of that particular time; seeing that schisms and dissensions were agitated among them, while one attributes everything to Paul, another to Apollos. For which reason the 'peacemaking' apostle, for fear he should seem to claim all gifts for himself, says that he had been sent 'not to baptize, but to preach.' For preaching is the prior thing, baptizing the posterior. Therefore the preaching came first: but I think baptizing withal was lawful to him to whom preaching was." Tertullian, (140-230 AD), "On Baptism," Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 3, pg. 676) (not a church father)

But what a thing it is, to assert and contend that they who are not born in the Church can be the sons of God! For the blessed apostle sets forth and proves that baptism is that wherein the old man dies and the new man is born, saying, 'He saved us by the washing of regeneration.' But if regeneration is in the washing, that is, in baptism, how can heresy, which is not the spouse of Christ, generate sons to God by Christ? For it is the Church alone which, conjoined and united with Christ, spiritually bears sons; as the same apostle again says, 'Christ loved the Church, and gave Himself for it, that He might sanctify it, cleansing it with the washing of water.' If, then, she is the beloved and spouse who alone is sanctified by Christ, and alone is cleansed by His washing, it is manifest that heresy, which is not the spouse of Christ, nor can be cleansed nor sanctified by His washing, cannot bear sons to God." St Cyprian of Carthage (200-258 AD ),"The Epistles of Cyprian," Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 5, pg. 388)

But what a thing it is, to assert and contend that they who are not born in the Church can be the sons of God! For the blessed apostle sets forth and proves that baptism is that wherein the old man dies and the new man is born, saying, 'He saved us by the washing of regeneration.' But if regeneration is in the washing, that is, in baptism, how can heresy, which is not the spouse of Christ, generate sons to God by Christ?" St Cyprian of Carthage (200 AD), "The Epistles of Cyprian," Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 5, pg. 388)

But when the time began to draw near that what was wanting in the Mosaic institutions should be supplied, as we have said, and that the Prophet should appear, of whom he had foretold that He should warn them by the mercy of God to cease from sacrificing; lest haply they might suppose that on the cessation of sacrifice there was no remission of sins for them He instituted baptism by water amongst them, in which they might be absolved from all their sins on the invocation of His name. St.Clement of Alexandria (150-200 AD) "Recognitions of Clement," Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 8, pg. 88

But you will perhaps say, `What does the baptism of water contribute toward the worship of God?' In the first place, because that which has pleased God is fulfilled. In the second place, because when you are regenerated and born again of water and of God, the frailty of your former birth, which you have through men, is cut off, and so . . . you shall be able to attain salvation; but otherwise it is impossible. For thus has the true prophet [Jesus] testified to us with an oath: `Verily, I say to you, that unless a man is born again of water . . . he shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven'" Recognitions of Clement 6:9 221 AD

Caecilius of Bilta said: I know only one baptism in the Church, and none out of the Church. This one will be here, where there is the true hope and the certain faith. For thus it is written: 'One faith, one hope, one baptism;' not among heretics, where there is no hope, and the faith is false, where all things are carried on by lying." "The Seventh Council of Carthage Under Cyprian," (200-258 AD), September, 258 AD, Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 5, pg. 565)

Cleanse thy vessel, that thou mayest receive grace more abundantly. For though remission of sins is given equally to all, the communion of the Holy Ghost is bestowed in proportion to each man's faith. If thou hast labored little, thou receivest little; but if thou hast wrought much, the reward is great. Thou art running for thyself, see to thine own interest. First Catechetical Lecture Of Our Holy Father Cyril, Archbishop Of Jerusalem, To Those Who Are To Be Enlightened, Delivered Extempore At Jerusalem, As An Introductory Lecture To Those Who Had Come Forward For Baptism

Considering my character at the time, I used to regard it as a difficult matter that a man should be able to be born again. ... Or that a man who had been revived to a new life in the bath of saving water could be able to put off what he had formerly been-that he could be changed in heart and soul, while retaining his physical body. ... For as I myself was held in bonds by the innumerable errors of my previous life, from which I did not believe that I could by possibility be delivered, so I was disposed to acquiesce in my clinging vices, and because I despaired of better things, I used to indulge my sins as if they were actually a part of me, inherent in me. But later, by the help of the water of new birth, the stain of former years was washed away, and a light from above-serene and pure was infused into my reconciled heart. Then through the Spirit breathed from heaven, a second birth restored me to a new man." St Cyprian of Carthage (200-258 AD ), To Donatus sec. 3, "The Epistles of Cyprian," Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 5, pg. 276)

Dativus of Badis said: We, as far as in us lies, do not hold communion with heretics, unless they have been baptized in the Church, and have received remission of their sins." "The Seventh Council of Carthage Under Cyprian," (200-258 AD), Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 5, pg. 567)

Did you see how baptism is a cross? Learn that even Christ called baptism the cross when He used the name of baptism interchangeably [with that of the cross]. He called your baptism a cross. 'I call my baptism a cross,' he says. Where does He say this? 'I have a baptism to be baptized with, of which you do not know.' And how is it clear that He is speaking of the cross? The sons of Zebedee came up to Him - rather, the mother of the sons of Zebedee, saying 'Command that these my two sons may sit, one at thy right and and one at thy left hand, in thy kingdom.' A mother's request, even if it was an inconsiderate one! How then did Christ answer? 'Can you drink of the cup of which I am about to drink, and be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?' You see that He called the cross a baptism. St. John Chrysostom, Baptismal Instructions

Do not despair of whatever sins you may have committed since baptism and find yourself in true repentance, but await God's mercy. However many and however great and burdensome your sins may be, with God there is greater mercy. Just as His majesty is, so likewise is His mercy. Only guard yourself from sinning henceforth, and walk according to the aforementioned points. St. Tikhon of Zadonsk, Journey to Heaven

Faith and baptism are two kindred and inseparable ways of salvation: faith is perfected through baptism, baptism is established through faith, and both are completed by the same names. For as we believe in the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost, so are we also baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost; first comes the confession, introducing us to salvation, and baptism follows, setting the seal upon our assent" 367 AD St. Basil the Great, The Holy Spirit 12[28]).

Faith consists not only of being baptized in Christ, but also in fulfilling His commandments. Holy Baptism is perfect and gives us perfection, but does not make perfect those who do not follow the commandments. St. Mark the Ascetic

Felix of Bagai said: As, when the blind leads the blind, they fall together into the ditch; so, when the heretic baptizes a heretic, they fall together into death. And therefore a heretic must be baptized and made alive, lest we who are alive should hold communion with the dead. "The Seventh Council of Carthage Under Cyprian," (200-258 AD), Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 5, pg. 567)

For all things whatsoever thou hast done shall be forgiven thee, whether it be fornication, or adultery, or any other such form of licentiousness. What can be greater sin than to crucify Christ? Yet even of this Baptism can purify. For so spake Peter to the three thousand who came to him, to those who had crucified the Lord, when they asked him, saying, 'Men and brethren, what shall we do?' For the wound is great. Thou hast made us think of our fall, O Peter, by saying, 'Ye killed the Prince of Life.' What salve is there for so great a wound? What cleansing for such foulness? What is the salvation for such perdition? 'Repent,' saith he, 'and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.' O unspeakable lovingkindness of God! They have no hope of being saved, and yet they are thought worthy of the Holy Ghost. Thou seest the power of Baptism!" Cyril of Jerusalem 345 AD, "On Baptism," Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 7, pg. 16)

For he who has been sanctified, his sins being put away in baptism, and has been spiritually re-formed into a new man, has become fitted for receiving the Holy Spirit; since the apostle says, 'As many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.' St Cyprian of Carthage (200-258 AD ),"The Epistles of Cyprian," Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 5, pg. 387-388)

For prisoners, baptism is ransom, forgiveness of debts, the death of sin, regeneration of the soul, a resplendent garment, an unbreakable seal, a chariot to heaven, a royal protector, a gift of adoption" St Basil the Great (375 AD),Sermons on Moral and Practical Subjects 13:5).

For thus will it be most certainly agreed that the Church is formed out of His bones and flesh; and it was for this cause that the Word, leaving His Father in heaven, came down to be 'joined to His wife;' and slept in the trance of His passion, and willingly suffered death for her, that He might present the Church to Himself glorious and blameless, having cleansed her by the laver." St. Methodius (260-315 AD), "The Banquet of the Ten Virgins," 260 to 312 AD, Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 6, pg. 319)

For, if we do the will of Christ, we shall find rest; but if otherwise, then nothing shall deliver us from eternal punishment, if we should disobey His commandments. . . . [W]ith what confidence shall we, if we keep not our baptism pure and undefiled, enter into the kingdom of God? Or who shall be our advocate, unless we be found having holy and righteous works?' Second Clement 6:7, 115AD

From baptism we receive the Spirit of Christ. At that same moment in which the priests invoke the Spirit, heaven opens, and he descends and rests upon the waters, and those who are baptized are clothed in him. The Spirit is absent from all those who are born of the flesh, until they come to the water of rebirth, and then they receive the Holy Spirit. . . . [I]n the second birth, that through baptism, they receive the Holy Spirit" Aphraahat the Persian Sage (340 AD), Treatises 6:14:4

Grace has been given mystically to those who have been baptized into Christ; and it becomes active within them to the extent that they actively observe the commandments. Grace never ceases to help us secretly; but to do good - as far as lies in our power - depends on us. St. Mark the Ascetic (No Righteousness by Works no. 61)

Grace has been given mystically to those who have been baptized into Christ; and it becomes active within them to the extent that they actively observe the commandments. Grace never ceases to help us secretly; but to do good - as far as lies in our power - depends on us. St. Mark the Ascetic in The Philokalia, Vol. 1

Greater than baptism itself is the fountain of tears after baptism, even though it is somewhat audacious to say so. For baptism is the washing away of evils that were in us before, but sins committed after baptism are washed away by tears. As baptism is received in infancy, we have all defiled it, but we cleanse it anew with tears. And if God in His love for mankind had not given us tears, those being saved would be few indeed and hard to find. St. John Climacus, “The Ladder of Divine Ascent,” (Boston: Holy Transfiguration Monastery, 1978), Step 7: On Joy-Making Mourning

Happy is our sacrament of water, in that, by washing away the sins of our early blindness, we are set free and admitted into eternal life! A treatise on this matter will not be superfluous; instructing not only such as are just becoming formed in the faith ... The consequence is, that a viper of the Cainite heresy, lately conversant in this quarter, has carried away a great number with her most venomous doctrine, making it her first aim to destroy baptism. Which is quite in accordance with nature; for vipers and asps and serpents themselves generally do affect arid and waterless places. But we, little fishes after the example of our ikhthus, Jesus Christ, are born in water, nor have we safety in any other way than by permanently abiding in water; so that most monstrous creature, who had no right to teach even sound doctrine, knew full well how to kill the little fishes, by taking them away from the water!" Tertullian, (140-230 AD),On Baptism, Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 3, pg. 669.) (not a church father)

Happy is our sacrament of water, in that, by washing away the sins of our early blindness, we are set free and admitted into eternal life. . . . [But] a viper of the [Gnostic] Cainite heresy, lately conversant in this quarter, has carried away a great number with her most venomous doctrine, making it her first aim to destroy baptism--which is quite in accordance with nature, for vipers and asps . . . themselves generally do live in arid and waterless placees. But we, little fishes after the example of our [Great] Fish, Jesus Christ, are born in water, nor have we safety in any other way than by permanently abiding in water. So that most monstrous creature, who had no right to teach even sound doctrine, knew full well how to kill the little fishes -- by taking them away from the water!" Tertullian (203 AD), Baptism 1

He [Jesus] commanded them to baptize the Gentiles in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. How then do some say that though a Gentile be baptized . . . never mind how or of whom, so long as it be done in the name of Jesus Christ, the remission of sins can follow--when Christ himself commands the nations to be baptized in the full and united Trinity?" 253 AD Cyprian of Carthage, Letters 73:18).

Holy Baptism is like a door by which those that are baptized enter into the holy Church and become fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God (Eph. 2:19). And not just so, but before Baptism there are renunciations and vows:

1. We then renounced Satan and all his evil works. Satan is a wicked and evil spirit. He was created good by God, but he and those of like mind with him apostatized from Him, and so from light they became dark, and from good they became evil and wicked. His works are idolatry, pride, adultery, prodigality, all uncleanliness, slander, blasphemy and every sin; for he is the inventor of sin, and he beguiled our ancestors in paradise and led them into sin and apostasy from God. We renounce this wicked spirit and all his evil works before Baptism.

2. We renounce every vanity, pride and pomp of this world, as ones called to and renewed for everlasting life.

3. We promise to serve Christ the Son of God in faith and in truth together with the Father and the Holy Spirit, and to follow in His footsteps.

4. Thus we establish a covenant between God and us. We, who have renounced Satan, promise to serve God and be faithful to him. God accepts us in His supreme mercy and promises us an inheritance in everlasting life and the Kingdom, and washes us who are defiled by sin in the laver of Baptism. He sanctifies and justifies us, as the priest says over everyone who is baptized, Thou art washed, thou art sanctified, thou art justified (cf. I Cor. 6:11).

Beloved Christians, let us remember these renunciations and vows, and consider whether we keep them, for it is a grave thing to lie to God, and it is very dangerous to be found false before Him. Let us consider, then, whether any of us have not gone back to Satan, whether we have not renounced Christ and abandoned Him? Let us consider on whose side we find ourselves, on Satan's or on Christ's. One serves and belongs to him whose will he performs. He renounces Christ not only he who renounces His holy name and does not confess Him to be the Son of God and his Saviour, but also he who sins against conscience and recklessly breaks His holy commandments. This is the teaching of the Apostles. For the Apostle says, They profess that they know God; but in works they deny Him, and the rest (Tit. 1:16).

Do you see that people reject God in works too, and not just with their lips? Is anyone a prodigal, and does he commit adultery? He rejects Christ. Does anyone hate his neighbor and seek him out to harm him? He has apostatized from Christ. Does anyone steal; does he rob and take away his neighbor's goods? He has departed from Christ. Does anyone deceive and flatter his neighbor? He is no longer with Christ, but in all these things he submits to the enemy of salvation, and so he does not stand in the promises which he made to God, and so he has lied to God. Let us examine then, beloved, our conscience and our life. To which side do we belong, to Christ's or to His enemy's? To the good, or to the evil? To the lot of the saved or to that of the lost? He that is not with Christ is the enemy of Christ. For Christ Himself said, He that is not with Me is against Me (Matt. 12:30).

Beloved, let us watch ourselves and let us be with Christ here in this world, as we have vowed at Baptism: let us be with Christ here that we may be with Christ in the age to come, according to His promise that cannot lie, Where I am, there shall also My servant be (John 12:26). Let us serve Him here as our King and God, that on the Day of Judgment He will acknowledge us as His laborers and number us with His faithful servants and open unto us the doors of everlasting joy. Remember the vows made at Baptism.

So that you may act on the aforementioned points, you must remember the vows you made at holy Baptism. For though not you yourself but your sponsor made those vows before God on your behalf, you promised then, spitting on Satan, and on his pride, and on his service, and on his evil works-you promised, I say-and vowed to serve Jesus Christ your Lord and Redeemer in faith and in truth, together with the Father and the Holy Spirit.

Consider, Christian, what vows you made and to Whom. It is a grievous thing to lie to a man; how incomparably more grievous it is to lie to God. God is not mocked (Gal. 6:7). When a Christian does not stand on his promises and does not keep them, what mercy, then, should he expect from God, to Whom he lied? He that keeps his promises shall find himself in God's mercy and in His Kingdom. He remains faithful to God, and God will hold him in mercy and in His protection as His own. And this is what the prophet sings to God, With the holy man wilt Thou be holy, and with the innocent man wilt Thou be innocent. And with the elect man wilt Thou be elect, and with the perverse wilt Thou be perverse (Ps. 17:26-27).

Christians! All they that commit iniquity and act against their conscience do not keep their vows. These include fornicators, adulterers, and all defilers, robbers, thieves, brigands, the sly, and crafty, deceivers and the guileful, revilers and men of evil speech, drunkards, fault finders, the hateful, and the malicious; they that live in the pride and pomp of this world, and all that do not fear God. They have all lied to God and have not kept their vows, and are outside of the holy Church, though they may even go to churches and pray and receive the Mysteries and build churches and adorn them and display other signs of a Christian. Since they shall be powerfully put to the test at the Judgment of Christ and tormented more there than Turks and idolaters, avoid these deeds, Christian and do not imitate the aforementioned doers of iniquity, lest you be condemned with them to eternal fire by the just judgment of God, where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched (Mark 9:44, 46, 48), but by all means endeavor so to live and act as the word of God teaches, as was said above. Keep in mind those vows of yours, and this will guide you toward the Christian life and restrain you from every evil and do you good. If you notice that you do not keep those vows, then repent and begin the Christian life anew, lest you appear before God in a lie, and perish with liars.

The fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death (Apoc. 21:8). St. Tikhon of Zadonsk (A chapter from The Journey to Heaven, translated by Fr. George Lardas)



Holy Communion causes great progress in the life according to Christ. For what the external accidents of bread and wine effect in the body, the same is effected in the immaterial soul mystically and invisibly by the Body of Christ. And just as bread sustains and nourishes the body, so the Body of Christ sustains and nourishes our soul; and again, just as we are regenerated through Holy Baptism and receive the being of grace, in place of the being of sin which we had, so, as we are nourished by Holy Communion, we grow in the grace of God and make progress. St. Macarius of Corinth, Modern Orthodox Saints, V. 2

How mighty is the grace of water, in the sight of God and His Christ, for the confirmation of baptism! Never is Christ without water: if, that is, He is Himself baptized in water; inaugurates in water the first rudimentary displays of his power, when invited to the wedding; invites the thirsty, when He makes a discourse, to Himself being living water; approves, when teaching concerning love, among works of charity, the cup of water offered to a poor child; recruits His strength at a well; walks over the water; willingly crosses the sea; ministers water to his disciples.

Onward even to the passion does the witness of baptism last: while He is being surrendered to the cross, water intervenes; witness Pilate's hands: when He is wounded, forth from His side bursts water; witness the soldier's lance!... True and stable faith is baptized with water, unto salvation; pretended and weak faith is baptized with fire, unto judgment." Tertullian, (140-230 AD),, "On Baptism," Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 3, pg. 673, 674) (not a church father)



If any man does not receive baptism, he does not have salvation. The only exception is the martyrs, who, even without water, will receive baptism, for the Savior calls martyrdom a baptism [Mark 10:38]. . . . Bearing your sins, you go down into the water; but the calling down of grace seals your soul and does not permit that you afterwards be swallowed up by the fearsome dragon. You go down dead in your sins, and you come up made alive in righteousness" Cyril of Jerusalem 345 AD,Catechetical Lectures 3:10, 12).

If the only meaning of baptism were remission of sins, why would we baptize newborn children who have yet tasted of sins? But the mystery of baptism is not limited to this, it is a promise of future delights; it is the type of future resurrection, a communion with the Master’s passion, a participation in His resurrection, mantle of salvation, a tunic of gladness, a garment of light, or rather it is light itself. Theodoret of Cyrus

If we shall be eager to make brighter by good deeds the light within us -- I mean the grace of the Spirit -- so that it is never quenched, we shall enjoy the title of newly baptized for all times. But just as the sober and vigilant man whose conduct is worthy can continue to be a neophyte, so it is possible after a single day for a man to relax his vigilance and become unworthy of that title. St. John Chrysostom, Baptismal Instructions

If you... have unfeigned piety, the Holy Spirit comes down on you [at baptism]..., and a Father's voice sounds over you from on high - not, 'This is my Son,' but, 'This has now been made my son;' for the 'is' belongs to Him [Christ] alone, because 'In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God' (Jn. 1:1). To Him belongs the 'is', since He is always the Son of God: but to you 'has now been made:' since you have not the sonship by nature, but receive it by adoption. He eternally 'is;' but you receive the grace by advancement. St. Cyril of Jerusalem (Catechetical Lectures: Lecture 3 no. 14)

In regard to Baptism—baptize thus: After the foregoing instructions, baptize in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, in living water. If you have no living water, then baptize in other water; and if you are not able in cold, then in warm. If you have neither, pour three times on the head, in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Before the Baptism, let the one baptizing and the one to be baptized fast, as also any others who are able. Command the one who is to be baptized to fast beforehand for one or two days. The Didache, The Teaching Of The Twelve Apostle

In the Divine womb, that is, in the holy font, we freely receive perfect Divine grace. If after this we cover it over with the fog of passions, either through abuse of temporal things, or though excess of cares for worldly activities, it is possible, even after this, to regain possession of it, to restore its supernatural brightness and to see quite vividly its manifestation, by repentance and the fulfillment of commandments whose action is Divine. Grace manifests in proportion to each man's zeal in remaining faithful to faith, but above all through the help and benevolence of our Lord Jesus Christ. The Monks Callistus and Ignatius (Directions to Hesychasts no. 6, Writings from the Philokalia on Prayer of the Heart; Faber and Faber pg. 168)

In the Law, he that hath sin is punished; here, he that hath sins cometh and is baptized and is made righteous, and being made righteous, he liveth, being delivered from the death of sin... For in Baptism the sins are buried, the former things are blotted out, the man is made alive, the entire grace written upon his heart as it were a table." St John Chrysostom (387 AD), "Homilies on Second Corinthians," 390 AD, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 12, pg. 307)

In the sacred Mysteries, then, we depict His burial and proclaim His death. By them we are begotten and formed and wondrously united to the Savior, for they are the means by which, as St. Paul says, "in Him we live, and move, and have our being" (Acts 17:28). Baptism confers being and, in short, existence according to Christ. It receives us when we are dead and corrupted and first leads us into life. The anointing with chrism perfects him who has received [new] birth by infusing into him the energy that befits such a life. The Holy Eucharist preserves and continues this life and health, since the Bread of life enables us to preserve that which has been acquired and to continue in life. It is therefore by this Bread that we live and by the chrism that we are moved, once we have received being from the baptismal washing. In this way we live in God. St. Nicholas Cabasilas, The Life in Christ

In this manner then the three things by which they are signified came out from the Body: of the Lord: like as from the Body of the Lord sounded forth the command to "baptize the nations in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost." "In the name:" not, In the names: for "these Three are One," and One God is these Three. And if in any other way this depth of mystery which we read in John's letter can be expounded and understood agreeably with the Catholic faith, which neither confounds nor divides the Trinity, neither believes the substances diverse nor denies that the persons are three, it is on no account to be rejected Blessed Augustine,Against Maximin 2:22:3

In this present life, we may be born three times. First, when we are delivered from our mother's womb; thus coming from earth we again go to earth. The other two births cause us to ascend from earth to heaven. The one, wrought by divine grace, comes to us through Holy Baptism, which is true rebirth and regeneration. The third birth, wherein we now find ourselves, takes place through repentance, which is achieved by means of tears and good struggles. A fierce struggle have they that come to God in the monastic Schema, for at its very commencement, they will struggle in many labors; yet, they will also receive inexpressible joy. St. Syncletike of Alexandria, "The Lives of the Spiritual Mothers: An Orthodox Materikon of Women Monastics and Ascetics," (Buena Vista, Colorado: Holy Apostles Convent, 1991), p. 597

Jesus sanctified Baptism by being Himself baptized. If the Son of God was baptized, what godly man is he that despises Baptism? But He was baptized not that He might receive remission of sins, for He was sinless; but being sinless, He was baptized that He might give to them that are baptized a divine and excellent grace. For 'since the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise partook of the same' (Heb. 2:14), that having been made partakers of His presence in the flesh, we might be made partakers also of His Divine grace: thus Jesus was baptized, that thereby we again by our participation might receive both salvation and honor. St. Cyril of Jerusalem (Catechetical Lectures: Lecture 3 no. 11)

Let him, therefore, who is to be taught the truth in regard to piety be instructed before his baptism in the knowledge of the unbegotten God, in the understanding of His only begotten son, in the assured acknowledgment of the Holy Ghost.... Adore God, the Lord of the whole world, and thank Him for His creation, for His sending Christ His only begotten Son, that He might save man by blotting out his transgressions, and that He might remit ungodliness and sins, and might 'purify him from all filthiness of flesh and spirit,' and sanctify man according to the good pleasure of His kindness, that He might inspire him with the knowledge of His will, and enlighten the eyes of his heart to consider of His wonderful works, and make known to him the judgments of righteousness, that so he might hate every way of iniquity, and walk in the way of truth, that he might be thought worthy of the laver of regeneration, to the adoption of sons, which is in Christ, that 'being planted together in the likeness of the death of Christ,' in hopes of a glorious communication, he may be mortified to sin, and may live to God, as to his mind, and word, and deed, and may be numbered together in the book of the living. " Constitutions of the Holy Apostles, Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 7, pg. 475-476

Let none of you turn deserter. Let your baptism be your armor; your faith, your helmet; your love, your spear; your patient endurance, your panoply" St Ignatius of Antioch (110 AD),Letter to Polycarp 6

Let the laver be not for your body only, but also for the image of God in you; not merely a washing away of sins in you, but also a correction of your temper; let it not only wash away the old filth, but let it purify the fountainhead. Let it not only move you to honorable acquisition, but let it teach you also honorably to lose possession; or, which is more easy, to make restitution of what you have wrongfully acquired. For what profit is it that your sin should have been forgiven you, but the loss which you have inflicted should not be repaired to him whom you have injured? St. Gregory the Theologian, Oration on Holy Baptism.

Marcellus of Zama said: Since sins are not remitted saved in the baptism of the Church, he who does not baptize a heretic holds communion with a sinner." "The Seventh Council of Carthage Under Cyprian," (200-258 AD), Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 5, pg. 570)

Moreover, Christ Himself says: "I and the Father are One." "One," said He, that there be no separation of power and nature; but again, "We are," that you may recognize Father and Son, forasmuch as the perfect Father is believed to have begotten the perfect Son, and the Father and the Son are One, not by confusion of Person, but by unity of nature. We say, then, that there is one God, not two or three Gods" 379 AD Ambrose of Milan, The Faith 1:1[9-10])

Moreover, Peter himself... has commanded and warned us that we cannot be saved, except by the one only baptism of one Church. 'In the ark,' says he, 'of Noah, few, that is, eight souls, were saved by water, as also baptism shall in like manner save you.' In how short and spiritual a summary has he set forth the sacrament of unity! For as, in that baptism of the world in which its ancient iniquity was purged away, he who was not in the ark of Noah could not be saved by water, so neither can he appear to be saved by baptism who has not been baptized in the Church which is established in the unity of the Lord according to the sacrament of the one ark. St Cyprian of Carthage (200-258 AD ), "The Epistles of Cyprian," Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 5, pg. 389)

Moreover, those things which were created from the waters were blessed by God, so that this might also be a sign that men would at a future time receive repentance and remission of sins through water and the bath of regeneration all who proceed to the truth and are born again and receive a blessing from God 181 AD Theophilus of Antioch To Autolycus 12:16

Nemesianus of Thubunae said: That the baptism which heretics and schismatics bestow is not the true one, is everywhere declared in the Holy Scriptures, since their very leading men are false Christs and false prophets, as the Lord says by Solomon: 'He who trusteth in that which is false. he feedeth the winds...' And in the Gospel our Lord Jesus Christ spoke with His divine voice, saying, 'Except a man be born again of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.' This is the Spirit which from the beginning was borne over the waters; for neither can the Spirit operate without the water, nor the water without the Spirit." "The Seventh Council of Carthage Under Cyprian," (200-258 AD), Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 5, pg. 566.)

Nicanora having thus spoken, the Apostle Philip, along with Bartholomew and Mariamme and those with them, prayed for her to God, saying: Thou who bringest the dead to life, Christ Jesus the Lord, who hast freed us through baptism from the slavery of death, completely deliver also this woman from the error, the enemy; make her alive in Thy life, and perfect her in Thy perfection." "The Acts of Philip," Author unknown, Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 8, pg. 498)

Nicomedes of Segermae said: My opinion is this, that heretics coming to the Church should be baptized, for the reason that among sinners without they can obtain no remission of sins. "The Seventh Council of Carthage Under Cyprian," (200-258 AD), Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 5, pg. 567)

Not only is it wonderful that He forgives us our sins, but also that He neither uncovers them nor does He make them stand forth clearly revealed. Nor does He force us to come forward and publicly proclaim our misdeeds, but He bids us to make our defense to Him alone and to confess our sins to Him. And yet, if any judge of a worldly tribunal were to tell some captured highwayman or grave robber to confess his crime and be excused from paying the penalty, this prisoner would with all alacrity admit the truth and scorn the disgrace in his desire to go free. But this is not the case in baptism. God forgives our sins and does not force us to make a parade of them in the presence of others. He seeks one thing only: that he who benefits by the forgiveness may learn the greatness of the gift. St. John Chrysostom, Baptismal Instructions

Novatus of Thamugada said: Although we know that all the Scriptures give witness concerning the saving baptism, still we ought to declare our faith, that heretics and schismatics who come to the Church, and appear to have been falsely baptized, ought to be baptized in the everlasting fountain; and therefore, according to the testimony of the Scriptures, and according to the decree of our colleagues, men of most holy memory, that all schismatics and heretics who are converted to the Church must be baptized; and moreover, that those who appeared to have been ordained must be received among lay people. "The Seventh Council of Carthage Under Cyprian," (200-258 AD), September, 258 AD, Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 5, pg. 565)

Now God has ordered every one who worships Him to be sealed by baptism; but if you refuse, and obey your own will rather than God's, you are doubtless contrary and hostile to His will. But you will perhaps say, 'What does the baptism of water contribute towards the worship of God?'

In the first place, because that which hath pleased God is fulfilled. In the second place, because, when you are regenerated and born again of water and of God, the frailty of your former birth, which you have through men, is cut off, and so at length you shall be able to attain salvation; but otherwise it is impossible. For thus hath the true prophet testified to us with an oath: 'Verily I say to you, That unless a man is born again of water, he shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.'

Therefore make haste; for there is in these waters a certain power of mercy which was borne upon them at the beginning, and acknowledges those who are baptized under the name of the threefold sacrament, and rescues them from future punishments, presenting as a gift to God the souls that are consecrated by baptism. Betake yourselves therefore to these waters, for they alone can quench the violence of the future fire; and he who delays to approach to them, it is evident that the idol of unbelief remains in him, and by it he is prevented from hastening to the waters which confer salvation. St.Clement of Alexandria (150-200 AD) "Recognitions of Clement," Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 8, pg. 155



Now, regeneration is by water and spirit, as was all creation: 'For the Spirit of God moved on the deep.' And for this reason the Savior was baptized, though not Himself needing to be so, in order that He might consecrate the whole water for those who were being regenerated. Thus it is not the body only, but the soul, that we cleanse." "Excerpts of Theodotus," Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 8, pg. 44)

O Lord our God, we believe in you, the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. For the Truth would not say, Go, baptize all nations in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, unless Thou were a Trinity" Blessed Augustine, 15:28[51]

O strange and inconceivable thing! We did not really die, we were not really buried, we were not really crucified and raised again, but our imitation was but a figure, while our salvation is in reality. Christ was actually crucified, and actually buried, and truly rose again; and all these things have been vouchsafed to us, that we, by imitation communicating in His sufferings, might gain salvation in reality. O surpassing loving-kindness! Christ received the nails in His undefiled hands and feet, and endured anguish; while to me without suffering or toil, by the fellowship of His pain He vouchsafed salvation. St. Cyril of Jerusalem, On the Christian Sacraments

On the fifth day the living creatures which proceed from the waters were produced, through which also is revealed the manifold wisdom of God in these things; for who could count their multitude and various kinds? Moreover, the things proceeding from the waters were blessed by God, that this also might be a sign of men's being destined to receive repentance and remission of sins, through the water and laver of regeneration, as many as come to the truth, and are born again, and receive blessing from God." Theophilus (115-188), "To Autolycus", Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 2, pg. 101

Once, in the presence of the Emperor Julian the Apostate, a pagan, Porphyrius by name, wanted to amuse him with a mockery of Christian rites. Mimicking the Christians, he got into the water, immersed himself and pronounced: "The servant of God, Porphyrius, is baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit". And then what happened? By the grace of God, he suddenly confessed Christ as the true God, came to believe in Him and for his firm confession of the Christian faith endured torture and was put to death by command of Julian the Apostate. So powerful and great is the grace of the Holy Spirit that is communicated in Christian baptism, that it was well pleased to have mercy on even a most sacrilegious blasphemer of God, to enlighten him with the true knowledge of God and to crown him with the crown of blessed immortality for his martyric end. the life of St Porphyrius

Peter... said, 'In the ark of Noah, few, that is, eight souls, were saved by water; the like figure whereunto even baptism shall save you;' proving and attesting that the one ark of Noah was a type of the one Church. If, then, in that baptism of the world thus expiated and purified, he who was not in the ark of Noah could be saved by water, he who is not in the Church to which alone baptism is granted, can also now be quickened [made alive] by baptism. Moreover, too, the Apostle Paul, more openly and clearly still manifesting this same thing, writes to the Ephesians, and says, 'Christ loved the Church, and gave Himself for it, that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water.'" St Cyprian of Carthage (200-258 AD ),"The Epistles of Cyprian," Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 5, pg. 398)

Regard not the Laver [of baptism] as simple water, but rather regard the spiritual grace that is given with the water. For just as the offerings brought to the heathen altars, though simple in their nature, become defiled by the invocation of the idols (cf. I Cor. 10:20), so contrariwise the simple water having received the invocation of the Holy Spirt, and of Christ, and of the Father, acquires a new power of holiness. St. Cyril of Jerusalem (Catechetical Lectures: Lecture 3 no. 3)

Regard not the Layer as simple water, but rather regard the spiritual grace that is given with the water. For just as the offerings brought to the heathen altars[5], though simple in their nature, become defiled by the invocation of the idols[6], so contrariwise the simple water having received the invocation of the Holy Ghost, and of Christ, and of the Father, acquires a new power of holiness. Catechetical Lectures Of Our Holy Father, Cyril, Archbishop Of Jerusalem - Lecture 3 On Baptism

Regarding [baptism], we have the evidence of Scripture that Israel would refuse to accept the washing which confers the remission of sins and would set up a substitution of their own instead [Jer. 22:13; Is. 16:1 The Letter of Barnabas (75 AD ) 11:1

Repentance is the renewal of baptism. Repentance is a contract with God for a second life. A penitent is a buyer of humility. Repentance is constant distrust of bodily comfort. Repentance is self-condemning reflection, and carefree self- care. Repentance is the daughter of hope and the renunciation of despair. A penitent is an undisgraced convict. Repentance is reconciliation with the Lord by the practice of good deeds contrary to the sins. Repentance is purification of conscience. Repentance is the voluntary endurance of all afflictions. A penitent is the inflicter of his own punishments. Repentance is a mighty persecution of the stomach, and a striking of the soul into vigorous awareness. St John Climacus, "The Ladder of Divine Ascent", Step 5: On Painstaking and True Repentance Which Constitute the Life of the Holy Convicts (Boston: Holy Transfiguration Monastery, 1978)

Repentance is the renewal of baptism. Repentance is a contract with God for a second life. A penitent is a buyer of humility. Repentance is constant distrust of bodily comfort. Repentance is self-condemning reflection, and carefree self-care. Repentance is the daughter of hope and the renunciation of despair. A penitent is an undisgraced convict. Repentance is reconciliation with the Lord by the practice of good deeds contrary to the sins. Repentance is purification of conscience. Repentance is the voluntary endurance of all afflictions. A penitent is the inflicter of his own punishments. Repentance is a mighty persecution of the stomach, and a striking of the soul into vigorous awareness. St. John Climacus, Ladder of Divine Ascent, Step 5

Repentance is the renewal of baptism. Repentance is a contract with God for a second life. A penitent is a buyer of humility. Repentance is constant distrust of bodily comfort.. :.Repentance is the daughter of hope and the renunciation of despair .... Repentance is reconciliation with the Lord by the practice of good deeds contrary to the sins. Repentance is purification of conscience. Repentance is the voluntary endurance of all afflictions... St John Climacus - the Ladder of Divine Ascent

Since man is of a twofold nature, composed of body and soul, the purification also is twofold: the corporeal for the corporeal and the incorporeal for the incorporeal. The water cleanses the body, and the Spirit seals the soul. . . . When you go down into the water, then, regard not simply the water, but look for salvation through the power of the Spirit. For without both you cannot attain to perfection. It is not I who says this, but the Lord Jesus Christ, who has the power in this matter. And he says, `Unless a man be born again' and he adds the words `of water and of the Spirit' `he cannot enter the kingdom of God.' He that is baptized with water, but is not found worthy of the Spirit, does not receive the grace in perfection. Nor, if a man be virtuous in his deeds, but does not receive the seal by means of the water, shall he enter the kingdom of heaven. A bold saying, but not mine; for it is Jesus who has declared it" Cyril of Jerusalem 345 AD,Catechetical Lectures 3:4).

Since two aims are assumed in baptism - to exterminate the sinful body, so that it would no longer bear the fruits of death, and to revive the spirit, in order to have fruit in holiness - the water depicts death, receiving the body as though into the grave, while the Spirit communicates life-creating power, raising our souls up from sinful deadness to the original life - which also means to be born from above by water and the Spirit. St. Basil the Great

Since we consist of two natures, that is, of soul and body, of natures visible and invisible, so also the cleansing is two-fold, namely by water and the Spirit. And one is received visibly and bodily, while the other at the same time is performed invisibly and non-bodily; one is figurative, while the other is true and cleanses the very depths. St. Gregory the Theologian

Since, therefore, from the preaching and testimony of Christ Himself, the Father who sent must be first known, then afterwards Christ, who was sent, and there cannot be a hope of salvation except by knowing the two together; how, when God the Father is not known, nay, is even blasphemed, can they who among the heretics are said to be baptized in the name of Christ, be judged to have obtained the remission of sins?" St Cyprian of Carthage (200-258 AD ), "The Epistles of Cyprian," Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 5, pg. 383.)

Such is the grace and power of baptism; not an overwhelming of the world as of old, but a purification of the sins of each individual, and a complete cleansing from all the bruises and stains of sin. And since we are double-made, I mean of body and soul, and the one part is visible, the other invisible, so the cleansing also is twofold, by water and the spirit; the one received visibly in the body, the other concurring with it invisibly and apart from the body; the one typical, the other real and cleansing the depths" St Gregory Nazianz (388 AD), Oration on Holy Baptism 7-8).

That unless a man have been baptized and born again, he cannot attain unto the kingdom of God. In the Gospel according to John: 'Except a man be born again of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God [John 3:5] . . . ' Also in the same place: 'Unless ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink His blood, ye shall not have life in you' [John 6:53]. That it is of small account to be baptized and to receive the Eucharist, unless one profit by it both in deeds and works" Testimonies Concerning the Jews 3:2:25-26). 240 AD

The "Constitutions of the Holy Apostles" also refer to John 3:5. There, the one who refuses to be baptized is to be condemned as an unbeliever, partially on the basis of what Jesus told Nicodemos…. "He that, out of contempt, will not be baptized, shall be condemned as an unbeliever, and shall be reproached as ungrateful and foolish. For the Lord says: 'Except a man be baptized of water and of the Spirit, he shall by no means enter into the kingdom of heaven.' And again: 'He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved but he that believeth not shall be damned.'" Justin Martyr (110-165 AD) "Constitutions of the Holy Apostles," Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 7, pg. 456-457.

The Church received from the apostles the tradition of giving baptism even to infants. For the apostles, to whom were committed the secrets of divine mysteries, knew that there is in everyone the innate stains of sin, which are washed away through water and the Spirit" Origen, (248 AD), Commentaries on Romans 5:9).

The Father of immortality sent the immortal Son and Word into the world, who came to man in order to wash him with water and the Spirit; and He, begetting us again to incorruption of soul and body, breathed into us the Spirit of life, and endued us with an incorruptible panoply. If, therefore, man has become immortal, he will also be God. And if he is made God by water and the Holy Spirit after the regeneration of the laver he is found to be also joint-heir with Christ after the resurrection from the dead. Wherefore I preach to this effect: Come, all ye kindreds of the nations, to the immortality of the baptism" Hippolytus (215 AD),Discourse on the Holy Theophany 8).

The Holy Spirit, too, is numbered with the Father and the Son, because He is above creation, and is ranked as we are taught by the words of the Lord in the Gospel, "Go and baptize in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost." He who, on the contrary, places the Spirit before the Son, or alleges Him to be older than the Father, resists the ordinance of God, and is a stranger to the sound faith, since he fails to preserve the form of doxology which he has received, but adopts some new fangled device in order to be pleasing to men" 367 AD St. Basil the Great, Letters 52:4).

The Lord was baptized, not to be cleansed himself but to cleanse the waters, so that those waters, cleansed by the flesh of Christ which knew no sin, might have the power of baptism. Whoever comes, therefore, to the washing of Christ lays aside his sins Ambrose of Milan (381 AD), Commentary on Luke 2:83).

The Lord... has granted repentance at Baptism, in order that we may cast off the chief - nay rather the whole burden of our sins, and having received the seal by the Holy Ghost, may be made heirs of eternal life." Cyril of Jerusalem 345 AD, "On Baptism," Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 7, pg. 16)

The dispensation of our God and Saviour concerning man is a recall from the fall, and a return from the alienation caused by disobedience to close communion with God. This is the reason for the sojourn of Christ in the flesh, the pattern of life described in the Gospels, the sufferings, the cross, the tomb, the resurrection; so that the man who is being saved through imitation of Christ receives the old adoption. For perfection of life the imitation of Christ is necessary, not only in the example of gentleness, lowliness, and long suffering set us in His life, but also of His actual death. So Paul, the imitator of Christ, says, `being made conformable unto His death; if by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.' How then are we made in the likeness of His death? In that we were buried with Him by baptism. St. John Chrysostom, On The Holy Spirit

The gates of Paradise were opened for Adam, but it was fitting that they be closed when he fell from the state in which he ought to have remained. These gates Christ Himself opened, "Who committed no sin" (1Pet. 2:22) and cannot sin, for as it says, "His righteousness remaineth for ever" (Ps. 111:3). Wherefore they must of necessity remain open and lead to life, but without providing a way out of life, for "I came," says the Saviour, "that they might have life" (Jn. 10:10). This is the life which the Lord came to bring, that those who come through these Mysteries should be partakers of His death and share in His passion. Apart from this it is impossible to escape death. It is not possible for him who has not been "baptized in water and the Spirit" (Jn. 3:5) to enter into life, nor can those who have not eaten the Flesh of the Son of man and drunk His Blood have life in themselves (Jn. 6:24). Nicholas Cabasilas, The Life in Christ

The gift which we have received from Jesus Christ in holy baptism is not destroyed, but is only buried as a treasure in the ground. And both common sense and gratitude demand that we should take good care to unearth this treasure and bring it to light. This can be done in two ways. The gift of baptism is revealed first of all by a painstaking fulfillment of the commandments; the more we carry these out, the more clearly the gift shines upon us in its true splendor and brilliance. Secondly, it comes to light and is revealed through the continual invocation of the Lord Jesus, or by unceasing remembrance of God, which is one and the same thing. St. Gregory of Sinai in The Art of Prayer

The prescript is laid down that 'without baptism, salvation is attainable by none' chiefly on the ground of that declaration of the Lord, who says, 'Unless one be born of water, he hath not life.' Tertullian, (140-230 AD),On Baptism, Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 3, pg. 674-675) (not a church father)

Then Probus . . . leapt into the water, saying, Jesus Christ, son of God, and everlasting God, let all my sins be taken away by this water. And Paul said, We baptize thee in the name of the Father and Son and Holy Ghost. After this he made him to receive the Eucharist of Christ" 250 AD The Acts of Xantippe and Polyxena, Acts of Xantippe and Polyxena 21).

Then said Jesus unto them, I have been given all authority in heaven and earth; and as my Father has sent me, so I also send you. Go now into all the world, and preach my gospel in all the creation; and teach all the peoples, and baptize them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit; and teach them to keep all whatsoever I commanded you: and lo, I am with you all the days, unto the end of the world" 170 AD Tatian the Syrian The Diatesseron 55).

There is no other way [to obtain God's promises] than this - to become acquainted with Christ, to be washed in the fountain spoken of by Isaiah for the remission of sins, and for the remainder, to live sinless lives." Justin Martyr, Trypho chap. 44

This class of men have been instigated by Satan to a denial of that baptism which is regeneration to God, and thus to a renunciation of the whole faith." Irenaeus, (120-205 AD ) Against Heresies, bk. 1, chap. 21, sec. 1, Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 1, pg. 345.

This is in agreement to the context of the words of John the Baptist when he prophesied of the baptism of fire. Referring to Jesus, John said, "I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather His wheat into the barn; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire" Tertullian, (140-230 AD),comment on Matthew 3:11-12). (not a church father)

This then is what it means to be `born again of water and Spirit': Just as our dying is effected in the water [Rom. 6:3, Col. 2:12-13], our living is wrought through the Spirit. In three immersions and an equal number of invocations the great mystery of baptism is completed in such a way that the type of death may be shown figuratively, and that by the handing on of divine knowledge the souls of the baptized may be illuminated. If, therefore, there is any grace in the water, it is not from the nature of water, but from the Spirit's presence there" St Basil the Great (375 AD), The Holy Spirit, 15:35

This work is variously called grace, and illumination, and perfection, and washing. Washing, by which we cleanse away our sins. Grace, by which the penalties of our sins are canceled. And illumination, by which that holy light of salvation is beheld, that is, by which we see God clearly. St.Clement of Alexandria (150-200 AD) Instructor bk. 1, chap. 6)

Those who are convinced that what we teach is true and who desire to live accordingly are instructed to fast and to pray to God for the remission of all their past sins. We also pray and fast with them. Then we bring them to a place where there is water, and they are regenerated in the same manner in which we ourselves were regenerated. They then receive the washing with water in the name of God the Father and Lord of the universe and of our Savior Jesus Christ, and of the Holy Spirit. For Christ said, 'Unless you are born again, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven"' [John 3:5]. Justin Martyr, First Apology chant 61

Those who, though they have not received the washing of regeneration, die for the confession of Christ--it avails them just as much for the forgiveness of their sins as if they had been washed in the sacred font of baptism. For he that said, `If anyone is not reborn of water and the Spirit, he will not enter the kingdom of heaven,' made an exception for them in that other statement in which he says no less generally, `Whoever confesses me before men, I too will confess him before my Father, who is in heaven'" [Matt. 10:32] Blessed Augustine (419 AD), The City of God 13:7

To him who has been baptized into Christ grace has been mysteriously given already. But it acts in proportion to his fulfillment of commandments. Although this grace never ceases to help us in secret, it lies in our power to do or not to do good according to our own will.

In the first place, it fittingly arouses conscience, through which even evil-doers have been accepted by God when they repented.

Again, it may be concealed in the advice of a brother. Sometimes it follows thought during reading and teaches its truth to the mind by means of a natural deduction (from that thought). Thus, if we do not bury this talent bestowed upon us on these and similar occasions, we shall in truth enter into the joy of the Lord. St. Mark the Ascetic, "Early Fathers From the Philokalia," trans. by E. Kadloubovsky and G.E.H. Palmer, (London: Faber and Faber, Ltd., 1981), pp. 86 - 90



Victor of Gor said: Since sins are not remitted save in the baptism of the Church, he who admits a heretic to communion without baptism does two things against reason: he does not cleanse the heretics, and he befouls the Christians." "The Seventh Council of Carthage Under Cyprian," (200-258 AD), Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 5, pg. 568)

Victoricus of Thabraca said: If heretics are allowed to baptize and to give remission of sins, wherefore do we brand them with infamy and call them heretics?" "The Seventh Council of Carthage Under Cyprian," (200-258 AD), Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 5, pg. 568)

We are washed from all our sins, and are no longer entangled in evil. This is the one grace of illumination, that our characters are not the same as before our washing ... In the same way, therefore, we also, repenting of our sins, renouncing our iniquities, purified by baptism, speed back to the eternal light, children to the Father. St.Clement of Alexandria (150-200 AD), "The Instructor," Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 2, pg. 216-217

We believe . . . each of these to be and to exist: the Father, truly Father, and the Son, truly Son, and the Holy Ghost, truly Holy Ghost, as also our Lord, sending forth His disciples for the preaching, said, "Go teach all nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost ." Concerning Whom we confidently affirm that so we hold, and so we think, and so we have held aforetime, and we maintain this faith unto the death, anathematizing every godless heresy" 323 AD Eusebius of Caesarea, Letter to the People of His Diocese 3).

We were created for eternal life by our Creator, we are called to it by the word of God, and we are renewed by holy Baptism. And Christ the Son of God came into the world for this, that He should call us and take us there, and He is the one thing needful. For this reason your very first endeavor and care should be to receive it. Without it everything is as nothing, though you have the whole world under you. St. Tikhon of Zadonsk, Journey to Heaven

We who have been granted the bath of eternal life do good works not for the sake of reward, but to preserve the purity which was given us. St. Mark the Ascetic, "Early Fathers From the Philokalia," trans. by E. Kadloubovsky and G.E.H. Palmer, (London: Faber and Faber, Ltd., 1981), pp. 86 - 90

What more disgraceful than immodesties? If, moreover, even from a 'brother' who 'walketh idly' he warns the Thessalonians to withdraw themselves, how much more withal from a fornicator! For these are the deliberate judgments of Christ, 'loving the Church,' who 'hath delivered Himself up for her, that He may sanctify her (purifying her utterly by the laver of water) in the word, that He may present the Church to Himself glorious, not having stain or wrinkle' - of course after the laver - 'but that she may be holy and without reproach; thereafter, to wit, being 'without wrinkle' as a virgin, 'without stain' (of fornication) as a spouse, 'without disgrace' (of vileness), as having been 'utterly purified.'" Tertullian, (140-230 AD), "On Modesty," 217 AD, Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 4, pg. 94) (not a church father)

What then, say they, will become of those who, coming from the heretics, have been received without the baptism of the Church?... But they... should be baptized with the baptism of the Church, that they may obtain remission of sins, lest by the presumption of others they remain in their old error, and die without the completion of grace." St Cyprian of Carthage (200-258 AD ), "The Epistles of Cyprian," Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 5, pg. 395)

When God wished to extend hope to them, he led his prophet into a potter's workshop and showed him not a vessel of baked clay but one of muddy clay which has fallen from the potter's hands, saying: `If this potter took up the vessel which had fallen and brought it back into proportion again, will I not be all the more able to set you up aright again after you have fallen?' It is possible for God not only to correct us through the bath of regeneration, since we are clay, but also after we have received the working of the Spirit and then have slipped, He can lead us back through sincere repentance to our former state. St. John Chrysostom, Baptismal Instructions

When going down, therefore, into the water, think not of the bare element, but look for salvation by the power of the Holy Ghost: for without both thou canst not possibly be made perfect. It is not I that say this, but the Lord Jesus Christ, who has the power in this matter: for He saith, 'Except a man be born anew' and he adds the words) 'of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.' Neither doth he that is baptized with water, but not found worthy of the Spirit, receive the grace in perfection. Nor if a man be virtuous in his deeds, but receive not the seal by water, shall he enter into the kingdom of heaven."

When he had given them these and such like precepts, he made proclamation to the people, saying: 'Since I have resolved to stay three months with you, if any one desires it, let him be baptized; that, stripped of his former evils, he may for the future, in consequence of his own conduct, become heir of heavenly blessings, as a reward for his good actions. St.Clement of Alexandria (150-200 AD) "Recognitions of Clement," Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 8, pg. 132)

When the one being baptized goes down into the water, the one baptizing him shall put his hand on him and speak thus: `Do you believe in God, the Father Almighty?' And he that is being baptized shall say: `I believe.' Then, having his hand imposed upon the head of the one to be baptized, he shall baptize him once. Then he shall say: `Do you believe in Christ Jesus . . . ?' And when he says: `I believe,' he is baptized again. Again shall he say: `Do you believe in the Holy Spirit and the holy Church and the resurrection of the flesh?' The one being baptized then says: `I believe.' And so he is baptized a third time" 215 AD St. Hippolytus, The Apostolic Tradition 21).

When we are about to enter the water--no, just a little before--in the church and under the hand of the bishop, we solemnly profess that we renounce the devil andd his pomps and his angels. Thereupon we are immersed three times" 211 AD Tertullian The Crown 3:2).

When we are being baptized, our soul, purified by the Spirit, becomes brighter than the sun; not only are we then able to look at the glory of God, but we ourselves take on something of its radiance. As polished silver, illuminated by the rays of the sun, radiates light not only from its own nature, but also from the radiance of the sun, so a soul, purified by the Divine Spirit, becomes more brilliant than silver; it both receives the ray of Divine glory, and from itself reflects the ray of this same glory. Therefore the Apostle says: 'But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory' (2 Cor. 3:18)..." the Monks Callistus and Ignatius (Directions to Hesychasts no. 5, Writings from the Philokalia on Prayer of the Heart; Faber and Faber pg. 166)

When you will go down into the water, do not represent to yourself water alone, but await salvation from the operation of the Holy Spirit; because without the one and the other it is impossible for thee to attain perfection. It is not I who say this, but the Lord Jesus Christ, Who has authority over this. He says: "Except a man be born from above," and He adds to this: "of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God" (John 3:3, 5). St. Cyril of Alexandria

Wherefore baptism cannot be common to us and to heretics, to whom neither God the Father, nor Christ the Son, nor the Holy Ghost, nor the faith, nor the Church itself, is common. And therefore it behooves those to be baptized who come from heresy to the Church, that so they who are prepared, in the lawful, and true, and only baptism of the holy Church, by divine regeneration, for the kingdom of God, may be born of both sacraments, because it is written, 'Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.'" St Cyprian of Carthage (200-258 AD ), "The Epistles of Cyprian," Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 5, pg. 384)

While I was lying in darkness . . . I thought it indeed difficult and hard to believe ... that divine mercy was promised for my salvation, so that anyone might be born again and quickened unto a new life by the laver of the saving water, he might put off what he had been before, and, although the structure of the body remained, he might change himself in soul and mind. ... But afterwards, when the stain of my past life had been washed away by means of the water of rebirth, a light from above poured itself upon my chastened and now pure heart; afterwards, through the Spirit which is breathed from heaven, a second birth made of me a new man" St Cyprian of Carthage (200 AD),To Donatus 3

Whoever after baptism deliberately submits to the will of the devil and carries out his wishes, estranges himself - to adapt John's words - from the holy womb of baptism (Cf. Ps. 58:3). None of us can be estranged or alienated from the nature with which we are created. We are created good by God - for God creates nothing evil - and we remain unchanging in our nature and essence as created. But we do what we choose and want, whether good or bad, of our own free will. Just as a knife does not change its nature, but remains iron whether used for good or for evil, so we, as has been said, act and do what we want without departing from our own nature. St Symeon the New Theologian

Whoever after baptism deliberately submits to the will of the devil and carries out his wishes, estranges himself - to adapt John's words - from the holy womb of baptism (cf. Ps. 58:3). None of us can be estranged or alienated from the nature with which we are created. We are created good by God - for God creates nothing evil - and we remain unchanging in our nature and essence as created. But we do what we choose and want, whether good or bad, of our own free will. Just as a knife does not change its nature, but remains iron whether used for good or for evil, so we, as has been said, act and do what we want without departing from our own nature. St Symeon the New Theologian

Why, when the Lord himself told his disciples that they should baptize all peoples in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, does this apostle employ the name of Christ alone in baptism, saying, `We who have been baptized into Christ'; for indeed, legitimate baptism is had only in the name of the Trinity" 248 AD Origen, Commentary on Romans 5:8).

Widely different is the faith with Marcion, and, moreover, with the other heretics; nay, with them there is nothing but perfidy, and blasphemy, and contention, which is hostile to holiness and truth. How then can one who is baptized among them seem to have obtained remission of sins, and the grace of the divine mercy, by his faith, when he has not the truth of the faith itself? For if, as some suppose, one could receive anything abroad out of the Church according to his faith, certainly he has received what he believed; but if he believes what is false, he could not receive what is true; but rather he has received things adulterous and profane, according to what he believed.

This matter of profane and adulterous baptism Jeremiah the prophet plainly rebukes, saying, 'Why do they who afflict me prevail? My wound is hard; whence shall I be healed ? While it has indeed become unto me as deceitful water which has no faithfulness.' The Holy Spirit makes mention by the prophet of deceitful water which has no faithfulness.

What is this deceitful and faithless water? Certainly that which falsely assumes the resemblance of baptism, and frustrates the grace of faith by a shadowy pretense. But if, according to a perverted faith, one could be baptized without, and obtain remission of sins, according to the same faith he could also attain the Holy Spirit; and there is no need that hands should be laid on him when he comes, that he might obtain the Holy Ghost, and be sealed. Either he could obtain both privileges without by his faith, or he who has been without has received neither. But it is manifest where and by whom remission of sins can be given; to wit, that which is given in baptism." St Cyprian of Carthage (200-258 AD ), "The Epistles of Cyprian," Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 5, pg. 381)



Without the power of the Spirit which our Lord gave us in Baptism for the fulfilling of His commandments, the which is confirmed in us each day by the taking of His Body and Blood, we cannot be purified from the passions, and we cannot vanquish demons, and we cannot perform the works of spiritual excellence. Paradise of the Father

You have read, therefore, that the three witnesses in baptism are one: water, blood, and the Spirit (John 5:8): And if you withdraw any one of these, the sacrament of baptism is not valid. For what is the water without the cross of Christ? A common element with no sacramental effect. Nor on the other hand is there any mystery of regeneration without water, for `unless a man be born again of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God' Ambrose of Milan (381 AD), The Mysteries 4:20).

You were led by the hand to the holy pool of divine baptism, as Christ was carried from the cross to this Sepulcher here before us [the Tomb of Jesus at Jerusalem]. And each of you was asked if he believed in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. And you confessed that saving confession, and descended three times into the water, and again ascended, and in this there was suggested by a symbol the three days of Christ's burial" 350 AD Cyril of Jerusalem, Catechetical Lectures 20:4).

[A]s we are all from earth and die in Adam, so being regenerated from above of water and Spirit, in the Christ we are all quickened" St Athanasius the Great (360 AD), Four Discourses Against the Arians 3:26[33]).

[In] the birth by water and the Spirit, [Jesus] himself led the way in this birth, drawing down upon the water, by his own baptism, the Holy Spirit; so that in all things he became the first-born of those who are spiritually born again, and gave the name of brethren to those who partook in a birth like to his own by water and the Spirit St. Gregory of Nyssa (382 AD), Against Eunomius 2:8).

[N]o one can attain salvation without baptism, especially in view of the declaration of the Lord, who says, `Unless a man shall be born of water, he shall not have life'" Tertullian (203 AD),Baptism 12:1

[N]o one can enter into the kingdom of Heaven except he be regenerate through water and the Spirit, and he who does not eat the flesh of the Lord and drink His blood is excluded from eternal life, and if all these things are accomplished only by means of those holy hands, I mean the hands of the priest, how will any one, without these, be able to escape the fire of hell, or to win those crowns which are reserved for the victorious? These [priests] truly are they who are entrusted with the pangs of spiritual travail and the birth which comes through baptism: by their means we put on Christ, and are buried with the Son of God, and become members of that blessed Head" St John Chrysostom (387 AD), The Priesthood 3:5-6).

[S]eeing that a man, baptized in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost, becomes a temple of the Lord, and that while the old abode is destroyed a new shrine is built for the Trinity, how can you say that sins can be remitted among the Arians without the coming of the Holy Ghost? How is a soul purged from its former stains which has not the Holy Ghost?" St.Jerome (382 AD ), Dialogue Against the Luciferians 6

[When] they receive also the baptism of the Church . . . then finally can they be fully sanctified and be the sons of God . . . since it is written, `Except a man be born again of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God'" St Cyprian of Carthage (253 AD), Letters 71[72]:1).

`But the king cam in to look at the guests, and saw there a person not clothed in a wedding garment.' What do we think is meant by a the wedding garment, dearly beloved? For is we say it is baptism or faith, is there anyone who has entered this marriage feast without them? A person is outside because he has not yet come to believe. What then must we understand by the wedding garment but love? That person enters the marriage feast, but without wearing a wedding garment, who is present in the holy Church, and has faith, but does not have love. We are correct when we say that love is the wedding garment because this is what our Creator Himself possessed when He came to the marriage feast to join the Church to Himself. St. Gregory the Great, Forty Gospel Homilies

For just as those who were freed by Moses from slavery in Egypt sang to the Lord a triumphant song after the crossing of the Red Sea and the drowning of Pharoah's army, so it is fitting also for us to render worthy thanks for heavenly benefits after receiving the forgiveness of sins in baptism. The Venerable Bede, Commentary on the Seven Catholic Epistles.

"When you renounce Satan, utterly breaking all covenant with him, that ancient pact with hell, there is open to you the Paradise of God, which He planted toward the East and from which our first father was exiled for his sin. The symbol of this is turning from West to the East, the place of light." St. Cyril of Jerusalem

"The Passover (Pascha) provides the day of most solemnity for baptism, for then was accomplished our Lord’s passion, and into it we are baptized." Tertullian

Baptized in Christ through the Spirit, we receive the first incorruption according to the flesh. Keeping this original incorruption spotless by giving ourselves to good works and by dying to our own will, we await the final incorruption bestowed by Christ in the Spirit. No one who possesses this final incorruption fears the loss of the blessings he has obtained. St. Maximus the Confessor, First Century on Theology, Philokalia, Vol. 2

Baptized in Christ through the Spirit, we receive the first incorruption according to the flesh. Keeping this original incorruption spotless by giving ourselves to good works and by dying to our own will, we await the final incorruption bestowed by Christ in the Spirit. No one who possesses this final incorruption fears the loss of the blessings he has obtained. St. Maximus the Confessor, First Century on Theology, Philokalia, Vol. 2

In the baptism of water is received the remission of sins, in the baptism of blood the crown of virtues. St. Cyprian of Carthage, Exhortation to Martyrdom, A.D. 252 or 257

61. Grace has been given mystically to those who have been baptized into Christ; and it becomes active within them to the extent that they actively observe the commandments. Grace never ceases to help us secretly; but to do good- as far as lies in our power- depends on us. REF:Saint Kosmas Aitolos +1779

92. Everyone baptized in the orthodox manner has received mystically the fullness of grace; but he becomes conscious of this grace only to the extent that he actively observes the commandments. REF:Saint Kosmas Aitolos +1779

Baptism is the first Mystery (Sacrament) in Christianity; it makes a Christian man worthy to be vouchsafed the gifts of grace through the other Mysteries also. REF:St Theophan the Recluse, "The Path to Salvation" p 35





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