Baptism and ancestral sin

Sorry if this is a dumb question but I know the East doesn’t believe in original sin but rather ancestral sin. Looking at Baptism through the lens of the East, why do we get baptized?

What’s the difference?

In baptism a person through washing with natural water with the invocation of the name of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, is freed from sin, reborn to new life, puts on Christ and is
incorporated in the Church which is His Body. Only by the actual reception of baptism is a person made capable for the other sacraments.

  • Canon 675 - The Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches (CCEO; Latin: Codex Canonum Ecclesiarum Orientalium)

no, that simply isn’t true.

The East very much believes in original sin. It has not, however, accepted augustine’s notion of a personal guilt that requires individual forgiveness.


I can’t remember the specific reference in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, but this notion has also been rejected in the Latin West as well.


The Roman Catholic Church has also rejected that idea.

Canon 697 of CCEO

Canon 697- sacramental initiation in the mystery of salvation is perfected in the reception of the Divine Eucharist, and thus the Divine Eucharist is administered after baptism and chrismation with holy myron as soon as possible according to the norms of the particular law of each Church sui iuris

CCC 405

Although it is proper to each individual,295 original sin does not have the character of a personal fault in any of Adam’s descendants. It is a deprivation of original holiness and justice…

295 Cf. Council of Trent: DS 1513.

Just to add, this is nothing new. The Council of Trent in Session V (canon 5) does not consider original sin a personal fault (Latin: “culpa”) either, but rather a “reatus” (often translated from Latin as “guilt” just as culpa, but it is more like an inherited liability). The Council of Orange in 529 also does not speak of personal fault in canons 1 and 2, while clearly enunciating the deprivation of grace/original holiness. We didn’t commit the fault–Adam did–but we are subject to what Adam was deprived of when he sinned.

Baptism has always been understood as initiating even infants into the supernatural life forfeited by Adam.

It should also be noted that Eastern sources used to also use “guilt” in the same way (as a liability) without compunction. Aversion to such formulation is a newer thing. Even now, the substance seems the same. For example, on the infant baptism page of the Antiochan EO Church in North America, the priest-author says that “Baptism effects a change in one’s status with God” and infants are baptized into Christ’s life and death so that they “become co-beneficiaries of a life which finally brought God and man into a union of love and a harmony of will.” This implies that before Baptism the infant is not yet a beneficiary of that life in Christ which brings one into union with God’s love.

St. John Chrysostom, Baptismal Instruction 3:6. (Ancient Christian Writers, p. 57)

“You have seen how numerous are the gifts of baptism. Although many men think that the only gift it confers is the remission of sins, we have counted its honors to the number of ten. It is on this account that we baptize even infants, although they are sinless, that they may be given the further gifts of sanctification, justice, filial adoption, and inheritance, that they may be brothers and members of Christ, and become dwelling places of the Spirit.”


Mentioned in 3:6:
1 remission of sins
2 sanctification
3 justice
4 filial adoption
5 inheritance
6 brothers of Christ
7 members of Christ
8 dwelling places for the Holy Spirit
“You are called faithful both because you believe in God and have as a trust from him justificaton, sanctity, purity of soul, filial adoption, and the kingdom of heaven.”
Two more mentioned in 12:6:
9 purity of soul
10 kingdom of heaven

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