Eastern Orthodox, What Happens to Unbaptized Infants?

I’m curious, what is the Eastern Orthodox belief on what happens to unbaptized infants that die? Has there ever been an equivalent to the “limbo of infants” teaching in Eastern Orthodoxy? Perhaps this is tied to how Eastern Orthodox view “original” sin, and whether that is the same as how Catholics traditionally view it.

The Eastern Orthodox do not believe in the concept of original sin. There view on the matters related to this is rather different and not coloured by Augustine:-


Officially we do not know. I however cannot understand how God could condemn them when all they did was exist. I also don’t know how they can be saved without Christ. It seems to me God alone knows what happens to them.

The following is a link of an example of a poorly catechized Orthodox couple. According to the Orthodox spokesperson, the couple acted incorrectly:


I don’t know the norms of Orthodoxy but in the Catholic Church anyone near by a dying person who is not baptized can using proper form…it takes seconds…and then take infant to hospital.

The Church had pondered Aquinas’ thought that there exists limbo for infants unbaptized. That never sat with me. John Paul II said that in his opinion of faith that when it comes to infants…we are to place them in Christ’s mercy.

We cannot find theological answers for everything. Even in the catechism, life’s tragedies…let’s look at nature…where landslides happen with no warning and people are killed. God wills only good…but He likewise follows His own creation in terms of the Natural Law.

A priest taught us one time, if a storm comes and passes with no injury, it is neutral, but when it kills people and destroys livelihood, then it is evil and we pray for God’s protection from such things.

We have to be able to accept mystery but trust in God’s mercy.

This is upsetting to read and I trust that God has mercy on us all.

Regarding the OP, as others have stated, no one can know what happens to unbaptized infants when they die, or any one when they die, for that matter.

We believe in a merciful God who saves us through Christ’s sacrifice for us, and trust that he will do what is best for his children.

Orthodox friends – Just curious, how does Orthodoxy view 2 Samuel?

To us Lutherans, this passage shows that there is precedent for unbaptized children of believers to be assured of heaven (I’m not sure if this speaks to children of unbelievers, or if the distinction even matters here). I’ll just link to an old postof mine.

I agree. I guess I’m just curious to know if the Orthodox differences in understanding “original” sin change how the status of deceased unbaptized infants is viewed, in comparison to the Catholic view(s).

No original sin for Orthodoxy…Straight to heaven in spite of original sin, as per the fact that God is infinitely merciful and infinitely loving (God is Love) and a baby, logically speaking, is perfectly innocent, guilty of nothing other than original sin, which is inherited by everyone upon their entrance into this fallen world i.e. God’s justice is not applicable (only Gods Mercy). Keep in mind that the good thief on the cross was never baptised, and no one prior to the age of Christ was baptised:

So Jesus called a child to come and stand in front of them, and said, "I assure you that unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the Kingdom of heaven.

When Jesus noticed this, he was angry and said to his disciples, "Let the children come to me, and do not stop them, because the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I assure you that whoever does not receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.

:thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup: God is not confined to the sacraments that God instituted; perfect example: the good thief on the cross.

So it’s settled. From now on we wait until a child decides they want to get Baptized before Baptism.

runs and hides

LOL…No, that’s not what I meant…:smiley:

I had my children baptized as soon as possible to bring them into Christ and His grace.

As if to say that Christ would not give His grace to a baby who knows nothing of anything.

They go to heaven.

Dronald…Never intended that.

Baptism is the sign of faith, that purifies, justifies, and sanctifies…"baptism is the imperishable seed of the Word of God that produces its life giving effect…it is regeneration and renewal.

My decision was to bring them into the life of Christ as early as possible.

CCC1261: As regards children who have died without baptism, the Church can only entrust them to the mercy of God, as she does in her funeral rites for them. Indeed, the great mercy of God, who desires that all men should be saved, and Jesus’ tenderness toward children, which caused him to say: “Let the children come to me, do not hinder them,” allow us to hope that there is a way of salvation for children, who have died without Baptism. Al the more urgent is the Church’s call not to prevent little children coming to Christ through the gift of holy Baptism.

That’s not what she meant…

My children are mine to care for and to raise in the knowledge of Christ. But they are Christ, it is up to me to bring my children to Christ and not hinder them. He can take care of them than me. In fact, I cannot take care of them properly without Him. This is not just symbolic but an action that resembles that of Abraham with Isaac. I bring the child to God, he blessed me with them in the first place.

To God what is God’s.

That’s right! For the kingdom of God belongs to such as them. Therefore we ought to be certain that the kingdom of God belongs to children; and we need not worry that they will be damned for not being Baptized.

You’re getting trolling tendencies my friend, :wink: (Takes one to know one right? :p)

We have been down this road before…


And other threads I can’t fish right now.


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