Re-chrismation in Eastern Orthodoxy - why?

I have heard of persons, baptized and chrismated as infants in the Orthodox Church, being “re-chrismated” later in life. How is this possible?

As I understand it, chrismation is the Orthodox analogue of confirmation, one and the same sacrament. We cannot be confirmed more than once.

Is it considered more in the nature of renewal of one’s confirmation promises, or a continuation of the originally conferred sacrament, or both? Something else?

There are lots of reasons it might have happened, so it is impossible to know apart from more details.

Myron/chrism is a sign of communion with the bishop. In eastern churches, the bishop is usually the Patriarch. Myron is usually only consecrated by the Patriarch when needed, and distributed throughout the Church. The Ecumenical Patriarch uses a complex formula of 37 aromas that are combined over seceral days in Holy Week before consecration on Holy Thursday.

Catholics, by contrast, is consecrated by every ordinary bishop every year at a Chrism Mass on Holy Thursday, or thereabouts. The formula is the simple addition of balsam to olive oil, done during the Mass itself. From there it is distributed throughout the diocese.

From there, differences developed. Re-chrismation may be done on converting from one Church to another, as a sign of union not just with Christ the Anointed One but also of union with the new Patriarch. Catholics are always united with the Pope, so there is no need for a new chrismation. Even an Orthodox chrismation is considered valid, because it is within the one Church headed by the Pope.

Beyond that, myron can sometimes be used like Holy Water, a reaffirmation of the original rite that often happened in infancy. The anointing is not a repetition, but a remembering.

And because there are many jurisdictions, there are probably even more reasons particular to different Churches. I am just trying to give you a sense of possible differences, which can vary widely.

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That’s the Roman Catholic practice. Each of the Eastern Catholic Churches has their own rite of consecrating the Chrismation.

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I have never heard of this.

Eastern Orthodox Chrismation is considered valid (don’t know about OO) but imo they would strongly disagree about being “within the one Church headed by the Pope”.

Yes, I described the Roman Catholic practice. The other Catholic churches have an array of practices.

I meant “considered valid by the Catholic churches” but I did not spell it out. Thank you for the correction. Oriental Orthodox chrismation is very similar to Eastern Orthodox, ie consecration of myron when needed by Patriarch on Holy Thursday, administered with baptism to infants.

And yes, many Orthodox would disagree about validity and ecclesiology.

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I would love to smell that, one of these days! Istanbul is on my bucket list.

OK, so it’s not as though the mystery of chrismation (i.e., sacrament of confirmation) is repeated, it is more like holy water is used not to re-baptize us, but to remind us of our baptism. Is that right?

Some Orthodox actually will re-chrismate. For example, if someone leaves the Orthodox Church and returns, they may be received back into the Church through confession and chrismation.

So these Orthodox believe that chrismation is a repeatable sacrament, like penance or anointing of the sick (extreme unction)?

Incidentally, while we’re on the subject, do Orthodox believe that the sacrament of matrimony can only be conferred once? That is, do they regard subsequent marriages, if they occur, as being non-sacramental?

I don’t know whether re-chrismation is practiced universally among the Orthodox, but those who do practice re-chrismation see it as repeatable.

I have heard some Orthodox say that there is the possibility of only one sacramental marriage per lifetime, and that second and third marriages are only permitted as concessions to human weakness.

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I was trying to convey that there are different ways it is used, sometimes like a sacramental like Holy Water, and at other times a real repeat of the sacrament, as when someone joins a new jurisdiction. (or rejoins)

There are probably other ways it is understood as well. I am just saying there is no consistent answer to your question, but a variety of behaviors that probe the meaning of the anointing.

I was thinking that I had heard something like that.

No disrespect intended, but that doesn’t make a bit of sense to me. Do the EO believe in a kind of eternal marriage, like the LDS/Mormons do? That you never quit being married to your original spouse, but because of human weakness, you may be allowed a companion to help you get through the rest of your life?

It is my understanding that the Orthodox generally believe that a sacramental marriage is eternal.

Again, no disrespect intended, but that’s kind of bizarre. No other Christian church, of which I am aware, believes in this. The Mormons are only Christian in the sense that they attach much importance to the man called Jesus and view him as a kind of savior.

My parents say they could never remarry after the death of one of them, but that is due to natural human affection and reverence, not because they believe marriage lasts into eternity.

There are some groups that do this, and some that chrysmate when transitioning to that church.

There is at least one that maintains that baptism is into a particular church, and thus that those chaining, even those chrysmated elsewhere, must bar baptized.

not that kind of “repeatable.” I think a closer word for them would be “replaceable” after the person rejects it.

it varies widely by and even within jurisdiction.

[waving hands . . .]
there is, generally, hope that in time the later marriage will become sacramental. It doesn’t;'t start that way.

And this is supposedly the same for Byzantine Catholics . . .

that’s not a horrible way of putting it . . . but not quite there.

A marriage should be forever, but it can [getting wavy again] fail. The question is then what to do with it.

well, there’s ll those EC churches . . .

“Become” sacramental? Now I’m really scratching my Western/Latin/Roman/Gregorian/Frankish head…

through prayer and devotion to each other, they might move from permitted to a sacramental marriage. Unlike a first marriage, however, it won’t start that way.

as I wave my hands in fuzziness again, I’ll point out that this has some (Burt far from perfect) parallels to RC thinking on natural marriage between non-catholic.

The Orthodox teaching isn’t so strange if you understand the reasoning behind it (which isn’t to say that you will ultimately agree with it). Based on my reading, the Orthodox teaching that sacramental marriage is eternal is based on the eternal love Christ has for his bride, the Church, and it is the analogy in scripture between the love of Christ for his Church and the love spouses have for each other that forms the Orthodox basis for understanding marriage as a sacrament.

Regarding the sacramental status of second marriages…it will depend who you ask. We had an Orthodox archpriest on this forum years ago who was adamant that second and third canonical marriages are fully sacramental. My Orthodox cousin, who is discerning a monastic vocation, says that only the first marriage is sacramental.

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