Chrismation - Confirmation in the perspective of a bilateral dialogue between the Orthodox Church and the Catholic Church
Mémoire de Master Advanced Studies (MAS) : Conseil œcuménique des Églises, 2009.
This paper refers to the sacraments of Chrismation in the Orthodox Church and Confirmation in the Roman Catholic Church, focusing on the perspective of the bilateral dialogue between the two Churches in the framework of the Ecumenical Movement. Chrismation-Confirmation is one of the three sacraments of Christian Initiation (Baptism, Chrismation-Confirmation and Eucharist). As it is celebrated... MoreAdd to personal list
- This paper refers to the sacraments of Chrismation in the Orthodox Church and Confirmation in the Roman Catholic Church, focusing on the perspective of the bilateral dialogue between the two Churches in the framework of the Ecumenical Movement. Chrismation-Confirmation is one of the three sacraments of Christian Initiation (Baptism, Chrismation-Confirmation and Eucharist). As it is celebrated nowadays, it has its basis in the laying on of hands by the Apostles on the neophytes and it is consequently the extension of the Day of Pentecost. This is the starting point for the author before comparing Chrismation and Confirmation. In the first chapter, he presents the administration of this sacrament nowadays in the two churches. Its administration gives a clear icon of some differences between Chrismation and Confirmation as well as the common elements. This leads to the second chapter, which presents the most important historical and theological aspects of this sacrament. As a conclusion, the author is asking some questions concerning the differences between Chrismation and Confirmation, their pastoral implications and consequently the theological ones. In the framework of the bilateral dialogue between the two Churches, the document “Faith, Sacraments and the Unity of the Church”, the report of the meeting in Bari (Italy 1987) points out the common understanding of Chrismation-Confirmation as well as the two main differences consisting in a) the separation between Baptism and Confirmation and b) the fact that the Eucharist frequently precedes the Confirmation abrogating the original order of the sacraments of Christian Initiation as they are practiced in the Orthodox Church. These differences have pastoral implications, which are not irrelevant to the theological understanding of the sacrament. The author explains that “it is a very large and important matter to be examined in such a short paper… Theological, pastoral and historical reasons led to changes in the administration of this sacrament and consequently these changes affected its understanding”. Through the paper, he tries to point this out more clearly. The author’s purpose is not to give answers. His purpose is to bring up aspects of Chrismation and Confirmation for a deeper discussion between the two Churches, not only on the theological level. For him, the main difference between Chrismation and Confirmation is the administration of Confirmation after the first Holy Communion. This difference is not just a liturgical practice. It abrogates the order of Christian Initiation and it changes the theological understanding of the three sacraments of Christian Initiation. The paper ends with some suggestions on how the bilateral dialogue on the issue of Conformation-Chrismation could make steps forward, the main idea being, that both sides can learn from each other.