The British Orthodox Church

within the Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate

British Orthodox submission to the Holy Synod on Catholic baptism

The Synod of the British Orthodox Church has submitted a recommendation to the Holy Synod of the Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria, that in the reception of those who have previously been members of churches accepting the Council of Chalcedon (including the Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches) it should be by confession of faith and prayer, without any requirement for the reception of Baptism or Chrismation.

This recommendation is made on the basis that:

(1) The Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate has always received Chalcedonians by confession of faith and prayer on the clear and authoritative instruction of our holy Fathers including St Timothy, the 26th Pope of Alexandria, St Philoxenus of Mabbugh and St Severus. Even during periods of violent persecution our Orthodox Church has not deviated from this procedure.

(2) This has been consistently used as the only method of receiving Chalcedonians from the 5th century to the 19th century. Our own Coptic Orthodox Tradition shows that even Nestorians were received in such a manner.

(3) It is only in the most recent times that Catholics have been required to be baptised on their reception which is an innovation and contrary to the teaching of our holy Fathers.

(4) The development of various doctrines in the Catholic Church in later centuries is no justification for requiring the baptism of Catholics, since even Nestorians were not required to be baptised.

(5) His Holiness Pope Shenouda III of blessed memory signed an agreement with Pope Paul VI of Rome which spoke of the sacrament of baptism being present in both communities, and Bishop Gregorious, the Coptic president of the Theological Commission with the Catholics also insisted that there be mutual respect and regard for the baptism of Catholics.

(6) The Armenian, Syrian and Indian Orthodox all continue our ancient and authoritative Tradition of receiving Catholics without baptism.

The Baptism of Catholics – Full text sent to Cairo


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