On January 3, 2009 in the Church of Our Lady the Joy of All Who Sorrow on the Big Ordynka before the Divine Liturgy, Chairman of the Department for External Church Relations Volokolamsky Archbishop Hilarion conducted a rite of reception into the Church. On this day, 31 people who had at one time fallen away from the Church were received into the Church.
The ancient tradition of reception into the Church was revived by the A.S. Khomyakov “rehabilitation center for victims of non-traditional religions, which operates at the Church of Our Lady the Joy of All Who Sorrow” in 1995. The rite of reception is held twice a year, and is conducted for people who, being baptized Orthodox, left for another faith — those who were initiated and were given a new name, as for example, in the eastern cults; those who engaged in meditation, practiced mantric reading; practiced witchcraft or healing.
DECR Chairman congratulated those present to return to the Church of Christ, noting that people are tempted and fall into the false doctrine of the sect for various reasons, but more often just because of the weakness and cowardice.
“Leaders of sects are looking for people who are weak and dependent, who can not take responsibility for their decisions. It was they who were victims of such cults. Sects are for people spiritually weak, and the Church – for the people spiritually strong”
– testified Archbishop Hilarion.
Bishop stressed that the return to the Church of Christ testifies to the courage of those present, but first and foremost an act of Divine Providence.
Archbishop urged the faithful to thank God for deliverance from mistakes, to live by the Gospel law, follow the path of salvation, anywhere without displacing and without flinching, and pray to the Lord,
“that he drove out of your mind the false and erroneous views that have inspired you to where you until recently stayed.”
DECR Chairman reminded that Christ came to earth,
“not only to teach people the truths of faith, teach them moral teachings, but primarily in order to establish His Church here.”
“The Church is a spiritual home for all who wish to follow the Savior. Today, you came into this house and were united with Christ. Live so as to never lose sight of Christ, the righteousness of God. Read the Gospel, come to confession, receive the Holy Mysteries, participate in the other sacraments of the Church. Let the Church be your spiritual home, but the Lord helps on your way to salvation, the kingdom of heaven “
– Bishop Hilarion called upon the audience.
I was baptized and recieved into the church in August 2004. I went through a very difficult time, and left the Church after telling the priest I wanted to become Hindu. After going through the initial process of becoming Hindu I was told I could not have a relationship with Jesus or read any of his teachings. So now after about three years I am reconsidering Orthodoxy, and I would like to know what my standing is with the Church. I assume I am considered an Apostate. Thank you for your time.
Fr. John says
No, you are now considered a ‘penitent.’ Next question?
Robert Horwath says
Christ is Born!
Father John, I was chrismated into the Orthodox Church (OCA) from the Byzantine Catholic Church in 1999 by Father Nicholas Bullock (+Memory Eternal). Eventually, I returned to the Catholic Church but since then after the reign of Pope Francis ceased to believe that Catholic ecclesiology and teaching is orthodox–I have returned to Ketchikan, Alaska but Father Nicholas has passed away. What do I do to return to the Orthodox Church? I am not able to go to Sitka to the cathedral as I care for my grandmother who has Alzheimer’s.
Fr. John says
Robert, check your email, please.