Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Only One Church Is Universal

“William Palmer, a distinguished member of the Anglican Church and of the University of Oxford, wanted to join the Orthodox church. He went to Russia and Turkey to study the contemporary situation in the Christian East and to find out on what conditions he would be admitted to the communion of the Eastern Orthodox. At St. Petersburg and at Moscow he was told that he had only to abjure the errors of Protestantism before a priest, who would thereupon administer to him the sacrament of holy chrism or confirmation. But at Constantinople he found that he must be baptized afresh. As he knew himself to be a Christian and saw no reason to suspect the validity of his baptism (which incidentally, the Orthodox Russian church admitted without question), he considered that a second baptism would be a sacrilege. On the other hand, he could not bring himself to accept Orthodoxy according to the local rules of the Russian church, since he would then become Orthodox only in Russia while remaining a heathen in the eyes of the Greeks; and he had no wish to join a national church but to join the universal Orthodox church. No one could solve his dilemma, and so he became a Roman Catholic.”

Vladimir Soloviev in The Russian Church and the Papacy.

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