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Baptismal Vows

“When a person is baptized as an adult, as it happens at times these days but was particularly frequent in olden days, then he himself makes promises on his own behalf; but if he is baptized in infancy, these promises are pronounced on his behalf by his godfather or godmother – the “recipients” as the Church calls them. And it is these promises in which the Christian promises God to renounce Satan and all his works and be joined, united with Christ; these promises are not only forgotten by people, but many do not in general know anything about them – that these promises were made on their behalf and they should think about how it is necessary to fulfill these promises.

“And what happens if on the final day of the history of the human race on earth – on the day of the Dread Judgement – it turns out that a person had made promises (or they were made on his behalf by the recipients), and he does not even know what these promises are or what was promised?”

“Think, my brethren, about what it means to renounce Satan and all his works and be united to Christ”.

“Nowadays, the times are such that mankind has been gripped by impious vanity in which reigns the enemy of the human race and, as the old expression went, is forcing almost all the people to “dance to his fiddle”. All of this vanity, of which our entire contemporary life is comprised, is a commotion which is in opposition to God, in which there is no God and in which the enemy of God dictates and commands. If we gave a promise to renounce Satan and all his works, then we must, in fulfilling it, endeavor not to allow our sould to be oppressed by this commotion, but reject it, and remember that of which the Church speaks “one thing needful” – only one thing is necessary – to remember that one must unite unto Christ, that is, not only obey His commandments, but also try to unite oneself to Him”

From a Sermon on the Feast of the Theophany.
St Philaret of New York (+1985)

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