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A Kiss and a Vow

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Written by Basil on 03/30/2007 8:11 PM. Filed under:

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The confession of faith. For many, it is the most memorable part of reception into the Church, especially if it is accompanied by a renunciation of errors. Listen to this recollection by my godfather:

When our youngest, Clare, read the oath, “This true faith of the Orthodox Church, which I now voluntarily confess and truly hold, that same I will firmly maintain and confess, whole and unchanged, even until my last breath, God helping me. And I will teach and proclaim it, insofar as I am able. And I will strive to fulfill its obligations with zeal and joy, preserving my heart in good deeds and blamelessness. In witness of this, my true and pure-hearted confession, I kiss the Word and Cross of my Savior. Amen,” her voice rang clear and pure. She was a good reader and did not stumble in the least – either over the difficulty of some words, much less the boldness of what she was saying. You could hear the echo of the many child martyrs the Church has known through the ages. Somehow all of us felt embarrassed by the purity and sincerity of her words – purity that older men and women rarely have any longer.

Read the rest: A Last Minute Word to Catechumens « Glory to God for All Things

I do not recall making a profession of faith. Shocking? I wish I had, to be honest. I would speculate that perhaps the fact that we had already been Orthodox in theology and liturgy provoked an economical decision, but later catechumens in our parish were likewise not required to make this confession. I do not know why, really. We certainly were not asked to make so sacramental an act as kissing the cross and the Bible as a seal of our pledge to confess and hold and firmly maintain the Orthodox faith until our death.

I wish I had. I am having no thoughts of apostasy, mind you. But I have been thinking about my place in this vast, Byzantine symphony we call the Church. I think all converts spring back eventually from their initial zeal and fervency. And I have been missing some things about my past. Call it nostalgia. I have no intention of leaving the Church, but it would be nice to point back to such a profession, to a kiss and a vow, and remind myself, “I promised.”

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4 Responses to “A Kiss and a Vow”

  1. Fr. Andrew Says:

    Well, for whatever it’s worth, there are multiple forms of services for the reception of converts, even varying within particular traditions. Not all include a confession of faith.

  2. Fatherstephen Says:

    Kevin Basil,

    Surely the profession of faith and gospel and cross were included that Sunday in Nicholasville? I don’t have a version of the service without it. I’ll admit that things occasionally get a little creative when you’re working with another priest (as I was that day), but is it something blocked from memory?

    My own memory is too faulty to retreive that information. I just know that at St. Anne’s it is always included.

  3. Basil Says:

    Father Andrew, of course. And there are as many ways to celebrate the Liturgy as there are peoples in the cosmos.

    Father Stephen, well my memory is faulty, too. I don’t recall that, but I thought just before I published this post, “What if I’m just not remembering that we did do it?” Perhaps Father T. had other ideas? I do remember that it was a Saturday, though. 🙂

  4. Tabitha Says:

    Basil, I look back on that weekend with mixed feelings myself. It was so chaotic that my memories are a jumble. I remember feeling ill-prepared for my life-confession, like I somehow cheated myself of what it could have been. Shrug. At least I can try to make best use of my continuing opportunity to confess. I also remember kneeling in the midst of my spiritual family (with you my brother) and watching as others had the stole and the gospel placed on their heads. I remember the weight of the same on my own head. Sometimes I wish that I had joined the church under more “normal” circumstances; that more time could have been spent on the gravity of my decision; that I had an established parish to “teach” me. Most of the time, though, I am deeply grateful to have been there in that time, with those people, supporting one another as best we knew how to make the most important choice of our lives.

    This Holy Week has been a difficult one for distractions and frustrations for me. Nevertheless, last night was Pascha! As always, a glorious Pascha, even with the difficulties. You, and others not physically present, were in my thoughts and those of others as well. We used your copy of the Vulgate in the Gospel reading. This year we had Swahili, Russian and Cherokee, although we lost Mandarin and Cantonese. I really just logged on to say “Christ is risen!” But thank you for the opportunity to remember our chrismation as well. Peace, brother.