Questions on the Sacraments


I have two questions concerning the sacraments:

If a person is interested in becoming a member of an Orthodox Church in America (OCA) parish, and if that person was baptized in a Lutheran church, would he have to be rebaptized into the Orthodox church? If not, I assume that the OCA would recognize his earlier baptism.

If one is a member of an OCA parish and is visiting, for instance, a Greek Orthodox parish in the United States, does that OCA member have the confidence that he will be able to receive the Sacrament of Holy Communion from the priest of the Greek Orthodox parish?


Concerning Baptism: The general practice throughout the OCA parishes is that an individual baptized according to the traditional Trinitarian formula, i.e., “In the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,” is not received into the Church through Baptism but, rather, through the Sacraments of Chrismation, Penance, and the Eucharist, together with a statement of faith. Individuals who have never been baptized or who have been baptized in a non-Trinitarian formula [i.e., “In the Name of Jesus Christ” or “In the Name of God the Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier”] are received into the Church through Baptism and the other sacraments listed above.

All Orthodox Christians who are members of canonical Orthodox churches may receive Holy Communion in Orthodox churches of other canonical jurisdictions. For example, a member of an OCA parish may receive Communion in a Greek, Antiochian, Serbian, etc. church, and vice versa. It is a common courtesy, however, when visiting a different parish to contact the priest in advance, if at all possible, and let him know that you wish to receive Holy Communion. This may be accomplished through a phone call before the visit or by informing the priest upon arrival at the church. This also becomes a way to discover if there are any local considerations that should be observed.