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7 years ago  ::  Jun 10, 2011 - 3:08AM #1
Posts: 72

My question pertains to how one would formally leave/defect from the Orthodox Church, if such a thing is possible?  Are people baptized Orthodox still counted even after they become Pentecostals, fall into inactivity, things like that?  Do Orthodox bishops or clergy ever receive requests for formal removal from church records, and what do they do with them?

I find it interesting that the Roman Church will no longer allow for formal defections.  And I've heard the Eastern churches have a similar policy.  One Orthodox priest told me an Orthodox excommunicates him or herself after failing to attend Divine Liturgy for 3 Sundays in a row or more.  (Which would dwindle the Church's numbers quite fast!) 

Does anyone know about this?

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7 years ago  ::  Jul 04, 2011 - 12:13AM #2
Posts: 24

+ I'll hazard an opinion --

It may be a good rule of thumb to say that a person has excommunicated him or herself by ceasing to take part in the Divine Mysteries -- by ceasing to commune for some period of time.  But that's pretty fuzzy, and can't really be applied in a legalistic way. As I understand it, some Orthodox  Churches developed a piety so rigorous that for  most people frequent communion simply became too difficult. Also, some felt an exaggerated sense of being unworthy to commune. But these things in no way involved a rejection of Orthodoxy, and it's now increasingly recognized  that frequent communion is the norm.

Heresy is another matter. Heresy is by definition counter-Orthodox. So if a person deliberately rejects Orthodox teaching and practice and joins himself to some heretical sect he of course ceases to be Orthodox, and cannot be "counted" -- not that anyone's counting.

I don't think there is or needs to be any actual procedure for leaving the Church. I suppose that if someone wants to be really formal they might write a sort of letter of self-excommunication. And I would suppose that a Bishop who receives such a letter would simply have to respect that person's choice. You can't accept people as Orthodox if they themselves choose to reject the Orthodox faith.



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6 years ago  ::  Aug 08, 2012 - 7:35PM #3
Posts: 7

Only dead branches fall from the Orthodox Church.

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5 years ago  ::  Jul 24, 2013 - 6:44AM #4
Posts: 1

If one wanted to leave Orthodoxy, I wouldn't expect the Church to give them any official recognition for doing so such as "de-baptism," if that has any validity at all.  I mean, after a person is "born-again", it makes no sense for them to want to become "unborn-again."

I had to renounce some western beliefs when I bacame Orthodox - I came to an understanding that it wasn't the western Church I was renouncing, but the things which devide the Church which Jesus prayed should be One.

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