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||    Pope Shenouda    ||    Father Matta    ||    Bishop Mattaous    ||    Fr. Tadros Malaty    ||    Bishop Moussa    ||    Bishop Alexander    ||    Habib Gerguis    ||    Bishop Angealos    ||    Metropolitan Bishoy    ||


Bishop Moussa

"..do you not know that as many of us were baptised into Christ Jesus were baptised into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life... knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. For he who has died has been freed from sin". ( Romans 6: 1-7)

Let us consider the importance of the seven sacraments; Baptism, Myron, Holy Communion, Repentance, Anointing of the Sick, Matrimony and Priesthood, in the salvation process...


The essence of baptism is to be reborn in the spirit, to be recreated, regenerated. Through baptism I become the son/daughter of God and of the Church, and for this reason, the baptistery is rounded, symbolising the womb of the mother. I have a physical father and mother, and I have another father and mother for my spirit. My father is God, and my mother is the Church, and I have been reborn of the 'womb' of the Church, which is the baptistery.

We have taken two things from Adam : * the penalty of death, because "the wages of sin is death" (Romans. 6:23 ), and * a spoiled nature.

Christ has saved us from the penalty of death through His death on the cross, "In Him we have redemption through His blood..." (Ephesians 1:7), and my spoiled nature has been cleansed by the Holy Spirit in baptism, thus creating my new nature, "For as many of you as have been baptised into Christ have put on Christ" (Galatians 3:27).

However, baptism does not totally eradicate the old nature, because if it did, we would have no free will. Free will is a very important thing in Christianity, and that is why we are against Satre’s philosophy of existentialism that attacks God as dominating our freedom. God has never dealt with our free will in this way, He is very committed to the free will of man. He makes known to us the path which leads to Heaven and the path which doesn't, and then it is up to us to decide which path to take.

Let us consider what happens during the baptism process: the mother begins by carrying the infant on her left shoulder, and facing westward she rejects Satan. She faces the west because it symbolises death and darkness, which is Satan. She is rejecting Satan's deeds, his power, his darkness and sin. She raises her hand and repeats three times : "I reject you Satan!" Therefore, she is rejecting Satan on behalf of the infant on her shoulder. Then the priest asks the mother to turn and face eastward, as the east symbolises life, light and our Lord Jesus Christ. The mother rejected Satan on behalf of the child and now she is accepting Christ Jesus on behalf of the child. This is now to be completed by immersing the child in the water three times, which symbolises the Godhead present in the Holy Trinity, and it also symbolises the three days in the tomb; because baptism means dying with the Lord and then rising with the Lord. Now this infant has been regenerated through baptism, has rejected Satan and accepted the Beloved Lord Jesus Christ - this baby is now Christian.

Once the baby is baptised, it is then anointed by the priest with thirty six crosses. The priest begins by anointing the head: 'Lord sanctify my mind'. The second and third crosses are on the nostrils; fourth is on the lips; the fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth crosses are on the ears and eyes: 'Lord sanctify my senses'. Now the priest has drawn the sign of the cross over the infant's senses. The ninth and tenth crosses are on the heart: 'Lord sanctify my heart and my inner life'. The eleventh and twelfth crosses are on the back: 'Lord sanctify my will'. The next set of twelve crosses are on each of the two arms - two crosses on each joint, front and back (there are three joints on each arm): 'Lord sanctify my deeds'. The next set of twelve crosses are on each leg - two crosses on each joint, front and back (there are three joints on each leg): 'Lord sanctify my way'.

After being consecrated, the baby is dressed in white, symbolising purity, and a red ribbon is tied over the white dress, symbolising that the baby is now bonded to Christ and has entered into a covenant with the Lord. The ribbon is red to symbolise the blood of Christ. The mother carrying the infant then moves from the west to the east and from the north to the south. This movement symbolises movement from darkness to light and from death to life. This baby has been regenerated through baptism, consecrated through the Holy Myron and can now proceed to be unified with the Lord through the Holy Communion.


"Most assuredly I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For My flesh is food indeed and My blood is drink indeed. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood dwells in me and I in him...He who eats this bread will live forever." ( John 6: 53-58).


"...If they fall away, to renew them again to repentance..." (Hebrew 6:6). The new nature that we received in baptism is to be brought up and nourished through repentance. Our salvation is based on three important pillars:

                  ?   Baptism
                  ?   Repentance
                  ?   Transformation

On the day of transformation and resurrection we will rid ourselves totally of our old nature and earthly bodies, and will be given a heavenly body: "...the Lord Jesus Christ who will transform our lowly body...to His glorious body" (Philippians 3:21 ).

Our responsibility now is repentance and our spiritual life.

I look on all the blessings I took as a child, and now that I'm older, my pure white garments of baptism are stained and spotted from sin. But my tears of repentance will renew and rewash me, and bring me back to my original state of purity, which I gained in baptism..."Wash me Lord and I will be whiter than snow..." (Psalm 51).
For this reason, repentance is considered to be a 'second baptism', because it involves being absolved from your sins, taking guidance from your father in confession, and regaining all the blessing you lost through sin.

Confession is a very important sacrament because it is a biblical commandment and very beneficial not only spiritually, but also psychologically. His Holiness Pope Shenouda once said, "In confession, we receive two things: 'absolution' for the forgiveness of sins, and 'solution' to our problems through the spiritual guidance of our confession father."
This is holiness; it is something very pleasant and very important. You are going to be regenerated through baptism, consecrated through Myron, united through Holy Communion, and through repentance and confession, you will keep all the blessings in your life. YOU ARE NOW A SANCTIFIED PERSON. This does not mean that you will be sinless, but it means that you are going to be a good Christian, struggling against sin and conquering sin, but when a sin is committed, you will come to your father in confession and repent with tears of the heart, thus regaining your spiritual power and blessing once more.
When you commit sin, never lose hope. The door of repentance is open and God will accept your sincere confession.

 "...and if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Confess your trespasses to one another and pray for one another..." (James 5: 15-16)


"Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord" (James 5:14 ).


Marriage is essential for most people in the salvation process. Through this sacrament, married couples can satisfy the following instincts in a pure and holy way: sexual instinct, and the motherhood/fatherhood instincts.
Marriage has five important goals:

 ?   to experience 'agape' love
 ?   co-operation between the partners
 ?   salvation, because marriage will save them from sinning
 ?   the continuance of mankind
 ?   increasing the number of saints on earth and in heaven


The purpose of priesthood is to officiate the sacraments and to instruct and edify the people.

"For every priest taken from among men is appointed for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins...and no man takes this honour to himself, but he who is called by God, just as Aaron was" (Hebrews: 1, 4)
"God has from the beginning chosen you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth...therefore brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which you have been taught, whether by word or our epistle..." (2 Thessalonians 2:13, 15).


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