St Anthony of the Desert

Orthodox Christian Mission

Las Cruces, New Mexico

Fr Gabriel

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Inquirers / Catechumens

Three Stages of the Catechumenate

Adults wishing to enter the communion of the Church go through three stages that can be compared to getting married. At the inquirer stage, one enters into a dating relationship with the Church. When one’s inquiries satisfies one that the Orthodox Church is who she claims to be – the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church, the body of Christ, the fullness of him who is all in all – one is welcome to become a catechumen. Becoming a catechumen is like getting engaged. At this stage, one is “enrolled” into the catechumenate, and learns not only about Orthodoxy but how to live according to the Orthodox way. One is gently guided in the ascetic and moral disciplines of the Church. When one feels ready to die to the world in order to live for Christ in his holy Church, one is ready to be married to Christ by becoming a member of his bride, the Church, through Holy Baptism and/or Chrismation.

Because of the nature of life these days, people’s schedules and availability in terms of both time and distance, we have to be flexible about the way we conduct catechesis.  Fr Gabriel has conducted a ten-part podcast series called Flame in the Mind on Ancient Faith Radio, where he addresses the concept and practice both historically and in a contemporary setting.  You are invited to listen to that series.

Catechumens from churches that administer baptism in water in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are usually, but not always, chrismated to become members of the Orthodox communion.  Those who have no record of baptism may be asked, or may elect, to undergo conditional baptism prior to chrismation.