Document Recognizing Mutually the Administration of the Sacrament of Baptism

In a very moving celebration at the Mosteiro de São Bento, São Paulo, Brazil, the Roman Catholic Church, The Anglican Episcopal Church of Brazil, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Brazil, the Presbiterian United Church and the Sirian Orthodox Church signed a document recognizing mutually the administration of the sacrament of Baptism.

This agreement was a result of many years of dialogue and advance of a more closer relashionship between these Churches trough the National Council of Christian Churches (CONIC).

The signature took place at the celebration of the 25th Anniversary of the CONIC, last week, precisely at 15th november. More than 400 people witnessed the celebration.

At the document, the churches agree that ‘ the baptism instituted by Christ is fundamentally a free gift of God, linking the baptized with the death and Christ’s ressurection for sins pardon and new life’.

Also, the Churches ‘accept the Baptism as basic link of the unity that is given by the faith in the same Lord’

The Document affirms that ‘with this agreement are excluded the possibility of re-baptism in case of a believer change from one church to another fellow church’

This mutual recognition was well received in ecumenical circles, especially within the World Council of Churches. This is the first time that the mutual acceptance of baptism is insituted by a multilateral agreement, including the Roman Catholic Church.

The document was signed by the Right Revd. Geraldo Lyrio (Roman Catholic Church), The Most Revd Mauricio Andrade (Episcopal Angican Church of Brazil), Pastor President Walter Altmann (Evangelical Lutheran Church of Brazil), Pastor Moderator Manoel de Souza Miranda (Presbyterian United Church of Brazil) and Mons. Antônio Nakkoudda (Sirian Orthodox Antioch Church).

Photo: candles being lit (by Zenaide Barbosa)

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The Rev. Canon Francisco de Assis Silva

SecretaryGeneral of IEAB