When we went to our parish churches, I noticed that they had neither baptismal fonts nor baptisteries. When we were at baptisms, another surprise awaited us. They did not have a baptismal font!
Well, we ask them, where is the baptismal font? – We do not have one, they replied. We have a bucket, we sanctify the water and then we pour it on them. -But this is not Orthodox baptism! It is roman-catholic aspersion!
It is with regret that I found out that here in Tanzania the Orthodox are not baptized but sprinkled. That’s what they have been taught, that’s what our priests do.
The word “baptism” means “immersion in water”, not bathing in water. It is the triple dive into the holy water of the font and the triple emergence. Thus, the baptized person participates in the three-day burial and the Resurrection of the Savior Christ.
Bearing in mind this Orthodox theology of the sacrament of Baptism, at the Episcopal Conference we found out the irregularity in the performance of Baptism and the lack of baptisteries and baptismal fonts, and we decided: a. to deal with the sacrament of Baptism at the next Hierarchical Meeting, where there will be emphasis on the importance of Catechism before Baptism and the order of the sacrament. b. on the construction of baptisteries and baptismal fonts in the Parishes for adult baptisms.
We make a fervent appeal for help to our Christian brothers and to all the Mission friends and supporters so that 40 baptismal fonts can be immediately constructed for adult baptisms as well. This will definitely assist the 40 priests of our Diocese in exercising properly their sacred duties as regards Baptism. The total cost is estimated at € 5,500. With the above-mentioned comments, we do not blame the indigenous priests by any means, but we understand our responsibility to guide them towards the correct performance of the great Sacrament of Baptism.
† Chrysostomos of Bukomba