On the Augustinian View of the Sacraments

Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk

The Augustinian understanding of the “efficacy” of the sacraments was never fully accepted in the Orthodox Church. Such an understanding of the sacraments is unacceptable for Orthodox tradition, for it is an understanding in which the grace inherent within them is considered autonomous, independent of the Church. The sacraments can be performed only within the Church, and it is the Church that bestows efficacy, reality, and salvation on them. (Orthodox Christianity Vol. II: Doctrine and Teaching of the Orthodox Church, p. 405)


  1. Hieromonk Enoch says:

    It seems to me that St. Augustine does in passing acknowledge this view. But, because both the Donatists and the Orthodox in North Africa had accepted to rigid of a dichotomy, it was largely impossible to discuss such a proper view without appearing to ‘endorse’ one or the other.

  2. Can you show me where he acknowledges this view? I know that he does not believe that the Mysteries are effectual outside the Church.

  3. Hello. In some interviews and speeches, His Eminence says that there is baptism outside the Church. He also says that one who doesn’t believe in this is a kind of extremist, and that they form a small group. Did he change his views? This can be found on Moscow Patriarchate website and on the site of his Departament (only in russian).

  4. Matteo,

    Thanks for visiting! Met. Hilarion has indeed changed some of his views. In the past he wrote as a speculative theologian (likely due to those in his scholarly circles at Oxford) and in this book he is writing as a Bishop of the Church in a text about the Orthodox Faith. For instance, in earlier works he endorsed universalist hopes and yet in this series of books on the dogmas of the faith he states that Universalism has been condemned and is against the Gospel.

    in ICXC,

Speak Your Mind