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Greek Baptisms (βαπτίσεις)

The Baptismal Day

This is one of the most important days in the life of an Orthodox Christian.  The sacrament of Baptism usually occurs within the first year of a baby's life after the forty day blessing.  Here are the steps within the baptism:

  • The sacrament begins in the Church Narthex where the parents hand the child over to the Godparent.
  • The Godparent speaks on behalf of the child and denounces Satan and recites the Creed.
  • The parents and the Godparent walk towards the front of the church.
  • A woman (usually the grandmother) takes the baby to undress and wrap him/her in a large towel.
  • The priest blesses the water in the baptismal font and adds to it the oil that the Godparent brought.  Then he takes the baby and rubs him/her with the oil and water.
  • Then he immerses the baby in the font three times symbolizing the three days that Christ spent in his tomb.  While immersing the baby, the priest is pronouncing the baby's name along with the name of the Trinity, the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.
  • The baby is taken out of the water and given to the Godparent who is holding the towel.
  • The priest cuts a lock of the baby's hair to signify his/her allegiance to Christ in mind, soul and now body.
  • What follows is the sacrament of Chrismation where the priest also blesses the baby's clothes.
  • A woman (usually the grandmother) will dress the baby in the Christening outfit.
  • After that, the priest places the gold cross and chain on the baby.
  • The Godparent takes the baby and lights the big candle and the small candles.
  • Small candles are usually given to children to hold.
  • They all then walk around the font three times symbolizing the dance of joy.
  • The baby then receives Holy Communion for the first time.
  • When the ceremony is over, the parents kiss the hand of the Godparent and recieve their baby.
  • All relatives and friends wish them "Na sas zisi" which means life to him/her."

 

The Godparent must bring the following to the church:

  • 1 small white or ivory towel (to be used by the priest and Godparent to wipe their hands after the baptism)
  • 1 large white or ivory towel (to wrap the baby in)
  • 1 large white or ivory oil sheet (used with the towel to wrap the baby)
  • 1 set of baptismal undergarments - These garments are brought by the Godparent to dress the infant immediately after the immersion in Baptism.

All of the above are called Ladopana

  • 1 small bottle of olive oil (for the priest to pour into the baptismal water)
  • 1 bar of soap (for the priest and Godparent to wash their hands with after the baptism)
  • 3 white candles (which they light after the baptism when they walk around the baptismal font) - 1 large candle and 2 smaller matching ones
  • a baptismal outfit, shoes and socks
  • a gold cross on a chain (for the baby to wear after Chrismation)
  • a baptismal box to put all the above inside and carry them to the Church.

 

Following the Baptism

  • The baby should not be bathed for three days.
  • Water from the first bath after the Baptismal Ceremony should be used to water plants.
  • The baby receives communion dressed in his/her baptismal out for three Sundays following the baptism.
  • It is customary for the Godparent to take the baby for communion while someone follows with the lit baptismal candle.
     
     
     
     
     
   

 

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Labathes/Candles Ladopana Sets (oil sheet & towel) Stolisma (baptismal font decoration)
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