HOLY BAPTISM IN THE ORTHODOX CHURCH
Following His Resurrection, Christ summoned His Apostles saying: “Go ye and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19)
In the Sacrament of Holy Baptism, a person is incorporated into the crucified, resurrected and glorified Christ and is reborn “by water and the Spirit” in order to participate in the divine life. Through Holy Baptism, Christ cleanses us of all sin and we enter into His Glorious Kingdom thereby, becoming members of His Body (the Church) purified by the grace of the Holy Spirit. Each baptized person also shares in the royal priesthood of the people of God: “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God…” (1 Peter 2:9). It is through Holy Baptism, that one becomes a fully participating member of the Church, and is made an heir of eternal life. The baptismal font represents the spiritual womb where we become born again in Christ and at the same time, it acts as the tomb where we bury our sins. Immediately following Baptism, we receive the Sacrament of Holy Chrismation “the Gift of the Holy Spirit” just as the Apostles did during Pentecost. We also receive Holy Communion which is the resurrected body & blood of Christ.
Guidelines for Baptism
Guidelines for Parents:
Choose carefully a sponsor/Godparent for your child who will be a good Christian example and take seriously the awesome responsibilities a sponsor assumes
Orthodox Christian parents must be members in good standing and current in their Stewardship Pledge to the Church
A name of Christian origin is to be given the child at baptism
The day, time and other arrangements must be made with the priest by calling the Church Office one month prior to the baptism
Someone should be appointed to undress and dress the child
Someone should be appointed to carry the candle during the service
To insure the proper dignity and solemnity of your child’s baptism pictures should be limited to one photographer who has consulted with the priest prior to the Sacrament of Holy Baptism
Guidelines for the Sponsor/Godparent:
The sponsor (godfather/godmother, nounos/nouna) must:
Be a practicing Orthodox Christian 12 years of age or older
Be a member in good canonical standing and current with their Stewardship Pledge to the Orthodox Church
If married, be married in the Orthodox Church by an Orthodox Priest
If from another parish, present to the parish priest prior to the Sacrament of Holy Baptism, a letter from his/her priest stating that he/she is in good canonical and stewardship standing with the Orthodox Church and that he/she is eligible to serve as a sponsor
Promise to support the Godchild spiritually, by teaching him/her to acquire and gain knowledge of our Faith and the Love of Christ
The sponsor should provide:
A complete change of white clothes for the child including undergarments
Bottle of olive oil
A gold cross and chain for the child
One bar of Ivory soap
Two white hand towels
One large bath towel
One sheet (myro/lado-pano)
One baptismal white candle (lambatha) which is by tradition elaborately decorated
The role of the sponsor was originally to give assurance to the Church for the faith of the one who was to be baptized; this is still the practice in the case of Adult Baptism or Chrismation. In the case of Infant Baptism, the Sponsor stands and vouches for the child, who is unable to make the necessary confession of faith.
The Sponsor should be ready to recite the Nicene Creed either in English or Greek.
For three consecutive Sundays after the Baptism, the sponsor should carry the infant to the Holy Altar to receive Holy Communion.
No invitations should be printed until the date has been approved by the church office.
If you wish to have the priest attend your reception, please send an invitation to him and his presbytera in advance. Too many people simply assume that the priest will come and then casually mention it following the service. Due to the large size of the Greek Orthodox Community of Sts. Peter and Paul Church, it is very difficult for the priest to attend every reception. He will make every attempt to be present to bless the meal.
When a person who comes voluntarily from some other Christian confession requests to be received into the Orthodox Christian Church, the priest, after the person completes education of Faith/Catechism Classes, will accept him/her as noted below, dependent upon the specific case:
Baptism in the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit by threefold immersion in water
In the event an unbaptized infant is near death, a priest should be called immediately for a clinical baptism. If time is of the essence, however, and the priest is unable to arrive in time, an Orthodox lay person, or any other Christian, may baptize the infant by sprinkling Holy Water on the infant or by raising the infant up in the air three times while saying, “The Servant of God (name) is baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Baptisms may not be performed on the following days unless it is absolutely necessary and permission is obtained from the Metropolitan:
- December 25 – January 6
- Holy Week
- Major Feast Days
At this time, we thought it would be helpful to inform you of the obligatory fees to the Greek Orthodox Community. The following list applies to all those who participate in Sacraments at the Greek Orthodox Church of Saints Peter and Paul in Kitchener, Ontario.
$100 for Parents
$100 for Godparent(s)
All baptized and confirmed Orthodox Christians, who are 18 years of age and older, participating in the Sacrament of Holy Baptism must be members in good standing of Saints Peter and Paul Greek Orthodox Church, having paid their current annual dues to the Community.
General Membership Fees are as follows:
Married Adult Couple/Family……$250
Married Senior Couple…………..$175
Students…………………………..*Free (Under 22 Yrs.)
*The Parents or Sponsors of Students under 22 years of age, who are participating in Holy Sacraments, are subject to Membership Fees. In the event that parents or sponsors are not members of our Community, the student will be required to pay a Membership Fee of $100.
*The Godparent(s) may be unaware that he/she is required to pay a fee, especially if he/she is from another Community, or outside of the city. The Parents of the child to be baptized should advise the Godparent(s) to make arrangements to pay the fee at least two weeks prior to the event. If he/she is not advised, it will be the responsibility of the Parents of the child to arrange for the Godparent’s portion of the fees at least two weeks prior to the event.
*All fees must be paid at the Community Church Office, or by phone, with Visa, M/C, Debit, Cheque or Cash. There will not be anyone at the Office to accept your payment at the time of the Baptism. The Priest will not proceed with the Baptism if fees have not been collected, so please be sure to make these financial arrangements at least two weeks prior to the event. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the Community Church Office at 519-579-4703. If no one is available, please leave a message on the answering machine, and someone will return your call. Alternatively you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
We would like to express our best wishes to you and your family as you prepare for the
Sacrament of Holy Baptism!