“All the faithful are truly anointed priests and kings in the spiritual renewal brought about through baptism, just as priests and kings were anointed figuratively in former times. For those anointings were prefigurations of the truth of our anointing: prefigurations in relation not merely to some of us but to all of us.”
(St. Nikitas Stithatos, On Spiritual Knowledge)
In the Sacrament of Baptism, a person is incorporated into the crucified, resurrection and glorified Christ and is reborn to participate in the divine life. 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 baptism, therefore, that one becomes a fully participating member of the Church, and is made an heir of eternal life.
Guidelines for Baptism
Guidelines for Parents:
1. Choose carefully a sponsor for your child who will be a good Christian example and take seriously the awesome responsibilities a sponsor assumes.
2. Both parents, if Orthodox Christians, must be members in good standing and current in their Stewardship Pledge to the Church.
3. A name of Christian origin is to be given the child at baptism.
4. The day, time and other arrangements must be made with the priest by calling the Church Office at least three weeks prior to the baptism.
5. Someone should be appointed to undress and dress the child.
6. Two people should be appointed to carry the candles during the service.
7. To insure the proper dignity and solemnity of your child’s baptism pictures should be limited as much as possible.
Guidelines for the Sponsor:
The sponsor (godfather/godmother, nounos/nouna) must:
1. be an Orthodox Christian;
2. be a member in good standing and current with their Stewardship Pledge to the Church;
3. if married, be married in the Orthodox Church by an Orthodox Priest;
4. if from another parish, present to the parish priest prior to the Baptism, a letter from his/her priest stating that he/she is in good standing with the Church along with the Archdiocesan number and that he/she is eligible to serve as a sponsor.
The sponsor should provide:
1. a complete change of clothes for the child;
2. a bottle of olive oil;
3. a gold cross for the child;
4. one bar of Ivory soap;
5. Two hand towels.
6. two large bath towels;
7. one sheet;
8. three white candles, one of 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.
Reception of Converts
When a person who comes voluntarily from some other Christian confession requests to be received into the Orthodox Church, the priest, after the person completes catechism, will accept him/her in one of three ways, dependent upon the specific case, and as prescribed by canon 95 of the Penthekte Council:
1. Baptism in the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit by threefold immersion
3. Confession of Faith
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.
Dates When Baptisms May Not Be Held:
Baptisms may not be performed on the following days unless it is absolutely necessary and permission is obtained from the Archbishop:
1. December 25 - January 6
2. Holy Week
3. Major Feast Days