Holy Baptism

“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
2. Chrismation
3. Confession of Faith

Clinical Baptism

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

Message from Fr Gary

Fr Gary

Four in Three


Ecclesiastes is one of my favorite books of the Bible. We find classic lines like, “To everything there is a season,” or “Vanity of vanities, all is vanity!” Taken as a whole, the Book of Ecclesiastes is full of wonderful wisdom. During my time at the seminary, a beloved priest professor would encourage us to read the entire book from beginning to end whenever we felt overwhelmed with the pressures of life. This tool served me well as a student, and has become a valuable tool in my ministry to Christ’s Church. A Priest witnesses all the emotions of life. You rejoice at the birth of a child and you mourn with the passing of a loved one. Ecclesiastes verbalizes this sentiment well.


In the past three weeks, I have participated in four funerals. Four beloved individuals left this world in the hope of the resurrection. Two funerals were for 30 something year old’s and two funerals were for 80 something year old’s, yet their loved ones shed the equal number of tears at each of the funerals. All four individuals left behind the same thing, a lasting memory of the relationships developed. Their grieving loved ones mourn their physical losses.


In late February, we lost Kevin, a 33 year old loving husband, father of two, son and good friend. Kevin battled stage 4 oral cancer for 16 months before leaving this life. During his last days, as he prepared to die, he taught those around him how to live! His love for baseball inspired a road trip, with his father, to San Francisco to see his beloved Giants play, and the holidays gave him the opportunity to express his love for his family and friends as they showered him with their loving sentiments. I stood, in rapt amazement, watching his beautiful young wife, with her their two year old child in her arms, sharing cherished memories. She made us laugh and she made us cry, but she reminded us that our hope as Christians is in our Lord’s Resurrection.

Continue Reading