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

Encounter Christ


Many Evangelical Christians can name the date in which they were “Born Again.” The day in which they made Christ a priority in their life. Many of us, as Orthodox Christians, make that commitment on the day of our Baptism and Christmation, as infants. Are we transformed by the love of Christ? Do we allow ourselves to be transformed by Christ? There is a common theme in the Sunday Gospel readings following Pascha (Easter). Each of these five Sunday Gospels after Pascha distinguish a person (or persons) transformed by Christ.

The Sunday following Pascha we hear of “Doubting” Thomas. Thomas is skeptical about the encounter his brother disciples have with the risen Lord and make a bold proclamation, “Unless I see and touch!” The Lord reveals himself to Thomas and Thomas is immediately transformed. Without having to touch, he exclaims, “My Lord and my God!” Thomas encounter’s Christ and his faith is renewed.

The second Sunday after Pascha, we learn of the Myrrh-Bearing Women. These brave women approach the tomb of Christ and find it empty. Having encountered Christ, they return and share the good news with the disciples. Then on the third Sunday after our Lord’s Resurrection the Church shares the story of the paralytic. Although this happens before the Lord’s crucifixion, it holds fast to the theme of “Encountering Christ.” The man has suffered with an infirmity for 38 years...

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