The entire Church, triumphant and militant, rejoice when a child is grafted on to Christ through Holy Baptism. Your decision to baptize your child in the Orthodox Church are an indication of your love for the Church and for his or her sacramental life. Holy Baptism is the cleansing of one’s soul from the sin of Adam and Eve. It is also the initiation, if you will, of the child into the Church which has been instituted by Christ Himself, when He was baptized in the Jordan River by John the Baptist. This sacrament actually has within it three sacraments, Holy Baptism, Holy Chrismation, and Holy Communion. Holy Chrismation is the imparting of the gifts of the Holy Spirit to the child, and thus fills the void which is created when we wash away the sins of Adam and Eve and our own individual sins. The gifts of the Holy Spirit are, wisdom, understanding, counsel, knowledge, fortitude, piety, and fear of the Lord (wonder and awe).
Holy Communion is offered to the child as a sign that he or she is now a full member of the Orthodox Church. Holy Communion is the ultimate sign that an individual is in communion with the Church, and only those who are Orthodox can receive the Sacred Mysteries, the Body and Blood of Christ. Thus, for the child to receive it on this day, is the expression that he or she is part of the Body of Christ
COORDINATING YOUR BAPTISM
Please contact Fr. Theologos Drakos for any questions pertaining to the needs and requirements of your baptism. Please feel free to ask him any question you may have concerning your baptismal service here at Prophet Elias Greek Orthodox Church.
SETTING THE DATE
A family desiring to baptize their child should first contact the church office to set the date and make an appointment to prepare paperwork and pay any fees that are required. It is preferable to schedule your baptismal date at least three months prior to the desired date so that scheduling conflicts can be avoided. According to the official policies of our Archdiocese, baptisms should not be celebrated during Great Lent along with several large feast days of the Church. However, please speak with Fr. Theologos if you are choosing such a date.
BAPTISM: SPIRITUAL PRESUPPOSITIONS
Due to the fact that Baptism is a sacrament, it cannot be celebrated in a spiritual vacuum. This, therefore, presupposes that:
1. The person to be baptized has never been baptized before in any other Church.
If someone has been baptized in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, in another Church – and wish to join the Orthodox Church, they need not be baptized. Holy Chrismation is sufficient to ‘make whole anything that is lacking’, and to join the individual to the Orthodox Church.
KOUMBAROS / KOUMBARA
The “koumbaro” or “koumbara” – the sponsor who will participate sacramentally in the service by speaking on its behalf as it accepts Christ and renounces the devil, along with placing oil on the child and receiving the child as it comes out of the Baptismal font, must be an Orthodox Christian and a steward/member of his/her parish. They are charged with being the spiritual parents of the child, to raise it in the Orthodox Church. If one is not Orthodox, then this role cannot be fulfilled.
The “koumbaro” or koumbara”, if from another Orthodox parish, must provide proof from his or her parish priest certifying his or her active stewardship/membership in the Church.
Guest clergy, in Communion with the Orthodox Church, may participate in a baptism at Prophet Elias Church. Canonically, it is the responsibility of the priest where the baptism is taking place to extend an invitation to any and all visiting clergy. Orthodox Christian clergymen in communion with the Archdiocese are welcome to participate in the celebration of sacraments at Prophet Elias Church with the blessings of our Priest.
PHOTOGRAPHY AND VIDEOTAPING
Photographs of your baptism are permitted but should not in any way impede or distract from the celebration of the sacrament. Photographers should be quiet and respectful; the use of a flash is allowed. If you are planning on professional photography and videography, please ask that your photographer arrive early at the Church so that guidelines can be laid out. Also, please ask guests to be respectful of the professional’s space, for your benefit.
After the Baptismal service, you will receive the official Baptismal Certificate from Fr. Theologos.
NECESSARY ITEMS FOR THE CELEBRATION OF THE SERVICE
Among the items necessary to celebrate one’s baptism in the Church are the following:
1. Bottle of Olive Oil
2. Cross and Chain
3. Bar of Soap
4. Large Towel
5. A Large White Sheet
6. New white clothing
7. Hand Towel
8. Large Candle or “Lambada”
Some families choose to provide ahead of time the Prosforo and Sacramental wine to be used in the preparation for Holy Communion. If you wish to do so, please speak with Fr. Theologos Drakos ahead of time.
WASHING OF CLOTHES AND BABY AFTER THE SERVICE
Due to the fact that Holy Oil has been spread upon the child and is seeped into the clothing and towels of the child, care must be taken when washing everything. When bathing your child for the first time after the Sacrament of Holy Baptism, please do so in a tub which does not empty into the sewer system. Rather, when you are finished, you can empty the water, together with the Holy Oil around the foundations of your house, in the flower gardens or any place outside where people do not step. The same holds true for washing the towels and clothing.
The Sacrament of Holy Chrismation
Through this Sacrament the candidate is confirmed in the Orthodox Christian Church They are given the “Seal of the Gift of the Holy Spirit”. As the candidate participates in the death and resurrection of Christ through Holy Baptism, they then participate in Holy Pentecost through Holy Chrismation. This is expressed by the anointing with Holy Chrism, which is blessed on Holy Thursday by the Patriarch of Constantinople. This symbolic action, reminiscent of the anointing of the Old Testament priesthood, reminds us that each member of the Church is a member of “a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people” (1 Peter 2:9).
DID YOU KNOW …
Baptisms are not permitted on:
- December 25 to January 6
- Holy Week of Pasxa
Major Feast Days (see below):
- Jan. 1:
Circumcision of our Lord
- Jan. 6:
Theophany-Baptism of our Lord
- Feb. 2:
Presentation of our Lord in the Temple
- March 25:
Annunciation of our Lord’s Conception to the Virgin Mary
- Last Sunday before Pascha:
Palm Sunday (moveable feast)
Resurrection of our Lord (moveable feast)
- 40 days after Pascha:
Ascension of our Lord (moveable feast)
- 50 days after Pascha:
Pentecost of our Lord (moveable feast)
- August 6:
Transfiguration of our Lord
- Sept. 14:
Elevation of the Life Giving Cross
Baptisms are not allowed on these days unless in case of an emergency or when absolutely necessary and then only by special permission from the Diocesan Bishop.