CELEBRATING A BAPTISM
What is Baptism?
Baptism is the first Sacrament that an Orthodox Christian participates in. During baptism, the child becomes a member of the Church through immersion in the Name of the Holy Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit). Everyone is baptised in blessed Holy Water by the Priest during the service. This is the first step in a new life in Christ, as He grants a new life of being born again “of water and the Spirit” (John 3:5).
Today, the purpose of the godparent – an Orthodox Christian in good standing – is to teach the child the Orthodox faith. Originally, adults who wanted to be baptised needed two witnesses to say to the Bishop and a Council of Priests the candidate was spiritually ready to be baptised. These witnesses were their godparents.
Requirements of the Parents of the Child or Candidate
If you are baptising your child, both parents must consent to the Baptism in the Orthodox Church. If an adult candidate for baptism, you must complete the Catechism Course with Fr. Tim. The parents or candidate must be members in good standing with our Community.
If you are being baptised as an adult, you will need to attend prepatory catechism sessions with Fr. Tim. They are aimed to teach the candidate about the Orthodox Faith (going through the Creed of Faith, Church History, Church services, Feasts and Fasts, etc.). The sessions must be completed before an adult can be baptised.
Requirements of the Godparents
The Godparent must be an Orthodox Christian in good standing in the Orthodox Church. They need to provide a copy of their Baptismal Certificate, as well as their Marriage Certificate in the Church (if applicable). If the Godparent has been divorced, they must provide an Orthodox Ecclesiastical Divorce Certificate.
If the prospective Godparent has been married or baptized outside the Orthodox Church or with an Orthodox Church not in Spiritual Communion with our Holy Archdiocese, they are unfortunately not eligible to serve as a Godparent.
Godparents need to attend one preparatory session, where the Godparents learn about the Sacrament itself and the Nicene Creed (as they will need to recite it during the pre-Baptism service). The session usually lasts one hour.
After the Baptism, the Godparent should be prepared to bring their godchild to Church for 3 consecutive Sundays to receive Holy Communion together. If the Godparent cannot accompany the child to the Church for 3 consecutive Sundays, the parents are kindly asked to bring the child for that time period.
An Orthodox Godparent is to provide the following Items:
Gold Cross for child
1 Large candle (Decorated Lambada)
1 medium sized bottle of Olive Oil
2 small white candles (can be purchased from our Church)
1 bar of soap
2 medium sized white hand towels
1 large white bath towel
1 twin white bed sheet (the Ladopano)
1 new Baptismal Outfit (traditionally white)
White undergarments and T-shirt
1 cap (the Lado-kapelo) to soak up the Oil and 1 White Hat or Bonnet
1 pair of shoes (usually white)
Martyrika (little crosses with a pin and ribbon) for the guests attending.
Your Choice of Language
At Sts. Nicholas and Dimitrios Church, we usually celebrate the Sacrament in both English and Greek. The Ceremony lasts for less than one hour, and the use of both languages does not lengthen the service.
Everyone is welcome to take photos and video during the Sacrament, with the consent of the parents or candidate. As there are a few places one cannot take pictuers or video from (for example, inside the Altar), please speak to Fr. Tim prior to the service or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Congratulations! Καλοί Χριστιανοί!