Your child's Baptism in the Orthodox Church is a wonderful celebration of the child's entry into the Kingdom of God. On the day of their Baptism, your child will receive three Sacraments: Baptism, Chrismation, and their first Communion. This makes the child a fully-functioning member of the Body of Christ.
It is best not to put off Baptizing your child. Ideally, infants should be Baptized within their first year. Older children tend to have more difficulty receiving Communion than they would if they had been receiving from a younger age.
Every child who is Baptized in the Orthodox Church needs to have two special relationships: a godparent, and a patron saint. The patron saint will intercede for the child throughout their life. The child will receive Communion and other Sacraments using the name of their patron saint (which becomes their 'baptismal name'). It is not necessary that the name of the patron saint matches the child's birth name, but this can be helpful to avoid confusion.
The child's godparent must be an Orthodox Christian in good standing with the Orthodox Church. The godparent's role is to ensure that the child is brought up in the Orthodox faith, to pray for the child, and to be a good example to the child of a Christian life. A clergyman may not be the godparent. Normally a child will have only one godparent, but the child may have two (a godfather and a godmother) if desired.
On the day of the Baptism, the following items are provided by the Godparent:
- A small bottle of olive oil
- A large white towel
- A white bedsheet
- A small white hand towel
- One bar of Ivory soap
- A small Cross necklace
- A large white baptismal candle
- Optional: Small white candles for other children present at the Baptism to carry
- Optional: Martyrika; small Cross "witness pins" that are given as gifts to attendees
- Optional: Koufeta/Bomboniera; small bags of Jordan almonds that are given as gifts to attendees
These items can be purchased as a set from online marketplaces like Blessed Celebration, but can also be purchased individually.
The parents should bring a white outfit for the child to wear after the Baptism. The child should be wearing a different outfit before the Baptism, and is changed into their white baptismal garment after the Baptism.
After the Baptism, the priest will provide a baptismal certificate to the parents. Copies of this certificate are also kept in the parish files and sent to the Metropolis. This is an important document that the family should file in a safe place.
Baptisms are prohibited during the following periods of the year:
- Holy Week
- December 25 through January 6 (Afterfeast period of the Nativity)
- All Feast Days of Our Lord and of the Theotokos.
To schedule your child's Baptism, please contact Fr. Jeremy.