Greek Orthodox Christening – What to Expect
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In the Greek Orthodox Church, the day of your baptism is looked at as one of the most important because it signifies the day that you truly become a Christian. It is the true beginning of the life of an Orthodox Christian.
The baptism typically takes place in infancy because it shows us how much God truly loves us. We begin our life as a Christian from a very young age. Getting baptized is a requirement for becoming an Orthodox Christian.
Preparing for Baptism
Before the ceremony can even happen, there are some preparations that need to be made. Here is an overview of some of the main points.
- Select the Godparent. The godparent needs to be an Orthodox Christian in good standing. Review your choices with your priest and he will help you select the right one.
- Christening items. In order for the priest to perform the baptism, he needs certain items. This includes candles, towels, a bar of soap, oil, and a new, white outfit to change into. The church has more information about exactly what is needed.
- Planning the reception. It is customary to have a reception of some kind after the baptism. This can be as simple as enjoying a slice of cake after the ceremony or treating the attendees to dinner.
Your priest will give you more detailed information about what needs to be done. However, this is the overview of what to expect.
The Christening Ceremony
Our Christening is an important day in our spiritual lives. This is when we officially become part of God’s family. He becomes our father and we become His children. Though we are typically too young to remember it, it is a joyful day. Here is a quick overview of what happens in the ceremony.
- Entrance. The person being baptized enters the church. It is a ceremonial moment because prior to the Christening, the individual is not yet part of the church family. The priest asks the person to be christened to renounce Satan. If the individual is an infant, the godparent does it for the child.
- Immersion. In the next major part of the ceremony, the person being baptized is immersed in the water three times, which is symbolic of Christ’s birth, death, and resurrection. If baptized as an infant, after immersion the child is placed in the arms of the godparent with a white sheet, which symbolizes purity. Then, the child receives the sacrament of Chrismation.
- After immersion. The person being baptizes is changed into a white outfit. The candles are lit and the priest, godparent, individual being baptized, and the people who are holding the other two candles proceed around the baptismal font three times. The ceremony concludes with a scripture reading.
Most people attend baptisms without really thinking about them. This should give you an overview of not only how to prepare for the baptism, but what to expect during the ceremony. As you can see, this is an important moment during our spiritual life as Orthodox Christians.
Categorized in: Greek Christening Traditions
This post was written by GreekBoston.com