What is Expected of Guests at a Greek Christening?
Are you invited to a Greek Christening? In the life of an Greek Orthodox Christian, this is an important milestone because it signifies the official beginning of the individual’s Christian life. The Sacraments of Holy Baptism and Holy Chrism, both of which are performed at the Christening, are only done once.
Since this is such an important occasion, Christenings are usually large affairs with a certain standard of propriety. If you’ve been invited, you no doubt have questions. Here is some advice that will help you.
Behavior and Dress Code in the Church
Your general behavior in the church should be one of respect. Be polite to the guests and the priest. Watch the ceremony with interest and be sure not to speak while the Christening is underway. It is okay to take photographs, just don’t position yourself in a way that disturbs the ceremony.
Pay particular attention to how you dress. For women, a dress or skirt of a modest length is optimal. Pantsuits are also okay, but keep in mind that if the church is more traditional, ladies should really wear a dress as pantsuits aren’t considered traditional. Men should wear business casual clothes or a suit and tie.
Etiquette of Bringing a Gift
If you are invited to the Christening, you will need to bring a gift. Common gifts include money, baby items, and religious themed gifts. How generous you are with the gift will depend on a variety of factors. This includes:
- Whether or not there is a reception after the ceremony and where it is located. If it is at a function hall, it makes sense to be a little more generous than if the reception only consisted of a celebratory cake in the church’s reception area.
- If you have a close relationship with the family or if you are an immediate family member, it makes sense to be a little more generous with your gift.
- Your finances will also play a part in determining how much you will spend on the Christening gift.
All About the Godparent
In the Orthodox Church, the Godparent is the official sponsor of the ceremony. The parents typically ask someone who is close to the family and who will take the responsibility seriously. The godparent is not only an essential factor during the Christening itself, but throughout the person’s life. They are responsible for the spiritual upbringing of the person being baptized.
If the family has asked you to be a godparent, it is a great honor. They feel close enough to you to entrust you with their child’s spiritual wellness. Before saying yes, you need to be willing to take on this role. Ask your priest for advice before you accept. He will help you determine if you are able to take on the responsibility.
If you have been invited to a Greek Orthodox Christening, it helps to know what to expect. As long as you act in a respectful manner and bring a gift, you will be a wonderful guest.
Categorized in: Greek Christening Traditions
This post was written by Greek Boston