Putting Together Your Greek Christening Program
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The Christening ceremony in the Greek Orthodox Church is rich in symbolism and beauty. Baptism is the first sacrament that Orthodox Christians participate in so it is a special day. However, the ceremony is so involved that most of the guests, even the Orthodox Christians, likely aren’t quite sure what is going on. A great solution for this is to prepare a program for your guests so they can follow along.
General Information in the Program
An effective Christening program should accomplish two things. First, it will give all the essential information such as:
- The child’s name and birth date
- The names of the parents
- Who the godparents are
- Name of the church and the priest
- Information about the reception after the ceremony
Second, it will contain specific information about the ceremony so that the guests will gain a deeper understanding of what they are watching. Otherwise, they will only have a superficial viewpoint without understanding the significance.
How the Program Will Look
One of the first things you should do before selecting the information that will go into the program is determine how long it will be. If your space is limited, that will limit how much religious information you will be able to put in. If you are able to make the program into a pamphlet, you can go into a lot more detail about the ceremony itself. Check with your local print shop or look for templates online for ideas.
Ask Your Church
Sometimes, churches have information about the Christening ceremony that they can provide for you. If this is the case, all you will need to do is retype it or have copies printed out to add to your existing program. This can save a lot of time when preparing the program. So, before you design it, check with your Orthodox Church.
Important Elements of the Ceremony
Here is a list of the important elements of the baptism. If you choose to rewrite these items for your program, be sure to submit it to your priest for review in case he has anything to ad.
- Blessing of the Waters – The ceremony begins with a blessing and symbolizes the beginning of their spiritual journey.
- Blessing of the Olive Oil and Anointing – The olive oil is blessed which is followed by an anointing.
- Spiritual Warfare – The person being baptized is called to denounce Satin. If he isn’t old enough, the godparents do it on his behalf.
- Immersion – It’s time for immersion into the water. This is done three times.
- Chrismation – Orthodox Christenings contain another sacrament – Chrismation. This is performed after the immersion.
- Tonsuring – After Chrismation, the priest cuts a lock of hair from the person being Christened.
- Circling Around the Baptismal Font – Following a few scripture readings, the priest, candle bearers, and the newly baptized Christian all circle around the baptismal font.
- Holy Communion. The ceremony concludes with the third sacrament – Holy Communion. Then, the priest gives his official conclusion.
As you can see, you don’t necessarily need to write a complicated explanation about the ceremony. Even a simple summary can help your guests follow along and learn something about the Greek Orthodox Christian Church.
Categorized in: Greek Christening Traditions
This post was written by Greek Boston