Religious Gifts for a Greek Baptism
If you are invited to attend someone’s Greek Orthodox baptism, it’s customary to give a gift, regardless if you can attend or not. Since Holy Baptism is the first sacrament an Orthodox Christian participates in, it’s considered a joyous, celebratory time. In fact, this is the sacrament that signifies the beginning of an individual’s life as a Christian. Since it’s such an important religious milestone, you may choose to give a religious gift. Here are some ideas:
When giving an icon, you can either take a completely random approach or put some meaning behind it. Any icon depicting important scenes from the Bible, for example, is more than appropriate. However, if you happen to know the name the child will be baptized under, you can find an icon of that saint. Or, if the child was born with a disease, you can get him an icon of Saint Panteilemon, a martyr and great healer. For ideas, you may want to talk this over with your priest or with the family of the child.
Everyone needs at least one copy of the Holy Bible. You can either get a Bible that is age-specific or one that he can read when he gets older. When possible, give an official Orthodox Christian Bible, which contains the Apocryphal Writings, among other differences. It is also a nice touch getting the Bible inscribed with information from the baptism. You can even write a personalized note inside. Also, you don’t necessarily need to give a specific Orthodox Bible – any Christian Bible would be appropriate.
Another great gift is to buy a series of religious books that would be designed to help him learn about his faith. Again, you can either give those that are designed for children or purchase books that he can grow into. Learning about the faith, however, starts at childhood. The parents can always read to him from a young age as a way to expose him to religious topics early on. Books that you can give include explanations of the Orthodox faith, prayer books, and religious storybooks designed to help kids learn more about Orthodoxy.
Even though the godparent will give him a cross that will be worn during the ceremony, it’s more than okay to give him a cross as a gift. If you don’t want to give a cross necklace, there are other options. For example, you can buy special silver baptism boxes, designed to hold keepsakes from the Christening. You can also get the cross that is engraved with special information from the baptism such as the child’s name and the date of the ceremony. You can also give a cross charm for a charm bracelet, earrings, and cross ornaments.
Since most Orthodox Christians are too young to remember their baptism, giving keepsake items related to the ceremony can be extra special. You can give photo albums with pictures from the event, take a video, and have anything engraved with essential information about the baptism; when he gets older, he will appreciate having these items.
Categorized in: Greek Christening Traditions
This post was written by Greek Boston