What Does a Godparent Do Exactly?

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In the Greek Orthodox Church, an official sponsor is chosen when someone is about to be baptized. This sponsor, also called the “godparent,” has many responsibilities throughout the person’s life. Because so many people in the Orthodox tradition are baptized as infants, this makes the role of the godparent even more important. Besides speaking for the child during the baptism, the godparent is responsible for his spiritual upbringing.

Choosing the Godparent

Because it is such an important role, care needs to be taken to choose someone who will embrace it and do the best job possible. Keep in mind that if the child is your first born, chances are very good that you will select your koubaros or koubara for your godparent. Discuss your choices with your priest to make sure you are making the best decision.

Godparent Chooses the Name

These days, it’s typically the parents who choose the name for the child. However, since the godparent says the child’s name during the baptism, the responsibility fell on him to select a name. There are many customs to selecting a “Christian” name. If you’re looking for advice, you should ask your priest. The baptismal name is separate from the name that is on the birth certificate. Even though both names are the same, they don’t have to be.

Responsible for the Baptism

Generally speaking, the godparent is responsible for anything related to the baptism. However, before making this assumption it is best to talk things over with the parents of the child and also the priest. In addition to being the official sponsor of the baptism, the godparent will provide the priest with everything he needs to conduct the ceremony. These include white towels, a white sheet, new white outfit, oil, soap, one large white candle, two smaller white candles, and a cross. These items don’t need to be fancy and elaborately decorated. So, this can be a way to save money on some of the expenses associated with the baptism.

Spiritual Development

There are many things the godparent can do to foster the child’s spiritual development. Taking him to Holy Communion is one of them. In fact, it’s a tradition for the godparent to be present the first three times the child takes communion. The first is after the baptism.

In addition, the godparent may take the child to Holy Communion throughout his life. This is especially important if Holy Communion participation is infrequent. It’s the godparent’s job to make sure the godchild’s relationship with God develops properly. For Orthodox Christians, communion is a big part of that.

After the baptism ceremony is over, the godparent should develop his relationship with the child. By doing so, he has the opportunity to share the ins and outs of Orthodox Christianity with him. It is up to the godparent to make sure the parents and Sunday school teachers are doing an adequate job of helping him learn about his faith. If any of this education is lacking, the godparent could step in to rectify the situation.

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This post was written by Greek Boston

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