Baptism in orthodoxy
One of the most significant days in a person's life that they would like to remember forever is Chistening. Of the seven sacraments (baptism, chrismation (confirmation), repentance, Eucharist (communion), marriage (wedding), priesthood (ordination), and anointing of the sick), this is the first sacrament performed on a person, introducing them into the world of the Church. Baptism is spiritual birth - after baptism and chrismation, one can proceed with all other sacraments of the Church. Photos from the baptism are a great joy for the whole family for many years to come. Usually, there is no prohibition on taking photos and videos, but it is better to be sure in advance. If photography is not allowed in the church, it is necessary to find a church where it is allowed.
Several tips for preparing for baptism.
- For the baptism of children under 7 years old, consent for baptism is required only from their parents. Up to the age of 14, both parents and the teenager's consent are required for baptism. For those over 14 years old, parental permission for baptism is not required.
- Requirements for godparents: - the godparent must be an Orthodox and church-going person (they are responsible for raising the child in faith); - not the child's parent (godparents should replace the parents if necessary); - a husband and wife cannot be godparents of the same child (or those who are going to get married); - a monk cannot be a godparent; - contrary to popular belief, it is not necessary for there to be two godparents. One is enough: a woman for a girl and a man for a boy.
- For the baptism, the child needs a new baptismal shirt, a cross, and a towel. All this can be purchased at any church shop, and it is usually the godparents' responsibility. The baptismal shirt is then stored together with other memorable items of the baby.
- Find out in advance what name the child will be baptized with. If the child's name is not in the saints' calendar, choose a similar-sounding name in advance (Alina - Elena, Zhanna - Anna, Alisa - Alexandra) and tell the priest about it. Based on this, the child's name day and their heavenly patron will be determined.
The sequence of the sacrament of baptism.
At the beginning of the baptism, the person being baptized (if an adult) or their godparent must renounce Satan "and all his works, and all his service" three times, confess their desire to "unite with Christ" and consciously recite the Creed, which should be well known and understood by the person being baptized or their successor.
Then the priest recites the Great Litany, consecrates the water in the font, anoints the water and the person being baptized with oil, performs the actual baptism (immersion); during the reading of the 31st Psalm, a cross and white clothing are placed on the baptized person. The priest performs the anointing with holy oil and then, with the baptized person and their successors, walks around the font three times. The Apostle (Romans 6:3-11) and the Gospel (Matthew 28:16-20) are read, the priest washes and dries the holy oil, cuts the hair of the baptized person, recites the final litany and dismisses them. Thus, several elements of the rite are used during the sacrament of baptism, each of which has symbolic spiritual significance:
- the turning of the person being baptized to the west (symbol of darkness) to renounce Satan, who is spiritual darkness;
- anointing the infant with oil before immersion in water (font) for invincibility in the struggle against Satan; immersion in water, during which the Holy Spirit mystically descends on the baptized person and cleanses them of sins;
- placing the cross on the chest signifies that the person being baptized desires to constantly remember the cross – the symbol of salvation, and patiently (and joyfully) bear it throughout their life;
- dressing in white clothing indicates that the person being baptized has been cleansed of sins and must lead a pure life. In addition, white is a manifestation of joy at being united with Christ;
- walking around the font symbolizes eternity;
- haircutting is a dedication of the newly baptized person to the will of God.
After the baptism, the anointing with holy oil is performed, and the newly baptized Christian can participate in the Eucharist. When boys are being initiated into the church, they are carried into the altar through the southern deacon doors, they bow to the throne, they are carried through the upper place and are carried out through the northern doors (girls are not carried into the altar). Both boys and girls are then placed near the icons of the Savior and the Mother of God on the iconostasis.