Baptism is a kind of spiritual cleansing of a person that takes place only once in a lifetime. A person who is about to be baptized must know the basics of Orthodoxy, as well as the most important prayers. As for babies, they still cannot learn the Orthodox dogma, but their godparents can vouch for them. It is the godparents who during the rite undertake before God to educate their godson according to the Orthodox canons. They should be pious people, and even in case of misfortune, if suddenly their godson is left without parents, they should replace him.
The question arises whether babies should be baptized, because they still cannot independently realize what is happening. The fact is that baptized children can be attached to icons and regularly receive communion, thus, from birth, have protection and Orthodox education. After a secret rite in honor of the little one, you can submit notes on health, order magpies and mention his name in prayers.
Before the ceremony, it is necessary to take care of the acquisition of the Orthodox cross. It is usually bought in the temple, as it is properly executed and consecrated. But, if you need a cross made of gold, but in the temple there is no way to buy it. In this case, it is necessary to purchase it in a jewelry store, and before the ceremony to show the Clergyman. In Orthodox practice, there should be two godparents: a woman and a man, but only one is required. For a baptized boy, participation in the baptism of a man is mandatory, for a girl – a woman.
Preparing mom for baby baptism
On the eve of the day of the ceremony, it is necessary to discuss in advance with the Priest the issue of the mother’s presence in the baptismal room. It is believed that a woman is cleansed only on the fortieth day after childbirth, so if the Baptism of the baby is planned earlier, then the mother will not be present at the same time.
If forty days have passed since the birth of the baby, and the mother wants to be present at the same time, she needs to inform the Priest about it a day before the ceremony so that he can read a special cleansing prayer, after which she will be admitted to the baptismal room.
How is the ceremony of Baptism
The duration of this sacrament is an hour – one and a half. Before it begins, candles are lit in the temple, and the Priest reads special prayers. For Baptism, the baby is stripped, and he is in the hands of the godparents. The godfather must hold the girl in her arms, and the godmother holds the boy. In winter, the baby will most likely be left dressed. But, the legs and arms should remain open.
After all the necessary prayers have been read, the Priest will ask the godparents to turn their faces to the west side of the church and answer important questions. Then, they read a special prayer.
Further, the Priest will bless water, oil and anoint the breasts, ears, legs and arms of the crumbs.
Then, the Priest will take the baby in his arms and dip him in the water three times with his head. In this case, the crumb should be turned face to the eastern part of the temple. And only after that, the baby is given into the hands of the godparents. When the godson receives the godson in his arms, he holds in his hands the kryzhma – a special cloth for baptism. After the child dries, he can be dressed in baptismal clothing and put on a cross.
The clothes should be white, this indicates that he has a clean soul, which he must preserve, and the cross is considered a sign of faith in gentlemen. Parents should take care of the preservation of baptismal clothing and kryzhma.
After the ceremony of Baptism, the ceremony of Anointing will be performed, during which the Clergyman anoints the baby with specially consecrated oil (the world), as if outlining the image of the cross on the forehead, nostrils, eyes, ears, lips, arms and legs.
Then, the Clergyman makes a triple round of the font with candles, and wipes the world that remains on the body of the baby. After that, the prayer needed to cut the hair is read and the Priest cuts the hair of the baby crosswise. Then they roll up with wax and are placed in the font.
At the end of all the rites, the Priest reads a prayer for the baby and godparents, blesses everyone to leave the temple. If the crumbs at the time of Baptism turned 40 days old, then the Church is also being performed. A priest with a child in his hands marks a cross at the entrance to the temple, in the center of the temple and near the Royal Gate. If a baby is baptized – a boy, then the Priest with the child in her arms enters the altar. If a girl is baptized, she will not be brought to the altar, since she cannot become a clergyman in the future. After that, the child, both male and female, is applied to the icons of the Mother of God and the Savior. Then he is given to one of the parents. After which the child must be communed.
Communion in Orthodox churches takes place at the end of the morning liturgy. If parents bring the baby to the temple at the time of communion, then they line up from the participants. Parents with babies are usually allowed to go forward in the temple. Usually, bread and wine are given to the participants, but if the participant is small, then wine is given to him. Communion of crumbs is always necessary, at least once a month, then the baby will be less sick and feel great.
What things will be needed for baptism :
- A small Orthodox cross (you can choose any one you like, but it’s better to buy it in a church where it will already be lit)
- Christening dress or christening shirt;
- Baptismal Kryzhma – the canvas into which the godparents take the baby during Baptism;
Parents should not forget immediately after the rite about the cross they bought, their child should be worn constantly, throughout their life. Therefore, take care in advance about what the cross will hang on the body of the baby. The best option would be a satin rope, as a chain or rope can rub the baby’s delicate skin. When a child grows up, you can put on him a chain.
The baby must be fed according to the schedule, so the mother should take care of the feeding time so that he is not hungry during the Baptism.
If you want to capture this important moment in life, find out in advance about whether it is possible to conduct photo or video shooting during the ceremony, and if the Priest gives his consent, then arrange with the photographer in advance.
How godparents and their responsibilities are chosen
At present, young parents choose godparents for their baby, not really thinking about the responsibility that will be assigned to them after the ceremony. Therefore, it often turns out that the child saw his godfather or godmother once or twice in life.
When choosing godparents, you should take into account that they are close to your family, are in good and friendly relations. The godparents themselves must be baptized. It is necessary that at the time of the rite a cross is placed on the godparents. Relatives of the baby may also be godparents: grandparents, aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters. But there cannot be crazy people, leading an antisocial lifestyle, who came to the temple for a ceremony in a state of intoxication. Also, the parents of the baby whom they intend to baptize, as well as the man and woman who are married or those who are going to get married, cannot become godparents. Monks and nuns, as well as minors, cannot be godparents.
If the parents of the baby are not baptized, then there will be no obstacles to the baptism of their child. Most importantly, their godparents should be baptized. The main responsibility of the godparents after the rite will be the proper upbringing of the child, the promotion of the child’s visit to the church, communion and clarification of the Orthodox canons to him.
How to choose a baptism day and name
Usually, up to forty days from birth, infants who are weak or painful are baptized whose lives are in danger. In such cases, as a rule, the rite is performed in a hospital or at home. If everything is fine with the baby, it grows and develops as it should, it can be christened already on the fortieth day after birth. Before baptizing a child, it is necessary to choose a temple where this sacrament will take place, and talk with the Priest about the day. It is possible to carry out the ceremony on any day, there are no prohibitions on this subject, it can be performed both in fasting and in great Orthodox holidays.
As for the name, it is chosen by parents before baptism. Parents call the baby, as their heart tells them, can come from the name of the saint on whose day the baby was born, or the name of the saint, whose memorial day was on the eighth day from the birth of the baby. You can call a child by any name you like, but it is natural to be guided by common sense, so that in the future the child lives comfortably with that name.
If the parents chose the name of the child, but there is no saint with that name in Orthodox history, then you can baptize the child under the name of the saint on the day of which he was born, and later in life he will be his patron.
This sacrament must be taken seriously. A properly performed rite will help protect the baby for life.