Canonical Requirements for the Sacrament of Baptism
1. Baptism is the Christian rite of initiation into the Body of the Church. The instruction of our Lord to His disciples was “Go and teach all nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit”. Entrance into the Kingdom of God cannot be realized unless one is “reborn of water and the spirit”. In the Orthodox Church, the ancient practice of infant baptism is followed by Chrismation (Confirmation) and Holy Communion in the same service.
2. Children should be baptized after the 40th day. Should an emergency arise where the death of an unbaptized infant is imminent, the priest should be notified immediately. If no priest is available, a layman may administer emergency baptism by pouring or sprinkling water over the child’s head three times saying, “The servant of God (name) is baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.” Thereafter, arrangements should be made with the Priest to complete the Baptism of the child.
3. Baptism may be performed in the Church at any time of the year except:
December 25 to January 6
Major Feast Days of the Lord
4. The name chosen for the child should be a Biblical or Christian in origin so the child will become a follower and a member of Christ, and thus should bear the name of a Saint who will guide and protect the baptized and also that the baptized might emulate the Saint whose name the child bears.
5. The parents of the child must be parishioners in good standing with their church. A parishioner in good standing is one who is living the sacramental life of the Church and has fulfilled his financial offering to the local parish prior to the date of the Baptism.
6. The godparent(s) must be Orthodox Christians in good standing with his/her Church and must have been married in the Orthodox Church. Since Baptism is a life-long commitment to Christ and His Church and the child has not attained the age of reason to personally make this commitment, the parents and the sponsor (Godparent) pledge to undertake the grave responsibility of bringing up the child in the faith, teaching by work and example.
a) Only an Orthodox Christian in good standing with his Church and parish may sponsor a child in Baptism.
b) A parishioner in good standing is one who is living the sacramental life of the Church and has fulfilled his financial obligation to the local parish.
c) If the sponsor is from another parish, a statement to this effect duly signed by the parish priest is required.
d) No one under twelve years of age may sponsor a child.
e) The sponsor also furnishes the following items for the sacrament:
- One (1) White Hand Towel
- One (1) Large White Bath Towel
- White Sheet
- Small Bottle of Olive Oil
- Bar of Soap
- Three White Baptismal Candles
- One (1) Candle decorated
- Two (2) Small candles for other children to hold (optional)
- Extremely large candles should be avoided
- Cross for the Child
- Complete Change of Clothing (White)
7. Picture/Video taking during the service is permitted, as long as people are mindful as to the sanctity of the Sacrament.
8. Stewardship – If you have not already done so, please fulfill your Stewardship Offering for the
current year. This offering should be done at least two weeks before the Sacrament, not on the day of the Sacrament. Please complete and return the enclosed Stewardship Card to the Church Office and note the level (Orthodox Family) that applies to you.