How to be baptised in a Greek Orthodox church

Written by cathy pelekakis
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How to be baptised in a Greek Orthodox church
Ritual and ceremony are an important part of the Orthodox faith. (Getty Creative)

If you are married to a member of the Greek Orthodox faith and just had a baby, you want your baby to be baptised in the Greek Orthodox Faith. The ceremony is not hard at all. Just gather your family, friends, and your godparents at the church for the baptism.

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Things you need

  • Greek Orthodox faith
  • Child
  • Godparents
  • Candles
  • Church
  • Gold cross for the baby
  • Mati (to ward off the evil eye for the baby)
  • Christening clothes (all white)
  • Virgin olive oil
  • White towel
  • White sheet

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  1. 1

    Arrive at church with your baby. Have a brand new white sheet to cover the child in when you walk to the alter, a white towel to dry the baby off, a brand new white christening outfit, virgin olive oil, a gold cross and a mati. This traditional blue and gold charm with an eye-like black centre is used to ward off evil. You will also need white ceremonial candles to be held while the baptism is in process

  2. 2

    Remove all the baby's clothes in the vestibule in the rear of the church, wrap the baby in the white sheet, and go to the back of the church. There the parents will hand their child over to their godparents. The priest will then begin the ceremony.

  3. 3

    Standing at the back of the church, with their backs to the alter, the Godparents along with the priest will renounce Satan. The priest will breathe on the baby three times and makes the sign of the cross over the baby. One of the godparents will renounce Satan on behalf of the baby. The godparent will then turn towards the west and spit to show his distaste toward Satan.

  4. 4

    Turning to the east the godparent will accept Christ on behalf of the baby and recite the profession of faith .

  5. 5

    Turning as a unit, the priest will lead the godparents, the parents and the baby to the alter. The baptismal water is consecrated by the prayers of the priest who touches it with the flat of his hand, and breathes upon it.

  6. 6

    Anointing the baby comes next. The priest will take the virgin olive oil, and completely wipe the oil all over the baby while the godparents hold the baby in the white sheet.

  7. 7

    Immersing the baby in the holy water is next in the ceremony. The baby is held by the priest and he immerses the baby in the holy water three times while he recites "The Servant of God (baby's name) is baptised in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

  8. 8

    Lighting of the white candles is done to symbolise a new Christian has been accepted by the Church.

  9. 9

    A reading from the Gospel is then performed and the baby is blessed at the door of the sanctuary. The priest stands with the godparents as the godparents are ready to present the child back to her parents

  10. 10

    Kneeling before the altar, the parents are then asked by the priest if they will resolve to raise their child in accordance with the Orthodox faith. Once the parents accept the responsibility, their child is handed back to them

  11. 11

    Returning to the vestibule in the rear of the church, the child is dried off with the white towel, and dressed in the white clothing. The godparents will pin the Mati on the child and place the gold cross around the baby's neck.

  12. 12

    A reception is held afterwards to celebrate the baby's baptism.

Tips and warnings

  • The child is to be taken back to church each Sunday for 40 days, the candles used during the baptism are taken back to the church and the baby is given communion on each Sunday for the forty days.

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