The entire Church, triumphant and militant, rejoices when a child is grafted on to Christ through Holy Baptism. Your decision to baptize your child in the Orthodox Church is an indication of your love for the Church and for her sacramental life. Holy Baptism is the cleansing of one's soul from the sin of Adam and Eve. It is also the initiation, if you will, of the child into the Church which has been instituted by Christ Himself, when He was baptized in the Jordan River by John the Baptist. This sacrament actually has within it three sacraments, Holy Baptism, Holy Chrismation, and Holy Communion. Holy Chrismation is the imparting of the gifts of the Holy Spirit to the child, and thus fills the void which is created when we wash away the sins of Adam and Eve and our own individual sins. Holy Communion is offered to the child as a sign that he or she is now a full member of the Orthodox Church. Holy Communion is the ultimate sign that an individual is in communion with the Church, and only those who are Orthodox can receive the Sacred Mysteries, the Body and Blood of Christ. Thus, for the child to receive it on this day is the expression that he or she is part of the Body of Christ.
COORDINATING YOUR BAPTISM
Please contact Fr. Nikolaos to arrange for a meeting pertaining to the needs and requirements of your baptism. He will prepare all necessary Church documents, along with the collection of any Church fees. Please feel free to ask him any questions you may have concerning your baptismal service here at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Thunder Bay.
SETTING THE DATE
An individual or a family desiring to baptize their child should first contact Fr. Nikolaos for an appointment. It is preferable to schedule your baptismal date with the parish priest at least three months prior to the desired date so that scheduling conflicts can be avoided. According to the official policies of our Metropolis, baptisms should not be celebrated during Great Lent along with several large feast days of the Church. However, please speak with Fr. Nikolaos if you are choosing such a date.
BAPTISM: SPIRITUAL PRESUPPOSITIONS
Due to the fact that Baptism is a sacrament, it cannot be celebrated in a spiritual vacuum. This, therefore, presupposes that: The person to be baptized has never been baptized before in the Orthodox Church.
If someone has been baptized in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, in another Church - and wish to join the Orthodox Church, they need to be baptized again. However, for Roman Catholics and Oriental Orthodox Christians, re-baptism is not required, only Holy Chrismation is sufficient to 'make whole anything that is lacking', and to join the individual to the Orthodox Church.
The “koumbaro” or “koumbara” - the sponsor who will participate sacramentally in the service by speaking on behalf of the child, or standing with the adult, as they accept Christ and renounce the devil, along with placing oil on the individual and receiving them as they come out of the Baptismal font, must be an Orthodox Christian "In Good Standing" and a steward/member of his/her parish. "In Good Standing" means that they may not have gotten married outside the church or participated in any foreign sacraments, as this would excommunicate them from the Orthodox Church. They are charged with being the spiritual parents of those baptized, to raise them in the Orthodox Church. If one is not Orthodox, then this role cannot be fulfilled.
If the “koumbaro” or koumbara”, is from another Orthodox parish, they must provide proof from his/her parish priest certifying his/her active stewardship/membership in the Church.
Guest clergy, in Communion with the Orthodox Church, may participate in a baptism at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church. Canonically, it is the responsibility of the priest where the baptism is taking place to extend an invitation to any and all visiting clergy. Orthodox Christian clergymen in communion with the Metropolis are welcome to participate in the celebration of sacraments at Holy Trinity with the blessings of our priest.
PHOTOGRAPHY AND VIDEOTAPING
Photographs of your baptism are permitted but should not in any way impede or distract from the celebration of the sacrament. Photographers should be quiet and respectful; the use of a flash is allowed. If you are planning on professional photography and videography, please ask that your photographer arrive early at the Church so that guidelines can be laid out. Also, please ask guests to be respectful of the professional’s space, for your benefit.
Among the items necessary to celebrate one’s baptism in the Church are the following:
WASHING OF THE CLOTHES & BABY/ ADULT AFTER THE SERVICE
Due to the fact that Holy Oil has been spread upon the child/adult and is seeped into the clothing and towels, care must be taken when washing everything. When bathing yourself or your child for the first time after the Sacrament of Holy Baptism, please do so in a tub which does not empty into the sewer system. Rather, when you are finished, you can empty the water, together with the Holy Oil around the foundations of your house, in the flower gardens or any place outside where people do not step. The same holds true for washing the towels and clothing.