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Author Topic: Things you wish you'd known about getting baptized?  (Read 3908 times) Average Rating: 0
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Cassiel
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« on: April 14, 2008, 11:18:29 AM »

So, people are understandably reluctant (in some ways) to tell new converts about what baptism was like for them.  Whenever my fellow catechumens and I have asked friends at church "what was your baptism like?" they usually say, "well, I don't want to set you up for anything, so maybe we can compare notes afterward, but I won't tell you now."  A bunch of us are getting baptized at Pascha, and while I'm dying to know what it was like for people who've already done it, I suppose I can settle for asking this...are there things you wish you'd known before taking the plunge, so to speak?  I want to be as well-prepared as I can be, even knowing I'll never be ready...
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« Reply #1 on: April 14, 2008, 12:46:03 PM »

Beware -- mine was done in the nude.
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« Reply #2 on: April 14, 2008, 12:50:29 PM »

Ahem...clarification...your adult baptism (further clarification: adult - not in the prurient sense).
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« Reply #3 on: April 14, 2008, 12:56:36 PM »

Beware -- mine was done in the nude.
As an adult or a baby?  Wink


There's a good chance you're going to get wet. Smiley

But seriously, I think most people are reluctant to say anything for fear of being judged:
If their experience was very spiritual they might be thought of as a weirdo
If their experience wasn't all that spiritual people might think there was something wrong with them
Or maybe it is a private thing that they cherish and do not wish to share with anyone save God alone.

At any rate . . . mine was quite spiritual and I experienced a significatant presence of the Lord - that's the best I can describe it.  But don't be dissappointed if yours is somewhat uneventful spiritually speaking because God works in many ways and what is appropriate and fitting for one is not necessarily so for another.

May God grant you many years of serving in His Name.
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What about frogs? I like frogs!


« Reply #4 on: April 14, 2008, 01:34:04 PM »

I can tell you Saturday night Cheesy
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« Reply #5 on: April 14, 2008, 01:53:53 PM »

Cassiel - Taking the plunge is a big thing - Congratulations and welcome.  Are you asking for practical suggestions or a more spiritual aspect?  For practical, a couple of thoughts.  Depending on how your priest does the baptism (in our church we use a holy horse trough), you should pay attention to the outfit you get baptized in.  If it's a cotton t-shirt and white pants or a white cotton chemise, make sure that when it gets wet, it's not going to be see through.  You might do a test run, and if it's too thin, wear another t-shirt and slip underneath or your going to run the risk of looking like a spring break wet t-shirt contest.  I've seen some rather embarrasing, though unintended baptismal garment choices.  

If you paint your toes, make sure you touch up the pedicure before the big day.  This seems petty, but if you're standing in church barefoot with groddy, rough, calloused feet with spotty nail polish, you're not going to be thinking about spiritual stuff.

Sponsors/godparents should remember to get a gift for the newly illumined.  An icon, a nice Orthodox book, or purchase the baptismal cross.  A gift isn't a requirement, but it's a nice thing to do for your spiritual child.  A sponsor should be an important part of a catechumen's life and this should continue after the baptism.  Like remembering their name day, the anniversary of their baptism, prayers for each other and spiritual advice and instruction.  My god mother was the first person I ever met in an Orthodox Church, and helped me to learn the services and the small-t traditions that I was unsure of.  (Anyone out there, please remember in your prayers my godmother, the departed servant Helen.  A truly Godly and wonderful woman.)

Just a few things I can think of now.  
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« Reply #6 on: April 14, 2008, 02:27:28 PM »

Is there any traditional gift that the baptized give the sponsers? Or do you have any suggestions? My entire family; myself, husband and three kids, are being baptized Lazarus Saturday and we would love to give something of note to our sponsers.
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« Reply #7 on: April 14, 2008, 03:05:26 PM »

^ Congratulations! I know the sponsor usually gives the one being baptized an icon of their patron saint; I'm not sure about a gift in return.
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« Reply #8 on: April 14, 2008, 03:16:30 PM »

Something I really wish I had known was that it's a good idea to practice holding your breath.  I got a bit of water in my nose and it was a little disconcerting.

Also, wear something dark underneath your baptismal garment.  (I did know this, though - Father told me ahead of time!)
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« Reply #9 on: April 14, 2008, 03:19:43 PM »

We don't have to wear gowns. They cost ALOT of money and the parish doesn't provide any. My son will be naked Smiley and then we bought a handmade in 1899 gown off ebay so he will wear that, and then our daughters sponsors made them dresses those will be handed to them by our priest and my husband and I will just change into white-ish clothes on our own (not handed to us by the priest).
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« Reply #10 on: April 14, 2008, 03:52:19 PM »

I realize now how fortunate I was to have a sponser who was a talented seamstress. She sewed up two sturdy,thick  white gowns for me-one for the actual baptism and another to change into to wear during the chrismation.

An earlier remark about touching up toe nail polish made me laugh. I came directly from a tradition which forbid such vanities and worrying about the condition of my toes was about the last thing on my mind before and  during the baptism!!! Even though now technically it's "allowed" for me to paint my nails, to this day, it's not high on my list of priorities. Oh well, everyone's different.

My baptism was (at my own request), very private. Just the priest, his matushka and my sponser. I grew up with modesty being a huge priority, so I didn't want any extra men around...

I have never felt anything so real as the grace I felt entering me during this service-even though, not being able to swim, it was a very traumatic experience to be dunked. The first dunking caused me to panic and the priest had to re-dunk me that time...
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« Reply #11 on: April 14, 2008, 04:09:40 PM »

Is there any traditional gift that the baptized give the sponsers? Or do you have any suggestions? My entire family; myself, husband and three kids, are being baptized Lazarus Saturday and we would love to give something of note to our sponsers.

I'd say just the same kind of gift you might get your godchild - an icon, a book or maybe some other kind of Orthodox gift.  A great site for Orthodox gifts is Spirit of Byzantium.  I just got their latest catalog and they have a lot of stuff that would make beautiful gifts.  Beaded cross bracelets $12, Sterling silver cross bracelet $59, or their Faberge egg pendents.  There's lots more and some of it is actually reasonably priced.  I got both my kids' baptismal crosses there.   The website is spiritofbyzantium.com

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« Reply #12 on: April 14, 2008, 04:33:18 PM »

Take a deep breath before you go under the first time...
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« Reply #13 on: April 14, 2008, 04:37:10 PM »

Take a deep breath before you go under the first time...

You tell me now!
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« Reply #14 on: April 14, 2008, 07:27:13 PM »

Great replies.  Yes, I was looking for both practical and spiritual thoughts.  Fortunately our priest warned us about the dunking clothes - no wet t-shirt contest here!  Though I am wondering what is appropriate, more specifically, like pants or long shorts or what (I am female).  We were told to wear old clothes (though stuff without pictures or logos, obviously) because we're getting dunked in our parish's pond, which is pretty muddy.  We will have gowns, but not until afterward, for our chrismation.  The thing about the feet had occurred to me, because I am a runner and while I can't get rid of my callouses for that reason (they were painful enough to acquire the first time!) I want to make them un-obvious. 
Oo - ladies, what about hairstyle?  I was thinking I'd better tie it back or it'll float up in my face and I'll be wanting to push it back with every plunge...?  It's not terribly long but long enough to be annoying.
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« Reply #15 on: April 14, 2008, 07:37:00 PM »

I had very long and easily tangled hair at the time. The priest told me the correct way was to have the hair loosened, but then we ended up having me put it in one long braid, so i wouldn't have to struggle to comb it out afterwards. Unless I am mistaken, the proper way is to have the hair flowing freely (I think I read this somewhere, but can't remember where).
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« Reply #16 on: April 14, 2008, 10:07:59 PM »

What I've seen some people wear are medical scrubs.  I doubt you can get them in white, but they are practical.  Whatever you wear, I wouldn't wait too long to find the right outfit - you don't want to be rushing around at the last minute.
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« Reply #17 on: April 14, 2008, 11:36:34 PM »

Well, on this subject, I cannot really give a practical advise. But it always seems so amazing to read about the coming Baptisms (or Chrismations as well). Congratulations!!!
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« Reply #18 on: April 15, 2008, 12:19:25 AM »

Gifts could be cash money an icon and a book.
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« Reply #19 on: April 19, 2008, 01:53:38 PM »

One more practical question - so, my baptismal robe came.  It was folded.  Should I iron it?  Should I re-fold it for transportation, or let it hang? 

Ahem.  In a religion like Orthodoxy, leaving a single button unbuttoned seems to mean something, so forgive me if I get a little OCD about these things...   Wink

Oh yeah - and for dunking clothes I have worked this out: I have a black polarfleece sweater and older khaki cargo pants (I am told not to wear clothes I care about because we are getting dunked in a duckpond.  Also, the pond is a constant 40 degrees F, so warmer is better, and skirts are out).  I debated some khaki capris which might actually be better...dunno...whaddayathink?
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« Reply #20 on: April 19, 2008, 02:42:31 PM »

One more practical question - so, my baptismal robe came.  It was folded.  Should I iron it?  Should I re-fold it for transportation, or let it hang? 

Ahem.  In a religion like Orthodoxy, leaving a single button unbuttoned seems to mean something, so forgive me if I get a little OCD about these things...   Wink

Oh yeah - and for dunking clothes I have worked this out: I have a black polarfleece sweater and older khaki cargo pants (I am told not to wear clothes I care about because we are getting dunked in a duckpond.  Also, the pond is a constant 40 degrees F, so warmer is better, and skirts are out).  I debated some khaki capris which might actually be better...dunno...whaddayathink?

Bring a couple large towels................
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« Reply #21 on: April 23, 2008, 02:52:26 AM »

If you are a lady, make sure you bring an extra bra to change into. I made that mistake last Sat. I brought everything except that important item. A wet bra does not make for a happy woman.

All our baptismal stuff was neatly folded and if there are very many of you being baptized make sure you put a little note with your name on the robe.
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« Reply #22 on: April 23, 2008, 07:55:15 AM »

Oh, good point Quinalt!   Shocked  I'd totally have overlooked that!
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« Reply #23 on: April 23, 2008, 09:01:43 AM »

One more practical question - so, my baptismal robe came.  It was folded.  Should I iron it?  Should I re-fold it for transportation, or let it hang? 

Ahem.  In a religion like Orthodoxy, leaving a single button unbuttoned seems to mean something, so forgive me if I get a little OCD about these things...   Wink

Oh yeah - and for dunking clothes I have worked this out: I have a black polarfleece sweater and older khaki cargo pants (I am told not to wear clothes I care about because we are getting dunked in a duckpond.  Also, the pond is a constant 40 degrees F, so warmer is better, and skirts are out).  I debated some khaki capris which might actually be better...dunno...whaddayathink?

Ohh, I so hope you're going to be filled with the warmth of the Holy Spirit!!  We usually dump buckets of heated water into our holy horse trough and that's still not very warm. 

Go ahead and iron your baptismal robe.  It's a day you want to savor, not worry about details like "I look too wrinkled" or "what are my photos going to look like with this wrinkled robe on".

God bless you on your big day.
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« Reply #24 on: April 23, 2008, 05:03:31 PM »

Thanks!  Well, on the upside, the weather that day is supposed to be 60 degrees and rainy, so the chill of the pond will make the outside temperature seem balmy, right?  A biologist friend comforted me by talking all about the mammalian dive reflex, which is what causes us to stop breathing when cold water touches the tops of our heads.  Evidently it allows us to survive for hours under cold water, even without air.  Good to know. Undecided
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« Reply #25 on: April 24, 2008, 12:04:53 AM »

Cassiel,

Glory to God that you are soon to be newly illumined!  That is truly beautiful news to hear!   Cheesy

Well, I would say the main thing to keep in mind is that a seed is being planted... do not expect to reap your harvest all at once.  In these modern times it is so easy to expect immediate results from our actions... especially in regards to spirituality.  Considering you have already gone through Orthodox cathecism, you obviously are aware that Orthodoxy is not at all a religion of "microwave spirituality."  Nonetheless, I would advise keeping this in mind as you approach the big day. 

Of course, I don't want to minimize Baptism in any way. A seed most assuredly has the complete potential to be everything it will ever be.  However, this potential still must go through the process of becoming manifest as we struggle through our journey of purification, illumination, and deification... made possible through the Holy Sacraments of the Church, the first of which is Baptism!

I am so happy for you.  Glory to God that you are coming Home!  Cheesy
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« Reply #26 on: April 24, 2008, 12:11:38 AM »

A biologist friend comforted me by talking all about the mammalian dive reflex, which is what causes us to stop breathing when cold water touches the tops of our heads.  Evidently it allows us to survive for hours under cold water, even without air.  Good to know. Undecided

Well, I wouldn't worry about drowning during your baptism.  I'm sure your priest has never lost one yet.  No dropping babies, I've always wondered 'bout that one.  Especially, the way the Greeks oil them up, it's like holding onto a fish with your bare hands.
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