Author Topic: Baby Boy's Baptism  (Read 3689 times)

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Offline Helena94

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Baby Boy's Baptism
« on: August 21, 2009, 04:20:11 PM »
Hi all, I really appreciate being able to ask questions on this forum!
Our grandson will be baptized soon, he is 2 months old. We are new converts from Catholicism, so I know how a Catholic baptism goes with a baby, as we baptized our daughters. However, we're now Orthodox.  I feel really stupid about my question, but here goes:  what do we do for his baptism? Does he wear a baptismal gown? Are there special items to give to him as gifts? How about our priest, do we give him a gift of money or is that bad etiquette? Is there a special food to be served?
Thanks to anyone who can help with my questions!

Offline LizaSymonenko

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Re: Baby Boy's Baptism
« Reply #1 on: August 21, 2009, 04:55:23 PM »

Hi Helena!

Welcome to the forum.

I am a godmother four times!

Congratulations on the new grandson!  What a blessing!

When my godsons were baptized they wore a new white gown.  I say "gown" versus "suit".  Keep in the mind the baby will get anointed several times, on his head, chest, hands, feet, etc...  therefore, the gown makes for ease of access to the baby's body.  The suit will get in the way.

Plus, the baby might get "dunked" in water, if the church has a baptismal font.  Again, the gown would be easier to take off.

As far as I know...the gown should be white - pure and innocent.  A blanket to wrap him in would also come in handy - again white.

A blessed cross (baptismal cross) should be presented to the child by his godfather.  This cross will be with him his whole life.

The baby will also have a snippet of his hair cut and burnt on a candle as his first "offering" to God.

The priest will also take the baby, as he is a boy, into the altar at the very end.

You can offer the "monetary gift" to the priest discreetly.  He may or may not take it, but, you should offer it (after all, he too has bills to pay).

Let me share one really special moment....I always got goosebumps and started crying as the priest led us, holding the baby, around the tetrapod three times.  These are the baby's first steps as a baptized member of the True Church, supported by his godparents, led by his shepherd and pastor.  They say that at that moment all the Heavens rejoice and the angels sing with joy.  The thought of all the angels singing, was always so humbling to me, that I never made it to the end without tearing up and shaking.

Here's a good article on what to expect:

http://www.ehow.com/how_2325487_be-baptized-greek-orthodox-church.html

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Offline EofK

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Re: Baby Boy's Baptism
« Reply #2 on: August 21, 2009, 04:58:01 PM »
I think you covered it, Liza!
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Offline pensateomnia

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Re: Baby Boy's Baptism
« Reply #3 on: August 21, 2009, 06:59:36 PM »
In general, best to ask your priest for detailed instructions, because every Church has different facilities/fonts/layouts, and that could present unique situations. Also depends somewhat on your parish's liturgical tradition (Byzantine or Slavic).

In fact, you really need to go over the game plan beforehand with the priest and your son's sponsor(s), because during the anointing with the Oil of Gladness and the Baptism itself, you'll have an oil-coated, wet baby, and y'all will need to know who is supposed to hold him at what time and how best to hand him off and how best to use his sheet to keep the oil off yourself. It's not hard, but it requires a bit of planning.

Does he wear a baptismal gown?

Many parents (and grandparents!) like to get a nice baptismal gown. Makes for nice pictures. If that sounds like you, feel free to get one.

If you go that route, do one of two things: (1) Just don't put it on your son until after the Baptism is complete; or (2) Check with the priest to see if the church has an acceptable place for you to take the fancy gown off of your son after the initial part of the ceremony. There's no reason why your son can't be all decked out for the part that takes place in the Narthex, but pretty soon after you enter the nave and approach the Baptismal Font, your son needs to be completely undressed and wrapped in a sheet/cloth.

Are there special items to give to him as gifts?

He gets a cross to wear around his neck from his sponsors. It's also typical nowadays to get him an Icon of his patron saint. Here is an excellent article on the all the various aspects of the Christening: http://www.saintbarbara.org/faith/sacraments/baptism/baptism.cfm

As you can see, they'll be a LOT more than just a Baptism. It's really a full entry into the Church -- Baptism, Chrismation, Communion, plus some more.

The priest will also take the baby, as he is a boy, into the altar at the very end.

This is not done in the Byzantine tradition, or in any of the Slavic churches I have attended. Is this a normal Ukrainian thing, or are you thinking of the Churching?
But for I am a man not textueel I wol noght telle of textes neuer a deel. (Chaucer, The Manciple's Tale, 1.131)

Offline ialmisry

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Re: Baby Boy's Baptism
« Reply #4 on: August 21, 2009, 07:08:35 PM »
If you have non-Orthodox coming, and if the Church has a baptismal font, you have to decide whether to warn them or let them be suprized: I have a series of photographs from my son's baptism before and then during (where there are all these shocked faces in the background) and after (when the stunned looks are still on the face). ;D

The priest will also take the baby, as he is a boy, into the altar at the very end.

This is not done in the Byzantine tradition, or in any of the Slavic churches I have attended. Is this a normal Ukrainian thing, or are you thinking of the Churching?

It's the Churching.  I've seen it done in Slavic Churches at the same time as the baptism, and it's normal for the Antiochians (btw, the Patriarch recently directed that girls be taken into the altar if boys are).
« Last Edit: August 21, 2009, 07:11:21 PM by ialmisry »
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Offline pensateomnia

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Re: Baby Boy's Baptism
« Reply #5 on: August 21, 2009, 09:57:35 PM »
If you have non-Orthodox coming, and if the Church has a baptismal font, you have to decide whether to warn them or let them be suprized: I have a series of photographs from my son's baptism before and then during (where there are all these shocked faces in the background) and after (when the stunned looks are still on the face). ;D

Good point. When it's a mixed-faith family, as soon as the fully naked baby emerges, I usually hear shocked gasps from one group and cooing/commenting from another.

It's the Churching.  I've seen it done in Slavic Churches at the same time as the baptism, and it's normal for the Antiochians (btw, the Patriarch recently directed that girls be taken into the altar if boys are).

Really? In the Antiochian parish where I was a member for 3 years, Churchings took place right around 40 days after birth, before the Baptism, during the Sunday Divine Liturgy. Our priest was a graduate of Balamand, though, so maybe he was less Slavified?

Why would you do a Churching during a private event?
But for I am a man not textueel I wol noght telle of textes neuer a deel. (Chaucer, The Manciple's Tale, 1.131)

Offline ozgeorge

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Re: Baby Boy's Baptism
« Reply #6 on: August 22, 2009, 04:34:58 AM »
Does he wear a baptismal gown?
Hell be butt neked! The baptisimal clothing is placed on the child after baptism.
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Offline mike

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Re: Baby Boy's Baptism
« Reply #7 on: August 22, 2009, 01:12:00 PM »
In the majority of situations I've seen Baptism is done before the Churching and Churching is done on 40th day.

Good point. When it's a mixed-faith family, as soon as the fully naked baby emerges, I usually hear shocked gasps from one group and cooing/commenting from another.

Comments especially when it is a boy.
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Offline BoredMeeting

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Re: Baby Boy's Baptism
« Reply #8 on: August 24, 2009, 08:56:06 AM »
I'd recommend a small icon for the baby's room. You can always give one of Christ or the Theotokos, but one of the Guardian Angel icons works well as does one of the Saints commemorated on the day of the Baptism.