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Author Topic: Baptismal Sponsor - Unknown?  (Read 1959 times) Average Rating: 0
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Orthophoria
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« on: October 06, 2010, 11:00:25 AM »

Hello!

I am pretty much coming to Orthodoxy alone.  I don't have any family that is Orthodox, and didn't really know anyone who was Orthodox when I began attending church.  My priest has scheduled my baptism/chrismation for early January, around Theophany.  I  know that I will need a sponsor, but I really don't know anyone well enough in the parish to ask them.  The only person I know at all, is an old acquaintance of mine from back in my college days, when we were both Episcopalians.  I found out after I had been coming to church for a few weeks that he had converted to Orthodoxy several years ago, and was attending my parish.  We enjoyed catching up, but it had been many years since we had saw each other last, and I don't know if I would feel comfortable asking him to be my sponsor.

Has anyone else on the board come to Orthodoxy all by yourself?  How did you pick a sponsor?  I know that I will talk to my priest about this, but I wondered if anyone else had any experiences with this..

In Christ,
Marcus
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« Reply #1 on: October 06, 2010, 11:19:42 AM »

Hi Marcus, welcome.

I'm a rather shy person in social situations, so it was hard for me to get to know people, being by myself. But after attending my parish for 9 months I started to get to know some people. After checking with my priest, I asked one of the people I had gotten to know best.

I think it's best to have your sponsor be someone you can interact with on a regular basis. Your sponsor is your godfather, sort of your "father" in the Church, a role model, and it's ideal if he is someone you can develop that sort of a relationship with. You will spiritually become a part of your sponsor's family, so it's important. You can't choose your relatives in the flesh, but you can choose them in the Church. Smiley

Personally, I would suggest befriending some of the older members of your parish and asking one of them. My parish has some very kind and welcoming elderly people, and you can sense the holiness in them. Someone with a lifetime of faithful piety is exactly what we converts need, as a sort of anchor.
« Last Edit: October 06, 2010, 11:24:31 AM by bogdan » Logged
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« Reply #2 on: October 06, 2010, 11:22:35 AM »

If your a male, does your sponsor necessarily have to be a male (and vice versa?)
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« Reply #3 on: October 06, 2010, 11:26:16 AM »

If your a male, does your sponsor necessarily have to be a male (and vice versa?)

Yes, I believe so, except in extreme circumstances with the bishop's permission.

Here is a short article about the importance of sponsors: http://www.orthodoxresearchinstitute.org/articles/liturgics/abramtsov_sponsors_baptism.htm
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« Reply #4 on: October 06, 2010, 11:42:42 AM »

Quote
Has anyone else on the board come to Orthodoxy all by yourself?  How did you pick a sponsor?  I know that I will talk to my priest about this, but I wondered if anyone else had any experiences with this..

Actually, that's what I was going to suggest... talking with your priest. Perhaps you could ask him to introduce you to someone that he thinks you'd have a good relationship with? I was lucky in that, when I came into Orthodoxy, my priest assigned someone very friendly and knowledgable to catechise me during my catechumenate, and this person was also there during my chrismation.
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« Reply #5 on: October 06, 2010, 12:48:19 PM »

When my brother and I were chrismated the parish we attended didn't have a regular coffee hour, so we didn't really know anyone in the parish aside from our priest.  The few Orthodox Christians I did know were a long way away.  So, our priest suggested someone (who was apparently the go-to guy for the few other converts at the parish, as this was a semi-regular situation), who was kind enough to help us out.

Seeing as how your reception is still a few months away, perhaps you can reconnect with your old friend?  Other than the other posters here have given excellent advice.
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« Reply #6 on: October 06, 2010, 01:20:12 PM »


Just a Thought....
If the Priest is married ask if his wife is willing to be your sponsor.....
You would be getting  a spiritual Fr. and a mother......
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« Reply #7 on: October 06, 2010, 01:37:42 PM »

Thanks for the responses everyone!

My class for catechumens is tonight - I will bring up this subject with him.  I realize that my baptism is still a few months off, so I have plenty of time...

Bogdan, I am pretty shy as well, when it comes to larger groups.  Everyone at church has been very friendly, it just takes me more time to open up to people.  But if I don't meet anyone within the next couple of months or so, I will probably just let my priest decide for me; he probably already has someone in mind  Cheesy

FormerReformer, my old friend is the first person that I thought of, seeing as how he is the only one there that I have any past connection to.  But he is a couple of years younger than me, so I wasn't sure if he would 'fit the bill' so to speak.  I kinda like the idea of having a sponsor that is a bit older than me, although I am already in my 40's, so that would narrow down the prospects a little...

Stashko, my priest already told me that my sponsor must be a male, so that would rule out Matushka.  I am curious though; does the Serbian Orthodox church allow opposite-sex sponsors?
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« Reply #8 on: October 06, 2010, 01:43:13 PM »

Thanks for the responses everyone!

My class for catechumens is tonight - I will bring up this subject with him.  I realize that my baptism is still a few months off, so I have plenty of time...

Bogdan, I am pretty shy as well, when it comes to larger groups.  Everyone at church has been very friendly, it just takes me more time to open up to people.  But if I don't meet anyone within the next couple of months or so, I will probably just let my priest decide for me; he probably already has someone in mind  Cheesy

FormerReformer, my old friend is the first person that I thought of, seeing as how he is the only one there that I have any past connection to.  But he is a couple of years younger than me, so I wasn't sure if he would 'fit the bill' so to speak.  I kinda like the idea of having a sponsor that is a bit older than me, although I am already in my 40's, so that would narrow down the prospects a little...

Stashko, my priest already told me that my sponsor must be a male, so that would rule out Matushka.  I am curious though; does the Serbian Orthodox church allow opposite-sex sponsors?

Im a God Father to Two Males and two Females...Whats wrong with just Having a Godmother ...I don't Know the answer why i never asked ...Call a serbian church ask them if one can just have a Godmother as a sponsor....Hope this helps..
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« Reply #9 on: October 06, 2010, 04:42:18 PM »

Just as a quick question, why would you need a sponsor for the baptism? If you're of age, you can make your pledge yourself to the church, you don't need someone to stand in for you. The reason there are sponsors for little children is because they are incapable of making the affirmations of the faith themselves, so they need someone to make the affirmation for them. I don't recall seeing an adult baptism that required a sponsor in my life.

-Nick
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« Reply #10 on: October 06, 2010, 04:49:02 PM »

Hello!

I am pretty much coming to Orthodoxy alone.  I don't have any family that is Orthodox, and didn't really know anyone who was Orthodox when I began attending church.  My priest has scheduled my baptism/chrismation for early January, around Theophany.  I  know that I will need a sponsor, but I really don't know anyone well enough in the parish to ask them.  The only person I know at all, is an old acquaintance of mine from back in my college days, when we were both Episcopalians.  I found out after I had been coming to church for a few weeks that he had converted to Orthodoxy several years ago, and was attending my parish.  We enjoyed catching up, but it had been many years since we had saw each other last, and I don't know if I would feel comfortable asking him to be my sponsor.

Has anyone else on the board come to Orthodoxy all by yourself?  How did you pick a sponsor?  I know that I will talk to my priest about this, but I wondered if anyone else had any experiences with this..

In Christ,
Marcus

I came in by myself, but I've been sponsor for two adults, for whom I pray regularly.  In Apostoilc times sponsors vouched for the candidate for baptism, hence sponsor.  But with adults now, that's not required, although it might be advisable often.
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« Reply #11 on: October 06, 2010, 05:03:16 PM »

Just as a quick question, why would you need a sponsor for the baptism? If you're of age, you can make your pledge yourself to the church, you don't need someone to stand in for you. The reason there are sponsors for little children is because they are incapable of making the affirmations of the faith themselves, so they need someone to make the affirmation for them. I don't recall seeing an adult baptism that required a sponsor in my life.

-Nick

Hmmmmm...I will have to check with Father.  I was under the impression that even adults needed a sponsor.  Maybe just for chrismation (?)
Maybe for adults, it is considered more of a spiritual 'mentor' than a sponsor.  Now I'm confused!   Undecided
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« Reply #12 on: October 06, 2010, 06:42:33 PM »

Just as a quick question, why would you need a sponsor for the baptism? If you're of age, you can make your pledge yourself to the church, you don't need someone to stand in for you. The reason there are sponsors for little children is because they are incapable of making the affirmations of the faith themselves, so they need someone to make the affirmation for them. I don't recall seeing an adult baptism that required a sponsor in my life.

-Nick

Adults indeed require a sponsor, it's not just for the little ones. It's in the text of the baptism service.
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« Reply #13 on: October 06, 2010, 07:23:10 PM »

I came to Orthodoxy alone - and didn't know anyone in my church.  I prayed when it was time for me to choose a sponsor and I was drawn to a specific woman. . .who very surprisingly was also praying at the same time to be allowed to be my sponsor.  We are such a perfect match it isn't funny!  We thoroughly enjoy each other and can be totally honest with each other.  She's not afraid to give me strong guidance, either, when I need it.  I was very close to asking my priest to choose a sponsor for me. . .only this worked out this way, instead.  

So maybe here are two options for you? . .pray and ask. . . and / or perhaps ask your priest to choose a sponsor for you.  
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« Reply #14 on: October 06, 2010, 08:00:34 PM »

Just as a quick question, why would you need a sponsor for the baptism? If you're of age, you can make your pledge yourself to the church, you don't need someone to stand in for you. The reason there are sponsors for little children is because they are incapable of making the affirmations of the faith themselves, so they need someone to make the affirmation for them. I don't recall seeing an adult baptism that required a sponsor in my life.

-Nick

Hmmmmm...I will have to check with Father.  I was under the impression that even adults needed a sponsor.  Maybe just for chrismation (?)
Maybe for adults, it is considered more of a spiritual 'mentor' than a sponsor.  Now I'm confused!   Undecided

It is exacally that spiritual Parents or parent  to guide, teach, leed the newly  baptized...
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« Reply #15 on: October 06, 2010, 09:24:10 PM »

Hmmmmm...I will have to check with Father.  I was under the impression that even adults needed a sponsor.  Maybe just for chrismation (?)
Maybe for adults, it is considered more of a spiritual 'mentor' than a sponsor.  Now I'm confused!   Undecided

I've not encountered any cases where dispensation has been given for the adult to come in sans sponsor; Isa's post above was the first time I've encountered the idea.

As to your dilemma: your sponsor doesn't always have to be someone you're already close to - it can be someone you can get to know better, and this is where your priest's input would be best.  If there are spiritually active, grounded individuals in the parish, it would be better to have them as a spiritual parent than someone only tied to you by birth or familiarity.  This can become a means of not only enriching yourself through their guidance, but also enlarging your family.

(Rant: I think this is an under-utilized aspect of the godparent-godchild, or couple-wedding sponsor, relationship in the Church, at least amongst Greeks: people choose family to be sponsors, instead of using sponsors to expand family.  We've chosen the latter - our wedding sponsors were friends who had a good marriage, and our daughter's godmother is a friend who has a good handle on Orthodox living - and we've not regretted it for a second...)
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« Reply #16 on: October 08, 2010, 03:34:43 AM »

As others have mentioned, my priest picked for me. He knew I didn't know any Orthodox Christians, so when I was made a catechumen he grabbed somebody who was singing and said to me "This is Subdeacon Anthony; he's your sponsor now."

As for adults needing sponsors, my priest said that their function when the sponsored is an adult is simply to pray for them.
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« Reply #17 on: October 08, 2010, 06:08:59 AM »


As for adults needing sponsors, my priest said that their function when the sponsored is an adult is simply to pray for them.
I wish it were that simple. At Pascha a year ago, I sponsored an adult (male, mid 50s) coming into the Church. I was humbled and honoured by his request that I do so. He had fallen in love with a wonderful woman in our congregation, and they married last October. They have been included in my daily prayers along with my wife, children, and grandchildren. Unfortunately, I found out just yesterday that they have found a tumour, likely cancerous, that is affecting many of his internal organs. It is likely inoperable, but further tests are needed. The prognosis is not good. I still consider it an honour to pray for him, even more so now. As adults, we can befriend each other in many ways. Yes, it starts with prayer, but can and should go beyond that. Sponsoring adults is a means of drawing members of a congregation closer to each other. It has a positive effect on both parties, and should not be taken lightly.
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« Reply #18 on: October 08, 2010, 09:38:10 AM »

The purpose of having a sponsor is two fold, one to have another Orthodox Christian who serves as a witness to your baptism/chrimation who is not a clergyman---this is important when there is a period of persecution and the church did not register its members so lists could not be found to accuse you or convict you. The other reason is perhaps more needed, your sponsor is the go-to-guy to help yopu adjust to your life as an Orthodox Christian. One of their main purpose is to pray for you throughout their earthly and heavenly life. Another one is to demonstrate the orthopraxis or practice of daily orthodoxy (fasting, prayer, attendance at services, bake prosphora, make kolliva, help you learning prayers or practicing the Jesus prayer, etc).  If your sponsor is married, he is your godfather and his wife would become your godmother.

It is important to note that  in church canons their are limits that are placed upon  relationships to your sponsor , to whom you can and can not marry---you can not marry the spouse of your godparent who is widowed, the parents of your godparent, their children, or grandchildren. For these reasons it is important that you select the right sponsor or godparent, especially in a small parish where, if you are single, the options for marriage may be limited within the parish.

Just as your sponsor prays for you, you as his godchild will also need to pray for him. If he is older than you, you as a godchild should be like a son to him. As he ages you will become the one who will pick him up to go to church ,when he has trouble driving. You will be the one who stands and sheds a tear at his deathbed. You will be the one who should sponsor (or co-sponsor with his family) memorials annually for the repose of his soul. the realtionship between a godson and a godfather should be as closer or closer than you have with your blood-father.

I hope you will prayerfully select a sponsor for yourself and enter into that special relationship that God has set apart as an Orthodox Christian convert.

Thomas
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« Reply #19 on: October 08, 2010, 10:15:09 AM »

This can become a means of not only enriching yourself through their guidance, but also enlarging your family.
Exactly, Father. What's left of my family is very small (just my mother, my husband, and a couple of cousins) but I have been blessed to have added to my family a goddaughter (who is older than me), two godsons - one a teenager, one an infant boy - and two goddaughters who are in their late 20's. Don't you just love big families!  Grin

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« Reply #20 on: October 09, 2010, 07:53:27 AM »

Genesisone, Thomas, and all,

Thanks for the great input.  Wow!  Father told me that there would be a relationship between myself and my sponsor, but I had no idea that it would be as close and intimate as both of you mention.  This gives me much food for thought!   Cheesy

In Christ,
Marcus
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« Reply #21 on: October 10, 2010, 03:19:29 PM »

I also came into Orthodoxy by myself, but I did have a friend introduce their friends and so on, so I got to know everyone over time.  ask the priest, and he should help you with this!!!!
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« Reply #22 on: October 12, 2010, 11:03:08 AM »

Genesisone, Thomas, and all,

Thanks for the great input.  Wow!  Father told me that there would be a relationship between myself and my sponsor, but I had no idea that it would be as close and intimate as both of you mention.  This gives me much food for thought!   Cheesy

In Christ,
Marcus

Yes, and don't forget the presents! Godparents (like me) love to give presents!  Wink
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« Reply #23 on: October 12, 2010, 05:17:29 PM »

My sponsor showed me the gifts she has for me for my Christmation. . .a beautiful icon of St. Photini - in fact, the very icon I use here!! Smiley)), my cross with her name inscribed on the back! (!!!!) and a beautiful icon of the Holy Theotokos. . .small enough to put on my nightstand for a while, if I chose to do so. 

She's awesome in so many ways I've lost count! 
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« Reply #24 on: October 12, 2010, 08:37:25 PM »

I belong to a small group, and during most of the time that I was a catechumen I did not hear anything about needing a sponsor, so I figured I would not need one.  However, after I found out by my priest that it was time to be Chrismated, then I found out I had to have one.  I thought about it, prayed about it, and chose a couple that have been Orthodox for a good while and have sponsored others.  I am thankful to the LORD that it turned out to be a good choice.
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« Reply #25 on: October 14, 2010, 01:06:27 AM »

I'm curious, can a member of the clergy (asst. priest or diaconate) serve as a sponsor?
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« Reply #26 on: October 14, 2010, 09:29:51 AM »

I have never seen a priest serve as a godparent to a member of their parish, however I have seen the priest's wife serve as godmother. I have seen deacon  and his wife  serve individually as a godparent. i am uncertain if a priest or bishop may canonically serve as a godparent after their ordination---there may be a conflict of interest as they will be the father confessor or spiritual father for that godchild. Do any of our priests on the forum know if it may be done canonically or is it forbidden?

Thomas
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« Reply #27 on: November 20, 2010, 01:56:41 PM »

Glory to God!

Just wanted to give everyone an update.  I had a nice meeting with Father last night.  Apparently he feels that a young couple in my catechumen class and I are ready to be received into the Church.  My Baptism/Chrismation date is set for December 19th!! Grin

I really feel blessed and a bit overwhelmed (as well as excited!).  I had anticipated my reception date around Theophany, but now I get to celebrate the Nativity as an Orthodox Christian!

Father and I agreed that the best person for my sponsor would be the guy that I had told you all about earlier in the thread: the old friend from my college days.  One thing I forgot to ask Father was if I should ask my friend, or if he would ask for me.. !  At any rate, I will probably see him at Liturgy tomorrow, so we will see how it goes.

Lord, bless my footsteps at this critical moment in my life.  To You be the glory forever, and unto the ages of ages! Amen

I hope everyone has a blessed Feast of the Entrance of the Theotokos into the Temple!

In Christ,
Marcus
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« Reply #28 on: November 20, 2010, 03:05:54 PM »

Congratulations!

Lord have Mercy.
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« Reply #29 on: November 20, 2010, 03:44:22 PM »

Many years!
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« Reply #30 on: November 20, 2010, 07:33:06 PM »

congratulations
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« Reply #31 on: November 20, 2010, 07:45:29 PM »


Congratulations!
Many years!
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« Reply #32 on: December 19, 2010, 07:00:05 PM »

Greetings All!

Thanks be to God!!

Today I was baptized and chrismated before the Divine Liturgy, with my old college friend by my side as my sponsor.  After my chrismation, my friend turned to me with a big smile and said, "Welcome Home!"

Words cannot express what I am feeling right now: a sense of deep peace, of fullness, of uniting myself to Christ and the Church he established.  The expression 'the communion of the saints' now has much more meaning for me than it ever did.  Truly I have come home!

In Christ,
Marcus
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« Reply #33 on: December 19, 2010, 07:53:29 PM »

Great News....Wonderful !

Axios , Dostojan , Worthy.....Welcome to the Orthodox Family,
Prayers........
Lord Bless and Keep you on the straight and narrow Path...Amen Amen
May the Blessed Lord, Grant You Many Many Years and Many Summers,
in His Service ....Amen Amen

       Glory To God In All Things ...Amen Amen






Greetings All!

Thanks be to God!!

Today I was baptized and chrismated before the Divine Liturgy, with my old college friend by my side as my sponsor.  After my chrismation, my friend turned to me with a big smile and said, "Welcome Home!"

Words cannot express what I am feeling right now: a sense of deep peace, of fullness, of uniting myself to Christ and the Church he established.  The expression 'the communion of the saints' now has much more meaning for me than it ever did.  Truly I have come home!

In Christ,
Marcus
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ГОСПОДЕ ГОСПОДЕ ,ПОГЛЕДАЈ СА НЕБА ,ДОЂИ И ПОСЕТИ ТВОЈ ВИНОГРАД ТВОЈА ДЕСНИЦА ПОСАДИЛА АМИН АМИН.
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« Reply #34 on: December 19, 2010, 08:53:38 PM »

Great News...May God Grant you Many Many Years!!!
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All my hope I place in you, O Mother of God, keep me under your protection!
Thomas
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« Reply #35 on: December 20, 2010, 10:20:16 AM »

As your friend said, WELCOME HOME!  angel

Thomas
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Your brother in Christ ,
Thomas
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« Reply #36 on: December 20, 2010, 03:04:51 PM »

Good!
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