Author Topic: godparent-godchild relationship?  (Read 4625 times)

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Offline Tikhon.of.Colorado

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godparent-godchild relationship?
« on: November 01, 2010, 03:06:32 PM »
so, are my godparents like my parents (asif I had 4)?  this concept rather alludes me. 

are my godparents' godparents' my god-grandparents?  are my godfather's other godkids like my god-siblings? (wow, 3 priests and 1 saint in the family!)


Offline mike

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Re: godparent-godchild relationship?
« Reply #1 on: November 01, 2010, 03:58:52 PM »
Godparents are supposed to help the real parents to bring the child in faith. They are much revered an treated similar to the "real parents' (you can't marry your godparent, godsibling etc).

Offline LizaSymonenko

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Re: godparent-godchild relationship?
« Reply #2 on: November 01, 2010, 04:03:01 PM »

As a godparent of 4, I take the responsibility rather seriously.

The godparents are responsible for the spiritual upbringing of their godchildren.  Of course, the parents still need to teach their own children, however, the godparent needs to reinforce that teaching, set a good and proper example, and make sure the child is being raised as a good and decent Orthodox Christian.

In the old country if anything happened to the birth parents, the godparents would take and raise the child. 

Also note that godparents cannot marry.  Therefore, as a single woman, I would not be allowed to marry the single man, who became the godfather to my godchild. (...this of course is if the child is getting a godfather and godmother.)
 

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Offline Justin Kissel

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Re: godparent-godchild relationship?
« Reply #3 on: November 01, 2010, 04:05:19 PM »
My children's god parents say hi and ask me how they are... and that's about it...  though admittedly, I haven't exactly been pro-active in building a relationship with them. I suppose that's something that I need to work on  :-X
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Offline mike

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Re: godparent-godchild relationship?
« Reply #4 on: November 01, 2010, 04:05:55 PM »
Also note that godparents cannot marry.  Therefore, as a single woman, I would not be allowed to marry the single man, who became the godfather to my godchild. (...this of course is if the child is getting a godfather and godmother.)

???

Offline LizaSymonenko

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Re: godparent-godchild relationship?
« Reply #5 on: November 01, 2010, 05:34:38 PM »

Say I and Mr. B became godparents to a child.  Even though the two of us were single, now that we share a godchild, we are not allowed to marry.

I don't know why.  Maybe, so that the child has a better chance of having adults around to raise them.  Married couples might perish together in an accident....or worse have a falling out (divorce) and that would hinder the spiritual growth of the child.

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Offline Quinault

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Re: godparent-godchild relationship?
« Reply #6 on: November 01, 2010, 05:38:50 PM »
I think this is a cultural thing. My youngest daughter has a married couple as her godparents. But our children can not marry the children of their godparents. So my son can not marry/date the daughter of his godfather.

If the godparents really CAN'T be married, then how would you deal with having them raise the child if the parents die? They just automatically go with the same/opposite sex god parent?

Offline Quinault

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Re: godparent-godchild relationship?
« Reply #7 on: November 01, 2010, 05:42:12 PM »
All the children and godchildren of a godparent are essentially "related." So the children and godchildren of an individual can not intermarry or date. In a family where the Orthodox faith goes back many generations you might have a connection with the parents of your godparents. But I wouldn't count on a connection there unless the relationship is instigated by the parents of your godparents.
« Last Edit: November 01, 2010, 05:43:11 PM by Quinault »

Offline Fr. George

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Re: godparent-godchild relationship?
« Reply #8 on: November 01, 2010, 07:44:23 PM »
Say I and Mr. B became godparents to a child.  Even though the two of us were single, now that we share a godchild, we are not allowed to marry.

I don't remember that one coming up in Canon Law class when we discussed this subject.
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Offline PeterTheAleut

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Re: godparent-godchild relationship?
« Reply #9 on: November 01, 2010, 08:58:43 PM »
If the godparents really CAN'T be married, then how would you deal with having them raise the child if the parents die? They just automatically go with the same/opposite sex god parent?
I don't think that's quite what Liza's saying. If I read her correctly, she's saying that if two godparents of the same child are unmarried at the time they become the child's godparents, they are not permitted to marry each other afterwards. This, however, does not prevent parents of a newborn from selecting an already married couple to serve together as godparents for their child.
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Offline LizaSymonenko

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Re: godparent-godchild relationship?
« Reply #10 on: November 01, 2010, 09:45:09 PM »

Thank you, Peter.

That is exactly what I was trying to say.

Lack of sleep is making it hard for me to articulate.
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Offline Shanghaiski

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Re: godparent-godchild relationship?
« Reply #11 on: November 02, 2010, 10:56:25 AM »
From my understanding, there is either one godparent (a man for a boy, a woman for a girl), or by default, a set if the godfather or godmother is married. Two unmarried people would not become godparents of the same child in most cases, I think. Only one is necessary.
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Offline LBK

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Re: godparent-godchild relationship?
« Reply #12 on: November 02, 2010, 10:46:11 PM »
From my understanding, there is either one godparent (a man for a boy, a woman for a girl), or by default, a set if the godfather or godmother is married. Two unmarried people would not become godparents of the same child in most cases, I think. Only one is necessary.

This is incorrect. I know of quite a few instances where both godparents were not married, and unrelated to each other.
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Offline Shanghaiski

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Re: godparent-godchild relationship?
« Reply #13 on: November 02, 2010, 11:08:21 PM »
Then maybe this is a local church thing. To my knowledge, the Byzantine churches do one godparent, the Slavs two. But, of course, all the usual caveats apply, and we'll find that some do none at all or use non-Orthodox or paper cut outs of NBA players, etc.
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Offline Shanghaiski

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Re: godparent-godchild relationship?
« Reply #14 on: November 02, 2010, 11:17:26 PM »
Didn't mean that to disparage the practice of two unmarried people being godparents, it just struck me as a bit odd. But, there's no one way of doing anything in Orthodoxy, which is sometimes maddening for the Orthodox, not just the non-Orthodox.
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Offline LBK

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Re: godparent-godchild relationship?
« Reply #15 on: November 02, 2010, 11:32:22 PM »
Then maybe this is a local church thing. To my knowledge, the Byzantine churches do one godparent, the Slavs two. But, of course, all the usual caveats apply, and we'll find that some do none at all or use non-Orthodox or paper cut outs of NBA players, etc.

If anything, in my five decades of Orthodox experience, the reverse is true. It's far more likely for the Slavs to appoint one Godparent only, whereas all but one of the dozens of Greeks I know have two.
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Offline Shanghaiski

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Re: godparent-godchild relationship?
« Reply #16 on: November 03, 2010, 12:20:38 AM »
Then maybe this is a local church thing. To my knowledge, the Byzantine churches do one godparent, the Slavs two. But, of course, all the usual caveats apply, and we'll find that some do none at all or use non-Orthodox or paper cut outs of NBA players, etc.

If anything, in my five decades of Orthodox experience, the reverse is true. It's far more likely for the Slavs to appoint one Godparent only, whereas all but one of the dozens of Greeks I know have two.

I should have expected such.
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Offline scamandrius

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Re: godparent-godchild relationship?
« Reply #17 on: November 03, 2010, 12:22:10 AM »
I know we are straying from the subject of the op, but can a person be the godparent/sponsor and also their spouse at the same time?  I was always under the impression that the answer would be no.  If I recall correctly, a Russian prince wanted to marry a Byzantine princess, but she said she would not unless he became Orthodox.  He did and she was his sponsor.  When he asked then for her hand, she said it would be "incestuous" (Her choice of words, not mine) for a godparent to be married to the godson.  I can't remember the specifics, so I'd appreciate if someone could refresh my memory.

A similar situation happened in my parish (godparent marrying their godchild) and I still can't believe the priest agreed to it.
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Offline Shanghaiski

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Re: godparent-godchild relationship?
« Reply #18 on: November 03, 2010, 01:32:20 AM »
I know we are straying from the subject of the op, but can a person be the godparent/sponsor and also their spouse at the same time?  I was always under the impression that the answer would be no.  If I recall correctly, a Russian prince wanted to marry a Byzantine princess, but she said she would not unless he became Orthodox.  He did and she was his sponsor.  When he asked then for her hand, she said it would be "incestuous" (Her choice of words, not mine) for a godparent to be married to the godson.  I can't remember the specifics, so I'd appreciate if someone could refresh my memory.

A similar situation happened in my parish (godparent marrying their godchild) and I still can't believe the priest agreed to it.

I've read that it could be the case, but marital relations would cease, because the godparent relationship is spiritual. Same for parents becoming godparents.
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Offline Tikhon.of.Colorado

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Re: godparent-godchild relationship?
« Reply #19 on: November 03, 2010, 08:25:15 AM »
ok, everybody, thanks for the answers!  I'll share my experience.

we are OCA, and are descended from Slavs, if not Slavs ourselves.  my Spiritual Father instructed me to choose ONE godparent of a different gender.  at least one.  he also said I could have a godmother and a Godfather.  I chose both.  my godfather is married with several kids, and my godmother is a widow with several kids.


I was never told anything about them not being married. 

Offline mike

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Re: godparent-godchild relationship?
« Reply #20 on: November 03, 2010, 02:51:53 PM »
The marriage banning between the godparents is strange to me as there are many Belarusian/Ukrainian song about such relationships.

Offline Fr. George

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Re: godparent-godchild relationship?
« Reply #21 on: November 03, 2010, 02:59:56 PM »
From my understanding, there is either one godparent (a man for a boy, a woman for a girl), or by default, a set if the godfather or godmother is married. Two unmarried people would not become godparents of the same child in most cases, I think. Only one is necessary.

This is incorrect. I know of quite a few instances where both godparents were not married, and unrelated to each other.

I have two unrelated, unmarried to one another godparents, and have been in a situation where I was one unmarried, unrelated out of a pair. 

Then maybe this is a local church thing. To my knowledge, the Byzantine churches do one godparent, the Slavs two. But, of course, all the usual caveats apply, and we'll find that some do none at all or use non-Orthodox or paper cut outs of NBA players, etc.

If anything, in my five decades of Orthodox experience, the reverse is true. It's far more likely for the Slavs to appoint one Godparent only, whereas all but one of the dozens of Greeks I know have two.

I'm not sure about Slavic practice, but with Greeks there are usually two - either a married couple, an engaged couple, or, as mentioned above, two unrelated and unmarried people.  However, in keeping with tradition, only one is listed on the Baptismal certificate as the godparent (not to negate or neglect the role the other person has) - the one who anointed the head & (in the case of children) received the child from the font.
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Offline Hamartolos

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Re: godparent-godchild relationship?
« Reply #22 on: November 03, 2010, 03:28:47 PM »
I'm glad somebody posted this subject.  I've been meaning to do that for a while.

My godfather (who sponsored me at Chrismation) is a great person whom I do respect.  He is from Lebanon and a few months ago moved about 3 hours away.  I don't know if I ever offended him or not, but we didn't exactly have some type of father-son relationship.  As someone else said on here, I said "Hi" and made conversation most times on Sundays and that was it. 
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Offline Tikhon.of.Colorado

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Re: godparent-godchild relationship?
« Reply #23 on: November 03, 2010, 06:45:18 PM »
I'm glad somebody posted this subject.  I've been meaning to do that for a while.

My godfather (who sponsored me at Chrismation) is a great person whom I do respect.  He is from Lebanon and a few months ago moved about 3 hours away.  I don't know if I ever offended him or not, but we didn't exactly have some type of father-son relationship.  As someone else said on here, I said "Hi" and made conversation most times on Sundays and that was it. 
it was the same thing with my godmother and I.  honestly, I thought like she looked very interesting to talk to because she would alwayse dress like Elizabeth Taylor (with a headscarf, that is)  we talked and talked, and I became attached to her, but only when we talked at coffee hour.  now, she doesn't come much, but gives me a big hug when she does.  ;D