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Offline Desiring_unity

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Baptism expenses?
« on: December 08, 2011, 09:13:17 PM »
The question came up on another forum where there are only about 10 EO posters so I thought I'd ask here.  A family is being baptised soon and appears to be facing a couple of hundred dollars worth of expenses with their baptism.  Things like crosses, new clothing, baptismal gowns, jurisdiction reg. fee, $100 fee FOR the baptism, monetary gift for the priest, towels...  Is this typical???
« Last Edit: December 08, 2011, 09:18:53 PM by Desiring_unity »
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Re: Baptism expenses?
« Reply #1 on: December 08, 2011, 09:22:30 PM »
no, nothing in life is typical.  Come on, charging a fee for baptism?  Seriously?  I know you can give the priest money.  Selling sacraments aside, robes? Crosses, etc..?  Why make the event that much money.  My advice, if you were going to spend 400 on it, cut the cost down to 100 and donate the other 300 to the poor.  I'm a simple and humble person, not much entrapped in the externals of consumerism and having to have trinkets that cost lots of money to celebrate joining Christ, the poor and humble day labourer who called on us to minster to the downtrodden and to love each other and forgive each other.

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Re: Baptism expenses?
« Reply #2 on: December 08, 2011, 09:24:40 PM »
towels, robes, crosses, good gracious... bring towel from home free  have baba make robe if church doesn't provide one: 12.99 plus a hug for baba for sewing it.  Cross, gift from sponsor or buy reasonable being baptised: priceless

Offline Desiring_unity

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Re: Baptism expenses?
« Reply #3 on: December 08, 2011, 09:25:04 PM »
I should add, this was all in an e-mail from their priest.
"Beloved in Christ, if you ever despair, wondering if what you do for God matters, remember: each single act of holiness is like a stone thrown into an ocean—the ripples go forth, and we do not know whom they touch or where they end."

From: http://www.antiochian.org/node/18911

Offline LizaSymonenko

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Re: Baptism expenses?
« Reply #4 on: December 08, 2011, 09:52:36 PM »

That's terrible.  Yes, churches sometimes assign fees ... in order to help pay for the electric bill, etc.

However, the priest could perform the baptism at their home, in a tub - for free.  They can wrap themselves in a white seamless sheet, and have a little wooden cross.

NOTHING matters, other than getting baptized. 

Where are these people?  Perhaps others could help by donating to the cause?
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Offline LBK

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Re: Baptism expenses?
« Reply #5 on: December 08, 2011, 09:57:01 PM »
Essential requirements: Baptismal cross. And an icon of the patron saint, if possible. A small bottle of olive oil.

Useful requirements:

If not babies, a garment suitable to be baptized in. Women and girls can wear a swimsuit, covered by a plain white cotton shift which can be made up in almost no time; men and boys can wear beach shorts, with or without a white cotton gown. Little kids and babies might have a new, usually white, outfit to wear after they've been dunked. No new post-baptismal outfit required for others.

Towel: Greek baptismal practice means the person being baptized has oil applied all over the body. Slavs simply pour oil into the font water. A newly-baptized baby handed to the Godparent after immersion will ruin their clothes. Bath sheets are good. And, for little bubs, a thick, fluffy towel helps to keep them warm until it is possible to dress them properly. The towel also needs to be properly washed afterwards, because of its contact with blessed water and oil. Ask the priest for advice on how to do it.

Gift for the priest? Not in my book. Registration fee for the baptism? Varies between dioceses and jurisdictions, and even parishes sometimes.
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Offline IsmiLiora

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Re: Baptism expenses?
« Reply #6 on: December 08, 2011, 10:03:36 PM »
LBK, are you saying that a gift for the priest is unnecessary, that it's not the custom, or that it's just not mandatory?

I am wondering that myself, since we were thinking about giving something to Father following the baptism/chrismation.
She's touring the facility/and picking up slack.
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Offline LBK

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Re: Baptism expenses?
« Reply #7 on: December 08, 2011, 10:11:39 PM »
Not mandatory. I and members of my family have been Godparents, across several decades, jurisdictions and traditions, and it was never mandatory. There's nothing wrong with wanting to give the priest something, though.  :)

I've seen the horrors of the baptismal "industry" first-hand - prospective Godparents who are honestly unaware of what's required falling prey to slick salesmanship, and shelling out several THOUSAND dollars for the privilege. I'm old enough to have observed how things were properly done, before all the razzamatazz took over.
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Offline IsmiLiora

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Re: Baptism expenses?
« Reply #8 on: December 08, 2011, 10:15:41 PM »
I already feel guilty about letting our Godparents pay for anything!  :o We are trying to go easy on them!  :)
She's touring the facility/and picking up slack.
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Offline Ionnis

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Re: Baptism expenses?
« Reply #9 on: December 08, 2011, 10:22:47 PM »
The question came up on another forum where there are only about 10 EO posters so I thought I'd ask here.  A family is being baptised soon and appears to be facing a couple of hundred dollars worth of expenses with their baptism.  Things like crosses, new clothing, baptismal gowns, jurisdiction reg. fee, $100 fee FOR the baptism, monetary gift for the priest, towels...  Is this typical???

It is downright scandalous. I didn't pay a dime.  I was a student at that time.  Couldn't afford to give the priest a gift, to pay any fees, nothing. 
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Offline Alveus Lacuna

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Re: Baptism expenses?
« Reply #10 on: December 08, 2011, 10:33:54 PM »
I gave no money, as none was ever asked for, and it didn't cross my mind. My wife, who is not Orthodox, sewed a robe together for me. I bought my own cross long before and gave it to the godparents to give to me as they are very poor, and I also had already taken care of the icon.

It can be cheap. Sometimes the registration fee makes sense because they have to file it with the diocese and get you a certificate, but $100 seems excessive. I think that's so the church can milk off the Orthodox who just come for baptisms and funerals.

Offline biro

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Re: Baptism expenses?
« Reply #11 on: December 08, 2011, 10:35:23 PM »
I don't know about things like this. I can't remember if my old parish charged for things; I guess my parents would have handled that. Hope they don't charge me if I get chrismated, or else, it's some really modest fee for the cross. Or something like that.

Offline Alveus Lacuna

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Re: Baptism expenses?
« Reply #12 on: December 08, 2011, 10:59:10 PM »
I don't know about things like this. I can't remember if my old parish charged for things; I guess my parents would have handled that. Hope they don't charge me if I get chrismated, or else, it's some really modest fee for the cross. Or something like that.

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Offline FormerReformer

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Re: Baptism expenses?
« Reply #13 on: December 08, 2011, 11:20:27 PM »
I don't know about things like this. I can't remember if my old parish charged for things; I guess my parents would have handled that. Hope they don't charge me if I get chrismated, or else, it's some really modest fee for the cross. Or something like that.

When my brother and I were chrismated (GOA) we had to supply the crosses (our godfather had just returned to school and was hard on cash), but that was it. Pretty much any cross will do (though an Orthodox "style" is preferred), you don't have to plunk down a large chunk of cash for that fancy one in the parish book store.
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Offline Irish Hermit

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Re: Baptism expenses?
« Reply #14 on: December 08, 2011, 11:29:41 PM »
The question came up on another forum where there are only about 10 EO posters so I thought I'd ask here.  A family is being baptised soon and appears to be facing a couple of hundred dollars worth of expenses with their baptism.  Things like crosses, new clothing, baptismal gowns, jurisdiction reg. fee, $100 fee FOR the baptism, monetary gift for the priest, towels...  Is this typical???

The expenses fall on the godparents - crosses, donation to priest, fee to church, sandwiches and juice afterwards or full scale banquet.

Customarily the baptized or the baptized's parents will then, soon after, make a generous gift to the godparents.  This lightens their financial outgoings for the baptism

Offline SakranMM

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Re: Baptism expenses?
« Reply #15 on: December 09, 2011, 12:03:49 PM »
I've got mixed feelings about baptismal fees payed to the church.  I understand that it costs money to heat the church, to fill the font with water, to run the lights, etc...and this can be quite expensive for larger churches.  But again, I'm not sure that I'm completely at peace with it.

However, I do encourage people to give an honorarium to the priest, chanter, sacristan, etc...anyone who may be helping with the baptism.  There should be no set fee, people should give what they want, but we need to understand that the priest takes time away from his family, often on evenings and weekends, to celebrate the sacraments for his parishioners. Yes, that is his job as a priest, but we the faithful should recognize the sacrifice he is making on our behalf, and make a small sacrifice of our own to help him.  We pay hundreds of dollars for crosses, baptismal gowns, etc..., but we find it apalling to give $50 dollars or so to the priest who hasn't seen his family in virtually 4 or 5 days, but still comes to the baptism and joyfully celebrates it.  The priest should never, ever charge for the sacraments, but we should be willing to give joyfully for the welfare of our pastor and father in Christ.
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Offline Jake

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Re: Baptism expenses?
« Reply #16 on: December 09, 2011, 12:08:12 PM »
I would think the costs depend on the economic state of the family or at least i would hope so.

Offline SakranMM

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Re: Baptism expenses?
« Reply #17 on: December 09, 2011, 12:12:19 PM »
Agreed...if people can't give, they can't give.  No worries. The priest shouldn't ask either way. If they're well-to-do, however, I feel it's appropriate to give a gift.
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Offline Timon

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Re: Baptism expenses?
« Reply #18 on: December 09, 2011, 12:13:11 PM »
Wow. Never heard of paying to be baptized!
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Offline SakranMM

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Re: Baptism expenses?
« Reply #19 on: December 09, 2011, 01:57:55 PM »
Nobody is paying to be baptized.  You're not paying for the sacrament.  That would be simony.  But in every church I've been in, it's customary to give an honorarium to the priest and chanter.  As I said above, they sacrifice time from their families and work tirelessly for the faithful.  People expect the priest to be at their beck and call, but they don't consider the fact that he is a human being with wife and children, and it is only right to give a little for his time.  No priest I know would ever ask for money, but if I was capable of giving the priest a gift and didn't, it would be to my shame.

It's a gift, not a fee.  Take care of your priests.  If we want them to work for us full time and more, we need to support them.  And the meager salaries we tend to give them doesn't cut it when they work 70 hours a week and miss birthdays and anniversaries and graduations and other important events in the lives of their families.  The worker is worthy of his hire, as the Scriptures say.
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Offline Alveus Lacuna

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Re: Baptism expenses?
« Reply #20 on: December 09, 2011, 03:16:30 PM »
Wow. Never heard of paying to be baptized!

Yeah, but with a baptism, you're really getting like three or four Mysteries for the price of one plus extras.

As part of a limited time offer you get an exorcism thrown in at the beginning at no additional charge to you. You've going to get some kind of olive oil thing before the real chrism. Then you get the triple immersion baptism, which is like two more dunks then the Baptists will give you. So just look at whatever the Baptists charge and multiply it by three, and you're still probably getting a great deal. Then there's the chrism, and then to top it all off you get the Eucharist, and all for only one small fee! Order now; limited time offer for those who haven't paid their dues.

Offline Irish Hermit

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Re: Baptism expenses?
« Reply #21 on: December 09, 2011, 05:13:55 PM »
Hmm....within the Russian Church in the States most of our priests live in more necessitous situations than college students. 

The Russian Church Abroad operates on the widow's mite.   This may slowly change as the tens of thosands of new immigrants are churched and begin to contribute financially.

But at this time most of our clergy live close to penury.

Fr Alexander Lebedeff has addressed this in a message he sent to Indiana..For a picture of the financial lives of our clergy please please read the whole message at

https://listserv.indiana.edu/cgi-bin/wa-iub.exe?A2=ind0006A&L=ORTHODOX&P=R8636

"....The fact is that with very few exceptions the clergy of the Church Abroad receive a salary that is so far below the poverty line, that all of these clergymen and their families would be easily eligible for welfare...."

Offline Timon

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Re: Baptism expenses?
« Reply #22 on: December 09, 2011, 06:21:53 PM »
Wow. Never heard of paying to be baptized!

Yeah, but with a baptism, you're really getting like three or four Mysteries for the price of one plus extras.

As part of a limited time offer you get an exorcism thrown in at the beginning at no additional charge to you. You've going to get some kind of olive oil thing before the real chrism. Then you get the triple immersion baptism, which is like two more dunks then the Baptists will give you. So just look at whatever the Baptists charge and multiply it by three, and you're still probably getting a great deal. Then there's the chrism, and then to top it all off you get the Eucharist, and all for only one small fee! Order now; limited time offer for those who haven't paid their dues.

haha. awesome. ill take 2!!!

and just so were clear... i wasnt bashing you guys. i understand how it works and didnt actually think you pay for baptism. 
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Offline katherineofdixie

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Re: Baptism expenses?
« Reply #23 on: December 12, 2011, 10:56:00 AM »
As far as baptismal garments, we had a lady in our parish who had several children baptized at one time. She and her mother sewed red Orthodox crosses on the backs of long-sleeved white t-shirts for the kids. It looked fine.

Perhaps, and I'm just guessing here, the email from the priest listing the requirements for baptism was not so much commandments as information?
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