The Sacrament of Holy Baptism & Chrismation
Orthodox Catholic Christian Church
Why Do We Baptize Baby’s?
In the Orthodox Christian Church, Holy Baptism is the first of seven Sacraments. Traditionally we combine Baptism with the Sacrament of Holy Chrism called Chrismation or Confirmation in the Roman Church.
Baptism is not a divine pass that will get us into Heaven automatically. Baptism stresses a personal response on the part of the Parents and Godparents of the baptized child when it reaches the age of reason.
It was the Lord Jesus who instituted Baptism. Jesus said; “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned”. (Mark 16:16). Jesus also said, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…” (Matthew 28:19). And finally, “Truly. truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God” (John 3:5).
The purpose of Holy Baptism is to;
- To remove the consequences of the Original Sin.
- To wash away all other sins committed before the time of Baptism if the person is beyond the age of infancy.
- To unite the person to “The Body of Christ” (that is, the Church), and to open the door of salvation and eternal life to him or her.
Explanation of the ceremony
As with all of the Sacraments there is a visible part, the actions taken by the Priest; and an invisible part, the sanctifying Grace that comes from the Holy Spirit that fills the body and soul of the person receiving the Sacrament.
The sponsor or godparent:
God-Parents or other Sponsors are provided to help the parents in instructing the children in the Christian faith. The godparent promises to see to it that the child is raised and educated in the Orthodox & Catholic Christian faith. For this reason, it is important that godparents be chosen not for social reasons, but because they are best persons who love God and His Church. Sponsors must be Catholic Christians, hopefully in good standing with the Church.
The Baptismal font
The baptismal font in the language of the Church Fathers is the Divine Womb whence we receive the second birth as children of God. Baptism is truly a birth.
“But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God; who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:12-13).
When a person is Baptized, they descend into the baptismal font. As the water closes over the head, it is like being buried in a grave. When the newly baptized emerges from the water, it is like rising from the grave. Baptism represents our old, sinful nature dying and then being resurrected again by Christ in a new and cleansed form. As St. Paul says, “Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death. We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father we, too, might walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:3-4).
is used for cleansing. In Baptism it expresses the fact that through this sacrament Christ cleanses us of all sins. The Priest blesses the Baptismal waters in the Font.
The Sacrament of Chrismation
In the Orthodox Church the Sacrament of Chrismation (known sometimes as Confirmation) is administered immediately following Baptism as in the early Church. It is considered the fulfillment of Baptism.
Anointing with oil
Olive oil is blessed by the Priest and then applied by him to the child’s forehead, in order to dedicate them to the service of Christ, and in order to express our prayer that with Christ’s help the infant may be able to elude the grip of sin and the evil one. The Priest anoints the newly baptized infant with the Holy Chrism saying, “the seal of the gift of the Holy Spirit, Amen”.
The newly baptized & Chrismated is now made the temple of God and the whole body is consecrated to the service of God. According to Orthodox Catholic belief every baptized lay person is consecrated by this Sacrament; he receives the gift of the Holy Spirit to become a an ambassador for Christ in this world.
St. Paul says; “For as many of you as have been baptized in Christ, have put on Christ” (Galatians 3:26-27).
The Holy Eucharist
Immediately following Baptism and Chrismation the beginner becomes a full member of the Orthodox Catholic Christian Church. As such, the child is now entitled to receive the precious Body and Blood of Christ in the Sacrament of Holy Communion (or Holy Eucharist). The new life in Christ, given in Baptism, is renewed again and again in the Eucharist. As nature provides milk for the nourishment of the infant after birth, so God provides Holy Communion for the infant immediately following Baptism & Confirmation in order to provide nourishment for the spiritual life the beginner has received through Baptism.
If you are interested in Baptism for your child or yourself, please contact the monastery at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 915.213.3738.