Saint George Greek Orthodox Cathedral

Baptismal Guidelines

1.The sponsor (godfather or godmother) must be a devout and practicing Orthodox Christian. If the sponsor is married, his or her marriage must have been blessed in the Orthodox Church.

2. The role of the sponsor is directly related to infant baptism. Since the infant is unable to make the necessary confession of faith, the sponsor stands in the child’s place and speaks on his behalf.

3. The sponsor should be ready to recite the Nicene Creed either in Greek or English. For three consecutive Sundays after the baptism, the sponsor should carry the neophyte to the Holy Altar to receive Holy Communion.

4. According to the Tradition of the Orthodox Church, it is absolutely imperative that one name of Orthodox Christian origin should be given to the child at the time of baptism.

5. The day, time, and other arrangements of the baptism must be made with the priest well ahead of time. Please call the church office to discuss these arrangements at least one month before the baptism. It is also advisable for the parents and godparent to meet with the priest once to discuss details of the sacrament as well as to be instructed in the theological importance of the sacrament in specific and the living of the Christian life following baptism in general.

6. The sponsor should be aware that he or she must provide the following items:

* a complete change of clothes for the child (i.e. white baptismal gown, with inner shirt or onesie)
* a gold cross
* three white candles (baptismal candle should be larger or at least more ornate)
* one bottle of olive oil
* one bar of soap
* one small white hand towel
* one large white bath towel
* one small white crib sheet

7. In the event that an unbaptized infant is near death, an Orthodox priest may be called to perform a clinical baptism. In the absence of an Orthodox clergyman, a layman or any other Christian may baptize the infant by sprinkling water on the child while repeating the following three times: “The servant of God (name), is baptized in the Name of the Father, of the Son, and the Holy Spirit.”

8. Those adults wishing to become Orthodox Christians must receive catechism from an Orthodox priest, either one-on-one or through a class offered in the parish. After receiving instruction in the Faith, the candidate is accepted into the Church by one of three ways prescribed by the Sixth Ecumenical Council (Canon 95) as appropriate:

* Baptism in the Name of the Father, of the Son, and Holy Spirit by triple immersion (if one has never before been baptized in any church)
* Chrismation (if one has been baptized a Christian in another church but never confirmed in the Orthodox Christian Faith)
* Confession of Faith (in rare occasions, as with non-Chalcedonian Orthodox)

Proof of baptism must be established by an authentic document. The priest must undertake to instruct the applicant in matters of the Faith and practice that govern the inner life and outward behavior of the Orthodox Christian.