What is a Christian Orthodox Christening?

What is a Christian Orthodox Christening?

A Christian Orthodox Christening or Eastern Orthodox Christening/Baptism is a sacred part of the Christian Orthodox religion. The Christening or Baptism is held in an Orthodox Church and like all Christian Churches including the Roman Catholic Church it sees the person being Baptised - reborn or born again in Christ, they also receive eternal life and a pathway to Heaven. Ultimately, they officially become a member of the Orthodox Church known as Chrismation.

When the decision to Baptise someone is made they are given a Baptismal name. This is a name of one of the many Saints or Christian names found in the holy scriptures. Upon entering the Church, the person being Baptised is not yet an Orthodox Christian, they will stand with the God parents and the Priest facing West in the direction of darkness and evil to renounce Satan and all his works. If the soon to be Baptised is an infant, the Godparents will renounce Satan on their behalf. The Priest will stand in front of them and blow on the infants head three times in the name of The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit (The Holy Trinity) to drive away any evil spirits. The Priest then turns to the East in the direction of true light in the abode of God and asks the Godparents if they are united with Christ. The Godparents will be asked to read The Nicene Creed (To Pistevo).

If you would like more information on The Nicene Creed please read our blog - "What does a Godparent have to read out at a Christian Orthodox Christening?".

After that the soon to be Baptised are anointed with olive oil which has been blessed by the Priest, they’re then submerged in the Baptismal Font three times to symbolise the birth, the death and the resurrection of Christ. After this the newly Baptised is dressed in white or ivory to symbolise the purity of his or her soul and they circle the Baptismal Font three times with the Priest, the Godparents and the candle/lambada. This represents the angels in Heaven and their joy that a new soul has been consecrated. Four locks of hair are cut in the shape of the cross by the Priest, known as Tonsure which symbolises obedience and sacrifice.

After the Christening ceremony, the Priest will encourage the parents and Godparents to bring the child to church throughout their life to strengthen their bond with Christ. As it is with regular visits to Church the child will understand the beauty of the religion. The Godparents must bring their Godson or Goddaughter to church for the next three Sundays in a row to take Holy Communion and bring the candle/lambada with them each time, then leaving it at the Church to burn all the way down on the third visit. The candle can also be taken home after the third visit and in times of need, for example if the child is ill, the candle can be lit and a prayer is said for a speedy recovery.

All the clothes worn by the infant on the day of the Christening and the following two days (three days in total) are kept to one side and washed by the Godparents on the third day, as these clothes are carrying holy oil (The Mira). It is tradition for the Godparent to wash these clothes three times, after all it is the Godparent that placed the holy oil on the child therefore they will take it off. All the nappies are also kept from these three days and on the third day once all the clothes have been washed the nappies are burnt. The nappies will have traces of Mira on them and it is bad luck for them to be thrown away just in case somebody else comes into contact with or steps over them, and by burning them there is no chance of this happening.

If you need more information on what to buy for your Christian Orthodox Christening please read our post - What you need to purchase for an Eastern Orthodox Christening.