An Orthodox Christening/Baptism is a special day in the life of every Christian Orthodox as it is the day they’re reborn in Christ and become a member of the Orthodox church. If you are unfamiliar with the traditions, rituals and what is required before, during and after the Christening, look no further as we delve into what is required right here. We will take a closer look at the requirements to make the special day run smoothly and according to the Orthodox Church and we will take a look at the symbolism of each part.
Pre-Christening Ceremony Outfit
This outfit is worn when the soon to be Baptised arrives to church, which can be any type of outfit you feel comfortable in or what the parents feel the infant will feel comfortable and adorable in. This outfit will be worn when entering the Church and for the first part of the Christening ceremony - the renouncing of Satan and the acceptance of Christ. In this part of the Christening there will be some standing around and if the soon to be Baptised in as infant they will need to be held by the Godparent, so something light and comfortable is advisable.
Take at look at some options for a Pre-Christening Outfit for girls here.
Take at look at some of our pre-Christening outfits for infant boys here.
Baptism Essentials - Glass bottle, bar of soap and small hand towel
For the Baptism you will need a nice glass bottle of olive oil, the olive oil will be blessed by the Priest then anointed on the soon to be baptised person during the ceremony. The glass bottle can be filed with olive oil yourself and if you’re taking photos and videoing the event a nice glass bottle will look better than a standard olive oil bottle from your local supermarket. You will also need a bar of soap and a small hand towel for the Priest to wash and dry his hands after the ceremony. These three items can be placed in a small box or bag to keep them together.
This is an essential item, take a look at our oil bottle sets here. They are also sold as part of a set with our range of large keepsake boxes and bags.
The next part of the Christening ceremony will see the infant undressed and immersed in Holy water three times in the Baptismal Font - symbolising the birth, death and resurrection of Christ. Blessed olive oil will be anointed on the infant and then placed in the arms of the Godparent. But before the infant can be held by the Godparent you will need a Miropani set which compromises of one large bath towel, one large sheet roughly the same as the bath towel. The bath towel is placed in the arms of the Godparent with the large sheet on top in order to absorb the Holy water and oil (The Mira), the bath towel is used to dry the infant down before dressing them again. Also in the Miropani Set is a small hand towel and underwear for the infant which includes pants, vest and a hat. Once the infant has dried nicely the underwear is worn under the main Christening outfit in order to absorb any excess oil. The bath towel can be personalised too.
The Miropania Set is an essential item, take a look at our Miropania sets here.
An outfit for after the Baptism Ceremony
This outfit is the main outfit of the day and must be white or ivory to symbolise the purity of the newly Baptised soul. Girls can wear a dress or a long gown and boys can wear a suit or a long gown too. As a general rule, if the soon to be Baptised is walking then a gown is unsuitable as they're too long, but gowns are a more traditional style for a Christening or Baptism. You have the options of a silk or lace outfits for a more detailed and beautiful option, or something cheaper like cotton or polyester.
Accessories to this outfit can include shoes, socks, cardigans, shawls, terry nappies and bibs. These are not specifically required by the church but may be needed to complete the outfit and/or insure the infant in fully clothed and protected from the elements. Shoes and bibs can be personalised and kept as a memento to remember the special occasion.
Take a look at our Christening Dresses here.
Take a look at our Christening Gowns for Girls here.
Take a look at Christening Suits for Boys here.
Take a look at Christening Gowns for Boys here.
Christening Candle (Lampada)
This is a large candle dressed with bows, ribbons, lace or netting to look beautiful on the day. The candle can also be dressed to match your theme and colours, and will look amazing in your photos and videos. The candle will be lit and held by a young member of the family who will stand at the alter during the ceremony. This candle will be taken home after the Christening but brought back to church for the following three consecutive Sundays where the Godparents are obliged to take their Godchild to receive Holy Communion over the course of three weeks. The candle will be lit on each of the three occasions but on the third visit and can be left at the church to burn down all the way. Or you can keep the candle at home and in the event that the child is unwell you can light the candle and say a prayer for a speedy recovery.
Take a look at our Christening Candles here.
Witness pins (Martyrika)
These are given to your guests upon arrival at the Chuch to either pin on their chest or wear as a bracelet or necklace and are a memento of the occasion. They are to show that they attended the special day and proof that they are witnesses to the Chrismation of the newly Baptised individual. There are many different styles and colours available and can also match your theme and colours. The Witness pins or Matyrika are not an essential item but make the day a bit more special.
Take a look at our Witness pins here.
These are also given out to the guests and it is tradition to offer your guests the gift of a sweet which is normally a sugared almond. The almonds can be wrapped in net and attached to an icon, key ring or ornament which once again can symbolise the witnessing of this momentous occasion in the family of the newly Baptised person.
Take a look at our range of Favours here.
Gold Cross and Chain
The cross and chain are worn when the main outfit has been worn and will be blessed along with the infant throughout the ceremony and is an essential item. The cross and chain is also a beautiful gift from the Godparent to their Godchild and more often than most is kept as jewellery their whole life. You have the option of white or yellow gold and for the cheapest option 9 karat, then 18 karat and 24 karat gold being the most expensive because it is pure gold.
Finally, you will need something to keep all of the above in one safe place. A keepsake bag or box is ideal as this can be matched to fit in with theme and colours of the day. After the Christening, the outfit and all the items that were bought for this special day can be kept in the keepsake bag or box for eternity.
Take a look at our keepsake box and bag range here.
Outfits for the three days after the Christening
It is tradition for the Godparents to buy three separate outfits for their Godchild, one for each day after the Christening. These three items can be anything from a baby grow or tracksuit to whatever the newly baptised would normally wear on a day to day basis. These three outfits along with the Miropani set and everything that the child has worn after the Baptism ceremony must be washed on the third day by the Godparents. The Godparent must wash all these garments to remove the oil (Mira) that was anointed on the child by the Priest and Godparent during the ceremony.
We hope that this article has helped you in understanding more about a Christian Orthodox Christening and what is required. If you have more questions and need some more help, please feel free to send us an email, we would be more than happy to help. Visit our contact us page here to send us a message.
For more information on Christian Orthodox Christenings please read our other articles.
What is a Christian Orthodox Christening?
What does a Godparent have to read out at a Christian Orthodox Christening?