When and how?
The tradition in the Orthodox Church is to receive Baptism as an infant. The sacrament is celebrated in the church (unless it is an emergency baptism) in the presence of at least one godparent/sponsor. The recommended age is 3-6 months. The baptismal service usually takes 45mins-1 hour and is completed only after the child received their first Communion. The service will be celebrated in either English or Romanian (or both, please speak to the priest about it). A Baptism Certificate will be issued and given to the parents at the completion of the ceremony.
Who is the godparent?
The godparent must be a baptized Orthodox Christian in good standing (having had a recent Confession and received Holy Communion). In many cases more than one godparent is chosen for the infant. The godparent’s main role is to speak on behalf of the child, rejecting Satan and confessing their faith in Christ, making a profession of faith (i.e. reading the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed) and be a spiritual guide to the child in the Orthodox faith. Honorary witness (Orthodox or not) are welcome to participate and assist, but they are not the child’s baptismal godparents.
Are there any requirements for the parents?
The parents are also required to be in good standing in the Orthodox Church. If, for instance, the couple have not received the sacrament of Marriage in the Orthodox Church they should resolve that issue first, in consultation with the priest. This way the child will grow and be nurtured in a consecrated family and receive the best Christian education.
What do I need to bring?
- birth certificate for the child (for registering the Baptism in the Church records);
- baptismal cross (to be blessed and gifted to the newly baptized);
- large towel/blanket (to dry the child and keep them warm), as well as a small towel (for the priest);
- a little bottle of olive oil (to be blessed by the priest);
- baptismal candle;
- white baptismal gown (in which the child will be dressed after the service, not before).
Traditionally these items (apart from the birth certificate) are provided by the godparent/sponsor. For practical reasons, during the service the child should be dressed in only the diaper and a warm blanket, or in as fewer layers as possible.
Are there “stole fees”?
There is no set fee, as we strongly believe that the sacrament cannot be bought. However, we do have running costs (including renting the church), so donations are always appreciated. Donations will go towards the expenses related to the service and the refurbishment of the new church. Our clergy are non-stipendiary so any contribution/gift to them is welcome.
Adults who want to be received into the Orthodox Church are expected to undergo a period of catechesis. The period and schedule are to be discussed with the priest, who will advise on how the catechumen/candidate for baptism needs to prepare. The priest will determine whether the catechumen is to be received through Baptism and Chrismation or Chrismation alone. Typically, rebaptism is not required and the candidate is received through the Sacrament (Mystery) of Chrismation (the anointing with the Holy Chrism or Myrrh). One Orthodox godparent in good standing is required and will become a guide/provide support for the newly received member of the Church. A certificate of Baptism or Chrismation will be issued.