The Sacrament of Holy Baptism

Dear Parents,

We rejoice together with the rest of the Church, both in heaven and on earth, at the birth and approaching baptism of your child. It is both a rich blessing and a heavy responsibility to initiate a child into the life in Christ which we all enjoy as members of the Body of Christ, which is the Church. As the Scripture says, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and even when he is old, he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6). As you begin this journey, please know that you may always count on the Church and her clergy for encouragement, counsel, and support in this great undertaking.

Below is a listing of everything you need to plan and prepare for your child’s baptism. Please read this page carefully and then complete and submit the required documentation to our church office as soon as possible. The date and time you have requested for the Baptism is not secured until all these required documents are received by the Church office.

The Baptism Guidelines are also explained below. These are necessary for our priest to conduct an Eastern Orthodox baptism and they clarify the requirements and potential impediments for a prospective Godparent. The selection of the Godparent is the most significant issue to resolve in the planning of a baptism. It is essential that the eligibility of your selected Godparent be confirmed – until this is done, the date you have scheduled for your child’s baptism remains is not secured. 

The guidelines discuss godparent eligibility in detail, but in summary, the Godparent must be an Orthodox Christian in good standing with an Orthodox parish. The Godparent must also recognize the immense responsibility involved in serving as a Godparent, and willing undertake to ensure that the baptized child grows in the fullness of the Orthodox Christian faith. We recommend that you speak with the priest about your selected Godparents as soon as you have submitted the forms from the website.

Necessary Forms to Complete

The Baptismal Information Form

Stewardship Pledge Card

Godparent Good Standing Letter (if Godparent is from another parish)

Read this article to understand what is meant by “Good Standing”

Please complete the forms and submit the required documentation as soon as possible. Then please call the office to schedule your mandatory pre-baptism meeting with our priest Fr. Ninos. Your selected Godparent must also meet with the priest and is welcome to come together with you. In this meeting, we will resolve any outstanding issues and discuss the meaning and significance of baptism and offering our support to you in this journey upon which you are now embarking. If, however, you have any questions prior to or outside of this meeting, please do not hesitate to contact us directly.

We look forward to seeing you and anticipate the upcoming baptism with joy. May God bless you, your family, and especially your child who is about to be illumined by the Light of Christ!

Baptism Guidelines

“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).

With these words, the Lord sent his disciples as apostles into the world. They were the last words He spoke before His Ascension, and they define the entire life of the Church from that time. In them we see the centrality to the Christian life of the Sacrament of Baptism.

For all that it is central to our life in Christ, Baptism is perhaps the least understood of the Sacraments. We know that it is necessary, but few of our people could say that they truly understand what it means, and why it is the central rite of initiation in the Orthodox Christian Faith.

To understand this, we must return to Christ’s baptism. For in His baptism at the hands of John in the Jordan, He prefigured His Death and Resurrection, and at the same time showed us what those great events meant. By immersing Himself in the water, He signifies the harmony, the union between Creator and Creation which He establishes by His presence in our midst, and which was completed in His death and descent into Hades. By rising again from the water, He prophecies His glorious Resurrection, by which He transforms our life, leading us and all creation from Hades into Paradise, from sorrow into rejoicing, from darkness into glory.

In our baptism, then, there is a reciprocity. As Christ joined Himself to our nature, we too now join ourselves to His nature. By our three-fold immersion beneath the water, we die to what we have been before; by our rising again from the water, the love and grace of God is granted to us, bringing transformation and newness of life; and by the invocation of the Holy Trinity as we are immersed and brought up again, we become partakers of the Divine Nature as we gain the title “Christian,” or “Christ-like.” In our baptism, we experience our own, personal Pascha, dying and rising again with Christ.

After the Baptism, we are Chrismated, receiving the “Seal of the Gift of the Holy Spirit,” in our own personal Pentecost, following which we are tonsured, offering the first of our hair to the Lord, and are then clothed in the white garment of righteousness granted to those who are called by Christ’s name and baptized into His life. And finally, we receive Holy Communion for the first time, becoming full communicants and participants in the life of the Church.

Planning a Baptism at Sts. Constantine and Helen Church

To plan a Baptism at Sts. Constantine and Helen, parents should read the guidelines above and complete the Baptism Information Form and if you haven’t done so already, fill out a Stewardship Pledge using our online Stewardship Pledge form or pick up a form from the narthex or Church office.  Once these forms have been submitted to the Church office, the parents and godparent should contact the Church Office to schedule a meeting with the priest. Please note that these forms should be completed and submitted as soon as possible, as the date for the baptism cannot be secured until they are received at the church office and no outstanding issues are found.

  • We recommend that infants be baptized soon after the 40 day blessing and no later than six months from birth.
  • The baptismal name of your child should be of Christian/Biblical origin.
  • The parents and godparents must be Orthodox Christians in good sacramental and financial standing with a canonical Orthodox Church. If not a parishioner of Sts. Constantine and Helen, a letter from their home parish should be sent to our church well in advance of the baptism date stating their good standing.
  • It is required that the parents and godparents meet with the priest prior to the baptism, so that he can explain the sacrament and address any outstanding concerns.

What is Needed for the Baptism

It is customary for the godparents to provide the following. However, some parents may wish to provide some of these items:

  • A white baptismal garment or white clothing to be worn by the child after baptism
  • A baptismal Cross to be worn by the child (the cross should not have Christ’s crucified body on it)
  • A new large white bath towel
  • A new white single bed sheet or crib sheet
  • A bar of soap
  • Two new white hand towels
  • Olive oil in a sealable, decorative glass bottle (at least 8.5 oz.)
  • One large decorated baptismal candle & two or three small decorated candles
  • An icon of the Child’s chosen patron saint after whom the child will be named.

After the Baptism

Because the child will have Holy Oil and the Holy Chrism on its body, he or she must not be bathed the evening of the baptism. Rather, after three days, the child is bathed in a tub or basin. The water from this tub must not go in any drain but poured out in a place where no one would walk, for example, in the garden. Care must also be taken with the towels and sheets that were used during the Baptism. These also must be rinsed in a tub first before washing conventionally. The water should be disposed of in the same manner mentioned above.

Our Lord Jesus Christ said “Let the children come to me and do not prevent them”. This pertains especially to Holy Communion. Having been baptized, the child is now a full member of the Orthodox Church and must be brought to church to receive Holy Communion regularly. On the three Sundays after the child’s baptism, the child should be dressed in its baptismal garment and brought to Church to receive Holy Communion. The godparents and/or parents may hold the lit baptismal candle.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email