The rite of baptism is one of the first and most important ordinances performed over a person. It is believed that from the moment of baptism a person gets his entire invisible main protector, the Guardian Angel, for life.
How is this amazing and mysterious rite performed, what attributes are required for its conduct and what awaits a person during the fulfillment of the mystery of Baptism? Let’s try to study these and other issues in more detail.
Who participates in the baptism procedure?
Most often, the rite of baptism follows a short time after the appearance of the baby in the light of God. Thus, the child is one of the main participants in the sacrament, directly above which the priest performs the procedure.
In addition to the priest and the child, the godparents are part of the main characters of the event.
Many modern moms and dads, who plan to baptize their children in the near future, often and quite naturally the question arises: why do godparents need anything at all? The answer here is obvious: with their consent, they agree to accept the responsibility for the spiritual development of their ward, they undertake to educate him in accordance with the commandments of God.
It is for this reason that clergymen strongly advise that the choice of godparents for your child should be handled with the utmost responsibility.
Are parents present at the ceremony?
According to old beliefs, the mom and dad of the baby should not be present in the rite of his baptism. However, in reality (in some churches) only the mother of the baby is not allowed to attend the sacrament, but even then this prohibition disappears after the priest reads the prayers of the fortieth day (or the so-called «mother’s prayers»).
If a servant of the Church reads this prayer before the accomplishment of the christening, then the mother of the infant can be freely present throughout the entire rite. If the priest decides to read the said prayer at the end of the christening, then, accordingly, the child’s mother will not be allowed to the procedure.
When to read the prayer of the fortieth day: at the end of the ceremony or at the beginning — the clergyman himself decides, and whatever decision he makes, his actions are resolved by the Church.
It should be emphasized that if the parents are still present at the rite of infant baptism, they are not allowed to take part in this rite, i.e.
throughout the procedure, they are not allowed to hold the child in their arms or, for example, take it after the font (this is done directly by the infant’s godparents).
How to dress, going to the rite of baptism?
Both parents of the child, and his future godparents, and family friends allowed to participate in the sacrament of baptism, are instructed to look pious and modest. It is not allowed to wear challenging, overly exposed clothing at baptism.
Women are not allowed to wear short skirts and tight-fitting dresses; men are not allowed to wear hats, shorts, tracksuits and T-shirts. Also, representatives of the beautiful half of humanity are prescribed to attend the baptism ceremony only with a covered head (ie, with a scarf or stole that hides the hair).
How is the rite itself performed?
Starting the implementation of this rite, the priest, first of all, brings up a prayer to God, in which he asks for the strength and blessing of God for the performance of the sacrament. Here it is important to note that in the rite of baptism, the minister of the Church assumes a tremendous responsibility, because, in fact, he is a protege of the Most High on that thin line where only the son of God himself is entitled to be.
In the process of performing the rite, the priest pronounces the words that Jesus Christ himself should utter, and performs the actions that only the son of God is allowed to perform.
It is important to understand that the rite of baptism is not just a beautiful tradition, but a crucial and extremely serious stage at which a person joins God, joins the faith in Christ. In other words, the day of baptism is the day of the spiritual birth of a person.
Before proceeding to the reading of prayers, the priest releases the baptized baby from clothes, after which he blows his face three times, blesses him three times and, putting his palm on his head, begins to read the prayers of announcement. Further, according to the rite, the servant of the Church turns the baptized face to the west, personifying the dark forces and darkness, and asks questions that are answered by godparents (godmother — when a girl is baptized or godfather — if the person being baptized is a boy). This procedure for the baptism of infants differs from that provided for the rite of baptism of an adult.
If the baptized is an adult of a conscious age, then, of course, he answers all the questions of the clergyman himself.
At the beginning of the procedure, the baby in one diaper is held by one of the receivers (godparents) — so that the baby’s face and chest remain open.
The main part of the ceremony is the washing of the baby in the holy water font. Before this important procedure, the priest anoints the baptized child with holy oil, personifying God’s mercy.
After that, from the head of the baby, the priest cuts off a strand of hair and, taking the baby in his arms, immerses him three times in a font with holy water. After the font, the priest again passes the baby to the receivers, and proceeds to the procedure of anointing.
An important clarification: during the conduct of all these actions on the baby (or on an adult person who has decided to join the faith in Christ), a pectoral cross must be present. It can be an inexpensive product that will later remain with a person for the rest of his life.
It is believed that the baptismal cross is one of the most powerful charms that can protect its owner from detractors, the «evil eye» and the guidance of evil spells.
Therefore, it is very important to keep the very first cross of the child intact and intact after the said ceremony.
What items and things are needed for the event?
The whole described procedure is carried out with the use of appropriate accessories and paraphernalia. First of all, a cross is necessary — preferably an inexpensive one, suspended from a rope or a strong long thread (some sources state that the chain can neutralize the protective effect of the cross).
You will also need a special baptismal free-cut shirt, which can be purchased in the church or sewed with your own hands. On this shirt, an image of a cross should be embroidered from the back or chest.
In the process of worship, you will need wax candles, which can be bought directly in the temple or purchased in advance in an icon shop, if, for example, the whole procedure is carried out at home.
In addition, in advance, you should prepare a large terry towel and a change of clothes, which will be necessary after immersing the child in the font. On the remaining additional attributes and accessories will need to ask the father.
By the way, here you can ask the clergyman about the possibility of obtaining a special certificate of baptism, which prescribes the name of the person baptized, the names of his godparents, the name of the priest, the day of the angel, as well as the date of the event and the name of the temple where the ceremony was held.