Your Child's Baptism at Holy Trinity Cathedral
Baptism is our entrance into the community of the Church, a new birth into a spiritual family defined by love and faith. The baptism of your child is a blessed and joyous event, and we at Holy Trinity look forward to celebrating it with you.
When a child is born, a series of prayers and services are appointed by the Church in preparation for the Baptism. These include the prayers on the day of birth, prayers on the eighth day after birth, and the forty-day entrance into the Church ("churching").
It is recommended that the baptism be celebrated at some time after the forty-day blessing, and before the child's first birthday.
Here are a few guidelines to help you in planning for your child's baptism at Holy Trinity:
Setting the Date: To set a date for the baptism, contact the Cathedral Office. The Secretary will check the requested date with the priests' schedules and then contact you to confirm the date. It is recommended that you plan the date of the baptism at least two months in advance.
The Godparent/Sponsor must be a practicing communicant of the Orthodox Church. If he or she is not a member of Holy Trinity, the Godparent is required to have his or her Parish Priest send a letter confirming his or her good standing in the Church.
Items Needed for the Baptism: The following items are necessary for the baptism, and are usually supplied by the Godparent:
- One white bath towel and two white hand towels
- One white sheet (flat)
- An all-white garment ("onesie")
- Small container of olive oil
- 1 bar hand soap
- Two white candles (one decorated if you prefer)
- Baptismal Cross to be placed on the child as a witness of his/her faith in Christ (available in Ethos Bookstore)
- Martyrika or "witness ribbons" (optional). These are given to those present at the baptism as special mementos of the sacred occasion (available from Ethos Bookstore)
- Pamphlets which explain the meaning and symbolism of baptism in the Orthodox Church (available from Ethos Bookstore)
For information on the use of church halls for your baptismal reception, please contact the Cathedral Office.
Baptism in Cases of Emergency (Baptism in Extremis)
All Orthodox Christians are members of the "Royal Priesthood" (I Peter 1:9) by virtue of their baptism and chrismation. As such, in cases of emergency, and when a priest is not available, they may be called upon to administer the Sacrament of Baptism. For example, if an infant is ill and may not live and no priest is available, any Orthodox Christian may perform an emergency baptism by simply administering a small amount of water (as little as a single drop if necessary) and saying the words, "The servant of God is baptized in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen." Afterwards, if the child recovers, the Sacraments of Chrismation and Holy Communion are administered in the Church.
Service of Adoption
A special service of adoption may be performed for families that are blessed with the adoption of a child. If the child is not already baptized in the Orthodox faith, the service of adoption would be performed first, followed by the Sacrament of Baptism.