|Holy Baptism and Holy Chrismation|
Concerning the Sacraments of Baptism and Holy Chrismation (SMUOC)
Observant Orthodox Christians view Baptism not as a mere social event or ritual, but as a spiritual rebirth through water and the Spirit. Participating in this joyful spiritual event are the parents - the first teachers of faith and morality and the primary role models of faith to whom Almighty God has entrusted the gift of life - the Godparent (or by local custom, Godparents), who also fulfill the role of models of faith and morality as the infant matures spiritually and physically.
When possible, the 40th day after the birth of the infant, in imitation of the Christ Child’s presentation on the fortieth day, is reserved for the return of the other to active life in the faith community and the Baptism, Chrismation, tonsuring, presentation and first reception of Holy Communion by the infant, who is now a child of God’s Kingdom and full member of Christ’s Body, and is welcomed with joy and thanksgiving into the Faith Community. Parish members are obliged to act as models and teachers of faith, faithfulness, morality and virtue. Baptism may not be refused for any person or parent requesting it.
The primary sponsor (a male for a male child and a female for a female child) must be an Orthodox Christian who is a member of a Ukrainian Orthodox or other Orthodox parish and who is in good standing with the Orthodox Church. The primary sponsor renounces Satan in the name of his/her spiritual charge and recites the Orthodox Profession of Faith.
Only one sponsor is required, although by long standing local custom, two or more are accepted. The secondary sponsors must be of the Christian Faith, baptized in water, in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
Under normal circumstances, the appropriate place for the celebration of the Holy Mystery of Baptism is the parish church
Baptisms may be celebrated on any day of the year, even on days prescribed for fasting and penance, but the post-baptismal festivities and activities, which contradict the spirit of the penitential day or season are normally postponed until another day.
As evidenced by the Liturgy of the Orthodox Church, the following days are traditional baptismal days: Lazarus Saturday, Holy Saturday, Pascha, the Nativity of Christ and Holy Theophany.
We also remind those who are asked to serve as Godparents for the child of a family member or a friend, that theirs is a tremendous responsibility, which they dare not take lightly. Tradition makes it almost sinful to refuse to accept such a responsibility when requested to do so, but one must refuse if he or she does not feel an honest commitment to Christ and His Holy Church and a willingness to provide spiritual guidance to his or her Godchild throughout his or her life.
As a sponsor, you are required to pray daily for your spiritual charge, to help educate him/her in the faith, preparing for the day of First Confession, and for the other spiritual milestones of the child’s Orthodox Christian life.