How Does a Greek Baptism Ceremony Go?

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Beginning blessing

  • The baptism begins at the back of the church, where the child's parents dress the baby in a white sheet and hand him or her over to the godparents, or Nuna and Nuno. The priest stands in front of the child and blows into his or her face three times to represent the father, the son and the Holy Spirit while reciting the Sign of the Cross. He then says a prayer while touching the child's head.

Renouncing Satan

  • The priest says three exorcisms, or statements renouncing Satan and banishing evil from the baby, then says another prayer asking God to accept the baby into the church. Then he asks the godparents to turn to the west, the direction of the devil, and breathe or spit at Satan three times. Afterwards, the godparents turn to the east to confirm their faith in Christ.

Baptism rites

  • The priest, godparents and parents proceed to the baptismal font near the front of the church. The priest blesses the water inside it. Then one of the godparents gives him a bottle of olive oil, which he blesses and pours into the water in three strokes. He anoints the child with some of the remaining oil (putting a small amount on the child's legs and feet, hands, chest, back, ears, nose, mouth and forehead) and has the godparent repeat the process while promising to help prepare the child to battle sin. The priest then immerses the naked child in the font three times.

Chrismation

  • The priest hands the child back to a godparent, who rewraps him or her in the sheet. Then the priest anoints the child again, this time with Holy Myrrh. The Myrrh represents the Holy Spirit and serves as a rite of confirmation of faith.

Tonsure

  • The priest cuts a lock of the baby's hair to signify his or her allegiance to Christ in mind, soul and now body. Then he blesses the child again and adorns him or her with a white baptismal garment in which the godparents will now dress the child in a process known as the vesting. Then the priest symbolically washes the Myrrh off of the baby's body and says another blessing. The godparents walk around the font three times holding the ceremonial baptismal candle.

Mass

  • A mass continues with specific readings from the Bible selected for this occasion. Then the baby receives his or her first taste of Holy Communion, usually a small piece of blessed unleavened bread. The priest gives the baby a gold cross necklace and presents him or her to the parents. Now it's time for the post baptism party.

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