Baptisms

GUIDELINES FOR THE SACRAMENTS OF INITIATION 

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  1. A date shall be set for baptism in joint consultation with the Pastor and arrangements must be made three months prior to the sacrament.
  2. All baptisms are to follow the Canons of the Armenian Apostolic Orthodox Church. The Sacraments will be explained by the Pastor.
  3. Baptisms can take place on any day of the week. According to the canon, practice and tradition of the Armenian Church, the Sacrament should be administered anytime during the eighth to the fortieth day after the birth of a child. We do not recommend delaying or deferring the rite for a later time in order to safeguard the spiritual salvation of the child.
  4. According to a directive of the Eastern Diocese, one of the Godparents (Godfather or Godmother) of the child to be baptized must be a baptized and chrismated member of the Armenian Apostolic Orthodox Church. Each child to be baptized will have only one Godmother and one Godfather. If only one of the Godparents is a baptized member of the Armenian Apostolic Orthodox Church, the other Godparent must have been baptized in the Christian faith.
  5. The Armenian Church has no explicit provisions for a Godmother at Baptism. We can consider a Godmother the person who takes care of the child during the performance of the Order of Baptism by holding the child during the ceremony, and dressing and undressing the child at the prescribed times.
  6. The Godparents at Baptism, like the parents, accept a responsibility in teaching and sharing the Faith with their Godchild. It is expected that they watch the spiritual growth and development of the child by their own Christian example, by education and full participation in the life of the Church and parish community.
  7. The specific items needed for baptism are the following:
    Infants
    • A chain and cross for the Neophyte (Newly Baptized). The cross must be Armenian in style. “Crucifix” style crosses are not part of the tradition of the Armenian Church.
    • The Robe of Gladness”-a white outfit to be worn after the Chrismation (optional).
    • One new large white towels not to be used for any other purpose.
    • A “Narod” will be provided by the church. It is recommended that the Pastor meet with the parents and Godparents at least once, prior to the Baptism, in order to explain the Sacrament.
    Adults
    • A chain and cross for the Neophyte (Newly Baptized). The cross must be Armenian in style. “Crucifix” style crosses are not part of the tradition of the Armenian Church.
    •  One new large white towels not to be used for any other purpose.
    • A “Narod” will be provided by the church. It is recommended that the Pastor meet with the parents and Godparents at least once, prior to the Baptism, in order to explain the Sacrament.
    • Everyone 14 and older should fast (do not eat or drink) prior the Baptismal Ceremony in order to receive Holy Communion.
    • It is preferable that the candidate is not wearing any jewelry/make-up since their face, neck, heart, back, feet and hands will be washed and anointed with Holy Oil.
    • Please dress appropriately and make sure your dress will allow you to wash/anoint the body parts mentioned above.
  8. The full washing of the child is to be done at home on the third day after the Baptism preferably with Godparents present. The water used for the bath is not to be emptied down the drain, but is to be collected and poured in the soil of a garden or lawn. The reason for this is that there may still be some Holy Muron left on the child’s body which was transferred into the water. Also, when the undergarments of the child are washed for the very first time after the Baptism, the water should be dispensed in the same manner.
  9. Photographs may be taken at any time during the ceremony. Caution should be used by the photographer (or videographer) not to blind the eyes of the Priest, Deacon or any other member of the baptismal party. At no time nor for any reason will the photographer ascend the steps of the Altar or be at the Altar itself.
  10. A baptism is a sacrament of the Armenian Church and a public service and no person may be excluded from the Church, except where the invited list approximates the seating capacity and if cards of admission have been issued.
  11. All the Services and Sacraments in the Armenian Church are FREE (Matthew 10:8). In the event if families want to make any donations it is according to the individual wishes of the family.  The customary donation to the church is $200.00.  The following is just a suggested list to help the families in their decision making process:
    Church Donation……………….200$ (to cover cleaning/electricity etc.)
    Deacon………………………………$ 100.00 (If available)
    Organist……………………………. $100.00 (If available)
    ALL gift envelopes shall be given to the Pastor for distribution.
  12. The gift for the services of another priest or an out-of-town priest is according to individual donation. For visiting clergy, the suggested donation is $250.00 plus travel expenses, (this should be discussed with the Pastor).
  13. In the event that a visiting clergyman is also engaged in a parish-related event or ceremony, the travel expenses shall be split into two with St. Gregory of Narek Armenian Church paying the other half. A wedding is a public service of the Church, and no one may be excluded from the Church by any means.
  14. Before any guest priest is engaged, the Pastor must be consulted. According to protocol of the Armenian Church, the Pastor must be the one to invite any guest clergy. If the guest priest is a member of the Armenian Church he may be invited to perform all or part of the service. In addition to an Armenian Priest, should a priest of a different Christian denomination be invited, the Pastor shall decide the appropriateness of his participation. The Pastor will assign to him those portions he sees fit according to the Canons and traditions of the Armenian Church and it should be clear that any priest of a different denomination is an invited guest and not a co-celebrant.
  15. If the Pastor, deacon or other guest clergy are to be invited to a reception, he (they) should be notified in advance.