Celebrate Renewal and Rebirth
by Helen Marakis
celebration of renewal and rebirth, both of the body and the spirit is a
deeply-held Orthodox tradition. From the ancient festivals of the equinox to
the observance of Easter, all Orthodox faiths bear joyful and solemn witness
of the earth's reawakening. And nowhere is the celebration of rebirth
more joyous in custom than in the sacrament of baptism.
first year of a child's life (and usually within the first six months), the
family prepares for the baptismal ceremony. Since this will be the most
important occasion in the child's life, much planning is necessary to make
the observance "just right." Invitations are sent, food is prepared, and
flowers are arranged for the festive occasion.
The first, and perhaps the
most important, decision made before the ceremony is the selection of
godparents or a godparent. In Orthodox Christian tradition, this isn't merely
a social choice but it is a sacred one. The godparent performs a vital part
of the baptism and in the spiritual life of the child, so the decision
must be made with care.
By tradition, the baptismal ceremony begins at
the door of the church. The threshold of the church signifies the "old
life" and the altar or fount symbolizes the place where the "new
life" begins. Upon entering the church, the child is undressed and wrapped
in a snowy white towel - symbolically "putting away" the old. As the family
looks on, myrrh (an oil blessed by the Patriarch) is placed in the cupped
palms of the godparent. The priest dips his finger into the oil and anoints
the baby in the sign of the cross. Then, as a sign of spiritual cleansing,
the child is dipped three times in water.
After cutting three small
locks of hair from the child, the priest will bless the new clothes chosen
especially for the occasion. These special baptismal garments are symbolic
of "putting on" a new spiritual life and are an essential part of the
ritual. They add a touch of elegance to the baby's
Attired in new clothes, the godparent holds the child as
radiant candles are lit. Each parent and godparent is given a candle
to hold and together walk around the fount three times in a symbolic dance
of joy! Candles commemorating this occasion must be special to honor this
important event. Most celebrants pick candles that are incredibly detailed,
beautifully made and meticulously decorated to match their theme or
As the honored guests leave the church, they pin a
martirika (or matryrika - a "sign of witnessing") on their lapel to
signify that they have witnessed this wonderful milestone.
Adorable christening witness pins add the final touch to the
celebration of the baptism of the child. You can customize these pins
to your specifications to give your child the best in quality
and appearance for this glorious occasion.
The welcoming of a child
into the Orthodox spiritual community is a cause for great celebration. That
child becomes the heir to centuries of tradition, ritual and history. But,
you don't have to be Orthodox in order to commemorate your child's baptism
with candles, christening witness pins and baptismal clothing. Your child
deserves a unique baptismal ceremony, alive with your own personal touch -
exquisite and "one-of-a-kind" high quality keepsakes that will reflect your
taste, make your guests admire your touch of class, show your deepest
appreciation for their participation and make your special day even more
An elegant and unique idea to commemorate your baby's baptism
is to create a beautiful canvas reproduction album featuring your favorite
baptismal photograph and embellished with fine Swarovski crystals. It will
turn your ordinary photo into a masterpiece and ensure the memories will last
forever! These items are works of art that will bring a lifetime of aesthetic
If you want your child's baptismal occasion to reflect your
own creative tastes, find that special place that will customize those
unique items to match your vision. Baptism favors, christening witness pins,
ceremony candles, baptismal underwear, boxes and decorations are only limited
by your imagination. Mix and match colors and designs to create the exclusive
touches that will keep the memories of this special event alive forever!
Connecting to the Christ Energy
The following technique can be used as an introduction to prayer
or meditation or a meditation in itself.
Do You Experience God?
We experience God when our deepest intention is to be loving rather than controlling. Inner emptiness is the result of not experiencing God due to controlling behavior.
Why Is The Resurrection Significant?
through Christ's death and resurrection that we are able to
receive eternal life through belief in Jesus Christ.