Preparing for your little one’s Greek Orthodox Christening {Baptism}

Christening Candles ~ ‘Lambatha’

These beautifully decorated candles are provided by the godparent, in the modern Orthodox christening generally one large decorated candle for the ceremony is required.

I can remember as a child, attending Christenings and there used to be an additional two smaller white candles that were carried by the two children who circle the font. During the last eight years photographing christenings I have not seen this tradition but it would be really nice to include other siblings or ‘god children’ in this special day. If in doubt, speak to your Priest.

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Christening outfit

Traditionally both boys and girls were christening in a Christening Gown, however many families have opted for a little suit or ‘romper’ for the boys. Both are quite beautiful & if looked after on the Christening day, can be kept as family heirlooms.

The Christening outfit is quite complete, featuring the gown or suit, bonnet or hat, shoes, socks and undergarments (a onesie or cloth undershirt and bloomers). The undergarments are used to absorb the Holy oil on the baby and provide a protective layer between the (oily) skin of the baby and the Christening outfit.  Not that’s essential but I would also recommend a nice bib as to further protect the beautiful outfit (to keep it nice and clean for your Christening portraits).

Most importantly that all clothing must be white!

When dressing your baby for arriving to the ceremony, select a nice outfit as your little one will be photographed prior to the service beginning also keep in mind that just prior to the actual ‘Baptism’, your little one will need to have these clothes removed (try to select something that is easy to remove – as whomever is assisting my not have lots of experience changing a wriggling little baby J ).

It’s good to note that this outfit does not have to be white.

Always a good idea to pack baby wipes and extra nappies for your little one, also include their favourite toy to help keep them happy.

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Cross and chain

This gold or white gold cross & chain is provided by the Godparent and placed on to the child after the child is baptized by the priest.

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For the Christening Service:

White hand towels

Which are hung on the side of the Christening font and are used to wipe hands during the ceremony.

 

Large white bath towel

The large towel is for drying off the little one before dressing in the christening outfit.

 

White oil sheet

Which is used immediately after the Baptism (emersion in the holy water) of the child in the Christening font.

This is used by the Godparent to receive the baby from the priest as he places the child into the oil sheet when finished at the christening font. The oil sheet protects the Godparent’s clothing and wraps the child.

 

Bar of soap

Used to wash the oil off the hands of the Godparents and the priest after the communion.

 

Olive oil & bottle

Olive oil is poured into the oil bottle and then blessed by the priest. The Holy Oil is then used by the priest to baptize the child. The priest will pour the Holy Oil into the baptismal water.

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Christening Orthodox Checklist

  • Church
  • Priest
  • Select Godparents
  • Date & time
  • Reserve reception venue for celebration/or home
  • Guest list
  • Invitations
  • Menu
  • Decorations
  • Bombonniere
  • Photographer – easy, Jelly Bean Photography
  • Order Christening Cake
  • Make accommodation arrangements for guests
  • ‘Lambatha’ – Christening candles
  • ‘Ladopana’ – 1 small white towel – used to wipe oil from the baby’s head after the ceremony
  • Large white towel – used with sheet to wrap baby
  • Large white sheet & cap – used with towel to wrap the baby and protect godparents
  • Christening undergarments (all white) (bought by godparents to dress baby in after the immersion in Baptism)
  • Bar of soap
  • Small bottle of olive oil
  • Hairbrush
  • Baptismal box (decorated box to put all items in to carry to Church)
  • Cross & chain

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