40 Day Blessing & Baptism
40 Day Infant Blessing (Parents, please call Father Chrysostomos to arrange at least 1 week prior.)
In imitation of Christ’s forty day blessing (Luke 2:22-38), the parents of the newborn bring the baby to the church in order for the child to be dedicated to the Lord.
This beautiful tradition is practiced throughout the Orthodox world. The parents become a symbol of the Virgin Mary and Joseph, while the priest symbolizes St. Symeon (in the at left) who held Christ in his arms at the time of the presentation.
The blessing may be done exactly on the fortieth day of the child’s birth or on the Sunday nearest to the fortieth day. Both the father and the mother along with the newborn must be present for the forty day blessing. If the Godparent(s) have been selected this is also a time to be present.
During the 40 days between the birth of the child, the mother and newborn should refrain from regular sacramental life/attending church services.
The Forty Day Blessing takes place at the conclusion of regular Sunday Divine Liturgy and essentially consists of prayers of joyful thanks for the safe delivery of mother and child. The service blesses the mother who has been absent from the sacramental life of the Church for forty days and formally presents the newborn child to the Church family for the first time as the priest formally brings the infant into the Sanctuary.
In the case of a an infant or child, parents are encouraged to carefully select the sponsor (Godparent, Nouna, Nouno) for their child. In the eyes of the Church, a Godparent shares with the parents the responsibility for the spiritual growth of the child and becomes an indissoluble spiritual member of the family. The sponsor is more than a ceremonial position as they serve as an important role in the life of the child as they do in the celebration of the sacrament. Ultimately, the sponsor should be an individual whom the parents are confident will provide their child with a dynamic model of the Orthodox Christian way of life outside of their immediate family.
Note: If the Godparent is from another parish, a letter of good standing from their parish priest is required 2 weeks prior to the date of the baptism.
A prospective sponsor must be an Orthodox Christian over the age of twelve, who is in good standing with the Orthodox Church, and a steward of their local parish.
A prospective sponsor who is from Orthodox Church other than the Annunciation in New York City must a provide a letter of “Good Standing” from their Orthodox parish well in advance of the scheduled date of the sacrament.
If a prospective sponsor is:
Married; he or she must have been married in the Orthodox Church submit evidence thereof.
Unmarried & "Living Together", Married in another faith, Civil Union, or Currently Separated; he or she is ineligible to sponsor a baptism.
Divorced; he or she must have received an Ecclesiastical Divorce and submit evidence thereof.
Typically, a prospective sponsor should be able to attend the Divine Liturgy with the newly-baptized for three consecutive Sundays thereafter in order to receive Holy Communion together.
It is typically the responsibility of the Godparent to provide the list of liturgical items for use in the sacrament.
A new white dress or suit to be worn by the child after baptism
A adult-sized cross (This is recommended as this cross is worn at all future sacraments including marriage and ultimately burial)
An icon of their patron saint
One white sheet (to wrap the baby in)
One large white towel (to place on top of the sheet)
One small white hand towel
One bar white soap (i.e. Dove or Ivory)
One bottle of olive oil
White undergarment or equivalent
Diapers (just in case)
Three white or beeswax candles**
**Candles that are appropriate and reflect the dignity of a church service are preferred . Large three foot “lampades” decorated with excessive tulle, teddy bears or other infant paraphernalia are not appropriate. They detract/distract from the service and are needless. Plain, nicely decorated tapers are best suited.
+Martyrika or "witness pins" are small decorative lapel pins or crosses that are passed out to guests who witness a
Greek Orthodox baptism. This tradition began long before computers and was the way of record-keeping so witnesses would not only remember the baptism of an individual but have an artifact from it. While record-keeping has come a long way, the tradition is still carried out today.
Please speak directly with Father Chrysostomos to set the date of the baptism. The office is able to “pencil in” a desired date but finalization is only through Father. Scheduling may not be done by the Godparent, Grandparents, or other relatives. At the time of your conversation please inform him of the child’s baptismal name. These names are the names of saints in the Orthodox Church.
Call Father Chrysostomos to request a date for baptism. Baptisms may not be performed from Christmas Day through the Feast of Theophany (December 25-January 6), during Holy Week, or on any of the Great Feast days of the Lord.
The Sacrament of Baptism is one of the sacred mysteries of the Church Baptism incorporates human beings into the Body of Christ and the Church. Through Baptism men and women of all ages and walks of life are introduced to the life of the Holy Trinity at the Annunciation. A child is generally baptized between the ages of three and ten months. Age, however, is not a barrier to baptism.
Baptism / Chrismation (Please call Father Chrysostomos at least 2-3 months prior.)