INTRODUCTION OF THE FIRST EDITION
I am delighted to have the blessing of presenting this important ritual encyclopedia to the beloved Coptic readers.
His grace the great Bishop Anba Mittaous is one of the prominent scholars of Ritual Theology in our contemporary era, and all his writings are useful, necessary references. As they include a scientific spirit, an elaborate research and spiritual gratification. The church meant the rite to be a living expression of enlightened thinking and a spirit sparkling by divine love.
The “Sacramental Rites” encyclopedia is an urgent need for our Coptic Orthodox Library, as there are no elaborate references now, about this enlivening topic. So here comes this encyclopedia, a gratification for the church’s children and an enrichment to the Coptic Library, at the right time, led by the Holy Spirit of God.
I do not need to elaborate about the gratifying, attractive style of Anba Mittaous who satisfied us in “Explanation of the Holy Liturgy” and “The Eminence of Monasticism” and other spiritual, theological and ritual topics.
We perceive a blessed, educational revival in the era of His Holiness Pope Shenouda III, by books, cassettes and video films, shared by many bishops, priests, monks, servants, led by His Holiness, his direct shepherd hood and unique example.
May the Lord bless these efforts and gratify us with more writings by his grace Anba Mittaous, by the prayers of his Holiness Pope Shenouda III, and may the grace of the Lord bless us.
The General Bishop
In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, one God Amen.
INTRODUCTION OF THE FIRST EDITION
The seven Sacraments of the Church are the channels by which we get the graces and blessings of the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit still exists in the church since the day of Pentecost, when He dwelt in it according to the Lord’s promise: “I will pray to the Father, and he will give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you forever, even the Spirit of Truth when the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him, but you know Him for He dwells with you, and will be in you”. John 14:16,17.
The Holy Spirit works in the church through the Sacraments, giving us His gifts, blessings and help, teaches and guides us to the way of truth” But the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will Teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you”.
The Seven Sacraments of the Church are: -
1- Sacrament of Baptism.
2- Sacrament of Confirmation
3- Sacrament of Confession
4- Sacrament of Eucharist
5- Sacrament of Unction of Sick
6- Sacrament of Matrimony
7- Sacrament of Priesthood.
The Lord Christ instituted all these Sacraments and the Holy Bible mentioned them in details.
1- Sacrament of Baptism- Instituted by Lord Jesus by His Baptism in River Jordan and by His words to Nicodemos saying: “Most assuredly I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God... Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God” John 3 and by saying to our fathers the Apostles “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”. Matt 28:19.
2- Sacrament of Confirmation -
Instituted by Lord Jesus when He said: “If anyone thirsts let him come to me and drink. He who believes in me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water”. But this He spoke concerning the Spirit whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified”. John 7:37-39. About the Sacrament of Confirmation, in the Book of Acts: “Now when the Apostles who were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the Word of God, they sent Peter and John to them, who, when they had come down, prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit. For as yet He had fallen upon none of them. They had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then they laid hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit”. Act 8:14-17.
The Holy Spirit was received by laying hands and when the number of believers increased, the Apostles were unable to trace them to lay their hands and give them the Holy Spirit. So they made the Myron out of certain oils mixed with spices that was presented when the Lord was shrouded. It was approved for the dwelling of the Holy Spirit, and allowed the priests to anoint the newly baptized by the Myron to get the gift of the Holy Spirit, to dwell in them, to become temples of the Holy Spirit.
3- Sacrament Of Repentance -
Instituted by Lord Jesus when He said to His pure disciples: “Assuredly I say to you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven”. Matt: 18:18, and what He said after Resurrection “As the Father has sent me, I also send you and when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them, if you retain the sins of any, they are retained”.
John 20: 21-22.
4- Sacrament of the Eucharist-
Instituted by lord Jesus on the upper room in Zion, on the night of His passion when He took bread, blessed it and broke it, and gave it to them and said “Take eat, this is My Body. Then He took the cup, and when He had given thanks He gave it to them, and they all drank from it and He said to them “This is My Blood of the new covenant which is shed for many”. Mark 14: 22-24.
5- Sacrament of the Unction of the Sick-
Instituted by Lord Jesus when He said to His disciples “Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers” Matt 10:8, and whatever city you enter…. Heal the sick who are there” Luke 10:8, and was practiced by the Apostles “They anointed with oil many who were sick and healed them” Mark 6:13. Our teacher St. James the Apostle advised believers to practice it, by saying “Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the Church, and let them pray over Him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up, and if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven” James 5:14-15.
6- Sacrament of the Holy Matrimony
Instituted by Lord Jesus who blessed the Sacrament of Matrimony by attending the wedding of Cana of Golilee, where “He manifested His glory and His disciples believed in Him” John 2: 1-11. And about which our teacher St. Paul said “This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the Churches” Ephesians 5:32. That means that the physical union between a man and his wife is a sign and symbol of a greater spiritual matter, that is the unity of heart and soul, resembling the unity of Christ and the Church.
7- Sacrament of Priesthood -
Instituted by Lord Jesus when He chose His twelve disciples among many of His followers, and called them Apostles. That selection was accomplished after a whole night of prayer, when Lord Jesus went out to the mountain (Luke 6: 12-13), and sent them to preach saying “The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand” Matt: 10:7, and said to them: “I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain”. John 15:16. He gave them the authority saying: “Assuredly I say to you, whatever you bind on earth Will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven”. Matt: 18:18. After the resurrection He “Breathed on them and said to them: “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them. If you retain the sins of any, they are retained” John 2:23. And to them only, He said: “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you”. Matt: 28:19-20. He gave the mystery of His Holy Body and Blood only to them saying: “Do this in remembrance of me”. Luke 22:19.
Definition of a Church Sacrament: -
The Church Sacrament is an invisible grace we receive by practicing a visible rite, and a visible sign or substance performed by a legal priest.
1- In the Baptism the substance is water by which we receive the second birth from Water and Spirit.
2- In the Confirmation the substance is oil of Myron, by which the Holy Spirit dwells in us.
3- the sign of the Sacrament of Confession is the confessing person, who accepts the prayer of absolution at the end of Confession to gain forgiveness of sins.
4- the substance of the Sacrament of Communion is the bread and wine, by which we eat the Holy Body and precious blood of Emmanuel our God.
5- the substance of the Sacrament of Uniction of sick is oil, by which we receive physical and psychological remedy.
6- the sign of the Sacrament of Matrimony is the bride and groom who receive the prayers, so the Holy Spirit dwells upon them and unites them in body and spirit.
7- The sign of the Sacrament of Priesthood is the ordained person, who accepts prayers of the Sacrament of Priesthood and laying of hands for a certain priestly rank, to gain the grace for starting church services - whether Sacraments or authority for various church matters and management.
Redemptive & Non-Redemptive Sacraments: -
There are four redemptive Sacraments out of the Seven Sacraments. They are necessary for eternal salvation, and every believer should practice them to get eternal salvation. These are: -
1- Baptism 2- Confirmation
3- Confession 4- Communion
The other three Sacraments are non-redemptive and unnecessary for eternal salvation.
1- Sacrament of Uniction of the Sick
Practiced by the sick for the remedy of physical and psychological diseased only.
2- Sacrament of Matrimony
Practiced by those who want to marry for sharing and bearing children, while many of monks and unmarried get eternal life with merit.
3- Sacrament of Priesthood:
Not accepted by anyone except those who are ordained as a deacon-priest or bishop, while the majority of the Congregation has no priestly ranks, and are called for redemption and eternal life.
Physical Medicine and Spiritual Medicine:
Physical medicine has three classes of medicine: -
-A- Preventive Medicine: Like vaccination given to children against smallpox, paralysis and others, to protect them against these diseases.
-B- Curative Medicine: If a person falls sick, he hurries to the hospital, checks with a physician who diagnoses the disease and prescribes the adequate medicine.
-C- Supplementary Medicine: Various Vitamins, prescribed by the physician to strengthen the human body, giving energy and immunity against a disease once more.
The same applies to the soul that resembles the body, as it is liable to spiritual diseases like sin, satanic warfare’s and others.
Our great physician Lord Jesus made the church our spiritual hospital, and the priest as a spiritual physician, as St. John Chrysostom said, “Are you a sinner? Go to the Church which is a hospital not a court”. There you find the spiritual physician who is the priest. Tell him your sins, as he accurately examines everything and prescribes an adequate curative medicine.
Spiritual medicines are the Seven Sacraments of the Church, and they are preventive, curative and supplementary.
(1) Sacrament of Myron: by which the Holy Spirit dwells to fortify against sin and evil, helps to overcome sin and wins in spiritual struggle.
(2) Sacrament of Matrimony: protective from failing in adultery and profanity.
(B) CURATIVE: -
(1) Sacrament of Baptism: to cure from original sin for children and other actual sins for elders.
(2) Sacrament of Confession & Repentance: to cure sins and mistakes made by a person, who they confesses and repents to gain forgiveness and remedy from them and their awful outcomes.
(3) Sacrament of Unction of the Sick: to cure physical and psychological diseases caused by sin.
(C) SUPPLEMENTARY: -
(1) Sacrament of Communion: - from the Holy Body and precious Blood of Lord Jesus, gives power to a person to win over.
(2) Sacrament of Priesthood: - Priesthood gives the priest grace and power in his struggle as he strives to be our example in attitude, not to stumble anyone, to keep himself pure from sin, dealing with the great rank of priesthood in reverence, as he remembers what our teacher St. Paul said: “We have become a spectacle to the world,Both to angels and to men”.
An Unperishable Feature:-
Certain Church Sacraments are performed with an unperishable feature, so must not be repeated at all.
(1) By Baptism we are made children of God our Father, and this is unperishable.
(2) By Chrism we are made soldiers of our great King, and this is unperishable.
(3) Priesthood makes us servants and priests of the great High Priest, and this is unperishable.
But the rest of the Sacraments are performed repeatedly as needed.
Conditions To Accomplish the Seven Sacraments.
For every Sacrament of the seven, there are three essential and necessary conditions to administer it: -
(1) An adequate substance for the Sacrament like water for Baptism, bread and wine for the Sacrament of Communion, oil for the Unction of the Sick, and so on.
(2) An ordained priest by laying the apostolic hand.
(3) Invocation of the Holy Spirit by the priest, by praying certain statements for the dwelling of the Holy Spirit and sanctification of the Sacrament.
That is why the Sacraments must be administered in a correct official way according to the order given by God, as our Good Savior instituted and organized them, placing the adequate substance and specific prayers for every Sacrament, placed by the fathers guided by the Holy Spirit. The Sacrament is not true and effective on believers unless it is administered correctly according to God’s will, and the placement of the fathers guided by the Holy Spirit, and handed over by the Church and Holy Councils.
These pages, dear reader, are a detailed study in the rituals and prayers of the Seven Church Sacraments in our Coptic Orthodox Church according to the original situation as placed by our fathers the saints, and it is a humble trial to explain these rites and prayers, clarifying the wisdom of their organization, and also a trial to manifest the spirituality of these rituals and specific prayers of the Seven Sacraments.
We pray to God to make it a success and a blessing for every person studying these rites and every reader of this book, through the intercessions of our pure mother St. Mary and the prayers of our blessed father Pope Shenouda the III, Amen.
In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, one God Amen.
I NTRODUCTION OF THE SECOND EDITION
This book was issued in it’s first edition in 1991, in two parts, from the library of youth Bishopric in Egypt. It was out of stock after a short while and was requested repeatedly, so we thought of republishing it.
Now we present it to you dear reader, in a new edition, as we collected the two parts in one edition to facilitate its acquirement.
We hope the book satisfies you in its new edition, and may you help us by your prayers so the book becomes a blessing and benefit for whoever reads it.
Through the intercessions of our mother St. Mary and all the saints, and the prayers of our blessed father Pope Shenouda III and his partner in the Apostolic service our
Honored father Anba Mousa the general Youth Bishop. May the grace of the Lord bless, Amen?
Bishop of El-Syrian Monastery
Shihet Desert in 28 September 1995
17 Toot 1712
The Feast of the Cross
The First Sacrament
Baptism is a Holy Sacrament by which we are born again by being immersed in water three times in the name of the Holy Trinity. The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit.
Sacrament of Baptism has the first rank among the Seven Holy Sacraments, as it is the door by which the believer enters the church and has the right to partake in the rest of the Sacraments.
Lord Christ instituted the Sacrament of Baptism by being baptized by John the Baptist in River Jordan, when the Holy Spirit came upon Him as a dove, anointed Him, then assured it after resurrection when He said to His disciples: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”. Matt: 28:19 “He who is baptized will be saved, but he who does not believe will be condemned” Mark 16:16. Baptism is a redemptive Sacrament, necessary for redemption and entry to eternal life according to what the Lord said: “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of Water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the Kingdom of God” John 3. It is one of the four redemptive Sacraments: Baptism, Myron, Confession and Communion of the Holy Body and precious Blood of the Lord. By Baptism the believer is born again a second spiritual birth
from the Water and the Spirit after his first birth from his parents.
The best time for Baptism is Sunday before Mass, as the priest is fasting because Baptism is death and resurrection, and Sunday is the weekly memory of the Lord’s Resurrection. The wisdom of granting the Sacrament of Baptism right before the Mass, so that the baptized and his parents may attend the Mass, and receive the Holy Sacraments.
If the priest wanted to administer the Sacrament of Baptism at night due to the outnumber of baptized, as in the vesper of Baptism Sunday, he must be fasting for nine or seven hours at least, as Baptism is a Holy Sacrament which must not be performed by an unfasting priest. He must tell the parents of the baptized to bring him in the morning, to attend the Mass and receive Holy Communion.
We preferred to talk accurately about the actual Sacrament of Baptism by the priest, as Baptism is granted to the believer once in life, and cannot be repeated, so Baptism must be carefully regarded, to be performed correctly and perfectly.
We spoke first: about absolution of the Woman, who delivered a male or female child when presenting her child for Baptism.
Second: about prayers of Renouncing Satan and confessing
Christ and reciting the Apostolic Creed.
Third: about the Liturgy of Baptism.
Fourth: about the Rite of Baptism, then discharge of Baptism water.
RITUAL OF THE SACRAMENT OF BAPTISM
This is divided into four major parts:-
1- Women’s Absolution 2- Renouncing Satan
3- Liturgy of Baptism 4- Baptism & Water Discharge
WOMEN’S ABSOLUTION IF SHE GAVE BIRTH TO A MALE CHILD
· After 40 days of her delivery, she will have spent a puerperium, and recovered from tiredness, she comes to the church with her baby to ask the priest to baptize him.
The priest wears the service garment or at least the EPITRACHELION, the deacons wear service garments, then the priest and deacons, woman with her child and
· family enter into the Baptistery to perform the necessary rites.
· The Baptistery must be wide, furnished and clean, adequate for the dwelling of the Holy Spirit, exactly like the altar.
· Taking out shoes is advisable. The olden rite mentions that the adult who accepted faith used to stand on the sheep fur before the Bishop and priest, reciting all what is required, with a loud voice. The fur is a reminder of the leather garments which the Lord made for Adam and Eve after their fall in sin.
· On the eastern wall of the Baptistery a large icon of the Baptism of Lord Christ by John the Baptist and the Holy Spirit coming down like a dove, must be hanged.
· Near the Baptismal Font a small wardrobe must be placed, and three bottles containing oils used in the Baptism. These are the Apocalypses oil, the Ghaliloun, and the Chrism.
Every bottle is marked in clear handwriting. Also the ritual books and the cross specified for Baptism are placed, and a clean box containing the red waistbands that are placed around the baptized, plus special crown if possible.
In the Baptistery, a table must be placed, covered by a clean cover for the child to be placed when anointed by
· the Holy Myron, 36 signs after Baptism.
The first procedure performed by the priest is the prayer of absolution of the woman, and it is equivalent to a permission of entry to the church and receiving the Holy Communion after the period of giving birth and puerperium, but it does not replace the Sacrament of Repentance and Confession. The woman has to sit down with her confession father, to confess her sins done during that period, then he gives her the adequate instructions and finally prays for her the absolution (for forgiveness of her sins). At the end of the Liturgy she receives the Holy Sacrament with her recently baptized son, as it is not correct for her not to receive Communion with her baptized son.
1- The women enters the church and practices the Sacrament of Confession and receives the Holy Communion if she does not have a monthly period. We advise that the woman chooses the days when she does not have her period to request Baptism of her child, so as to be able to receive the Holy Sacraments with her child and accomplish her joy.
If she is menstruating, she is not allowed to receive Communion or any other ecclesiastical Sacrament, but
2- she keeps reading the Holy Bible, fasting and praying by Agbia in her house.
The order of Absolution Prayers of the woman is as follows:-
1- The priest says: Aleyson Emas (Have Mercy Upon Us O God the Father Almighty).
2- The Lord’s Prayer.
3- The Thanksgiving Prayer with its responses.
And upon the signs, he anoints the woman saying (and for your servant........)
4- The priest performs the Pauline circuit of incense after he places five handful of incense in the censer, with the known signs and says the Pauline mystery:-
“O great and eternal God, with no beginning or end....etc.”. He raises incense on Baptismal font and blesses the attendants. One of the deacons read the Pauline: Hebrews 1: 8-12. Speaks about the only Son Jesus Christ “Whose throne is forever and ever, with a scepter of righteousness and justice, who have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness”, and who said in challenge “Which of you convicts me of sin” John 8:46.
The priest wishes that the baptized child resembles the image of Lord Christ in righteousness and truth, loving virtue and holiness and hating vice and evil.
5- The hymn of the Trisagion is recited then the priest prays the Prayer of the Gospel, and a deacon reads the Psalm 31: 1,2 “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered......”
· By Baptism we get remission of original and actual sins and God forgets them, so we become as pure as Adam before the fall.Then the Gospel: Luke 2: 21-35. Where the circumcision of Jesus is narrated, it is exchanged by Baptism in the New Testament, as Baptism is a spiritual circumcision as our teacher St. Paul says: “In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, buried with Him in Baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead” Colossians 2: 11,12. In Baptism the old nature is completely removed, not only a small part of the body as in the Old Testament circumcision. As man is born by that old nature contaminated by Adam’s sin. Also the purification rite is mentioned, which was done for the woman after forty days of her delivery, and which was accomplished by Lord Jesus and His Mother the Virgin, despite that He does not need such purification as He is the Holy of Hollis and was born of the Virgin St. Mary by the Holy Spirit, unlike all humankind. He instituted the law and accurately accomplishes the law.
6- The Three Major Litanies are prayed: Litany of Peace, Litany of the Fathers and Litany of the Congregations, then the Orthodox Creed.
7- The priest asks God to look to that woman, fill her with the
Holy Spirit, purify her from all sins.
8- The attendants pray the Lord’s Prayer...and the priest prays
The Three Absolutions and the blessing while placing the
cross on the woman’s head.
9- The priest anoints the woman by the simple oil (Note: It is mostly composed of olive oil, unlike the Myron oil which is composed of 30 kinds of fragrances. Simple oil means Apocalypses Oil).
· The woman is anointed to be healed from any disease as in the parable of the Good Samaritan. Luke 10. Then the woman becomes ready to enter the church and receive the Holy Communion after the Sacrament of Confession.
Notice:- The same rite of absolution of the woman is done
for a woman who aborted a child involuntarily due to an accident or else, but voluntary abortion is a murder and necessitates a law of repentance first.
ABSOLUTION OF THE WOMAN IF
SHE GAVE BIRTH TO A FEMALE CHILD
1. The woman comes to the church with her baby daughter after eighty days of delivery, to baptize her. The eighty days for the female child, and forty days for the male child is identified in the Book of Leviticus, Chapter Twelve. Even if we do not know an explanation for this difference in the New Testament, but we must obey this commandment without argument or complaint, as the Christian Church obeyed this divine order through all eras, and let us remember the obedience of the Virgin St. Mary to this divine order. Despite her conceiving Christ by the Holy Spirit in all purity, and she delivered Him by a miraculous Virgin birth, still she did not come to the temple before completing the days of her purification according to the law of Moses, and that is forty days for the male child. Luke 2: 22-24.
Notice:- The parents must be committed to the period of forty days for the male child, and eighty days for the female child, and must not surpass them for any reason, so they do not sin against their children. This means the nullity of the idea of making a vow for Baptism in certain remote places, at certain feasts which are months away.The child must be baptized at the specific time, and if a vow is made, they fulfill it at the right time, without relating to the Baptism.
Forty days period for the male child and eighty days for the female child, exists in normal circumstances but if the new - born got sick and his parents are afraid he dies, they must request from the priest to baptize him and anoint him/her by Myron, even if the child is one day old, under any condition (as the priest may not be fasting or unable to baptize him by immersion) and quickly, so that the child does not die without Baptism and is deprived from entry or sight of the Kingdom according to our Savior’s speech John 3. The method to be followed is that someone, except the mother, should take the child to the church to be baptized. If the baby lives, the Baptism is correct and should not be repeated.
3. If his parents neglected the Baptism, and the child dies without Baptism, it is the right of the church to impose a punishment law for a period of one year of prayers and fasting with bowing of repentance, with an excommunication from sharing the Holy Eucharist during this whole year.
But the rite of the woman’s absolution is as follows:-
1. After eighty days the woman brings her female child to church for Baptism.
2. The priest prays Aleyson Emas, Thanksgiving prayer, places five handful of incense into the censer with the known signs, then prays the Pauline mystery (O Great and eternal God), then raises the Pauline incense on the Baptismal font and blesses the attendants.
3. The deacon prays the Pauline 1 Cor. 7:12-14 that speaks about the believing woman which is a blessing for her husband.
4. The hymn of the Trisagon is recited, then the Prayer of the Gospel and the Psalm 44:12 “The queen shall be brought to the king” as the borne is a female child.
5. The Gospel from Luke 10: 38-43, speaks about Mary and Martha who are exemplary in their love of God, hearing His commandments practicing them, the service of sacrifice, he asks God that the newly born female child may become like them and chooses the right portion.
6. Then the Three Major Litanies: Peace, Fathers and the Congregations, then the Orthodox Creed.
7. The same previous prayer is said where the priest requests God to fill this woman by His Holy Spirit, purifying her from sins and vices.
8. Then the Lord’s Prayer and the priest prays the three absolutions and the blessing while placing the cross on the woman’s head.
9. The priest anoints the woman by the simple oil or Apocalypses oil present in the Baptism room, so the woman is ready to enter the church and receive the Holy Communion of our God Emmanuel.
:- PRAYERS OF RENOUNCING SATAN:-
1. PRAYER BEFORE RENOUNCING SATAN:-
Absolution prayer for the child’s mother (whether male or female):- The priest places the cross on the woman’s head and prays asking God to absolve and bless the child’s mother and make her worthy to share the Holy Sacraments without falling into condemnation, according to her eagerness to receiving the life giving Sacraments. The woman who delivers a child should not receive Holy Communion before her child’s Baptism, this will motivate her not to delay the child’s Baptism according to the law (40 days for the male child and 80 days for the female child), so that she gets the blessing of absolution of the woman related to the child’s Baptism before their Communion, and this absolution is the legal permission for entry to church and receiving the Holy Sacraments after delivery. He
· also supplicates God to bless the born child, and keep him/her to grow in grace, stature, faith, hope and love.
· The priest prays the known litany of the Catechumens.
· The priest prays for the children proceeding for Baptism while placing the cross on their heads, asking God to forgive their sins and make them worthy of the pure Sacrament of Baptism, and to enlighten their hearts to see in purity the way of eternal life, and glorify God all the days of their lives.
· The priest prays on the Apocalypses oil bottle, asking God to let this oil undo the works of devils and their magic, and become an anointing oil for faith in Christ.
· Another prayer on the oil, asking that this oil becomes a sermon oil to cast away all evil deeds.
· The priest examines the children and orders to take off ()
anything from their ears and hands like earrings, bracelets, rings....etc. Then takes the bottle of oil to anoint the children (males then females) as follows:-
He anoints the forehead saying “I anoint you
( Name of the Child) in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. A sermon oil for (Name of the Child ) in the church of God, one Holy, Universal and Apostolic, Amen.
Then he anoints his heart (Chest), hands and back saying:
“This oil abolishes the power of the adversary Amen.” The deacons say: We ask from God.
· The priest prays a prayer where he glorifies God for His great love for humankind, as He called us from darkness to His splendid light, and asks Him to write the names of those children who came forward for Baptism, in the Book of Life, counting them with His believers, preparing them temples of the Holy Spirit and granting them growth in faith and grace and free them from the bondage of corruption, to the freedom of the glory of God’s children.
The priest asks about the names of the baptized then prays saying: We also ask the Almighty God...for your servants whose names are presented (it is
preferable to mention the names () individually) make them worthy to win grace which they require, purify them from sins of the world and free them from bondage of corruption...etc.
· The deacon says: “Pray for those whose names are said so that the Lord may make them worthy of the Holy Baptism for the forgiveness of their sins”. The congregation answers: Lord have Mercy.
The priest prays to ask God to make the children worthy of grace....etc.
· The mother kneels down facing the East and carrying her child (if the baptized is old enough, he must kneel), then the priest prays:
(1) We also ask perseveringly...God to open their hearts and enlighten them by the light of knowledge.
For by calling Your Holy Name, all the powers of the
It is very important to take off everything from the body of the child, to become naked as his mother delivered him/her, like the nakedness of Adam and Eve after breaking the commandment and falling in sin. It is wrong for those things to drop into the Baptismal font which contains water and Myron.
()It is very important to take off everything from the body of the child, to become naked as his mother delivered him/her, like the nakedness of Adam and Eve after breaking the commandment and falling in sin. It is wrong for those things to drop into the Baptismal font which contains water and Myron.
During these prayers kneeling means the humiliation of the soul before God, to ask Him to be freed from the bondage of Satan, like the Phoenician woman who knelt at the feet of Jesus and asked Him to cast out the demon from her daughter Mark 7:26.
The priest places his hand on the children’s heads saying:-
1. In the Name of the Only Son Jesus Christ I prepare this body for purification.....the deacons say Amen.
2. In the Name of the Only Son Jesus Christ may he/she be free from all the devils....the deacons say Amen.
3. In the Name of the Only Son Jesus Christ may he/she be purified from all devils..... the deacons say Amen.
RENOUNCING SATAN AND RECITING THE ORTHODOX CREED
:- RENOUNCING SATAN:-
The mother undresses her child and holds him/her with her left arm, looking towards the West and lifts her right hand, reciting after the priest the Statements of Renouncing Satan (if the baptized is not a child, he recites the Statements personally).
“I renounce you Satan and all your profane deeds, and all your evil followers and all your bad debits, all your power, and all your detested worshipping, all your evil traps and your army and your dominion and the rest of your deceit. I renounce you, I renounce you, I renounce you”.
Undressing the child reminds us of the nakedness of Adam and Eve when they obeyed Satan and disobeyed the commandment of God, so they were put to shame before Him and hid from Him Genesis 3:7-10 when they
1. felt their nakedness. This is what sin and Satan do to human beings, undress him/her from all virtues and the protection of grace, and putting him/her to shame before every one.
2. Facing the West is a symbol of exile and remoteness from God, and submission to the dominion of Satan, who was the first exiled who was separated from God by falling from his rank of angels for pride.
3. The direction of the West means the end or death, as daylight ends by sunset and we say about the deceased that the sun of his life has set. The old Egyptians built their cemetery towards the West. We notice this in the historical city of Aswan, as we see all the temples along the eastern banks of the River Nile while all the tombs in the Kings Valley (Wadi-El-Milook) in the western bank of the River Nile, as also in the Giza Pyramids which are the tombs of kings exist along the western bank of the River Nile.
4. The West direction means darkness as sun sets from the west and by setting, the night starts with its pitch darkness.
5. The West direction means night and darkness which means sin and evil. In the Greek language the word evil K a K I a and the word darkness X a K I are similar. Sunset means darkness of sin which leads to grief and
6. the hymnist says:- “Weeping may endure for a night, (weeping of repentance and remorse) - but joy comes in the morning”. Psalm 30:5 because of acceptance of our repentance, and partaking in the Mass and Communion of the Holy Sacrament, and life in the light of Christ.
7. Renouncing Satan means breaking the covenant with him, which is the covenant of obeying him which he had with our first fathers. When Adam and Eve submitted to his will and obeyed his evil counsel, they disobeyed God and fell like him, and he grabbed them to his will. Adam and his descendants became slaves for Satan after breaking the commandment of God, and was cast out of his sweet safe living.
8. Renouncing Satan means that the person refused to remain under the bondage of Satan, as he refused all his profane deeds and all his plans and deluding tricks, all his deceit, and deadly lies.
9. Renouncing Satan means casting him out and cleaning the body and heart, so that the Holy Spirit can dwell in the pure body and pure heart - which is contaminated by the devil - and the body becomes a temple for the Holy Spirit.
10. Renouncing Satan means ending relations with him so we do not accept from him any guidance or seduction or tricks, and we do not accept Satanic deeds, or deal with those working it like magicians, sorcerers ....etc.
11. The priest breathes thrice and orders the profane spirit to come out from this child’s life, by the order and power of the Holy Spirit. The mother or god-father should follow this matter and does not let Satan enter the child’s life or have any share with him by any and all means.
CONFESSING FOR CHRIST & RECITING THE ORTHODOX CREED
The mother looks towards the East with her child on her left arm and her right hand lifted and recites after the priest:
“I confess to you O Christ my God and to all Your redemptive laws and enlivening service and Your life giving works.
I believe in one God the Father the Almighty and His Only Begotten Son Jesus Christ and the Life-Giving Holy Spirit, and the resurrection of the body, and the One, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic Church Amen”.
The priest asks her thrice saying:-Did you believe for this child? She answers him thrice: I believed.
1. Facing the East means new birth, as the day starts by sunrise, and with sunrise a new day comes and daily life starts for every person.
2. Facing the East means asking for the light, considering that light is spreading from the East at the same moment of sunrise, as the Holy Bible mentions:- “For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” 2Cor. 4:6.
3. As life and light are strongly related, the East became a symbol of life and we encounter this relation in the hymnist words: “For with you is the fountain of life; In your light we see light” Psalm 36:9, and, “Christ is life and the dayspring from on high” Luke 7:78 and to enlighten those sitting in darkness, He visited us and redeemed us from sin. “The people who sat in darkness saw a great light, and upon these who sat in the region and shadow of death, light has dawned” Matthew 4:16.
4. The one who leaves the direction of the West and faces the East proves that he hates and renounces sin and its darkness, yearns for holiness and light which are granted in Baptism, a new pure life renewed day by day according to the image of his Creator.
5. He who faces the East proves that he seeks the first heavenly life, as the first paradise was planted by God a garden eastward in Eden” Genesis 2:8.
6. Christ is the light that shone on us. “But to you who fear My Name the Sun of Righteousness shall arise”. Malachi 4:2.
7. The Wisemen saw the star of Christ in the East at His birth: “We have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him” Matthew 2:2.
8. Isaiah said: “Glorify the Lord in the dawning light” Is: 24:15, “And behold, the glory of the God of Israel came from the way of the East”. Ezekiel 43:2.
9. When the mother or the god father says “I believed for this child”, she means she believed in the grace that is granted to the child in the Sacrament of Baptism, which is the grace of sonship to God and the spiritual preparation for the Kingdom of God.
· Also this means she undertake to teach the child principles of faith and its essentials, feeds him church teaching, dogma and faith, as teaching in childhood is like engraving on stone.
Lifting the hand & the Covenant of relating to Lord Christ:-
When the baptized or his/her godfather faces the East and lifts his/her right hand, repeating the covenant of relating to Christ, he/she is praying for God’s help to fulfill this holy covenant.
Some people say, when the mother looks from the West to the East, she must change her child from her left arm to her right arm, in this case she lifts her left hand during the confession for Christ and reciting the Orthodox Creed. I believe this is inadequate, to lift her right hand while renouncing Satan and lifts her left hand while confessing for Christ. As also the rite does not imply this and was not mentioned in the book of Baptismal Rite. I believe the correct position is for the child to remain on her left arm in both cases, while she lifts her right hand in both cases.
Lifting the hand has various positions and meaning, of which we mention a few:-
1. When the person requiring Baptism lifts the right hand while looking towards the West and renouncing Satan, he/she must open the palm of his hand as if avoiding Satan as an enemy and destroyer.
When the person requiring Baptism lifts his/her right hand while looking towards the East and reciting the
2. Orthodox Creed, he/she undertakes before god to keep what is said, and lifting the hand means a position of undertaking used in courts as a position of oath, and also when the constitutional oath is recited, and indicates the seriousness of what the speaker says and the necessity of commitment to this undertaking.
After the Rite of renouncing Satan and confession for Christ is completed, the deacon says:- from God we ask, or:
1. From God we ask blessing of Baptism for the child.
2. From God we ask for the baptized to complete his life rejecting Satan and his evil thoughts and perishing counseling.
3. From God we ask God’s providence for the baptized for his struggle as a servant of Christ, keeping His commandments and practicing His will, as he lives truly according to the Gospel of Christ.
4. From God we ask providence for the mother or god-father to accomplish her duty in upbringing the child in the fear of God, and warning him/her to follow it as he/she grows.
The priest prays asking God saying: “Establish the obedience of your servants .... give them the power to
1. abandon their past sins, reinforce their faith so nothing will separate them from you. Prepare them on the foundation of Your Apostolic Faith, call them to your pure light. Make them worthy of your great grace....etc.”.
2. They kneel down and the priest prays for them, placing the Cross on their heads saying:- “Enlighten their understanding by the light of knowledge, cast away every magic, seduction and evil deed, and may they deserve the intimacy of the new Baptism and the incorruptible garment and the forgiveness of sins, as You prepare them a temple for Your Holy Spirit”.
Kneeling for the second time may mean a thanksgiving bow for the grace of freedom from the dominion of Satan and sin, and the acceptance of the soul in the Church Community as the leper did when he was healed from his leprosy which denotes sin, “He returned and with a loud voice glorified God, and fell down on his face at His (Jesus) feet, giving Him thanks” Luke 17: 15,16.
The priest takes the holy oil ()(Ghaliloun) then the
() The Ghaliloun is a Greek word that means oil of joy and exaltation. It is made from remainder of perfumes of the Myron oil, it has a special mass for its sanctification, similar to the mass of
3. priest anoints the baptized on his/her heart, back and arms by the sign of the Cross saying:- “I anoint you (the baptized Name) by the ointment of joy, opposing all the deeds of the adversary to implant you in the pleasant olive tree, in the One Holy Catholic, Apostolic Church of God”.
We notice the oils used in Baptism are three kinds:-
1. Simple oil 2. Ghaliloun Oil 3. Myron
1. Simple Oil: not compound oil, it is pure olive oil, most probably the oil upon which the Apocalypses vigil of Easter Saturday was prayed. It helps the Baptized to accept the Word of God and understand the Gospel and simply accept faith.
2. Ghaliloun Oil: called an ointment of joy, that helps the soul to rejoice by the Word of God, acceptance of faith and entry to the Church Community.
Myron Oil: the child is anointed after his/her Baptism, and it is the Seal of the Holy Spirit on all the members of body, senses, joints and intestine (guts). The whole organs are sanctified and the body becomes a temple of Myron oil, and is prayed directly after it. Ghaliloun oil is used for anointing the baptized after renouncing Satan, as mentioned, as well as using it in special prayers for the mass s of Baptism, and is not used elsewhere .
3. the Holy Spirit.
These signs by Myron are like a royal seal so that this body becomes a possession of the True King and Lord Jesus Christ. The devil cannot approach it to dwell in it or possess it, as he has no dominion on it, as it is possessed by Lord Jesus and sealed by His Seal, that is, the Cross.
4. The priest prays the prayer of laying hands on the catechumens (coming for Baptism) after anointing them with the Ghaliloun saying:- Search the hearts of Your servants who came to the intimacy of Your grace, and if the evil of Satan is hidden in them, declare it, cast it out from the souls and bodies of your servants,.... renew their lives....to wear the garments of salvation and the weapons of undefeated faith, to become Your speaking flock and sons of Your heavenly shelter and heirs of Your incorruptible eternal Kingdom of Christ.
5. Then the priest prays an other prayer saying: Save Your creation from the bondage of the enemy. Accept them in Your Kingdom. Open their hearts to shine by the light of the Gospel of Your Kingdom, and may their lives be accompanied by the Angels of light to save them from every conspiracy and every arrow that flies by day and the pestilence in darkness and the terror by night, and cast away from them all intrigues of the profane souls. The wicked soul that worries their hearts, cast it away, make them sleep in Your Holy flock of Your Christ, pure members in the Catholic Church, pure vessels, blameless souls and children of the light and heirs of the Kingdom ...by Christ....
SANCTIFICATION OF BAPTISMAL WATER
It is called The Liturgy of Baptism, and is similar to the Liturgy of Eucharist. It includes the Thanksgiving Prayer, readings of Pauline, Catholicon, Praxis, Psalm and Gospel, then the Litanies, and also an inaudible prayer which is very moving and spiritual, which the priest recites it while kneeling before the Baptismal Font
saying:- Send Your power from on High and help me to perform the service of this great heavenly Sacrament, and may Christ be imaged in those granted the anointment of the new Baptism from me. Build them on the foundation of the Apostles and prophets and never perish them.
Implant them in truth in Your One Holy Universal Apostolic Church to progress in worshipping....etc.
The prayers continue like the rites of the Liturgy of Eucharist, with the priest, deacon and congregation until the priest pours the Holy Myron in the Baptismal Font by the three signs. This is the moment of the dwelling of the Holy Spirit and sanctification of Baptismal water. Then singing Psalm 150 starts while the priest baptizes the child. Baptism here replaces the Communion in the Rite of the Eucharist.
Sanctification of Baptismal water means specifying it for the Holy Spirit to dwell in it by prayers, and pouring the Myron oil in it is to become living water, capable by the Holy Spirit who dwelt in it to grant new birth to the soul and body, and became effective in the salvation of the baptized, giving him/her to walk along the way of salvation, entry and vision of the Kingdom of God or Kingdom of heaven. It also gives the baptized the right to become a son of God and the Church, having the right to practice all the other Sacraments like Repentance, Communion, Matrimony and Priesthood.
St. Kyrillos the great resembles the Baptismal water of the moment of dwelling of the Holy Spirit to a bowl with water, placed on fire so it gains heat, so the Baptismal water gains power and sparkle of the Holy Spirit to be born to God and the Church as spiritual children.
St. John the Baptist says:- “He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and Fire” Mathew 3:11. Sanctification of the water is accomplished by the prayer of the gathered church (priest - deacons - congregation) by reading the Word of God and the sign of the Cross, and finally by pouring
Myron on the Baptismal water so the Holy Spirit dwells on the water which become capable to grant the baptized a new nature. “The earth was without form and void, and darkness was on he face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters, so God created all the creatures, the light, the ferment the earth, the seas, sun, moon, grass herbs, trees, animals, birds and concluded by creating man on His image and likeness. Then God saw everything that he had made, and indeed it was very good”. Genesis 1.
In Baptism, man is void of any virtue, and his soul is empty because of original sin, so the Spirit of God hovers over the Baptismal font on the likeness of God in righteousness and holiness of truth, as the first creation was from water and spirit, so also the new creation from water and spirit, the Baptismal water upon which dwell, the Holy Spirit.
THE RITE OF SANCTIFICATION OF THE BAPTISMAL WATER
The baptismal font is filled by pure water then the following steps and prayers take place:-
1 The priest takes the simple oil or Apocalypses oil, and pours it onto the Baptismal water three times with the sign of the Cross, and with every sign the deacons recite Amen.
2. He prays inaudibly or with a low voice saying:- “Call Your servants to pure light, make them worthy of this great grace for the holy Baptism, fill them with the power of your Holy Spirit....etc.”.
3. Then he prays the Thanksgiving prayer after Eshlil and Irini Pasi.
4. He places five handfuls of incense in the censer by the known three signs, then prays the mystery of the Pauline incense “O God the Great and Eternal”.
5. One of the deacons read the Pauline epistle to Titus (2: 11- 3:8) which shows the difference in attitude of a person before Baptism in ungodliness and worldly lusts, and after Baptism living righteously in love and peace with all people, as he calls Baptism: regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit ( 3:5)
6. The priest prays the second Pauline mystery (O God of knowledge, given of wisdom), asking God to grant us a mind free of wondering, and a clear understanding that we may learn and understand the teachings of St. Paul, so we are like him in deed, struggle and in faith to get the good share and glorious unperishable crown.
Then he prays the Catholicon mystery, asking God to help him and his people to walk in the steps of the apostles, and to imitate their struggle, and to have
communion with them in the sweat which they had for godliness’ sake, to spread the faith and proclaim the good news of the unsearchable riches of his mercy, and to bless this vine which His right hand has planted through His holy apostles teachings, preaching and epistles.
7. Meanwhile one of the deacons reads the Catholicon from the First Epistle of St. John 5:5-14, he speaks about overcoming the world by faith in Lord Jesus Christ, then talks about the three witnesses:- The spirit, water and blood, and these three agree as one, in Baptism, as Baptism is founded on the Blood of Christ and the Atonement of the Cross, then it is filled by water, and by prayer the Holy Spirit dwells upon it, so the three gather: the Spirit, the water and the blood so the Baptism becomes correct and effective.
8. The priest prays the Praxis mystery asking God to accept from him this sacrifice of incense, and send down upon him and His congregation in return His abundant mercy and make them pure from all pollution of sin, and make them worthy to serve in holiness and righteousness before His goodness all the days of their life. One of the deacons read the Praxis from the Book of Acts 8:26 - 40 , which mentions the incident of the Ethiopian man and eunuch of great authority (Minister) under Candace the queen of the Ethiopians, who was baptized after he proclaimed the true faith in Jesus Christ saying: “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God”. Acts 8:38, and Philip Baptized him by immersion as they came to some water, so both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and he baptized him, then came up out of the water”. Acts 8: 38,39, like Lord Jesus on His Baptism “Then Jesus, when He had been baptized, came up immediately from the water...) Matthew 3:16.
9. The Trisagon is sung and the priest plays the Prayer for the Gospel with its responses.
10. One deacon reads Psalm 31: 1,2 blessing those whose sins are forgiven and transgression is covered by Baptism. Then the gospel is read from St. John 3: 1-21 which narrates the meeting of Nicodemus with Lord Jesus, and the speech of Christ about the importance of Baptism and His definite assurance of its necessity for salvation and entering the Kingdom of God, saying: “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again (from above) he cannot see the Kingdom of God”. John 3:3 and “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the Kingdom of heaven” John 3:5, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit” John 3: 6 and “We know that flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God” 1 Co: 15:5 but the spiritual person born of the Holy Spirit.
11. During the Gospel reading, the priest prays the mystery of the Gospel:- “O You, who are long suffering, abundant in mercy and true, receive our prayers..”.
12. The priest then prays the Seven Minor Litanies as in the Laqqan Prayer and the Sacrament of Anointing the Sick and others, these are:-
1. The Litany of the Sick
2. The Litany of Travelers
3. The Litany of air of heaven or fruits according to the season.
In the period between 12 Baounah to 9 Baba Litany of water is said as it is the flood season. In the period from 10 Baba to 10 Tubah the Litany of plants is said as it is the season of plantation of seeds.
In the period from 11 Tubah (Epiphany) to 11 Baounah, the Litany of air and fruits is said, as during that time plants bear fruits and need adequate environment so it flourishes, then comes the harvest.
4. The King’s Litany
5. The Deceased Litany.
6. The Oblations Litany.
7. The Catechumens Litany where the priest asks God to have mercy on them and let His Word abide in their hearts, and make them worthy of the New Birth (Baptism) for forgiveness of sins. and prepare them as holy temples for His Holy Spirit. These litanies are prayed by the priest using the censer.
13. The priest prays a short prayer saying:- Send your holy power to precede the Baptism and prepare your servants to be able to get this pure Baptism for the remission of their sins.
14. The priest prays for laying of hands, that is, he places his hands on the baptized saying “Dwell upon them Lord, walk with them and help them in every good deed”.
9. 15. The priest kneels humbly before ()River Jordan. Then the priest prays saying:- “Cleanse my soul and body’s profanity, purify me completely. Send Your
The Baptismal font is called Jordan where Lord Jesus was baptized in River Jordan and established the Sacrament of the Baptism. The Holy Spirit came down upon Him and sanctified the Jordan waters as the room of making holy bread is called Bethlehem.
power from on high and strengthen me to perform the service of this great heavenly sacrament. May Christ be formed on them, who are being granted the seal of new birth, from me a sinner”, as if he says with St. Paul: “My little children, for whom I labour in birth again until Christ is formed in you”. Galatious 4:19, “build them on the foundation of the apostles and prophets”, as if he says with St. Paul “having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the Chief Corner-Stone”. Ephesians 2:20.
16. The priest then prays the three Major Litanies.
17. The attendants pray the Orthodox Creed.
18. The priest takes the Holy Chaliloun oil, pours some of it into the Baptismal font three time with the sign of the Cross to sanctify the water.
19. The priest prays saying:- We ask You our King for your servants, sanctify them and strengthen them so through this water and oil you abolish all the power of the adversary and wicked spirits, prevent them and perish them...etc.”.
20. He breathes three times in the water while praying: Sanctify this water and this oil to become for the new birth Amen. Eternal life Amen. Incorruptible garment Amen.
21. He signs the water three times by the Cross saying: “O God Pantocrator, tremble into this water so by it and by Your Holy Spirit You renew the birth of your servants.
22. The congregation prays Espasmos “here is John the forerunner” then “Through the intercessions of the Theotokos, Saint Mary”, then the Liturgy of Baptism Starts.
THE LITURGY OF BAPTISM
1. The priest, while signing the water, says:- “The love of God the Father....” Congregation says: “and with your spirit”.
The priest says: “Lift up your hearts”. The congregation says: “They are with the Lord”.
The priest says: “Let us give thanks to the Lord” The Congregation says: “Right and Worthy”.
The priest continues: “We lifted our eyes to You Lord” then “You split the springs and valleys……..
“You ordered the rock to overflow water for your people”.
These three sections are prayed by the priest, following the example of the three prayers which follow the sign of “The Lord be with you all”, in the Liturgy of Eucharist.
2. the priest says: Agios three times with three signs by the Cross in he water, then Holy, Holy, Holy, truly O Lord...grant the water the grace of Jordan, the power and heavenly comfort. Upon the dwelling of Your Holy Spirit, grant it the blessing of Jordan Amen....give it power to become Life-Giving water Amen...etc.
3. He signs the water three times by the Cross saying: “Your servants who offered their children to you, receive them upon your holy, rational altar of heaven, for a saviour of incense before your greatness in the heavens. Keep them in the Orthodox Faith all the days of their lives, grant them unperishable love” ..etc.
The congregation responds: “Our Father Who Art in Heaven....”.
The priest says the three absolutions.
4. The priest takes the holy Myron oil and pours very little into the Baptismal water three times. Every time with the Cross sign to sanctify the water. He does this while saying the three known signs similar to these of the offering, the deacons respond every time: Amen”. Here the Holy Spirit dwells upon the Baptismal water, and is capable of granting new
birth to the baptized and purify them from their sins.
5. The priest says the following verses from the Psalms while moving the water with the Cross, with the hymn of the great Haws and the deacons respond after every sentence: “Alleluia”. Psalm 28: 2,3 / 31: 5 / 65:11 / 50:7, 9, 10 / 132:13.
Then says Zoksa.......
NOTES: The priest stirs the water by the Cross while reciting the Psalms, resembling the angel who was stirring the water of the pool of Bethesda to gain power of healing “For an angel went down at a certain time into the pool and stirred up the water, then whoever stepped in first after the stirring of the water, was made well of whatever disease he had”. John 5:4.
6. The congregation prays the communion Psalm 150 during the Baptism.
BAPTISM BY IMMERSION
1. The deacon or godfather takes the naked child from the West and brings him/her to the baptismal Font to the left of the priest and gives the child to him.
2. The priest holds the child from his underarm while his face is towards the West.
3. He gradually dips the child into the water, so he/she does not fear, until the child is completely immersed in water, while saying: “I baptize you (saying his name and if the priest felt the name is not Christian, he must give him/her a Christian name from the Holy Bible, Church History from names of saints or martyrs) in the name of the Father, and this is the first immersion.
4. He lifts the child from water and breathes into him/her, then immerses the child again like the first time while saying: And the Son, this is the second immersion.
5. Then he lifts the child from water and breathes into him/her, then immerses him/her for the third time to completely dip him/her in water while saying: And the Holy Spirit and this is the third immersion, then he lifts the child from the water and breathes into him/her for the third time.
6. The priest lifts the child by his hands above the Baptismal font with his face downwards to pour off any water in the child’s nose or mouth. If the child delayed in breathing, the priest may shake him gently and breathe in his/her face to regain normal breathing.
1. We see the priest receiving the child from the left, baptized him/her then gives the child to the mother from the right side. As the Baptism shifts us from the left side of the rejected to the right side of the accepted. The Syrian Fraction mentions “instead of the sin surrounding the world, the Son died on the Cross and returned us from the left to the right providence”.
2. The three immersions in Baptism is in the Name of the Holy Trinity: The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit as Lord Jesus taught His saintly disciples “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you”. Matt 28:19,20.
5. As Baptism is death with Christ and resurrection with Him, through it the believer is granted
blessings of salvation, that is accomplished by the death of Christ on the Cross, and as Christ died and was buried for three days, so also immersion of the baptized three times in the Baptismal water, then the child gets out of the Baptismal font as Christ Lord came out of the tomb.
“Buried with Him in Baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead”. Colossians 2:12.
3. The priest must be careful about the Baptismal water during Baptism, and taking out the child from the Baptismal Font, handing him/her to the mother, so that the water does not spill out and is trodden by feet.
4. The mother must wash the towel in which her child was wrapped in Baptism, also the clothes dressed after Baptism, washing them carefully and throwing away the water is a spring or well, so that it is not trodden by feet as it has the holy Myron oil. Also the same is done for the first bathing water of the child after Baptism.
5. At presence of male and female children for Baptism, the priest baptizes the males first, then the females as man is the woman’s head.
RITE FOR DISCHARGE OF BAPTISMAL WATER
if the priest wants to discharge the Baptismal water after Baptism, he washes his hands with some water to clear what clings to them from the Myron oil, then washes around the Baptismal font what was sprinkled from the Baptismal water that contained some Myron, and pours it into the font.
After that the priest prays the prayer of “We ask and entreat Your goodness, O Philanthropic One, O Lord, to return this water to its first nature to be restored to the earth...etc.”.
Then he opens the plug below the Baptismal font so all the water trickles into the reservoir in the ground. Thus the Baptismal rite ends.
1. It is not preferable to keep the Baptismal water containing Apocalypses oil, Ghaliloun oil and Myron oil without discharge for a long time, so that it does not rot or becomes viscous due to the oils. The best way is for the Liturgy of Baptism to be prayed at every Baptism and water to be immediately discharged after Baptism, and in extremes conditions the water must not be kept in the Baptismal font more than three days.
2. It is wrong to add new water to the Baptismal water after its sanctification, as we don’t add wine to the chalice after the sanctification and transubstantiation.
3. At building the Baptismal font, it must be cared for to be deep and wide to contain adults of other denominations, who prefer to join our Church and baptize, or certain persons whose Baptism was neglected by their folks and they discovered this when they grew up, or a person who doubts his Baptism at childhood and his parents died and none of his alive folks know anything about the truth of his/her Baptism, so the priest says during the Baptism: “If you were not baptized (the name of the person to be baptized) I now baptize you in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”, and immerses the person three times as usual.
If the Baptismal font is not spacious enough to contain an adult, it is possible to
provide a large pottery or plastic container, to make it possible to completely
immerse the person according to the Baptismal Rite by immersion, then the
container must be broken or only specified for this purpose as it is sanctified and
ordained by prayers and Myron poured into it.
4. It is better to build a sink near the Baptismal font for the priest to wash his hands after Baptism, so he does not wash his hands in the font, and the sink flows into the same reservoir as the Baptismal font.
THE ADULT BAPTISM IS AS FOLLOWS
If the person to be baptized is a man, it is no problem, after completion of the Rite of Renouncing Satan and recitation of the Orthodox Creed, and Liturgy of Baptism, the attendants should leave the Baptismal room, so the baptized may undress, and go down to the Baptismal font till his neck, then the priest comes and dips his head in the Baptismal water three times saying: “I baptize you (Name) in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”.
Then the priest leaves the room, and the baptized person arises in the Baptismal water and dries his body by the prepared towel, then wears his underwear then the priest comes and anoints him by the Myron oil 36 times, finally he dresses up the appropriate clothes for this happy occasion.
If the person to be baptized is a woman, after the priest prays the Liturgy of Baptism and performs the Rite of Renouncing Satan, the profession and Orthodox Creed, he leaves the place and asks the deaconess to assist the woman to undress, then goes down to the Baptismal font till her neck. Then the priest enters from outside (called by the deaconess), places his hand on the woman’s head (preferably behind a curtain) and immerses her in water
three times while saying: “I baptize you (Name of the baptized woman) in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”. She may wear a white garment specified for this occasion and goes down with it into the Baptismal font. Then the priest goes out from the room, and the woman arises from the Baptismal font and dries her body by the prepared towel and puts on her clothes appropriately prepared for this occasion. The priest comes and anoints her with the holy Myron oil on her external members like head, ears, eyes, nostrils, mouth and both wrists, thus Sacrament of Holy Chrism is performed.
THE BAPTISM OF BLOOD
During the persecution days, a pagan may believe due to seeing a Christian Martyr tortured without mercy but gratefully bearing. Some miracles might take place by some of those martyrs, so the pagan declares his faith in Christ and immediately gets arrested, tortured and beheaded. So he did not have time to baptize in water.
In this case, the blood he shed when he was beheaded or from his tortured members is a complete, legal Baptism called “Baptism of Blood”, and he becomes a true martyr, and is granted the crown of martyrdom and eternal life, as Baptism in essence is death with Christ and this martyr died honorably for and with Christ.
Many saints spoke about “Baptism of Blood”, St. Kyrillos of Jerusalem says: “Whoever does not accept Baptism has no salvation except only the martyrs, who without the Baptism of water are granted salvation by the Baptism of Blood”. As when our Saviour was crucified on the Cross, He was wounded by a spear on His Side, and water and blood came out, so that some may baptize in water at times of peace, while others may baptize by their blood at times of persecution. The Saviour Himself called martyrdom by
blood and Baptism by saying: “Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?” Matthew 20:22.
St. Kyrillos the Great said: “Some got eternal life without any need for signs from the water for their salvation, as they were baptized by blood”.