"..do you not know
that as many of us were baptised into Christ Jesus were baptised into
His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death,
that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father,
even so we also should walk in newness of life... knowing this, that our
old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away
with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. For he who has died has
been freed from sin". ( Romans 6: 1-7)
Let us consider the
importance of the seven sacraments; Baptism, Myron, Holy Communion,
Repentance, Anointing of the Sick, Matrimony and Priesthood, in the
The essence of
baptism is to be reborn in the spirit, to be recreated, regenerated.
Through baptism I become the son/daughter of God and of the Church, and
for this reason, the baptistery is rounded, symbolising the womb of the
mother. I have a physical father and mother, and I have another father
and mother for my spirit. My father is God, and my mother is the Church,
and I have been reborn of the 'womb' of the Church, which is the
We have taken two
things from Adam : * the penalty of death, because "the wages of sin is
death" (Romans. 6:23 ), and * a spoiled nature.
Christ has saved us
from the penalty of death through His death on the cross, "In Him we
have redemption through His blood..." (Ephesians 1:7), and my spoiled
nature has been cleansed by the Holy Spirit in baptism, thus creating my
new nature, "For as many of you as have been baptised into Christ have
put on Christ" (Galatians 3:27).
does not totally eradicate the old nature, because if it did, we would
have no free will. Free will is a very important thing in Christianity,
and that is why we are against Satre’s philosophy of existentialism that
attacks God as dominating our freedom. God has never dealt with our free
will in this way, He is very committed to the free will of man. He makes
known to us the path which leads to Heaven and the path which doesn't,
and then it is up to us to decide which path to take.
Let us consider
what happens during the baptism process: the mother begins by carrying
the infant on her left shoulder, and facing westward she rejects Satan.
She faces the west because it symbolises death and darkness, which is
Satan. She is rejecting Satan's deeds, his power, his darkness and sin.
She raises her hand and repeats three times : "I reject you Satan!"
Therefore, she is rejecting Satan on behalf of the infant on her
shoulder. Then the priest asks the mother to turn and face eastward, as
the east symbolises life, light and our Lord Jesus Christ. The mother
rejected Satan on behalf of the child and now she is accepting Christ
Jesus on behalf of the child. This is now to be completed by immersing
the child in the water three times, which symbolises the Godhead present
in the Holy Trinity, and it also symbolises the three days in the tomb;
because baptism means dying with the Lord and then rising with the Lord.
Now this infant has been regenerated through baptism, has rejected Satan
and accepted the Beloved Lord Jesus Christ - this baby is now Christian.
Once the baby is
baptised, it is then anointed by the priest with thirty six crosses. The
priest begins by anointing the head: 'Lord sanctify my mind'. The second
and third crosses are on the nostrils; fourth is on the lips; the fifth,
sixth, seventh and eighth crosses are on the ears and eyes: 'Lord
sanctify my senses'. Now the priest has drawn the sign of the cross over
the infant's senses. The ninth and tenth crosses are on the heart: 'Lord
sanctify my heart and my inner life'. The eleventh and twelfth crosses
are on the back: 'Lord sanctify my will'. The next set of twelve crosses
are on each of the two arms - two crosses on each joint, front and back
(there are three joints on each arm): 'Lord sanctify my deeds'. The next
set of twelve crosses are on each leg - two crosses on each joint, front
and back (there are three joints on each leg): 'Lord sanctify my way'.
consecrated, the baby is dressed in white, symbolising purity, and a red
ribbon is tied over the white dress, symbolising that the baby is now
bonded to Christ and has entered into a covenant with the Lord. The
ribbon is red to symbolise the blood of Christ. The mother carrying the
infant then moves from the west to the east and from the north to the
south. This movement symbolises movement from darkness to light and from
death to life. This baby has been regenerated through baptism,
consecrated through the Holy Myron and can now proceed to be unified
with the Lord through the Holy Communion.
assuredly I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and
drink His blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats My flesh and
drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last
day. For My flesh is food indeed and My blood is drink indeed. He who
eats My flesh and drinks My blood dwells in me and I in him...He who
eats this bread will live forever." ( John 6: 53-58).
"...If they fall away, to
renew them again to repentance..." (Hebrew 6:6). The new nature that we
received in baptism is to be brought up and nourished through
repentance. Our salvation is based on three important pillars:
On the day of transformation
and resurrection we will rid ourselves totally of our old nature and
earthly bodies, and will be given a heavenly body: "...the Lord Jesus
Christ who will transform our lowly body...to His glorious body"
(Philippians 3:21 ).
Our responsibility now is repentance and our spiritual life.
I look on all the blessings I
took as a child, and now that I'm older, my pure white garments of
baptism are stained and spotted from sin. But my tears of repentance
will renew and rewash me, and bring me back to my original state of
purity, which I gained in baptism..."Wash me Lord and I will be whiter
than snow..." (Psalm 51).
For this reason, repentance is considered to be a 'second baptism',
because it involves being absolved from your sins, taking guidance from
your father in confession, and regaining all the blessing you lost
Confession is a very important sacrament because it is a biblical
commandment and very beneficial not only spiritually, but also
psychologically. His Holiness Pope Shenouda once said, "In confession,
we receive two things: 'absolution' for the forgiveness of sins, and
'solution' to our problems through the spiritual guidance of our
This is holiness; it is something very pleasant and very important. You
are going to be regenerated through baptism, consecrated through Myron,
united through Holy Communion, and through repentance and confession,
you will keep all the blessings in your life. YOU ARE NOW A SANCTIFIED
PERSON. This does not mean that you will be sinless, but it means that
you are going to be a good Christian, struggling against sin and
conquering sin, but when a sin is committed, you will come to your
father in confession and repent with tears of the heart, thus regaining
your spiritual power and blessing once more.
When you commit sin, never lose hope. The door of repentance is open and
God will accept your sincere confession.
he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Confess your trespasses to
one another and pray for one another..." (James 5: 15-16)
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" (James
Marriage is essential for
most people in the salvation process. Through this sacrament, married
couples can satisfy the following instincts in a pure and holy way:
sexual instinct, and the motherhood/fatherhood instincts.
Marriage has five important goals:
? to experience 'agape' love
? co-operation between the partners
? salvation, because marriage will
save them from sinning
? the continuance of mankind
? increasing the number of saints on
earth and in heaven
The purpose of priesthood is
to officiate the sacraments and to instruct and edify the people.
priest taken from among men is appointed for men in things pertaining to
God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins...and no man
takes this honour to himself, but he who is called by God, just as Aaron
was" (Hebrews: 1, 4)
"God has from the beginning chosen you for salvation through
sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth...therefore
brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which you have been taught,
whether by word or our epistle..." (2 Thessalonians 2:13, 15).