When to schedule...
Any time following the 40 days after birth is permitted for infant baptisms. In cases of an emergency, this requirement is waived and can be done immediately after birth if there is a concern. Otherwise, we recommend the child be between 3-6 months — they tend to be a little calmer than newborns and less feisty than older infants. When you look for a time of the day, keep in mind your baby’s schedule. Try to aim for a time during which the child will be well fed and well rested. Grumpy babies make baptisms less enjoyable for themselves and sometimes everybody else as well, though it is no fault of their own. The full baptismal service generally takes 45 minutes.
You will need at least one Godparent/Sponsor (pl. Rom.; Nasi; Gr: Koumbaroi) who is an Orthodox Christian in good standing (having had a recent confession and received communion recently). A second sponsor (often the first sponsor’s spouse) is also welcome. The Godparent’s main tasks are to speak on behalf of the child in rejecting Satan and confessing unity with Christ, reciting the Creed of the Orthodox Church, and to help carry the child through his/her first steps as a Christian.
The parents should also prepare themselves by having had a recent confession and received communion recently.
If the couple is civilly married, but never married in the Church, they should resolve that issue first in consultation with the priest. This also applies to unmarried parents living together. Presenting a home founded on a consecrated, legal marriage and an active Christian faith is the greatest gift you can give your child for their life after baptism.
Honorary witnesses (who may or may not be Orthodox) may also be included and assist, as long as there is one main Orthodox sponsor. They, as well as the parents, may assist in holding the child during the service at various points, especially if it keeps the baby happy and relaxed.
What items should I bring?
A towel and/or blanket, a baptismal cross, and a candle. Traditionally, these are supplied by the sponsor. While the parish does have simple candles, we do not supply decorated candles for baptisms/weddings. You may wish to purchase your own. (Note: According to one tradition oil and soap are also brought, but that is not required.)
Also, you will want to have a fresh diaper readily available, of course; a table upon which you may place your items is provided. Baptismal gowns are worn after the service is complete, when the child approaches to receive first communion. During the service, it is more practical to have the child dressed only in a diaper and bundled in a warm blanket or towel until the end of the service.
Are there "Stole Fees"?
There are no set fees but donations/gifts to the church/clergy/chanter are always appreciated. Traditionally, these are offered by the Sponsor(s).