Guideline for Baptisms
1. All baptisms must be performed according to the canons of the Armenian Apostolic Church.
2. Secure a date for the baptism by calling the church office (215-482-9200). Be aware that baptismal ceremonies can be performed any day of the week during the entire calendar year.
3. The church secretary will forward a questionnaire which should be promptly completed and returned to the church office. Please ensure that all information, including the spelling of names, is correct. Please specify if the child will be given an Armenian name.
4. The Godfather of the child to be baptized should preferably be a member of the Armenian Apostolic Church. If a suitable Godfather is not available, consult with the officiating clergy about a substitute. The Parish Priest can then instruct the Godfather concerning the sacraments prior to baptism.
5. The Armenian Apostolic Church has no explicit provisions for a Godmother at baptism. However, the church considers a Godmother the person who tends to the child during the Order of Baptism, holding the child before the Godfather has taken the child, undressing or dressing the child at times prescribed, and in general attending to the child during the performance of the sacraments.
6. All fees and honorariums should be paid according to the Schedule of Church Fees and Customary Donations in the Board of Trustees Handbook available in the church office. If you have invited another clergyman, the same fees and honorariums apply to him.
7. Items Needed:
- One or two large white towels
- A WHITE outfit to be worn after the baptism;
- A chain and cross for the neophyte (newly-baptized).
- Prior instruction by the officiating clergy, describing baptism and confirmation;
- One or two white towels;
- A chain and cross for the neophyte (newly-baptized).
8. Photographs may be taken at any time during the ceremony. The photographer should avoid blinding the eyes of the priest, deacon or any member of the baptismal party. The photographer may not, at any time, ascend the steps of the altar or be on the altar.
Tradition states that the baby not be kissed until after the baby is bathed three days after the baptism. Because holy muron (holy chrism) has been used to anoint the child, bathe the baby and empty the bath water into the soil rather than a waste-water system.
Scriptural Readings Readings on Baptism
A. Passages read during the ceremony
Gospel of St. Matthew 28:16-20
Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them.17When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted.18And Jesus came and said to them,All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.19Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,20and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.
Epistle of St. Paul to the Galatians 3:24-29
Therefore the law was our disciplinarian until Christ came, so that we might be justified by faith.25But now that faith has come, we are no longer subject to a disciplinarian,26for in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith.27As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.28There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.29And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abrahams offspring, heirs according to the promise.
Gospel of St. John 3:1-8
1Now there was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews.2He came to Jesus by night and said to him, Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do apart from the presence of God.3Jesus answered him,Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above.4Nicodemus said to him, How can anyone be born after having grown old? Can one enter a second time into the mothers womb and be born?5Jesus answered,Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit.6What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit.7Do not be astonished that I said to you, You must be born from above.8The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.
B. Other Passages about Baptism
Gospel of St. Matthew 3:13-17
The Baptism of Jesus
Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan, to be baptized by him.14John would have prevented him, saying, I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?15But Jesus answered him,Let it be so now; for it is proper for us in this way to fulfill all righteousness. Then he consented.16And when Jesus had been baptized, just as he came up from the water, suddenly the heavens were opened to him and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him.17And a voice from heaven said, This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.
Gospel of St. Mark 1:4-8
4John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.5And people from the whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem were going out to him, and were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.6Now John was clothed with camels hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey.7He proclaimed, The one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the thong of his sandals.8I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.
Gospel of St. Mark 1:35-40
James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came forward to him and said to him, Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.36And he said to them,What is it you want me to do for you?37And they said to him, Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory.38But Jesus said to them,You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or be baptized with the Baptism that I am baptized with?39They replied, We are able. Then Jesus said to them,The cup that I drink you will drink; and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized;40but to sit at my right hand or at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared.
Epistle of St. Paul to Romans 6:1-11
1What then are we to say? Should we continue in sin in order that grace may abound?2By no means! How can we who died to sin go on living in it?3Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?4Therefore we have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.
5For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.6We know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be destroyed, and we might no longer be enslaved to sin.7For whoever has died is freed from sin.8But if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.9We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him.10The death he died, he died to sin, once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.11So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.
The Epistle of St. Paul to the Collosians 2:8-15
8 See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the universe, and not according to Christ.9For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily,10and you have come to fullness in him, who is the head of every ruler and authority.11In him also you were circumcised with a spiritual circumcision, by putting off the body of the flesh in the circumcision of Christ;12when you were buried with him in baptism, you were also raised with him through faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead.13And when you were dead in trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive together with him, when he forgave us all our trespasses,14erasing the record that stood against us with its legal demands. He set this aside, nailing it to the cross.15He disarmed the rulers and authorities and made a public example of them, triumphing over them in it.
The First Epistle of St. Peter 3:13-22
13Now who will harm you if you are eager to do what is good?14But even if you do suffer for doing what is right, you are blessed. Do not fear what they fear, and do not be intimidated,15but in your hearts sanctify Christ as Lord. Always be ready to make your defense to anyone who demands from you an accounting for the hope that is in you;16yet do it with gentleness and reverence. Keep your conscience clear, so that, when you are maligned, those who abuse you for your good conduct in Christ may be put to shame.17For it is better to suffer for doing good, if suffering should be Gods will, than to suffer for doing evil.18For Christ also suffered for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, in order to bring you to God. He was put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit,19in which also he went and made a proclamation to the spirits in prison,20who in former times did not obey, when God waited patiently in the days of Noah, during the building of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were saved through water.21And baptism, which this prefigured, now saves younot as a removal of dirt from the body, but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,22who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers made subject to him.Text of the ceremony