Baptism (from the Greek noun Βάπτισμα baptisma; itself derived from baptismos, washing).
Baptism is the sacrament where the child obtains the invisible grace of God and gets purified from the consequence of ancestor's original sin (Adam). Not the guilt of the sin since we did not inherit Adam's sin. It is the new birth from above to become a member of the Body of Christ, after the birth of man in a corrupt nature, enslaved to death.
There are two types of baptisms: the first is that of water and spirit. This baptism is by immersion in the name of the Trinity similar to Christ's. The second is with blood, the baptism of martyrdom.
Baptism of Water and Spirit:
- After the name of the catechumen child is registered in the books of baptism, the Church's "book of life", the priest puffs three times on the child in the form of a cross, while saying: "In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit". This is to provide him, from the beginning, with the Cross as a weapon to defeat demons. Then the priest puts his hand on the child's head and reads a prayer asking God to protect the child under his wings and away from evil works.
- Exorcisms: three prayers by the priest on the catechumen.
- Renounce the Devil: the Godparent turns westward to renounce the devil, where the priest asks the Godparent three times: "Do you renounce Satan, all his angels, all his works, all his services, and all his pride?" The Godparent answers with "I do" on behalf of the child, then spits on the ground (Satan), which is abhorrence and rejection of the Satan.
- Accepting Christ: The Godparent turns eastward to accept Christ. This represents the turn of man toward paradise which is in the east, toward Christ the light of the world and the sun of justice. The priest here asks the Godparent three times to accept Christ. The Godparent answers with "I do" on behalf of the child, then state the Church's Creed and worships the Lord.
- Water is the sacrament's material, a symbol of life, cleanness and purification. In blessing the water, the priest prays that the water would return to what God intended it for since its creation is a source of life unlike at the time of Noah when the water was a source of destruction.
- The Naked Child - Clothes off: is a symbol of putting off the old, sinful and perishable person.
- Anointing with oil: The priest blesses the olive oil. Then he puts it on the child's forehead, breast, back, hands, feet, ears, and mouth, in order to dedicate them to the service of Christ.
- Immersion into the Baptismal font: After the anointing with oil, the priest holds the child and does the baptism with triple immersion, saying: "the servant of God (name) is baptized in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit." When we are immersed down under the water, we die with Christ, burying the old sinful man in us, and rising with Him, renewed by the Holy Spirit. The triple immersion signifies the burial of the Lord for three days.
- The Sacrament of Chrismation: immediately following Baptism, the Priest anoints the newly baptized infant with the Holy Chrism saying: "the seal of the gift of the Holy Spirit, Amen". Since baptism is our death and resurrection with Christ, Chrismation is a personal Pentecost to each and every one of us. The Holy Chrismation is not separated from Baptism, it is a confirmation to what we have achieved since we have entered the kingdom of heaven.
- New clothes - White Garment: The newly baptized is dressed with a new white garment as a symbol of the life of resurrection that he/she passed to. It is also a symbol to the purity and innocence that should distinguish his/her life to come.
- Religious Dance – procession: the Godparent processes with the baptized infant three times, carrying candles, around a holy table. During the procession the chanters chants: "As many of you as have been baptized into Christ, have put on Christ. Alleluia" "(Galatians 3: 27)" in constant reverence to the Holy Trinity. The procession is a symbol of the spiritual and eternal joy. The Circle has no beginning and no end, and hence the kingdom of heaven is eternal. The Candles are symbols of the lamps of the wise virgins who were ready to enter to the heavenly kingdom with the bridegroom. Thus the newly baptized is ready to enter into the kingdom of God. At the end of procession the epistle and the gospel are read.
- The cutting of hair (tonsure): The Priest cuts four pieces of hair from the child's head in the form of a Cross. This is an expression of offering from the child, who has received an abundance of blessings through the Sacraments of Baptism and Chrismation. Since the Child has nothing to give to God in return, he/she offers part of his/her hair, as a first-offering to God. In the Old Testament, hair is seen as a symbol of strength. The child, therefore, promises to serve God with all his/her strength.
- The Holy Eucharist: the newly illumined becomes a full member of the Church. He receives the precious Body and Blood of Christ in the Sacrament of Holy Communion (or Holy Eucharist).
- The Baptized Bath: after hours or days, the Holy Chrism is washed away from the child so as not to remain and get ruined. In case of washing at home, parents are asked to pour the water used for washing not into the sink but rather into a place that does not get stepped on.