The Mystery of Baptism has spiritual and salvific effects and is far more than just a symbolic act of burial and resurrection. The biblical and early Christian understanding of baptism is that it led to actual supernatural transformation in the life of the person being baptized. Baptism is believed to impart cleansing (remission) of sins and union with Christ in his death, burial and resurrection (see Romans 6:3-5; Colossians 2:12, 3:1-4).

ADULT BAPTISM
Catechumen
Adults are baptized after they have completed their time as a catechumen. Contact Fr. Michael Sorial to discuss becoming a catechumen.

Baptism Dates for Adults
Adults should arrange a date with Fr. Michael, as adult baptisms are conducted in a neighboring Coptic Orthodox Church.

Preparatory Instructions for Adult Baptism

  1. In the Orthodox Church, a sponsor, also known as a godparent, should play a significant role in the adult baptism process. They serve as a mentor, offering support, encouragement, and prayers for the newly baptized. The sponsor’s responsibility is to assist the candidate in their journey of faith, helping them understand and embrace the teachings and traditions of the Orthodox Church, and to continue supporting them in their ongoing spiritual growth and development within the Christian community. Please discuss this with Fr. Michael.
  2. A baptismal name is a name given to a newly-baptized Orthodox Christian. For the majority of Orthodox history, Orthodox Christians have been given the names of Orthodox saints (e.g. Abraham, Sarah, Mary, John, Mina, Verena, Mary of Egypt), Christian Virtues (Irene, Agape, Grace) or names that reference Biblical events (e.g. Pistavros, which is a reference to the cross). If you have any names of Saints from the New Testament or from early Christian history that you love, please let Fr. Michael know.  Otherwise he will typically pray about a baptismal name for the person being baptized. This person should be someone that you relate to in some way, as to your experience of Christ during your recent journey.
  3. Plan to be fasting from the night before prior to the baptism.  
  4. During the baptism itself, there will be a baptismal gown for you to wear.  
  5. The mystery of Baptism is considered to prepare us as temples for receiving the Holy Spirit to come and indwell us, which is followed by Chrismation. The mystery of Chrismation is understood as the time when the Holy Spirit comes upon and fills the believer.
  6. A change of clothes that are white with a white undershirt as well. In the early Church, Christians would oftentimes use their baptismal clothing as their burial clothes for the day of their funeral.
  7. Please read and meditate on the passages below to prepare your heart and mind on baptism.
  8. As the Coptic Orthodox Church does not practice private baptisms, there may be others being baptized on the same day.
  9. Lots of joy and patience.
  10. Be on time!


INFANT BAPTISM
The Orthodox also practice infant baptism on the basis of various texts (Luke 18:16, Acts 11:13–14, 16:15, 16:33, 18:8, 1 Corinthians 1:16, Genesis 7:1, 17:23, Exodus 12:24-28,) which are interpreted to condone full Church membership for children. This is generally based on a confession of faith for a child by his or her parents (or godparents, if the parents are not believers). The Orthodox Church baptizes infants for the same reasons and with the same results as She baptizes adults.

Upcoming Baptism Dates (for children)
Saturday, June 30, 2024 at 8 AM
Sunday, July 28, 2024 at 8 AM
Sunday, August 25, 2024 at 8 AM
Sunday, September 22, 2024 at 8 AM
Sunday, October 27, 2024 at 8 AM
Sunday, November 17, 2024 at 8 AM
Sunday, December 15, 2024 at 8 AM
Saturday, January, 18 2025 at 5 PM (Feast of Theophany)

Be sure to contact Fr. Michael to coordinate!

Preparatory Instructions for Infant Baptism

  1. In the Coptic Orthodox Church, parents are responsible for spiritual formation and raising of their child. Parents should be active members in the Coptic Orthodox Church and sharing in the life of the Church through their local parish. They offer spiritual support, encouragement, and prayers for their newly baptized child. The parent’s responsibility is to assist their child in their journey of faith, helping them understand and embrace the teachings and traditions of the Orthodox Church, and to continue supporting them in their ongoing spiritual growth and development within the Christian community.
  2. A baptismal name is a name given to a newly-baptized Orthodox Christian. For the majority of Orthodox history, Orthodox Christians have been given the names of Orthodox saints (e.g. Abraham, Sarah, Mary, John, Mina, Verena, Mary of Egypt), Christian Virtues (Irene, Agape, Grace) or names that reference Biblical events (e.g. Pistavros, which is a reference to the cross).
  3. Orthodox Cross (gold or silver) with chain. (optional)
  4. Large white bath towel (to be used by the parents receiving the baby after baptism)
  5. Very small amount of olive oil (to be poured in the water) (optional)
  6. A white outfit for the baby – All clothing should be white.
  7. Please read and meditate on the passages below to prepare your heart and mind on baptism.
  8. As the Coptic Orthodox Church does not practice private baptisms, there may be others being baptized on the same day.
  9. Lots of joy and patience.
  10. Be on time!

PASSAGES TO READ

Mark 1:1-11 1 The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. 2 As it is written in the Prophets: “Behold, I send My messenger before Your face, Who will prepare Your way before You.” 3 “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord; Make His paths straight.’” 4 John came baptizing in the wilderness and preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. 5 Then all the land of Judea, and those from Jerusalem, went out to him and were all baptized by him in the Jordan River, confessing their sins. 6 Now John was clothed with camel’s hair and with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. 7 And he preached, saying, “There comes One after me who is mightier than I, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to stoop down and loose. 8 I indeed baptized you with water, but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” John Baptizes Jesus 9 It came to pass in those days that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10 And immediately, coming up from the water, He saw the heavens parting and the Spirit descending upon Him like a dove. 11 Then a voice came from heaven, “You are My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”
 
Acts 2:37-39 37 Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” 38 Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.”
 
Romans 6:3–5 “Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.”
 
Titus 3:4–7 4 But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, 5 not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, 6 whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
 
1 Peter 3:21–22 “Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected to him.” For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.”
 
Letter of Barnabas 11:1–10 Date: 74 A.D “Regarding [baptism], we have the evidence of Scripture that Israel would refuse to accept the washing which confers the remission of sins and would set up a substitution of their own instead [Ps. 1:3–6]. Observe there how he describes both the water and the cross in the same figure. His meaning is, ‘Blessed are those who go down into the water with their hopes set on the cross.’ Here he is saying that after we have stepped down into the water, burdened with sin and defilement, we come up out of it bearing fruit, with reverence in our hearts and the hope of Jesus in our souls.”
 
The Shepherd 4:3:1–2 Date: 80 A.D. “I have heard, sir,’ said I [to the Shepherd], ‘from some teacher, that there is no other repentance except that which took place when we went down into the water and obtained the remission of our former sins.’ He said to me, ‘You have heard rightly, for so it is”
 
Against Heresies 21:1-2 Date: 189 A.D. “And when we come to refute them [the gnostic], we shall show in its fittingplace, that this class of men have been instigated by Satan to a denial of that baptism which is regeneration to God, and thus to a renunciation of the whole [Christian] faith…For the baptism instituted by the visible Jesus was for the remission of sins.”
 

The Demonstration of the Apostolic Preaching, Date: 192 A.D. “Now faith occasions this for us even as the Elders, the disciples of the Apostles, have handed it down to us. First of all, it bids us to keep in mind that we have received baptism for the remission of sins in the name of God the Father and in the name of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who was incarnate, died and rose again, and in the Holy Spirit of God. This baptism is the seal of eternal life and the new birth unto God that we should no longer be the sons of mortal men but of the eternal and perpetual God.”

 

Patristic Passages on Infant Baptism

St. Irenaeus
“He [Jesus] came to save all through himself; all, I say, who through him are reborn in God: infants, and children, and youths, and old men. Therefore he passed through every age, becoming an infant for infants, sanctifying infants; a child for children, sanctifying those who are of that age . . . [so that] he might be the perfect teacher in all things, perfect not only in respect to the setting forth of truth, perfect also in respect to relative age” (Against Heresies 2:22:4 [A.D. 189]).
“‘And [Naaman] dipped himself . . . seven times in the Jordan’ [2 Kgs. 5:14]. It was not for nothing that Naaman of old, when suffering from leprosy, was purified upon his being baptized, but [this served] as an indication to us. For as we are lepers in sin, we are made clean, by means of the sacred water and the invocation of the Lord, from our old transgressions, being spiritually regenerated as newborn babes, even as the Lord has declared: ‘Except a man be born again through water and the Spirit, he shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven’ [John 3:5]” (Fragment 34 [A.D. 190]).
 
St. Hippolytus
“Baptize first the children, and if they can speak for themselves let them do so. Otherwise, let their parents or other relatives speak for them” (The Apostolic Tradition 21:16 [A.D. 215]).
 
Origen
“Every soul that is born into flesh is soiled by the filth of wickedness and sin. . . . In the Church, baptism is given for the remission of sins, and, according to the usage of the Church, baptism is given even to infants. If there were nothing in infants which required the remission of sins and nothing in them pertinent to forgiveness, the grace of baptism would seem superfluous” (Homilies on Leviticus 8:3 [A.D. 248]).
“The Church received from the apostles the tradition of giving baptism even to infants. The apostles, to whom were committed the secrets of the divine sacraments, knew there are in everyone innate strains of [original] sin, which must be washed away through water and the Spirit” (Commentaries on Romans 5:9 [A.D. 248]).
 
St. Cyprian of Carthage
“As to what pertains to the case of infants: You [Fidus] said that they ought not to be baptized within the second or third day after their birth, that the old law of circumcision must be taken into consideration, and that you did not think that one should be baptized and sanctified within the eighth day after his birth. In our council it seemed to us far otherwise. No one agreed to the course which you thought should be taken. Rather, we all judge that the mercy and grace of God ought to be denied to no man born” (Letters 58:2 [A.D. 253]).
“If, in the case of the worst sinners and those who formerly sinned much against God, when afterwards they believe, the remission of their sins is granted and no one is held back from baptism and grace, how much more, then, should an infant not be held back, who, having but recently been born, has done no sin, except that, born of the flesh according to Adam, he has contracted the contagion of that old death from his first being born. For this very reason does he [an infant] approach more easily to receive the remission of sins: because the sins forgiven him are not his own but those of another” (ibid., 58:5).
 
St. Gregory of Nazianzus (the theologian)
“Do you have an infant child? Allow sin no opportunity; rather, let the infant be sanctified from childhood. From his most tender age let him be consecrated by the Spirit. Do you fear the seal [of baptism] because of the weakness of nature? Oh, what a pusillanimous mother and of how little faith!” (Oration on Holy Baptism 40:7 [A.D. 388]).
“‘Well enough,’ some will say, ‘for those who ask for baptism, but what do you have to say about those who are still children, and aware neither of loss nor of grace? Shall we baptize them too?’ Certainly [I respond], if there is any pressing danger. Better that they be sanctified unaware, than that they depart unsealed and uninitiated” (ibid., 40:28).
 
St. John Chrysostom
“You see how many are the benefits of baptism, and some think its heavenly grace consists only in the remission of sins, but we have enumerated ten honors [it bestows]! For this reason we baptize even infants, though they are not defiled by [personal] sins, so that there may be given to them holiness, righteousness, adoption, inheritance, brotherhood with Christ, and that they may be his [Christ’s] members” (Baptismal Catecheses in Augustine, Against Julian 1:6:21 [A.D. 388]).
 
St. Augustine of Hippo
“What the universal Church holds, not as instituted [invented] by councils but as something always held, is most correctly believed to have been handed down by apostolic authority. Since others respond for children, so that the celebration of the sacrament may be complete for them, it is certainly availing to them for their consecration, because they themselves are not able to respond” (On Baptism, Against the Donatists 4:24:31 [A.D. 400]).
“The custom of Mother Church in baptizing infants is certainly not to be scorned, nor is it to be regarded in any way as superfluous, nor is it to be believed that its tradition is anything except apostolic” (The Literal Interpretation of Genesis 10:23:39 [A.D. 408]).
“Cyprian was not issuing a new decree but was keeping to the most solid belief of the Church in order to correct some who thought that infants ought not be baptized before the eighth day after their birth. . . . He agreed with certain of his fellow bishops that a child is able to be duly baptized as soon as he is born” (Letters 166:8:23 [A.D. 412]).
“By this grace baptized infants too are ingrafted into his [Christ’s] body, infants who certainly are not yet able to imitate anyone. Christ, in whom all are made alive . . . gives also the most hidden grace of his Spirit to believers, grace which he secretly infuses even into infants. . . . It is an excellent thing that the Punic [North African] Christians call baptism salvation and the sacrament of Christ’s Body nothing else than life. Whence does this derive, except from an ancient and, as I suppose, apostolic tradition, by which the churches of Christ hold inherently that without baptism and participation at the table of the Lord it is impossible for any man to attain either to the kingdom of God or to salvation and life eternal? This is the witness of Scripture, too. . . . If anyone wonders why children born of the baptized should themselves be baptized, let him attend briefly to this. . . . The sacrament of baptism is most assuredly the sacrament of regeneration” (Forgiveness and the Just Deserts of Sin, and the Baptism of Infants 1:9:10; 1:24:34; 2:27:43 [A.D. 412]).
 
Council of Carthage V
It seemed good that whenever there were not found reliable witnesses who could testify that without any doubt they [abandoned children] were baptized and when the children themselves were not, on account of their tender age, able to answer concerning the giving of the sacraments to them, all such children should be baptized without scruple, lest a hesitation should deprive them of the cleansing of the sacraments. This was urged by the [North African] legates, our brethren, since they redeem many such [abandoned children] from the barbarians” (Canon 7 [A.D. 401]).
 
Council of Mileum II
“[W]hoever says that infants fresh from their mothers’ wombs ought not to be baptized, or say that they are indeed baptized unto the remission of sins, but that they draw nothing of the original sin of Adam, which is expiated in the bath of regeneration . . . let him be anathema [excommunicated]. Since what the apostle [Paul] says, ‘Through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so passed to all men, in whom all have sinned’ [Rom. 5:12], must not be understood otherwise than the Catholic Church spread everywhere has always understood it. For on account of this rule of faith even infants, who in themselves thus far have not been able to commit any sin, are therefore truly baptized unto the remission of sins, so that that which they have contracted from generation may be cleansed in them by regeneration” (Canon 3 [A.D. 416]).