Marriages and Baptisms
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The Mystery of Marriage

NOTICE: Requests for duplicate Marriage certificates must be made in writing and either sent by e-mail to or mailed directly to the Cathedral. No phone requests will be considered. Expect a wait of 3-6 weeks. We do not provide baptismal certificates for the purpose of Marriages to be performed outside the Orthodox Church.

For Those Seeking Marriage at the Cathedral

For adequate preparation, arrangements should be made with the priest by the couple in person at least 4 months in advance.

The Sacrament of Christian Marriage is the beginning of a spiritual process that lasts a lifetime. The ultimate purpose of Christian marriage (as opposed to purely “civil” or “legal” marriages sanctioned by the state) is the salvation of the spouses and mutual support in their pilgrimage to grow in the likeness of Christ. The Cathedral church is not a “wedding chapel” to be “booked” for a one-time “event” and then abandoned except for “memories” in a wedding photo album. It is wrong-minded and insulting to treat the Church in such a cavalier and frivolous manner. Those who are considering having their marriage here must understand that up front. No dates will be discussed or reserved by phone or e-mail contacts. The intended couple must come to the Church for a Sunday Liturgy and speak with the priest afterward before any discussion of marriage can occur. They should be active and regular members of the Church, not just baptized into it as an infant.

The couple must complete and file an application at least three months in advance of a propsed date for marriage.

As a rule, the Church only marries Orthodox Christian members who are regular communicants and who intend to live as an Orthodox Christian family. Certain exceptions (special dispensation) may be made for a “mixed marriage” (marriage to a non-Orthodox spouse who has received a valid form of trinitarian baptism, e.g. by water, “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit”), but the non-Orthodox spouse must agree beforehand that any children issuing from the marriage will be baptized and raised in the Orthodox Church, and they are urged to also be open to converting to Orthodoxy in the future. Marriage of divorced persons also also requires a special dispensation from the bishop. Special dispensation is obtained through the priest.

Together the couple seeks to receive the saving grace of God in their lives. To be married in and by the Church without consciously intending to nurture that relationship in the Church is a mistake. To be married in the Church simply to please other family members, or because it is an ethnic custom, is dishonest to ourselves and to God. Before we can proceed with setting up a date for your marriage, there are certain steps that must be taken, and pre-marriage counseling must be scheduled.

Before you can be married in the Church, the following preparation and preconditions must first be met by you:

  • Become a Pledging Member of the Cathedral by filling out a Pledge Card and making a payment toward the pledge. You may also make and fulfil your pledge on our web site through our subscription service.
  • Speak to the priest to secure a date for the marriage at least three months in advance, and fill out an Application for Marriage. There are many other things that must be discussed such as times and days when marriages are permitted to be served in the Church. At least two counseling sessions with the priest are necessary before the marriage ceremony. Do not make any plans (invitations, hall rental, etc.) before clearing the date with the priest. The proper day for marriages is Sunday. Marriages on Saturdays must begin no later than 2:00 p.m.
  • Live chastely (no sex before marriage), and do not live together in the same place until after the marriage service is performed.
  • The Couple and Sponsors/Godparents must receive the Sacrament of Holy Confession and prepare to receive Holy Communion prior to the marriage. Sponsors need to be Orthodox Christians in good standing. A male for the groom, a female for the bride. They do NOT need to be best man and maid of honor—so long as there’s one of each in the wedding party, it will do. On the wedding certificate, the names of the Orthodox Christian spnosors will be inscribed.
  • You will need to purchase/provide two candles.
  • The standard donation for a marriage is $600. A choir (quartet) may be hired to sing at the ceremony for a fee of $400.
  • Fees to use space in the Cathedral halls for a reception begin at $1,500 and cannot accomodate more than 150 persons. No reception may be held here on Saturdays.
  • Make a sincere promise to live a Christian Orthodox life by making attendance at Liturgy on Sundays a regular part of your family life. This is an indispensable part of a successful marriage.

No wedding is put on the Cathedral calendar until the initial meeting has taken place.

NOTE: The goal of the Orthodox Church is to give each married couple the best opportunity for a blessed and fulfilling marriage; hence, the Church can never condone couples living together as practically married prior to the marriage. Not only is there no question from a biblical standpoint that this is inappropriate, but statistics gathered by secular professionals clearly show that there is a 50% HIGHER divorce rate among couples who have lived together prior to their weddings than those who have not! The Church makes every attempt to give couples a spiritually healthy, appropriate start. Therefore, any couple wishing to be married and is cohabitating must do everything they can to separate physically until their wedding date; this decision is made in a loving spirit of concern for the health and stability of the future marriage.

Be sure to consult the priest about every aspect of the marriage (rings, dress, flowers, special music requests, etc.) The throwing of rice on the church porch is not permitted – flower petals or dried lavender are allowed and provide a better alternative. Women’s clothing should be modest and in good taste, not have bared shoulders and backs, or at least a shawl or drape should be worn during the church service.

Please call or e-mail me ( with any questions. I hope to see you in church this Sunday and every Sunday thereafter as we move closer to your wedding day. The Liturgy begins at 9:30 a.m. God bless you.

Please read the following information on Marriage before coming to discuss a date.

Some Directives and Guidelines Concerning Marriage

The Church’s vision of marriage is as an icon of the Trinitarian life of God Himself. In such a union, human love and desire for companionship become a love pervaded and sanctified by Divine Grace. God unites in body and spirit, heart and mind. Love unites in such a way that two lives become one life in perfect harmony. Such love implies a relationship in marriage that is total in character. To live up to its high calling, the Christian family must be firmly established in the faith.

  1. The priest must make sincere and determined efforts through preaching and teaching to make his parishioners aware that the Mystery of Marriage takes place within the context of the total life of the parish.
  2. The rector must seek to know who among his parishioners intend to marry and must make himself available for guidance and advice. His responsibilities include instructing the couple on the Orthodox Christian teaching of marriage. This should take place well before wedding plans are made so that the couple may understand and follow the Church’s teaching and discipline on the Mystery of Marriage.
  3. Counseling and teaching should include the following:
    • Procreation of children is not in itself the sole purpose of marriage; nevertheless, Christian marriage presupposes a desire to have children. The couple should pray for God to grant them the blessings of childbirth and wise nurturing of the family.
    • “Let marriage be held in honor, and let the marriage bed be undefiled” (Hebrews 13:4). Sexual union is one of the blessings which marriage endows. The priest should remind the couple that they belong to each other. Couples may abstain from sexual union for a season by mutual consent, but should be made aware that refraining entirely from this act may result in unnecessary difficulties in their marriage.
  4. The priest should make known to his faithful that before setting a date, renting a hall, or considering any activity related to the social aspect of the marriage day, a couple planning marriage must first seek the blessing, guidance, and advice of their parish priest.
  5. The couple must respect the seasons, times, and days during which marriage may be blessed. The priest must also uphold the teaching of the Church in regard to these things. The most appropriate time for a wedding is Sunday, following the celebration of the Divine Liturgy at which they would have both attended and received Holy Communion together.
  6. Marriages may not be celebrated on:
    • evenings before Wednesdays and Fridays throughout the year
    • Saturday evenings throughout the year
    • evenings of the twelve Great Feasts or patronal feast of the parish
    • during the course of all the fasts
    • the Great Forty Day Fast (Great Lent), Apostles’ Fast (in June, dates vary), Dormition Fast (August 1-15), and Nativity Fast (November 14-December 25)
    • from Pre-Lenten Sunday of Meatfare to the Sunday of Cheesefare
    • during the course of Bright Week (week after Easter/Pascha)
    • from the Feast of the Nativity of the Lord (Dec. 25) through the Feast of the Synaxis of St. John the Baptist (Jan. 7)
    • on the eve and day of the Feast of St. John the Baptist (Aug. 28-29)
    • on the eve and day of the Elevation of the Holy Cross (Sept. 13-14)
  7. Because marriages are normally celebrated on Sunday after the Divine Liturgy, the request to hold the ceremony on a Saturday may require a written petition for consent to the diocesan hierarch by the rector of the church where the marriage is to be performed. The couple must be exhorted to attend the Divine Liturgy on the following Sunday so that the marriage can be sealed by the reception of the Holy Eucharist. If permission is given for a Saturday wedding, it shall be celebrated no later than a time of day established by the hierarch (2PM) so that the priest may serve the Vigil or Vesper service.
  8. The ritual of the marriage ceremony is to be celebrated in an Orthodox Church building. Ceremonies in halls, gardens, and other places are not not permitted.
  9. The priest, as a pastor of souls, must also be available to counsel those already married, who are experiencing difficulties in their married status.
  10. The priest is responsible for entering into the metrical book the required information.

A. Mixed Marriages

A mixed marriage is a marriage between an Orthodox Christian and a non-Orthodox Christian who is baptized in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and who confesses the unique Lordship of Jesus Christ. The Church tolerates this because of her pastoral concern and love for the faithful. Thus, a mixed marriage is not the norm, but is permitted in the hope that the non-Orthodox spouse will seek entrance into the Church.

  1. A petition for a mixed marriage must be submitted to the diocesan hierarch for his blessing.
  2. In a mixed marriage, the Orthodox partner should not consent to have children of the union baptized outside the Orthodox Church as a pre-marriage agreement.
  3. Toleration of a mixed marriage does not extend to marriage between an Orthodox Christian and a non-Christian person, such as a Christian Scientist, Jehovah’s Witness, Jew, Mormon, Moslem, Unitarian, etc.
  4. Active participation of non-Orthodox clergy in this service, as in all the mysteries of the Orthodox Church, is not allowed. Conversely, Orthodox clergy may not participate in Non- Orthodox services and rites.

B. Second Marriage and Marriage Between Divorced Persons

  1. The Orthodox norm for those who marry is one marriage. A second marriage is tolerated under certain conditions. A third marriage may be extended under certain precise circumstances.
  2. The Church does not grant divorces. However, it recognizes that because of human weaknesses and sin marriages sometimes disintegrate and are ended by a civil decree of divorce.
  3. In her mercy and wisdom, the Church may grant permission to remarry through the diocesan hierarch. Petition is made to the hierarch through the parish priest. A clear hand-written statement of repentance from the divorced party, whether or not he/she is considered the culpable one in the divorce, and a clear statement that the reason he/she desires to enter a second marriage is that it is considered necessary for his/her salvation is to be addressed to the diocesan hierarch through the parish priest. (See: Synodal Affirmations on Marriage, Family, Sexuality, and Sanctity of Life, Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church in America, Tenth All-American Council, 1992, page 5.)
  4. Under no circumstances can there be a fourth marriage.
  5. The Order of Service:
    • If one party of the marriage is being married for the first time (even if that person is not Orthodox), the order of the first marriage is used.
    • If both the partners are divorced and/or widowed, the order for the second marriage may be used.

C. Marriage Outside of the Orthodox Church

  1. Orthodox Christians who marry outside the Orthodox Church thereby exclude their marital life from the life of the Church, exclude themselves from participation in the Holy Eucharist, and therefore exclude themselves from full membership in the Church.
  2. Such persons, after a period of penance, may be restored to Eucharistic fellowship by recommendation from the priest and on the approval of the hierarch.
  3. Normally, such an act of restoration includes the confirmation of the marriage through a rite approved by the hierarch.
  4. Converts to Holy Orthodoxy are not to be remarried when they embrace the Orthodox faith.

D. Items necessary for the wedding day:

  1. Rings for both the bride and the groom.
  2. Two white candles.
  3. Civil marriage license obtained within 60 day prior to the ceremony.

E. Prohibited Marriages:

  1. Parents with their own children, grandchildren or great-grandchildren.
  2. Brothers-in-law with sisters-in-law.
  3. Uncles and aunts with nieces and nephews.
  4. First cousins with each other.
  5. Foster parents with foster children or foster children with the children of foster parents.
  6. Godparents with Godchildren or Godparents with the parents of Godchildren.
The Mystery of Baptism

NOTICE: Requests for duplicate Baptismal or Marriage certificates must be made in writing and either sent by e-mail to or mailed directly to the Cathedral. No phone requests will be considered. Expect a wait of 3-6 weeks. We do not provide baptismal certificates for the purpose of marriages to be performed outside the Orthodox Church.

For Those Seeking Baptism at the Carthedral

Applicants for Baptism must come to the Church in person to speak to the Priest, and file an application for Baptism at least one month prior to the requested date. We suggest calling the church office during your pregnancy so that a more through preparation make take place.

The Sacraments of Holy Baptism and Chrismation initiate a person into the life of the Orthodox Church. It is the first step of a spiritual process that lasts throughout one’s life. Regrettably, sometimes Holy Baptism is considered a right of passage or even a kind of “good luck” ritual or ethnic custom. This is a wrong-minded understanding. Infants and young children are baptized on the basis of the faith of their sponsor (godparent) and with the understanding that they will be raised as Orthodox Christians, in the Church, by Orthodox Christian parents.

As a rule, the Church only baptizes the children of parent(s) who are confessing and communing members of the Church. Godparents should be Orthodox Christians in good standing, regularly attending the divine services on Sundays, and spiritually attentive to the condition of their souls. Godparents promise to assist the parents in nurturing the newly baptized child in a Godly home, encouraging them by example, to seek out and receive the saving grace that flows from the sacramental life of the Church.

Before we can baptize your child in the Church parents must first make some preparations:

  • Speak to the priest to secure a date for the Baptism at least one month in advance, and fill out an application for Baptism.
  • Become a Pledging Member of the Cathedral by filling out a Pledge Card. 
  • Parents and Godparents should receive the Sacrament of Holy Confession and prepare to receive Holy Communion prior to the Baptism.
  • Bring a complete change of clothes (baptismal outfit/garment) for the child
  • You, or the Godparents will need to provide one large, white bath towel, and a candle and a neck cross for the child. 
  • The suggested donation for a Baptism is $300.
  • Fees to use a Cathedral hall for a reception begin at $750 and receptions cannot conflict with times of scheduled church services.
  • Make a pledge to live a Christian Orthodox life by making attendance at Liturgy on Sundays a regular part of your family life. This is indispensable for parents who seek to baptize their child.

Please read the following information about bapism and godparents, and have your proposed godparent also read it before setting up a date with me for the Baptism. If you have any further questions, please call or e-mail me ( I hope to see you on Sunday in the church. The Liturgy begins at 9:30 a.m. God bless you. Congratulations on the birth of your child.

Guidelines Concerning Baptism

Baptism and Chrismation must be understood and experienced as corporate acts of worship and praise. They must be communal actions of the Church as the mystical Body and Bride of Christ, common liturgical actions of the whole people of God, witnessed, celebrated and accomplished by all, together in one place, at one time. (See: On the Spiritual Life in the Church, Encyclical Letter, Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church in America, 1988.

  1. Baptism is normally performed in the temple. In the case of an adult baptism, the rite may take place outdoors at a suitable aquatic site. 
  2. The candidate for baptism should bear the name of a recognized Orthodox saint. This matter should be discussed with the prospective parents long before the birth of the child. An adult convert to the Church should also bear the name of an Orthodox saint, especially if the name given at birth is unusual to the Orthodox tradition.
  3. The Mystery of Holy Baptism is administered in full accordance with the Office of the Service. Baptism is properly performed by triple immersion.
  4. The final step in Christian Initiation is the partaking of the first Holy Communion. In the instance of Baptism or Chrismation, it is desirable that the newly baptized receive Communion at the next celebrated during the Divine Liturgy. 
  5. The sponsor/godparent should be a person of faith who is a practicing Orthodox Christian, and gaurentee their eligibility to the priest. They serve as a guarantor to the Church that the person being baptized will be raised in the Orthodox faith. A person can guarantee only that which they already possess and practices; therefore, a non-Orthodox or a lapsed Orthodox is unable to be a godparent since they neither hold the faith, nor the practice it. The sponsor should be of the same gender as the child/candidate.
  6. A worthy sponsor is already leading a full sacramental life, confessing sins through the Mystery of Penance and receiving Holy Communion.  The sponsor, as well as the parents, should be prepared to receive the Eucharist at the time together with the newly baptized child/candidate.
  7. A person who has excommunicated himself/herself, or has been suspended from Communion is ineligible to be a sponsor.
  8. The child’s parents or may request that a non-Orthodox person witness the mystery. That person may be present and considered an an honorary witness only.
  9. The priest will enter the required data in the parish metrical records after ascertaining all necessary information, and provide the parents with a Certificate of Baptism.

The Mystery of Chrismation

  1. Chrismation is joined to Mystery of Baptism according to the prescribed ritual. 


Some Responsibilities of the Godparent

A Godparent is the sponsor at baptism. They must be a member in good standing of the Orthodox church, in full sacramental communion, able to read the Creed, and who accepts the basic tenets of the Christian faith and its ethics. They must understand the purpose and meaning of baptism, and of the vows which they will publicly make on behalf of the one baptized, and be ready to explain it to them when they grow up. If the Sponsor is married, the marriage must have been blessed by the Church.

The sponsor at baptism cannot be:

  • a child younger then 15 (adults are preferred);
  • someone with no knowledge of the Orthodox faith;
  • someone who has not received the Sacrment of Holy Confession and Coimmnunion in the past year;
  • a non-Orthodox Christian. Parents or siblings, Aunts or Uncles, grandpaeents may not be godparents to members of their immediate family, since sponsorship creates a new spiritual relationship between them.

Consider this:

Dear Prospective Godparent,

In order to serve as a godparent, you must be a person of faith, a practicing member of the Orthodox Church, and  attest to your eligibility, to be given a blessing  to serve as a godparent.

Before you even ask to be to be approved and blessed, or agree to serve as godparent for a Baptism, please ask yourself these questions:

Do I believe in the Nicene Creed, as framed by the holy Ecumenical and Apostolic Councils of Nicea and Constantinople? That is a simple question. One asked publicly of every godparent at a baptism and of any adult who comes to the Orthodox Church from another faith, which make up about 30% of our parish. It is the same for you who may have been baptized as a child, as for those who made a conscious decision to join themselves to the Orthodox Church. You will be expeceged to read The Creed aloud at the Baptism, and fully understand what your are reading. 

Do you believe in and worship One God the Creator, revealed to us in a Trinity of persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, or  do you  instead believe in demigods, or pantheism, or false prophets, self-appointed gurus, or heretical evangelists, or do you instead worship nature and created things?

Do you believe that God became a human person in Jesus Christ, as a unique one time occurrence by which humanity and divinity were joined in His person, and by whichall  humanity became children of God by adoption?

Do you believe that the completion of humanity's creation, begun before time by God the holy Trinity,m was fully consummated and completed when Christ, the God/Man, stretched out His hands upon the cross and endured physical death, so that death is now a path to eternal life?

Do you believe that Christ rose from the dead by His own power as God in the flesh, and ascended bodily to heaven with his human and divine nature intact, and lives eternally with the Father and the Spirit as the God/Man? That our humanity is co-enthroned with Christ, the Son and Word of God Incarnate, in the divine Trinity forever as our destiny and the fulfillment of human personhood?

Do you believe that in the Divine Liturgy of the Church, under the mystical forms of bread and wine we partake of the very body and blood of the incarnate God, unto forgiveness of sins and life eternal? And that by eating and drinking It, we enter into the life of the holy Trinity and become by Grace what God is by nature? And if so, do you then avail myself and your family of these awesome gifts of Grace regularly with faith, as directed by the Church, within which they are offered and distributed?

Do you set other beliefs, customs or superstitions, whether ancient or modern, above these life-giving teachings, or in place of them?

These are some questions asked of any adult coming to the Church before they are blessed and PERMITTED to receive Captism, Chrismation, Communion or any of the mysteries. They apply equally to you presenting yourself publicly as a godparen of a newly baptized person..

If you can answer honestly to these minimalist questions with sincerity and peace in your soul before God, then we can proceed. It will be your conscience that will judge you or acquit you. You will be expected to come to church in advance of the Baptism to participate in the Sacrament of holy Confession. The decision of who may serve as a godparent at a baptism is lies completely within the competence of the Parish Priest, and not the parents or family members.

The responsibilities of the Godparent only begin at baptism; the role really expands and hopefully blossoms as the Godparent and Godchild develop a close and loving relationship that last a lifetime. As with any relationship, it needs to be cultivated and cared for in order for it to develop and thrive. The best way for this relationship to grow is through prayer. Pray for your Godchild and his or her parents every day, and the parents should pray and encourage their child to pray for their Godparents. By doing this you are building a conscious  relationship and giving it the spiritual basis on which to mature.

Here are some other practical ideas:

  1. Celebrate the anniversary of the baptism with a card or a phone call. Learn the story about about the child’s patron saint. (google it).
  2. Show your faith through your action, nit just words. Understand the sacraments as well as the teachings of the church so that you will be able to answer questions that your Godchild will have.
  3. Encourage them in faith through the types of gifts that you give your Godchild. Some examples of gifts are a Bible, an icon, prayer book, books on the lives of saints, prayer rope, etc. By doing this you are giving tools to help your Godchild grow in the faith, and are helping him/her to start a personal library of Orthodox teachings.
  4. If you live in close proximity to your Godchild visit with them and their parents. Find out when school activities and sports events are scheduled and try to go to a few. Plan a special time, whether for lunch or a outin,  to the zoo, to be with your Godchild. These times together will only help to make your relationship closer.
  5. If you live far away, call, write, or e-mail your Godchild. Send a letter at the beginning of a church season (Advent, Lent, etc.) to let him or her know that you will be praying for him. Encourage them to attend church each Sunday with regularity. And be sure to attend yourself with some regularity.
  6. From the day of their Baptism, pray daily for your godchild, for you will be asked to account for about your Godchild’s soul before God.*
  7. A faithful Godparent will be a friend in Christ and maintain close contact with his Godchild. 
  8. Pray through the ups and downs of life with your Godchild. Find out what’s troubling or challenging your Godchild, what they are excited about or eagerly anticipating, then do your best to talk about God in that context. Encourage your Godchild to pray, pray together, and let your godchild know that you are praying for him or her every day.
  9. Make a big deal of your godchild’s birthday and  name day with a special visit  if you’re nearby, and give a “spiritually oriented” meaniful gift to celebrate it. 
  10. Emphasize the spiritual aspects of Christmas and Easter. Make it a tradition to read the stories of the Nativity and Pascha morning and help his or her parents downplay the material and commercial aspects (Santa, the Easter Bunny, loads of loot in pretty wrapping). Play up the feasts of the Church instead – by bringing candles to be blessed at the Feast of the Presentation and flowers or perfume or inceses at the Dormition of the Theotokos and sharing them with your godchild, or by baking a birthday cake for the Births of the Theotokos, Jesus, and St John the Baptist.
  11. Invite your godchild to go with you to Great VespersMatins, or weekday services for the feasts if you live close by. Encourage your whole “god-family” to come to Church for services other than the Sunday/resurrectional Divine Liturgy, if they don’t do so regularly.
  12. Ask what your godchild is learning in Church school. Discuss the lesson of the week, and offer to help with Church school homework. Encourage him or her to read the gospels,  learn about Jesus and try to become like him is being loving and merciful and accepting of all people.
  13. Encourage your godchild serve others. Find a service project to work at together, such as working at a hot-meal program, or visiting parishioners in the hospices or nursing homes. Help them discover new ways to use God-given talents to benefit others – the artistic might design posters or programs for church events, the musical might record Church music for shut-ins, etc. Encourage them to serve or sing, or chant, too, and “cheer them on” each time they do.
  14. Encourage them to attend seminary, or visit the monastery, if they show interest. Mention the priesthood as a “career choice”, and help them learn more about what our Orthodox clergy do – and how important their calling to guide others in the Faith is to all of us!
  15. Make your godchild “one of the family.” Include your godchild, and his or her parents and siblings, in your own family’s “social” events: reunions, picnics, camping trips, and zoo and museum outings.
  16. Spend time together. Keep in touch by phone, e-mail, or postcard if your godchildren are out of state or across the globe. Prayer and love in Christ know no distance!


Working together: Godparent and Parents

It is important for the Godparent to work with your godchild’s parents. Talk with your godchild’s parents often about his or her life, spiritual and otherwise, and ask how you can help. Parents can often use another perspective – and another willing hand – as they guide their children to adulthood. Parents choose Godparents who will reinforce them, people to whom our children can turn when the parents are not cool enough to listen to them, and when they need to hear difficult truths from someone who loves them.

Parents may be unsure whether they are too strict or too lenient; Godparents are a good sounding board for discussing this when it pertains to the Godchild. Parents may wish to make the Godparents the child’s emergency contact person after the parents so the secular world relies appropriately on the Godparent should a crisis hit.

Parents should light candles and pray for their children’s Godparents every time they enter a church, say their family and personal prayers. Likewise the Godparents should pray not only for their Godchild but the Godchild’s parents as well. They are all relatives,  part of a spiritual family.

The Responsibility of the Godchild to their Godparent

Godparent and Godchild can develop a close and loving relationship. As with any relationship, this spiritual one needs to be fostered and cared for in order for it to develop. The best way for this relationship to grow is through prayer. Pray for your Godparent and his/her family. By doing this you are encouraging a relationship and giving it the spiritual basis on which to mature.

When greeting one’s Godparent, you should feel the love and familiarity that you have with your own parents. It is NOT inappropriate to hug or kiss your godparents, as you would your own parents.

A Godchild should light candles and pray for their Godparents every time they enter a church, say their family prayers, and say their personal prayers. The Godchild should observe the Godparents birthday and names day. Celebrate it with a special visit or phone call, email or even a text message. 

There will come a time in which your Godparents, like you parents will age and be  less able to be fully present with you. Remember to continue to pray for them and visit or write them often to maintain your relationship. Ask for their advice even after, maybe especially after you have grown up.

Finally there will come a day in which your parents and godparents will pass pass away. Keep your image of your Godparents in your mind to help brings peace and memories of their  love and kindness. Pray for your Godparents and offer memorial services in their memory, do works and offer alms in their name. And ask for them to pray for you in heaven.

What If Godparents Don’t Work Out?

Although great care and many prayers are put forth by the parents in choosing the Godparent for their child, sometimes after the baptism the relationship does not grow. It’s sad to have your child want to disown their “missing-in-action” godparent, but it can happen. If after repeated efforts the godparent does not respond and since it is so important for our children to have the influence of a “godparent,” ask yourself, “Who among my closest Orthodox friends could relate to my child and serve as a spiritual mentor?” Discuss the situation with your parish priest. Ask God to guide your efforts. Ask that person to consider the task and to pray about it. If that person agrees, let your child know that this individual is there for him/her. If the person does not consent, keep on praying and asking. Have faith that God will provide for your child’s spiritual needs.

I hope that this helps you give thoughful consideration of your roles as godparents and parents of the child,  you are asking to be "baptized into Christ."

—The Right Reverend Archimandrite CHRISTOPHER (Calin), Dean

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Cathedral of the Holy Virgin Protection (2nd Street Cathedral)
59 East Second Street; New York, NY 10003