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Armenian Church

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"When all the people were being baptized, Jesus was baptized too. And as he was praying, heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: "You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased" (Luke 3:21-22).

Baptism is the one of the most significant events in a person's life. It is the very first sacrament of the Church that we participate in. Through baptism we become heirs to the heavenly kingdom and are called to the duty of serving Christ through our lives. Christ himself established this divine sacrament when He was baptized by John the Baptist (Matt. 3:13-17; Mark 1:9-11; Luke 3:21-22). He gave a distinct meaning to baptism by becoming an example for each of us.

In the Gospels, we even have instances where Jesus Himself baptized people, which also tells us about the importance and necessity of baptism. In John chapter 3:22 we read, "After this, Jesus and his disciples went out into the Judean countryside, where he spent some time with them, and baptized".

The most explicit and significant passage that we have from Gospels is Jesus’ command, which we find both in the Gospels of Matthew and Mark. In Matthew the Evangelist ends his Gospel with this very important command of Jesus to His disciples, "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."

The sacrament of baptism is the precondition of becoming a Christian and inheritors of eternal life. Christ himself said: "Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit" (John 3:5). Just as a man’s earthly birth happens only once, likewise the spiritual rebirth of a man can only happen once from the baptismal font of the Church.

Baptism is a spiritual birth and, as St. Paul stresses, there is "one Lord, one faith, one baptism" (Eph. 4:5). Through baptism man enters into the Church, becoming its member and being adopted by the Heavenly Father. Through baptism we are cleansed of our original sin and we receive the gifts of the Holy Spirit, thus becoming a "new creation". In the Armenian Church, the service of confirmation follows immediately after the baptismal service.

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