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Armenian Church

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  1. A date shall be set for baptism in joint consultation with the Pastor.  Arrangements must be made three months prior to the sacrament. All baptisms are to follow the Canons of the Armenian Apostolic Orthodox Church. The Sacraments will be explained by the Pastor.

  2. Baptisms can take place on any day of the week. According to the canon, practice and tradition of the Armenian Church, the Sacrament should be administered anytime during the eighth to the fortieth day after the birth of a child. We do not recommend delaying or deferring the rite for a later time in order to safeguard the spiritual salvation of the child.

  3. According to a directive of the Eastern Diocese, one of the Godparents (Godfather or Godmother) of the child to be baptized must be a baptized and Chrismated member of the Armenian Apostolic Orthodox Church. Each child to be baptized will have only one Godmother and one Godfather. If only one of the Godparents is a baptized member of the Armenian Apostolic Orthodox Church, the other Godparent must have been baptized in the Christian faith.

  4. The specific items needed for baptism (should be provided by the Godparents) are the following:
    For Infants
    a)  A chain and cross for the Neophyte (Newly Baptized). The cross must be Armenian in style. “Crucifix” style crosses are not part of the tradition of the Armenian Church.
    b) "The Robe of Gladness”-a white outfit to be worn after the Chrismation.
    c) One or two new large white towels not to be used for any other purpose.
    d) A “Narod” will be provided by the church. It is recommended that the Pastor meet with the parents and Godparents at least once, prior to the Baptism, in order to explain the Sacrament.

    For Adults
    a) To be instructed by the Pastor

  5.  The full washing of the child is to be done at home on the third day after the Baptism, preferably with Godparents present. The water used for the bath is not to be emptied down the drain, but is to be collected and poured in the soil of a garden or lawn. The reason for this is that there may still be some Holy Muron left on the child’s body which was transferred into the water. When the undergarments of the child are washed for the very first time after the Baptism, the water should be dispensed in the same manner.

  6. Photographs may be taken at any time during the ceremony. Caution should be used by the photographer (or videographer) not to blind the eyes of the Priest, Deacon or any other member of the baptismal party. At no time nor for any reason will the photographer ascend the steps of the Altar or be at the Altar itself.

  7. A baptism is a sacrament of the Armenian Church and a public service. No person may be excluded from the Church, except where the invited list approximates the seating capacity and if cards of admission have been issued.

  8. All payments for the Baptism service must be received in advance to reserve the baptism date. All payments are the responsibility of the persons involved. Payment to the church is $400. One of the parents of a child should be a member of St. Mary Armenian Apostolic Church of Washington, DC for at least two years. 

  9. The gift to the Pastor shall be left to the family’s discretion. The fee for the services of a visiting or guest priest is according to the individual wishes of the family (the customary minimum gift is $250.00) plus travel expenses. A deacon, also necessary during the sacrament, receives the customary gift of $150.00. If a specific deacon is requested, the Pastor shall be the one to invite him.

  10. Before any guest priest is engaged, the Pastor must be consulted. According to the protocol of the Armenian Church, the Pastor must be the one to invite any guest clergy. In addition to an Armenian Priest, should a priest of a different Christian denomination be invited, the Pastor shall decide the appropriateness of his participation. The Pastor will assign to him the portions he deems fit, according to the Canons and traditions of the Armenian Church. It should be clear that any priest of a different denomination is an invited guest and not a co-celebrant. 

  11. If the Pastor, deacon or other guest clergy are to be invited to a reception, he (they) should be notified in advance.

  12. In order for St. Mary to complete the Baptism Certificate, we need the Armenian spellings of all the names (the
    way you wish for them to appear on the certificate). 


Baptism Guidelines
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