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Baptism of Blackie Sibiya

2 March 2008

For some years now Blackie Sibiya of Mamelodi has been too old and frail to come to church. After a couple of debilitating strokes he has been housebound. A few weeks ago Fr Frumentius of Atteridgeville (25 km away on the other side of Pretoria) came with me to visit him, and suggested that we baptise him at home, and today we did.

Backyard of Sibiya house in Mamelodi Easst

Father Frumentius also brought three members of his parish in Atteridgeville who wanted to be baptised — Samson Mahwayi (baptised Demetrius), Isaac Mangena (baptised Artemius) and Lawrence Makwati (baptised Sergius).

So we gathered in the backyard — there was no room inside the house big enough to take the font, never mind the people. Blackie Sibiya was sitting in a thatched lapa (summer house) in the yard. Though yesterday was officially the start of autumn (some of the leaves are beginning to turn, and the swallows are twittering on the powerlines preparing to head north) the sun was shining brightly and was quite hot.

Baptism 2 Mar 2008

Blackie Sibiya hadn’t chosen a patron saint so we read out the list of the saints of the day:

Sunday 2nd March 2008
Martyr Hesychius the Senator (c 304)
Virgin-Martyr Euthalia of Sicily (257)
Hieromartyr Theodotus, Bishop of Cyrenia (c 320)
St Arsenius, Bishop of Tver (1409)
St Agathon of Egypt (5th)
400 Martyrs slain by the Lombards in Italy (579)
St Chad, Bishop of Lichfield (672)
St Nicholas Planas, parish priest in Athens (1932)
St Ferona, Abbot of Iona (637)
And he chose St Nicholas Planas, one of the most recent. We wondered where we could find an ikon of him and some information about him and our daughter Bridget provided some links, and said she had visited his church.

Newly illumined servant of God NicholasSo here is the newly-illumined servant of God, Nicholas. It was a huge effort for him to get to the font from where he was sitting, helped by two other people, and he was taken back to sit in the shade immediately after the baptism itself.

One interesting thing is that he was born on 1 January 1940, and his sponsor, Christina Mothapo, the oldest member of the congregation was also born on 1 January, but in 1926.

The others who were baptised were younger and fitter, and so were led in circling the font.

As many as have been baptised into Christ have put on Christ, Alleluia!

So we sing as the newly-illumined servants of God Demetrius, Artemius and Sergius are led by the priest in circling the font.

As many as have been baptised into Christ have put on Christ

And if anyone thinks that that looks like the kind of thing that Zionists [1] do, well, yes it does, but the Orthodox have been doing it for thousands of years before the Zionists ever did.


[1] Members of Zionist Churches in South Africa (the largest group of Christian denominations) often wear white robes and do “wheel dances” (dancing in circles, sometimes to the beat of a drum).

7 Comments leave one →
  1. 2 March 2008 9:55 pm

    Great pictures!

    Pardon my ignorance (I’m North American, so maybe it comes with the territory) but who are the Zionists you are referring to and how does baptism look like something they do?

  2. sol permalink
    3 March 2008 1:34 am

    May God grant His newly-illumined servants Demetrius, Artemius, Sergius and Nicholas many years!

  3. 3 March 2008 2:41 am


    Zionist Churches often wear white robes and dance in circles — I’ll add a link to the Wikipedia article.

  4. greg1 permalink
    4 March 2008 12:30 pm

    good read


  1. Pravoslav in America » Baptism of Blackie Sibiya
  2. Memory eternal: Nicholas (Blackie) Sibiya « Khanya
  3. A new beginning, a new hope « Khanya

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