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Christmas baptism

26 December 2017

On Christmas day we baptised Charles Nkosi as Christos, which means that Christmas will be his name day from now on.

When we started holding services in Atteridgeville two years ago, Demetrius Mahwayi brought his friend Charles along. Charles became a regular, and last year we took him to the Christmas Liturgy at St Nicholas Church in Brixton, and after the service he said he wanted to be baptised. So after a year of preparation Fr Elias Palmos at St Nicholas suggested that it would be appropriate for him to be baptised there the following Christmas, which was yesterday,

Exorcisms at the church door (all photos by Jethro Hayes)

After four exorcisms, he faced west and rejected the devil, turned to the east and accepted Christ: I believe in him as King and God.

He and his sponsor (Demetrius) said the Symbol of Faith.

Rejecting the devil and accepting Christ

And the Priest says:

Bow yourself also before Him

And the catechumen bows himself, saying,

I bow myself to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, the Trinity one in essence and undivided.

I bow myself to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit

And the priest says

Blessed is God, Who desireth that all men should be saved, and should come to a knowledge of the truth…

The the priest blesses the water for baptism

The blessing of the water

Thou didst sanctify the streams of Jordan sending down from heaven Thy Holy Spirit, and didst crush the heads of the dragons that lurked therein. Do Thou therefore, O King, Lover of Mankind, come now through the descent of Thy Holy Spirit, and sanctify this water.

The priest blesses the Oil of Gladness, with which the catechumen is anointed before being baptised, , and some is poured into the baptismal water.

The catechumen is anointed for the lealing of soul and body, on the ears for the hearing of faith, on the feet that he may walk in the path of God’s commandments,

He then enters the water, and is immersed three times by Fr Elias, assisted by Fr Frumentius.

The servant of God Christos is baptised in the name of the Father. Amen. And of the Son, Amen. And of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

And after being baptised, the newly illumined servant of God Christos is given a white robe and a cross.

Give unto me a shining robe, O Thou who clothest thyself with light as with a garment

And having been baptised he is anointed with the Oil of Holy Chrism, which some call confirmation, for the priest prays to God

… Who now art well-pleased for thy newly-illumined servant to be born again through water and the Spirit, and who grantest unto him remission of sins, both voluntary and involuntary,: Do Thou Thyself O Master, O Compassionate King of all, grant him also the seal of Thy Holy, all-powerful and worshipped Spirit, that the communion of the Holy Brody and precious Blood of Thy Christ. Keep him in Thy Sanctification, confirm him in the Orthodox faith, , deliver him from the evil one and all his devices…

And then the priest cuts his hair in the form of a cross.

The priest, the newly-baptised and his sponsor go around the font, while the people sing “As many as have been baptised into Christ have put on Christ, Alleluia.

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

And finally the newly-illumined servant of God receives the Holy Communion of the Body and Blood of Christ.

Receive the Body of Christ, taste the Fountain of Immortality

Afterwards I took Christos, his sponsor Demetrius and friend Artemius back to Atteridgeville, with Christos’s aunt, who had come to witness his baptism. She promised to join us again. So one brings another.

Demetrius Mahwayi and his spiritual child Christos.

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