Role of the Godparent

Choosing a godparent for your child and accepting an invitation to become a godparent both require serious consideration.  The following are some things to keep in mind when making these decisions.

In the Orthodox Faith, the godparent stands as the representative of the infant who is being admitted into the Church of Christ.

He or she speaks for the infant and vows that they will do all they can to assure that the child will be a true soldier of Christ and a devoted member of His Church.

The godparent accepts the sacred responsibility of guiding the child into the understanding and practice of the teachings of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church by making a public profession of the Nicene Creed  during the Baptism. A renunciation of the devil is made by the godparent on behalf of the candidate for Baptism.

The godparent is most especially a good Orthodox Christian example to the godchild.

To seal the relationship between parent and godparent, at the end of the baptismal service the godparent delivers the child into the arms of the mother in front of the congregation.  As the mother receives the newly illuminated child she kisses the hand of the godparent as testament to their new spiritual relationship.

For three Sundays following the baptism, it is traditional for the godparent to bring the infant to Holy Communion. The godparent and infant should be accompanied by another person holding a lit candle. The candle is no longer used after the first three Sundays but it is a good practice for the godparent to continue to bring the child to Holy Communion.

In terms of material items, the godparents traditionally provides the infant with a baptismal cross and chain. Additional items for the baptismal service include:

  • Small blanket
  • Large bath towel
  • Twin/single bed sheet
  • Two small hand towels
  • Bar of soap (unscented, preferably Ivory soap)
  • Small bottle of olive oil

Other items that can be provided by either the godparent or parent should include:

  • Undershirt (white)
  • New clothes or baptismal dress (white)
  • Large candle (1-3), these can be plain or decorated

Additional items such as

  • matyrikon (witness button)
  • jordan coated almonds