Baptism in Greece
Author: Ivana Stanojevic
For organizing the sacrament of Baptism in Greece, it is necessary to provide the documents below:
-The birth certificate of the child, the translated one and certified with the Apostille Stamp.
-A certified photocopy of the child’s passport that is possible to get in Greece at the local KEP service, because those are international documents, they should not be translated and this service is free.
-Certificates of baptism of parents and of the godparents, and their marriage certificates, too. These documents are not authenticated by the Apostille Stamp because they are not secular documents. This can be done in Greece, with a lawyer.
Many churches do not allow a baptism of a child if the godfathers are not married in the church (keep that in your mind), while some of them also require parents’ marriage to be recognized by the Church.
When we talking about equipment that the child should have, it is necessary:
-cross as you wish
-a white canvas to put the child on it
The baptism in Greece implies that the priest blesses the water in the font adding the oil in it, and the baby is dipped three times into the font. During a baptism, the baby is anointed with oil and should not take a bath for 3 days, and after that period, the godfather comes into baby`s home and gives the child a ritual bath.
For this reason, people here are buying the underwear for kids that goes under the wardrobe, to not ruin the formal suit that is expensive here in general.
In the rest of the text, I will list the customs that the Greeks respect for the baptism, which you are not obliged to obey.
One of the customs is that the godfathers should buy a formal suit that child is going to wear after the baptism, as well as the special underwear, because the child is oiled completely and should not take a bathe.
Also, you should make and give to guests hand made candies (usually with some decoration or toy), because it is believed that this custom refers to fertility and progress.
The godfathers should pay for baptism, which we paid 250 euros 8 years ago, we got a discount because the twins baptized, but otherwise it is 150 euros.
It is customary for parents to give some presents to godfathers after the baptism, but it is a personal thing again.
These baptism customs are in Greece something little novelty, and big businesses have been made of them, so the godfather often spent up to 1500 euros for one baptism. This is, of course, a matter of agreement with your godfather, where there is no need to exaggerate if someone is not able for something like that.
In many churches there is no baptismal price, so you can give to priest the amount you think you should give. Also, a large number of Serbian families baptize a child in the metoch of the Hilandar monastery, in Kakov, where baptism is free.
Wherever you plan to baptize your child it is necessary to announce in advance. Baptism can be performed in all Greek churches, but not in all monasteries. For example, in the monastery of the Holy Archangel Michael on Thassos, it is no longer possible to perform baptism or wedding.
See more information in the group Live from Greece.