The Sacrament of Baptism
By Louis Drossos and Fr. Tim Alikakos
GOYA Session – To understand the Sacrament of Baptism, its gifts, its responsibilities, and the role of godparents.
Sing or read the Apolytikion of Epiphany
Lord, when You were baptized in the Jordan, the veneration of the Trinity was revealed. For the voice of the Father gave witness to You, calling You Beloved, and the Spirit, in the guise of a dove, confirmed the certainty of His words. Glory to You, Christ our God, who appeared and enlightened the world.
Have the priest walk through the Baptism service, beginning with the dialogue between the priest and the catechumen. Make sure to have the traditional items available for the priest to show and explain (oil, white towel, soap, candle, cross, white outfit, etc.)
Allow participants to submit/ask their own questions regarding the Baptism service. But you may also use the following questions to get the discussion started:
1) What are your memories of your own baptism, or of what your parents have told you about it?
2) Discuss the gifts and responsibilities that come with being baptized.
3) Discuss the gifts and responsibilities that come with being a godparent.
4) What symbolism do you see in the Baptism? (Everything in” threes”, water, Christ rising from the tomb/child being lifted from the water, etc)
Lead the group to talk about the Scripture passages using the questions provided:
1) Matthew 3:1-6 – Describe what is happening. How did John the Baptist baptize? Why do you think confession of sins goes along with baptism?
2) Matthew 3:13-17 and Mark 1:9-11 – What do these verses tell us about Jesus’ baptism? How are these verses similar or different?
Other passage to read and discussion, if time allows:
Mark 16: 16-20
Acts 8: 12-13, 16:14-15
Matthew 28: 19-20
Remember, baptism gives each Orthodox Christian the “armor” of Christ… protection from the enemy as a solider for Him. So every morning, as you get ready for your day, think about what it means to “put on” Christ. Are we putting on our most positive attitude? Will we treat others with respect? Will we forgive others? Will WE put Christ first?
Read or sing the Apolytikion again.