The question of how to choose the godparents for the child's christening is one of the most important in the days preceding the commission of this great sacrament. On the extent to which the choice of the child's parents will be successful, the path of spiritual growth that he is going to have depends largely on. Therefore, we will try to fully understand this issue, and, if possible, avoid mistakes.
When should a baby be baptized?
The first and most important event in the life of a newborn is the rite of holy baptism. About how many days after the birth of the baby should be done, there is no strictly established rule. But taking into account the spiritual importance of the sacrament, it is recommended not to postpone it for a long time without serious reasons, and try to make the sacrament in the first year of the child's life.
Both in the process of performing the rite, and in the further spiritual life of the newly baptized, the godparents assigned to him play an important role, who undertake the duty to educate him in the spirit of Orthodoxy. That is why the importance of how to choose the godparents for the child becomes important so that in the future they will be able to fully fulfill the mission entrusted to them.
Who can not be among the godparents?
It should be taken into account that there are certain limitations when assigning godparents. In this role, parents of the child and, in addition, persons who are related can not act first of all. Also, church rules forbid entrusting this to people who are married or who intend to enter into it after a while. The reason here is quite obvious. Godparents are people who are spiritually related, and physical intimacy between them is unacceptable.
Continuing the conversation about how to choose the godparents for the child, it must be emphasized that they can not be all kinds of gentiles, including even Christians of other faiths (Catholics, Protestants, Lutherans, etc.). And, of course, one should not trust it to people in general who are unbelievers or who declare their faith, but are unbaptized and do not attend the church.
As for the age restrictions imposed on possible candidates, girls can be godchildren from thirteen years old, and boys from fifteen. It is believed that, given proper and proper religious education at this age, they are already able to realize the responsibility entrusted to them and eventually become spiritual guides of their godson.
Finally, persons suffering from mental illnesses should be excluded from the number of possible candidates, as they can not be held responsible for their actions, and those who conduct a depravity (from the church and the universal viewpoint) way of life. The godparents also can not be monks and nuns.
On whom do you choose?
However, the question of how to choose the godparents for a child is not limited to a list of those who are not suitable for this role. Much more important is another. One should know who can be chosen as godchild for the child, and there are no clearly delineated boundaries in this plan, and there are only recommendations based on the experience of previous generations of Orthodox Christians.
Before you stop on someone's choice, you should first of all think whether they will pray for their godparents or godchildren all their lives, for that is one of their main responsibilities. This is especially important in the first years after baptism, because the child is still small and can not himself turn to the Creator in prayer. In addition, it is believed that the prayer of those who received the baby from the holy font, has a special blessed power and is heard.
How to choose godparents for a child? Rules and tips
A godson can become any relative of the child, regardless of the degree of kinship, a friend of his parents or simply someone whom they know and respect. But at the same time it is necessary first of all to be guided by whether the chosen one is a good adviser and a good spiritual teacher of the child.
To better understand how to choose godparents for a child, it is necessary to outline the terms of reference that are assigned to each of them. This will help to avoid in the future many frustrations and disappointments associated with the hasty and ill-considered decision.
According to the existing tradition, the godparents must go to church a day or two before the ordinance and there confess and take communion to take off the burden of earthly sins that can prevent the establishment of spiritual unity with the godson. Immediately on the day of baptism, they impose on themselves a voluntary post, excluding both food intake and the performance of marital duties.
During the performance of the sacrament, the "Symbol of Faith" is read, and if the rite is performed on a girl, then the godmother reads the prayer, and if over the boy, then the godfather. In this regard, it is important to carefully prepare, learn the text and know in advance from the priest when to read the prayer and how.
The correct choice of the godparents for the child is extremely important and with respect to the help that is expected of them at the time of the rite. And first of all it refers to the godmother. She, among other things, must take care of both the gift to the child and the various things needed to perform the sacrament, such as a christening shirt, a towel and, of course, a cross necklace that will be worn on him. By the way, it should be noted that during the performance of the sacrament her presence is necessary, whereas the godfather can participate in it only in absentia.
The psychological aspect of choosing the godmother
It is very important to take into account the fact that after bathing in the font the child receives his godmother, and here it is necessary to take care that this does not cause stress for the baby. It is highly desirable that the candidate for this role, and previously held it in his arms, and he knew her features. The same can be said about the godfather. In the whole spectrum of issues related to how to choose godparents for a child, this one occupies one of the main places.
Responsibility for the subsequent spiritual life of the child
According to the church teaching, the child's connection with those who received him from the holy font is considered even closer than with the real parents who gave him life. They will have to answer for him in the Last Judgment, and therefore their duty is to take care of the spiritual growth of their godson.
This aspect of their duties to him and to the church includes not only conversations on religious topics that can expand the knowledge of a godson in the field of Orthodoxy, but also the introduction of the child to attend church and participate in divine services. And in order to achieve the best result, the godparents should steadily increase their own spirituality and be a living and convincing example for the child.
Substitution of faith with ceremonies
It is very unfortunate that today the true Christian faith is often replaced by the so-called ritual. Leaving aside the fundamentals of the teachings of Jesus Christ, preaching humanism, sacrifice in the name of neighbor and repentance as an indispensable condition for acquiring the Kingdom of God, people hope to receive momentary earthly goods by performing certain ritualistic activities.
If to ancient pagans such naivety was forgivable by their ignorance, now that the Lord has given us the holy gospel, it remains only to regret those who do not hesitate to ask why they baptize the child, "Not to be ill." And it's all! Not a word that they desire his union in the Spirit of God with the Creator of the Universe and the possibility of inheriting the Eternal Life.
How to choose godparents for a child if parents are unbelievers?
In addition, in recent years, baptizing children has become fashionable, and to the holy font they are often carried by unbelieving parents, doing this only in order to keep up with others. Despite this, the church welcomes the baptism of the newborn, regardless of the reasons that led his parents, although he wishes them more responsible approach to the holy mystery, which is the spiritual birth of their little man.
That is why the question of how to choose godparents for a child, acquires special significance, because they are the ones who can fill up with their religiosity what the real father and mother can not give. In its decision there can not be any general advice, because in each case it is individual and depends on the environment of relatives and friends, in which young parents live. It is among these people that one should look for those who by their faith can help a child to take the path of spiritual growth.
The question, born of superstition
Sometimes you have to hear a rather strange question about how to choose godparents for a child in a leap year and in general, is it possible to perform this ordinance in a year that has in its calendar on February 29? Strange this question is primarily because, according to the priests themselves, there is no such thing as a leap year in the Orthodox Church, and consequently there are no restrictions connected with it, whether it be weddings, christenings or other sacraments. But the popular belief that it brings misfortune is a fruit of superstition and empty speculation. Believers, however, must have in themselves only the fear of God and the hope of His mercy, and not the fear of some kind of acceptance.