Baptism occurs in infancy and, growing up, people no longer remember how it happened. But one day we have our own child or receive an invitation to become a sponsor. In these cases, knowing what godparents are for and how they are chosen can come in very handy.
The tradition of appointing godparents is rooted in the past. Troubled times and high mortality of the population, forced to look for people who could take responsibility for the baby in the event of a possible disaster. The main role of the godfather was to guide the life of the future godson — he introduced him to the sacraments, taught piety and faith.
For many today, the role of the godfather is reduced only to the presence at baptism, few then help to educate the godson. A real godfather can become an Orthodox friend of a child, a person whom a teenager trusts, who he asks for advice and can turn to for help — that’s why godparents are needed.
Requirements for godparents:
- It is possible to appoint sane people aged from adulthood to old age as recipients. However, there is an unspoken custom to choose godparents who are younger in age than the blood father and mother. This circumstance is explained by the fact that when the natural parents do not comply with parental duties, they go to the spiritual mentors of the child.
- The godfather should be only a baptized person of the Orthodox faith who wants to assume obligations and responsibility for this baby.
- For one baby, husband and wife and people who are going to get married cannot be godparents. It is considered a great sin if these people subsequently married or had extramarital affairs.
- It is allowed to have one godparent, but he is supposed to be with the godson of the same sex.
- Godparents need to know that they do not advise the same person to become a godfather for several children, including twins, because the rite of baptism involves the adoption of a child from the font, and this is hard to do with two children.
- Parents are not allowed to be godparents to their own children.
- Women are not allowed to baptize a child during menstruation.
- It is forbidden for the stepfather to be the godfather of the adopted son.
- They do not appoint insane and immoral people as godparents.
When selecting godparents, it is better to choose people with whom you have good friendly relations, whose visits are welcome in your home, and it is also important whether they can later help you in the Christian upbringing of your offspring and in life circumstances.
Responsibilities of Godparents:
- Teach the basics of the Christian faith to the godson.
- On a personal example to teach the human virtues of the baby: mercy, love, kindness, etc., to educate a good Christian in the baby. The godparents have a great responsibility — it depends on them what kind of person the godson will become.
- The godfather should pray for his ward, and teach him to pray when he is a little older.
- During the ceremony of the Sacrament, the godfather (of the same sex as the child) holds the baby and pronounces on his behalf the Creed, the vows of renunciation of the devil and union with Christ, so the first thing godparents should know is the main prayers: “Virgin Mary”, “Symbol faith”, “Let God rise again ..”, “Our Father”, periodically read the Psalter, the Gospel. Also, the recipients need to wear a cross and be able to put the sign of the cross on yourself.
Many do not know that it is also customary to give gifts to godparents. A good present would be something on the theme of the sacrament of baptism, some kind of thematic composition or a photograph printed to the size of a picture. It is also customary to give warm clothes: scarves, shawls, jumpers.
Approach with responsibility the selection of godparents, because you choose people who can influence the future life of your offspring. After all, often a child tells his godparents what his blood parents do not know about.