Unfunny Baptism

Photo: Pravoslavie.Ru Photo: Pravoslavie.Ru
    

Any priest knows how difficult it is to perform the sacrament of baptism, when you're alone at the analogion and twenty or more people stand behind you. You are to baptize some of them, some came as parents and godparents, others as a support group—that is, uncles, aunts, and grandparents. And none of them attended catechetical lectures. Simply because there are usually none.

The catechetical lectures became mandatory only a few years ago, but before that the church was often filled with people who understood little. "Well, teach the people, you're the priest after all," says a reader. Well... So be it. I clear my throat and begin to talk about friendship with God, about loyalty and trust in Him, about the danger of sin and the bliss of Christ's Kingdom. But I am not heard—children are crying and being capricious and concerned adults are talking about them. Soon I will hear criticism for wasting time. It is necessary to proceed, especially since there is a funeral service at a home after the baptism. Or the consecration of an apartment. Nobody likes the priest to be late. Especially the church rector.

And do you know what is the funniest thing in the sacrament of baptism? No, that's not a mistake, I explicitly wrote "funny". People who were told nothing about this sacrament and about the spiritual life in general smile at the comical aspect of the situation at every baptism. Imagine: A priest, turning away to the altar, lengthily mumbles something in an incomprehensible language, then turns and blows on you in a crosswise manner. He soon asks all present to blow and spit onto the devil for three times. Few can resist smiling.

The priest, if he is young and has been recently ordained, often becomes embarrassed by these chuckles and smiles. I was embarrassed, and so were my companions. And once I came up with the "brilliant" idea of replacing the blowing with a blessing. This is when the priest folds his fingers in a special way and blesses those praying. Well, maybe not praying but languishing. There's no laughter when you make the sign of the cross over the people. Everyone is serious. However, my outrageous tampering didn't last long.

Photo: Pravoslavie.Ru Photo: Pravoslavie.Ru
    

One day a young girl asked me to baptize her. She believed in God but it was hard for her to enter the church. During worship, she felt sick and would rage—with growling, spitting and similar unsightly acts. But she had no money. So after having spoken with her about the meaning of the forthcoming sacrament, I appointed her a separate time free from services. I prepared everything myself, poured water into the baptistery and started waiting, hoping that the rector wouldn't catch me.

The girl came and I started reading the prayers. And something awful was happening behind my back in the meantime. In addition to inhuman sounds, unnatural to girlish vocal cords, I heard muffled threats addressed at me. The girl was rampaging and waving her hands, which was slightly noticeable, reflected in the glass over the church’s icons. It was awkward for me to look behind me—even more so to show my fear. The fainthearted thought of a girl taking some heavy object like a vase and smashing it against the back of my head was spinning around in my mind. After all, there were only two of us in the church.

“Let it be as it may,” I decided and continued praying, trying to pronounce the words crisply and clearly as never before. Finally, I reached the point where I had to blow three times on the one being baptized and I turned around, ready to execute the appointed rite. The girl trembled and growled, looking at me with fierce hatred. Pretending I had absolutely no fear at my 22 years of age and that I baptize the demonically possessed a hundred times a day, I pronounced the words from the Book of Needs:

“Expel from her every evil and unclean spirit that is hiding and nesting in her heart!”

Then I blew on her in a crosswise manner. The girl immediately stopped shaking and growling, straightened up, and her facial expression became calm. Repeating this action twice, I turned to the altar again to continue the prayer. The demonic activity vanished. After the Baptism, Chrismation, and verbal valediction the girl thanked me and went on her way.

Ever since then I have never introduced anything of my own devising into rites of the Russian Orthodox Church, and always try to stick to what is written in the Book of Needs.

Archpriest Sergey Adodin
Translation by Vadim Frolenko

Pravoslavie.ru

3/6/2017

See also
From the font wholly cleansed From the font wholly cleansed
Archpriest Artemy Vladimirov
From the font wholly cleansed From the font wholly cleansed
A discourse on the Mystery of Baptism
Archpriest Artemy Vladimirov
There are such events and milestones in the earthly life of man that define his future—both in the temporal and eternal perspectives. Baptism, undoubtedly, is just such a turning point in the historical progression of the world.
The Power of the Sacraments in the Lives of Orthodox Christians The Power of the Sacraments in the Lives of Orthodox Christians
Presented by Fr. Nikon of Mount Athos at the Academy of Aikaterini, Greece, 2014
The Power of the Sacraments in the Lives of Orthodox Christians The Power of the Sacraments in the Lives of Orthodox Christians
Presented by Fr. Nikon of Mount Athos at the Academy of Aikaterini, Greece, 2014
He also saw a person in the large throng of people who was possessed of a demon. This demon manifested itself as a bird. The bird is very dangerous for him for he is not aware of it. He said the bird looked very smooth like velvet. And the astounding thing about this demon possessed person was that he was the same Zen teacher that Fr. Nikon had met in Thessaloniki. The thing that is of great interest to us here is that before the sacrament of baptism Angelo could not see these things clearly but immediately after his baptism he saw them without a problem. This is the marvelous meaning and power of the Sacrament of Baptism in the Orthodox Church.
Forgetting Christianity: Baptism, Sin, and the Devil Forgetting Christianity: Baptism, Sin, and the Devil
Nathan Duffy
Forgetting Christianity: Baptism, Sin, and the Devil Forgetting Christianity: Baptism, Sin, and the Devil
Nathan Duffy
In baptism, we become partakers of Christ’s glorious victory over sin, death, and the devil. This is not incidental to what takes place in baptism; it is the very heart of what transpires. The candidate for baptism proceeds to “renounce Satan, and all his Angels, and all his works, and all his service, and all his pride,” turns to the west, and literallyspits on the devil and his dominion.
Comments
sofie3/11/2017 12:17 am
Glory to God
Elaine VanWagner3/8/2017 3:59 pm
Wonderful news about the baptism of the girl and the expulsion of the demons from the heart and life of the girl before her baptism.
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