Kiev, December 26, 2017
His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine, the primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, has responded positively to the idea of representatives of the clergy that he baptize newborns in large families, reports the site of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
During the annual diocesan assembly of the clergy of the Kiev Diocese, His Beatitude stated that he is willing to celebrate the Mystery of Baptism for every fifth child in large Orthodox families.
Answering a question as to how many children priest families should have for Met. Onuphry to celebrate their Baptism, he said, “If you want such a tradition, I’m not against it. I think we could baptize the fifth.”
His Beatitude clarified that the Primate of the Georgian Orthodox Church His Holiness Patriarch-Catholics Ilia II, whom the Kiev clergy mentioned, celebrates the Baptism of the third and higher child, although “he does not go to the hospital, but gathers all the children and baptizes them at one time.”
“Let’s choose the day, gather the children from every Christian family at the cathedral, invite some bishops and priests and baptize them all, as required by the Mystery of Baptism. As primate, I will read all the prayers, and the others will anoint with oil and help,” Met. Onuphry declared.
“I’m ready,” the primate affirmed.
Pat. Ilia II has been baptizing the third and higher child in faithful Orthodox families since January 19, 2008, when he commenced his initiative to help improve the dire demographic situation in Georgia caused by post-Soviet abortion rates. Such mass celebrations are held four times a year.
The 51st such mass Baptism was celebrated on November 23. The greatly beloved Pat. Ilia now has over 34,000 Godchildren.
Metropolitan George of Nizhny Novgorod has also been personally celebrating the Sacrament of Baptism for children from large families for over a year. The sixth mass Baptism was celebrated on May 13 this year, with the metropolitan baptizing nine boys and five girls.