On the 11th of March 2018, we Christened George in the Greek Orthodox Church. George was 4 days shy of being 9 months old. It was such a beautiful day, so incredibly sentimental and while I know it’s incredibly late, I wanted to share it here on my blog – before the year was over.
The preparation started a lot earlier than the 11/03/18. We chose our Godparents, we decided on three because we just couldn’t choose entirely. All three are incredibly important to us and love George as if he was their own. George’s Godmother is Karolina and his Godfathers are Alexi and Marc. Karolina was heavily pregnant with Viktoria, so she sadly wasn’t able to be at the Christening.
We also had our incredible friend, Nick Nicolaou help us plan everything. He truly is the very BEST Event Planner. His attention to detail, respecting a budget and going above and beyond his requirements sets him apart. Nick, you know I use my words for a living; yet words fail me with how thankful Sox and I are for you. Thank You!
There is a lot that goes into a Greek Orthodox Christening and I learned so much as we went along.
This is what was needed:
Baptismal Candles (essential)
Provided by the Godparents, one large decorated candle for the ceremony and smaller white candles to be carried by the children who circle the font. The traditional decoration of a baptismal candle includes a large bow of ribbon or tulle with streamers.
Also known as martirika, or witness pins – these are small lapel crosses handed out at the end of the ceremony and worn by guests as proof of witnessing the baptism. The traditional pin is made of white, pink or blue ribbon and features a tiny cross or icon in the center.
These sweet favours are almond candy favours given to each guest after the baptism by either the Godparent or the Parents of the baptized child. Styles can range widely for these favours. The gift of bombonieres is a tradition over 3,000 years old. The favours are given as tokens of good fortune and happiness. Bombonieres are symobolic of life with their bittersweet taste. The sugar coating represents the hope that life will be blessed with more sweetness than bitterness.
2 white hand towels (1 towel at least is essential, 2 is traditional)
They hang on the sides of the baptismal font and are used to wipe hands during the ceremony.
1 large white bath towel (essential)
The large towel is for drying off the child before dressing in the baptismal outfit.
1 white oil sheet (essential)
Used immediately after the dunking of the child in the baptismal font. One Godparent will hold the oil sheet outspread and the priest will place the child into the oil sheet when finished at the baptismal font. The oil sheet protects the Godparent’s clothing and wraps the child.
1 bar of soap (essential)
Used to wash the oil off the hands of the Godparents and the priest after the communion.
1 small oil bottle (essential, but church may be able to lend one)
Olive oil is poured into the oil bottle and then blessed by the priest. The Holy Oil is then used by the priest to baptize the child. The priest will pour the Holy Oil into the baptismal water.
Olive oil (non-essential if church provides the oil)
Any 100% pure virgin olive oil can be used for the baptism. The priest will bless it during the service.
1 baptismal cross and chain (essential)
Traditionally a gold or white gold cross.Chain and cross is put onto the child at the alter by a Godparent. This happens after the child is baptized and dressed in his/her baptismal outfit. The cross does not need to be blessed before the christening.
Baptismal outfit (essential)
The baptismal wear consists of the outfit, the shoes and the socks. Traditionally undergarments are also used (a onesie or specialty cloth undershirt and bloomers) that can absorb the Holy oil on the baby and provide a protective layering between the (oily) skin of the baby and the baptismal outfit. Whether or not the outfit comes with a bonnet or hat, many also choose to buy an oil liner cap for the baby’s head to absorb the holy oil and protect the clothing of anyone holding the baby. All clothing must be white.
Pre-Ceremony outfit (non-essential)
This is the outfit that the baby wears to the church and in which she or he begins the service. The service begins at the doors to the church from the narthex where the baby is presented to the church. As the baby is likely to be photographed during this portion of the ceremony – and as she /he is being presented to the church, it is traditional to wear a nice outfit.
1 Christening Box (essential)
Everything gets placed into the box to be displayed in Church.
It’s a good idea to pack baby wipes and extra nappies. You may need it to change the baby when changing the baby into their baptismal outfit. If baby is older, a teether or toy is a good idea too.
The week before the Christening, we all gathered at Alexi (Godfather) and Laura’s home to make the Martyrika (Witness Crosses) and The Bombounieres. Marc (Godfather) and Kim were there to help and so was my Mom and Dad, my MIL Dimitra and SIL, Sofie (out from Greece.) We had a whole production line going to make them and I just felt so grateful and humbled to see our friends and family pulling together and making these for our baby boy.
On the 11th of March, we got George ready and headed to the Greek Orthodox Church – the church we got married in.
We had Shantelle Visser photograph the special day. She captured our 2 Wedding Ceremonies so beautifully and perfectly, and we had to have her for Georgie’s Christening too. I’ll let her photography paint the story… and let me tell you it was near impossible to choose what to share in this post from the 1000s of pics. So apologies in advance for all the scrolling you’ll be doing.
A sweet moment remembering Sox’s Dad, George and lighting a candle for him in his memory. He really would have adored Georgie and I’m pretty certain he’s his Guardian Angel.
My Aunt Nadja and Uncle Paul flew in from Switzerland, especially and it really meant a lot to us.
His Christening Outfit…
Marc’s face here is so funny… Apparently the Priest spilled some of the oil!
My sister Tandi and BIL, Ross were in London and unable to attend the Christening, so we had Laura video call them into the ceremony.
We then had to get George out of his pre-Christening outfit…
The Godfather’s received the blessed oil…
His little face here makes my heart burst!
His crying face just pulls at my Mama strings… The Godfather’s covered him oil and then he was placed into the holy water (pretty sure it wasn’t warm) Poor thing.
I think my face says it all here… Lump in throat. Even though I knew he was completely fine and it was over so quickly, his cry will always affect me. In the tradition, the thought is that the babies cry is good, as it releases any bad from the child.
We then calmed him down and got him dressed in his Christening outfit – the absolute CUTEST … A crisp white shirt, grey pants with braces, a grey bow-tie, grey Adidas sneakers to match Dad’s and a little hat.
Sox also gave him a bottle, while we dressed him.
I love this photo of Sox below… he just looks so proud!
They cut his hair in 4 places (North, East, South and West)… technically his first hair cut.
This photo is the funniest and it still cracks me up (Sorry Marc!)
I’m laughing here because when Marc could hand him back to me, George was clinging onto Marc and didn’t want me to take him.
But he eventually let go and when he was returned to my arms, the sweetest thing happened.
A moment I will always cherish.
He felt me wrap him in my arms, instantly relaxed and fell fast asleep, exhausted from the whole ceremony.
After the ceremony, we all made our way through to the reception. Alexi and Laura so generously offered their home to us and Nick put together the whole set up, including the Harvest Table, all the food – we did chicken souvla and lamb spit and for dessert, we had his Christening cake made by Gina from Frosted Bespoke Bakery, and Dimitra made her Greek biscuits – Kourabiedes. It was amazing and again, I have no words for my gratitude.
While the party was happening, Georgie slept!
We hired a jumping castle for the kids…
Sox said a speech… We laughed, we cried… we thanked everyone who means the world to us!
George, may God always bless you. May you always have your faith to guide you and may you always know that you are loved.
Sox and I are so proud to be your parents and we thank God every day for you, for your health and for the love and joy we are blessed with!