The Holy Mystery of Baptism

One Lord, one faith, one baptism
Ephesians 4:5

According to the Armenian Apostolic view, membership in the Church of Jesus Christ begins with Holy Baptism. Baptism duly performed with water and in the name of the Triune God is a one-time event, a rebirth (John 3:3). The baptism thus performed may neither be repeated nor undone.

What is the meaning of baptism?

The Catechism of the Armenian Church states: "Baptism is that holy mystery which cleanses us from original human sin, gives birth again to life renewed by the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and receives us into the Church of Christ". This sentence clearly shows that baptism among the Armenians is primarily based on the Johannine understanding of "rebirth". Man becomes through baptism or "through the washing of rebirth and renewal in the Holy Spirit" (Tit. 3, 5) saved by Christ. The body born of the parent's womb is born of the Spirit at baptism and becomes a new man, received into the New Covenant of the Divine work of salvation. In this sense, baptism, when properly performed, is a unique and unrepeatable event.

But also the Pauline understanding of baptism as participation in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ (Roman 6.3f), whereby on the one hand the picture of a change of government (from the slavery of sin to "being in Christ" - Roman 6), but on the other hand also the idea of incorporation into the one body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:13 and Gal. 3:27) suggests, has its indispensable place in the Armenian understanding of baptism, at least according to the catechesis of St. Cyril of Jerusalem. Before baptism, man is an image of Adam, the old man, who only becomes the image of Christ, the new man, through baptism, in which he first dies with Christ and then rises with him. Only after this rebirth does the truly free life of man in Christ begin.

The most important component is the achievement of all the baptized, "to unity in faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God", in order to "become a perfect human being and present Christ in his perfect form" (Ep. 4, 13). The New Man is "remade in the image of his Creator" "in order to know him" and to be in relationship with him, in communion.8 The catechumenate is an indispensable part of the journey to baptism. Even if the catechumenate in the Armenian Church lasts only three to four weeks, it must be remembered that without faith in the Triune God, without faith in Jesus Christ as the Redeemer of the world, baptism cannot have saving power. The person being baptized should constantly strengthen their faith so that they can enjoy the charisms of the Holy Spirit more and more. For the preparatory phase, it is sufficient that man first turns from the dominion of evil and turns to God, constantly affirming his faith through "the knowledge of the Son of God." ©

What is the meaning of baptism?

The Catechism of the Armenian Church states: "Baptism is that holy mystery which cleanses us from original human sin, gives birth again to life renewed by the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and welcomes us into the Church of Christ". This sentence clearly shows that baptism among the Armenians is primarily based on the Johannine understanding of "rebirth". Man becomes through baptism or "through the washing of rebirth and renewal in the Holy Spirit" (Tit. 3, 5) saved by Christ. The body born of the parent's womb is born of the Spirit at baptism and becomes a new man, received into the New Covenant of the Divine work of salvation. In this sense, baptism, when properly performed, is a unique and unrepeatable event.

But also the Pauline understanding of baptism as participation in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ (Roman 6.3f), whereby on the one hand the picture of a change of government (from the slavery of sin to "being in Christ" - Roman 6), but on the other hand also the idea of incorporation into the one body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:13 and Gal. 3:27) suggests, has its indispensable place in the Armenian understanding of baptism, at least according to the catechesis of St. Cyril of Jerusalem. Before baptism, man is an image of Adam, the old man, who only becomes the image of Christ, the new man, through baptism, in which he first dies with Christ and then rises with him. Only after this rebirth does the truly free life of man in Christ begin.

The most important component is the achievement of all the baptized, "to unity in faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God", in order to "become a perfect human being and present Christ in his perfect form" (Ep. 4, 13). The New Man is "remade in the image of his Creator" "to know him" and to be in relationship, in communion, with him. The catechumenate is an indispensable part on the way to baptism. Even if the catechumenate in the Armenian Church only lasted three to four weeks, it is important to note that without faith in the Triune God, without faith in Jesus Christ as the Redeemer of the world, baptism cannot have saving power. The person being baptized should constantly strengthen their faith so that they can enjoy the charisms of the Holy Spirit more and more. For the preparatory phase, it is sufficient that man first turns from the dominion of evil and turns to God, constantly affirming his faith through "the knowledge of the Son of God."©

Baptismal Rite

Only an ordained priest or bishop can perform baptism in the Armenian Church. Dipping the baptized three times in the water, he pronounces the following sentence: “The servant of God (name) came to baptism as a catechumen and is baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Purchased by the blood of Christ, set free from the bondage of sin, he receives the adoption of the Heavenly Father and becomes a joint heir with Christ and a temple of the Holy Spirit".

Important Baptism Rules

From a canon law perspective, initiation into the Church of Christ occurs through the mystery of baptism and is completed through the mystery of anointing and subsequent participation in the mystery of the Eucharist. Anyone who publicly accepts the teachings of the Church and is baptized according to the ecclesiastical ordo becomes a full member of the Church with rights and duties. A baptism performed according to the canons of the Church cannot be repeated.
  • The Holy Mystery of Baptism was set by our Savior Jesus Christ himself when he was baptized by John the Baptist at the Jordan River.

  • Through baptism man is reborn in the bosom of the Church. He becomes a child of God and now wears Christ as an invisible and powerful garment.

  • Baptism takes place in the church. It may only be baptized at home in exceptional cases.

  • The material of baptism is water, regardless of its source (fountain, river or sea) and of any kind (cloudy or clear).

  • Baptism may take place on any day and at any time of the day.

  • At baptism, the child is immersed in water three times in the name of the Trinity, symbolizing the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. In adult baptism, the catechumen's face is washed with the water of baptism.

  • The sponsorship in the Armenian Church is taken over by a man baptized in the Armenian Church. The Church is the mother of the godfather is the spiritual father of the newly baptized. The godfather should be an example and role model for his godchild with his Christian knowledge and his life.

  • If the person to be baptized is an adult, he should prepare himself spiritually to receive the Holy Mystery of Baptism. A child, on the other hand, should receive his Christian upbringing parallel to his actual upbringing from his parents and godparents.

  • The celebrant of the baptismal mystery is the ordained minister. No lay person has authority to administer the baptismal mystery.

  • The following should be taken to the baptism: a small cross, the Narod ribbon knotted together from a white and a red thread (symbolizing the water and blood that flowed from the rib of Christ on the cross) and a small white cloth with which to cover the face of the baptized person is dried.

Become an Armenian Apostolic Christian

How to become a part of the Church, who can be baptized in the Armenian Apostolic Church, what does conversion from another Christian community mean and what is re-entry. You can find answers to these questions in this section.

The Holy Mysteries of the Church

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eucharistie

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ordination

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