The Prayer for the Naming
of a Child on the Eighth Day

In the Tradition of the Orthodox Church, a child — male or female — is named formally on the eighth day after birth, following the example of our Lord. Many American Orthodox know nothing about the beautiful service in which this is done, let alone seen it offered. Soon-to-be parents may want to discuss it with their parish priest, as part of their preparation for welcoming a new son or daughter into God’s world.

This short service begins with “Blessed is our God...,” followed by the Trisagion Prayers and the troparion for the day. Then the priest makes the sign of the Cross over the forehead, mouth, and breast of the child, and says:

Deacon:  Let us pray to the Lord.

People:    Lord, have mercy.

Priest:     O Lord our God, we entreat You, and we supplicate You, that the light of Your countenance be signed on this, Your servant/handmaid, name, and that the Cross of Your Only-begotten Son be signed in his/her heart and understanding, so that he/she may flee from the vanity of the world and from every evil snare of the enemy, and may follow after Your commandments. And grant, O Lord, that Your holy name may remain unrejected by him/her, and that, in due time, he/she may be joined to Your Holy Church, and that he/she may be perfected by the dread Mysteries of Your Christ, so that, having lived according to Your commandments, and having preserved the seal unbroken, he/she may receive the blessedness of the elect in Your kingdom: By the grace and love for mankind of Your Only-begotten Son, with Whom You are blessed, together with Your Most-holy, Good and Lifegiving Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages.

People:     Amen.

The priest takes the child in his arms, and stands before the gates of the church or before the icon of the Most-holy Theotokos, and again makes the sign of the Cross, saying:

Priest:     Rejoice, O Virgin Theotokos, full of grace, for from you shone forth the Sun of Righteousness, Christ our God, illumining those who are in darkness. Rejoice, O venerable Elder [Simeon], who received in your arms the Redeemer of our souls, Who grants us the Resurrection.

The service concludes with the regular Dismissal.

The child may be taken to Church by his or her father, future godparents — or even the midwife who delivered him/her, according to the rubrics in the prayer book of the Church of Greece!* Fr. Michael Henning suggests, “This service of naming an eight-day old baby may be conducted in the home before the icon corner if weather conditions or the child’s health make it impossible for the child to be brought to Church.” (Marriage and the Christian Home, St. Nectarios Press, 1987) In both Greece and Romania, the naming is routinely done at home.

*Thanks to Archimandrite Seraphim of St. Gregory Palamas Monastery, Hayesville, OH, for finding, translating, and explaining the rubrics and commentary!

compiled by Nichola Toda Krause

© 1999-2000 by Orthodox Family Life and the original author(s).
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