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:
us pray to the Lord.
Lord, have mercy.
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.
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:
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
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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