These are legitimate questions that need to be answered. The Bible says clearly ‘your Father knows what you need before you ask Him’ (St. Mathew 6:8). But God wants that we know what is good for others as well as for ourselves. God wants that our will should not incline towards evil, but desire the good with deep yearning. Prayer is therefore a way of training the will to desire the good, as well as of turning our wills towards the highest concentration of all good, namely God.
Prayer is thus a way of becoming good by using our freedom to turn towards the good and to will the good. By prayer we become like God. God is good and wills the good. We should also become like God in willing and desiring what is good. By communion with God we also learn to desire the good which God also desires.
God said: ‘Let there be light’ and there was light. And God saw that the light was good (Gen. 1:3-4). What God willed became reality. We are to become like God. So we must also acquire the capacity to will the good, and it will happen as we desire, when we become more and more like God. Prayer is an expression of our will in desiring the good and realising it. When we are delivered from selfishness, pride, and evil desires, our prayers will become more like the creative Word of God, which merely by saying ‘let there be light’ can create light.
God has made us partakers of His own divine nature. He has called us to share in God’s own glory and excellence (2 Pet. 1:4). When we trust in God and live a life of discipline, prayer, worship, virtue, knowledge, godliness, brotherly affection and love (2 Pet. 1:5-8), we are transformed into God’s likeness and share in His divine power. God wants us to have a part in the task of shaping this world through prayer and knowledge and work.
By prayer we do change reality. God has given us that power. But this power is not available to us until we become more godlike. That is why the prayers of the saints are more effective than our own prayer - because they are more god like than we are. If the power to change the world by our will is in the hands of evil men, they will make the world evil. We have to grow in the capacity for prayer by developing the habits of prayer and loving service.
And our prayers should not be selfish. In prayer the first focus is God. The second focus is other people. Only in the third place should we ask things for ourselves. In the Lord’s Prayer all the first petitions are focused on God - His name, His kingdom, His will. This is the way our prayer should also be. We pray that God’s purposes may be established in the lives of all people, that evil may be banished from the earth, that all men may live together in peace and justice, praising God the centre and source of all good. Even in the prayers that ask for daily food, for forgiveness and for protection from evil, the first person singular (I, me) is not used in the Lord’s Prayer. We ask things for us, for all men.
When we all pray with love and faith, without selfishness or pride, our prayer changes things. God has more laws than the laws of physical science. He can make prayer achieve ‘miracles’ of healing and transformation which cannot be explained by medical science. Our science knows only some of God’s laws. Prayer is also subject to certain laws. It is the same power of God which operates in the scientific realm, and in the realm of prayer.
In prayer, we are never alone. Not even alone with God. Especially in group prayer, we commemorate all those who are members of the Body of Christ, for it is as a member of the Body that we pray, and the other members are always with us. This is why we commemorate the Prophets, Apostles, the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Martyrs, the Saints, the great Teachers and all the faithful departed and all the faithful living.
3. How Pray?
Prayer has to be learned. It is like swimming. When you are first thrown into the water, yo may sink. You then may think that the law of gravity is final and cannot be changed. But there are other laws, like those of buoyancy and motion. The mere knowledge of these laws cannot teach you to swim. One jumps in and slowly, by repeated practice, acquires the skills of remaining afloat and of moving on the surface of or under the water. And some people are more skillful swimmers than others, because they have learned the rules and acquired the skills by constant practice.
The first rule in prayer as in swimming, is not to give up just because you do not succeed in the first three or four attempts. Prayer is a spiritual skill to be acquired by constant practice.
The second rule, again as in swimming is to ‘let go’, to let the water support you, to be unanxious and relaxed. In prayer also we have to let ourselves go, relax, trust in God to support you and teach you how to pray.
The third rule is to keep up the practice, even if you do not feel like it, or enjoy it. In the life of prayer, our inherent love of sensual pleasures and our selfish love of laziness and comfort, will interfere to make us reluctant to keep up the practice, finding various excuses for not praying. There is no use saying ‘I don’t feel like praying’ or ‘I do not get anything from it.’ It will take years before you get the habit of prayer and really begin to enjoy it. One must strengthen the will to have control over the laziness of the body and the desires of the flesh if one is to make progress in the art and skill of prayer. There is nothing like regular practice which can teach you to pray.
A fourth rule, closely connected with the third, is: develop the discipline of prayer through fasting and self-control. Man does not become free and good like God until he learns to control his own inner drives and passions. Restraint of hunger and thirst, of anger and jealousy, of sexual passion, of the desire for glory and flattery, of the desire for bodily excitement and for sensual stimulation, and of all inner turbulences which make us do things against our own free will, is a necessary preparation for prayer. As good athletes competing for the Olympic Games go through very rigorous self discipline in order to keep their body, muscles and nerves in good condition, so should the man of prayer keep his body, mind and spirit and good condition and under conscious control.
A fifth rule is to use our whole body and even material things in the service of prayer. Prayer is an act of the whole man, body, soul and spirit - not simply an act of the mind. The body can participate in prayer through posture, speech, and acts:
(a) Posture - In our Eastern tradition, the posture for prayer in standing, facing east, with arms uplifted or folded in adoration and worship.
(b) Focus - It is good to have a focal point outside - a cross with two candles on each side, icons or pictures of Christ, of the Blessed Virgin Mother and of the Saints, or even a more elaborate prayer - altar fixed in some part of the house, where the whole family assembles for prayer. Crucifixes, i.e. crosses with the representation of the crucified body of Christ on it, belong to the Western tradition and are not to be encouraged in our tradition. In choosing pictures, it is best to use eastern icons. Pictures with the sacred heart of Christ or of the Virgin Mother are to be avoided, because these belong to a particular period in Latin piety and are not helpful for a balanced spirituality.
(c) Lips and Mouth - The body must pray - not merely the mind. Let your lips and mouth sing the praises of God, even if your mind does not always follow. The act of the lips and mouth is also your act of prayer, even without the concentration. Singing is better than saying your prayers, for in the very music certain human attitudes and aspirations are expressed.
(d) Wandering of the mind - Do not get anxious about the wandering of your mind. When you become aware that your mind is wandering, bring it back by consciously offering your wandering mind also to God. It is part of our confession about ourselves. “This is what I am Lord, distracted and unable to concentrate. I offer myself to Thee as I am. Take my wandering and distracted mind, and heal it by Thy grace.” God will forgive you and transform you gradually.
(e) Gestures - Use the gestures of prostration, bowing the head, making the sign of the cross, and giving the kiss of peace. Words are not the only means of expression we have. Folding the hands and bowing is a sign of adoration, and of waiting for a blessing. Lifting up your hands with palms open, can mean petition, penitence, and intercession. Prostration is like Sashtangapranama, the sign of complete surrender and submission, placing yourselves in the hands of God with full trust. Making the sign of the cross is a way of reminding ourselves that we have been saved by the Cross of Christ, in fact crucified with Christ. Keep your three fingers together (thumb, index and middle fingers) to touch the forehead (symbolizing the Trinity, the source of all life and all good) and make a descending motion to the lower side of your chest to signify the descent of the Son of God from heaven to earth for our salvation, then take your fingers from your left arm to your right arm signifying both the horizontal arm of the cross, and the fact that we who were on the left as children of darkness, have now been brought to the right side of God as children of light. Giving the kiss of peace is the symbol of mutual forgiveness and love, and it is a time for us to overcome all feelings of bitterness or anger against members of the family or others outside.
All these signs are part of a language which goes much deeper than words and transforms our sub-conscious minds which words can seldom reach.
A sixth rule is to keep the balance between group prayer and personal prayer. Man is not primarily an individual. It is as a member of the Body of Christ that he has any standing before God. Therefore it is important for us to come into the presence of God regularly as a community - as a family as a youth group, as a local congregation. And a community is composed of all kinds of people, not all of them exactly like you. They have different tastes, different ways of praying, different habits of prayer. I have to join them even sometimes when I think that their way of worship is not what it should be. Without participating in community worship and making the necessary adjustments necessary for joining them, we cannot get rid of our selfishness and pride, and grow to be a real human being.
But community worship is not enough by itself. We need various levels of community with varying degrees of intensity of relationship. The youth group and the family are more intimate communities than the congregation. New forms can be used in these smaller groups which will be difficult or unfamiliar for the congregation as a whole. The prayers in this book are mainly meant for family and group worship, but can also be used for personal prayer in the privacy of your own room at home or in the hostel.
In addition to these forms, however, some other forms of prayer should be mastered for personal use. The most effective and useful of these forms is called ejaculatory prayer. These are one - sentence prayers which one can repeat as many times as necessary, no matter, where or when. You can say them in your mind when you are waiting for a bus; when you are anxious about something; when you are facing temptation, when you feel bored and lonely, while you are lying in bed, comfortable and too lazy to get up; while going to bed and when sleep does not come immediately, and so on.
The following are some of the possible forms of ejaculatory prayer:
1. Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, be merciful to me a sinner.
2. O God, Thou art my God. I love Thee. I am Thine for ever.
3. Lord, you are my Master and Lord, I give myself to Thee.
4. Lord, keep me in Thy ways, keep me from all evil.
5. Lord, have mercy, Lord, have mercy, Lord have mercy upon me.
You can make up your own forms of prayer, for here the Church lays down no rules for personal prayers. Of these forms above, the first was a favourite with the monks, and is known as the ‘Jesus Prayer.’’ They used to recite it thousands of times in a day as a sort of Mantra. In Mount Athos, the monks trained themselves to say this prayer along with every breath. They would say “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God” with every inhaling breath, hold the breath in the lungs for a few seconds and then exhale, saying “be merciful to me a sinner.” The idea was that the prayer should become as incessant an action as breathing, that the Lord Jesus Christ should become established in your heart as a deity is in a temple, and that you should constantly be in an attitude of prayer and repentance.
These forms of personal prayer as well as others should be developed. Each child of God has a right to speak to God any time and at all times, using his or her own words. There are no Church rules for personal prayer. It is an act of your personal freedom, and therefore is all the more pleasing to God when you use your own personal intimate language. Personal prayer enriches group prayer; common prayer in the family, group or congregation enriches one’s personal prayer; neither should be neglected. The two should balance each other. But the use of extemporary prayer is not to be encouraged in group worship.
A seventh rule is that prayer should be nourished by the reading of the scriptures and meditation. One can discipline one self to read a chapter of scripture every day.
Read aloud or silently. Meditate on the meaning of the passage. Devotional books may be helpful, but may also obscure the meaning of the scripture. Do not worry about whether the reading of scriptures gives you a feeling of devotion or not. Feelings are deceptive. What you need to find out is the answer to the following questions: “What was God saying to the people of that time through this passage? What does God say to me now?”
Systematic reading of the scriptures and memorizing some passages which touch you deeply will be found very helpful as life advances. You will be grateful to God in your middle age that you started reading and memorizing when your mind was still impressionable.
All these rules are to help you to become a praying Christian. Only your own sustained and disciplined practice will make you perfect. But remember one thing. Prayer can never be isolated from the common worship of the Eucharist and from the continuous, active compassionate love for your fellowmen. Let us all pray: “Lord, Teach us to pray. Amen.”
(Written for Orthodox young people in India)
Article taken from www.paulosmargregorios.info
The teachings of The Church are derived from two sources: Holy Scripture and Sacred Tradition. Scripture contains those truths taught by Christ to the Apostles and later put into writing. Apostolic Tradition represents those truths, but not committed to writing, and the perspective of the ancient magi who were consecrated Bishops in the Church by Apostles. The Evangelist John tells us "Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written." (21:25).
We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible.
And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the only-begotten, begotten of the Father before all ages. Light of Light; true God of true God; begotten, not made; of one essence with the Father, by whom all things were made; who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven, and was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary, and became man.
And He was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate, and suffered, and was buried. And the third day He rose again, according to the Scriptures; and ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of the Father; and He shall come again with glory to judge the living and the dead; whose Kingdom shall have no end.
And [we believe] in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the Giver of Life, who proceeds from the Father; who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified; who spoke by the prophets.
In one Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. we acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins. we look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.
The sign of the Cross
The sign of the Cross, depicting the symbol common to Chrisitians, is integral to Orthodox worship and common prayer.
The sign of the Cross is both unspoken and a confession of faith and the outward expression of inner prayer.In making the sign of the Cross a person prays with his whole being. With the sign of the Cross we appeal to the redeeming death of the Son of God on the Cross, and with this, the sign of victory, we banish the evil thoughts and feeelings that creep in to our minds.
All the blessings are given with the sign of the Cross. It is essential to make the sign of the Cross
when we receive blessings in our liturgy
at the time of blessing of the censor
waving the censor to the congregation by the deacon, priest or bishop at the time of communion.
while kissing the cross and the bishop's hand at the reception of blessings.
In common prayer at the outset of the prayer, thrice at the the time of Trisagion, thrice at the recital of the praise of Cerubim, thrice at the time of the Creed, thrice at the time of mornng prayer and when we remeber the Cross.
The sign of Cross is always , with few exceptions, associated with a bow to the object of prayer, the invisibly present God. First we peacefully make the sign of the Cross and then we bow or do prostration. By making the sign pof the Cross we abide in the protective shade of the Holy Cross.
We believe that in a mysterious way the bread becomes the body and wine becomes the blood of our Lord. It was after blessing the bread and wine that our Lord said, "This is my body" and "This is my blood". Just as our Lord was perfect God and perfect man, without any change in the godhood and man-hood, after the blessing, the bread is, both bread and the body of our Lord. Also after blessing, the wine is both wine and blood of our Lord. Protestant churches say that the bread and wine are only the symbols of the body and blood of our Lord.
Eastern churches give primary importance to worship. The heart beats of the church are manifested in worship. The Holy Eucharist is the crown of all other worships. It is performed 'in spirit and in truth" (John. 4:24).f) The term "Qurbana" is Syriac and it means sacrifice or offering (that which is offered to God). Through the sacrifice of our Lord, we offer ourselves and the whole universe as a sacrifice to the heavenly Father.. This holy sacrifice was instituted and entrusted with His disciples, by our Lord. The church celebrates this holy sacrifice as the continuation of the sacrifice on Calvary. Man, made as little less than God and crowned with glory and honor, (Ps. 8:5) is basically a worshipping creature. The infirmities and gratitude of the creation, bring man to the creator. He stands with a humble heart, bowed head and eyes yearning for God's vision, before the Almighty God who is the Creator and Sustainer of all. Man often enjoys fellowship with God in silence also reminding us of the verse "Be still and know that I am God" (Ps. 46:10).
Passover was the memorial of the flight of the Israelites from Egypt. Moreover, the blood of the Passover lamb was smeared on the two door posts and lintel of the houses, to allow the inhabitants to escape from the plague of destruction (Ex. 12:13). The eternal sacrifice of our Lord marked the end of the bloody sacrifice. This was the end of the Jewish Passover and the beginning of the Christian Passover also. When "the lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world" (Jn. 1:29) was sacrificed, the new Passover was established. The bread used by our Lord for the institution of the Eucharist was leavened bread ("lahmo" - in Syriac and "artos" - in Greek). Hence the Orthodox Churches use leavened bread for Holy Eucharist from the very early days. There is a tradition that, a part of the dough used for making the bread was set apart and kept as leaven when the bread was made for the Last Supper.This leaven is mixed with the dough when the bread is made for the next Eucharist. This tradition is continued even today.
"Do this in remembrance of me" (Lk. 22:19) was the command of our Lord who instituted Holy Eucharist. We read in the book of Acts, how Holy Eucharist was celebrated in the early church (Act. 2:42,46; 20:7). Orthodox Churches, unlike Protestant Churches, give great importance to Holy Eucharist. Holy Eucharist is celebrated on all Sundays, and other feast days except Good Friday. All the other sacraments are perfected by Holy Eucharist. eg. Baptism, Confession, Ordination, Marriage and Anointing of the sick. Also, consecration of the church and Holy Myron are perfected by Holy Eucharist. The church teaches that all who participate in the service should receive Holy Communion.The hymns and prayers in the Holy Eucharist bear witness to this. There is no teaching in the Orthodox Church that there need not be Holy Eucharist when there is none to receive Holy Communion. Administering the Ministry of the Word alone, instead of Holy Eucharist is against Orthodox tradition.
"In remembrance of me" Holy Eucharist is not a mere intellectual calling back to memory of something that happened in the past. It is the calling back to experience in the present tense that which happened in the past. Through worship, and participation in the body and blood of our Lord, we bring to our present experience, our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and His saving acts. We become one with our Lord in Holy Eucharist. The whole account of our Lord's incarnation is brought to rmembrance in every Holy Eucharist. In a prayer of the preparatory service of the Holy Eucharist, it is said "we celebrate the memorial of our Lord God and Savior Jesus Christ, and all His saving acts on our behalf, especially the annunciation by the angel, His glorious conception, His bodily birth, His baptism in the River Jordan, His fasting for forty days, His atoning passion, His crucifixion, His lifegiving death, His burial in honor, His glorious resurrection, His ascension into heaven and His sitting on the righ-hand side of the Father". (Liturgy of the Holy Eucharist of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church. Mar Julius Press, Pampakuda - 1986,~Page - 272).
While we believe in the general priesthood of all believers (I Pet. 2:9), we believe in the special priesthood also. This was handed down from the apostles to the bishops and priests, through apostolic succession. We believe that the bishops and priests act as the symbols and representatives of God. Our Lord says that the sins forgiven by the authorized persons, will be forgiven by God. "Receive ye the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven, if you retain the sins of any, they are retained" (St.John 20:23).
The Orthodox Church is an episcopal church. There is the three-fold ministry of priesthood in the church, namely bishop, priest and deacon. Bishop is the symbol of unity in the church.The church's teachings on priesthood are made clear in the following passage. "Priests are the guides, making the earthly beings a heavenly beings They are the ambassadors of God. They administer the sacraments entrusted to His church. No one can receive this position by himself. This is for those who are elected according to the will of God and those who have received the ordination through the laying on of hands by the bishop. Anyone with out this laying on of hands and permission, has no authority to do any service or to preach in the church. No one is allowed to doubt the validity of the sacraments conducted by those in the priestly service, as long as they are not suspended or dismissed by the holy synod or higher authorities, however unworthy those priests may be. It is also not right to refrain from the services conducted by such priests. As the holy anointing is upon the priests as they conduct the services in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and as the effect of the service does not depend on the righteousness of the priests, those who participate in the services with good intention and true faith will receive spiritual strength. Those priests who conduct the services in their unworthiness will receive God's punishment. Those who are found to be guilty are to be dismissed and they are not to conduct any sacrament afterwards. The faithful shall not participate in the services conducted by the dismissed priests if they happen to conduct services" (Mar Dionysius Geevarghese Vattasseril Metropolitan. Mathopadesha Saram - Teachings of the Religion - Page 29, 30).
The Priesthood in the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Chruch is largely connected with its foundation, and development of the church through centuries. The history of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church starts with its establishment in 52 A. D. by St. Thomas, one of the twelve apostles of the Jesus Christ.He converted the local Brahmins and ordained presbyters -bishops-, belonging to the four families of Pakalomattam, Sankarapuri, Kalli and Kaliankal. St. Thomas also established eight (7 1/2) churches in the following places, Maliankara, Paloor, Parur, Gokamangalam, Niranom, Chayal (Nilackal), Kollam and Thiruvithamcode (called the 1/2 church - probably because of its small size).
Eligibility for ordination and consecration Priesthood is a divine call. God calls people to priesthood through the laity and the ordained ministers. The process for selection to priesthood, in the Malankara Orthodox Synan Church is as follows. Deacon/Priest "Those desiring to be ordained shall on the recommmendation of the Parish Assembly or on their own, apply to the Diocesan Metropolitan and he after due inquiry, if he feels no objection,shall send them to the Malankara Metropolitan and he according to his convenience, shall send them to the Theological Seminary of the community and if, after needed theological study, the principal of the Seminary certifies that they are fit for ordination, the Diocesan Metropolitan or Malankara Metropolitan will at their discretion ordain them. But after three years of theological studies, if a certificate is issued by the principal, the ordination of "Korooyo" (Reader) may be administered" (Constitution of the Malankara Qrthodox Syrian Church -Clause 111). Generally, a full deacon (Samsono) is not allowed to marry. Hence the decision about marriage should be taken before ordination as a full deacon. Both married and unmarried deacons can be ordained priests. Marriage of priests is not allowed. This applies also to the priest who becomes a widower. If a priest gets married, he is not allowed to continue as a priest The widow of a priest is expected to remain a widow until her death But secod marriage is not forbidden to a deacon, who becomes a widower.
Praying for the departed and asking for the intercession of saints
We pray for the departed souls. Some Protestant churches teach that there is no use of praying for the departed souls as the departed souls are inactive. The New Testament tells that the departed souls are active. The departed souls can please God (II Cor.5:9). They are worshiping God day and night (Rev.7:15). Since they are in need of God's grace to please God and to worship Him, it is our duty to pray for them for the necessary grace. As our Lord preached the gospel to the de-parted souls, (I Pet.3: 19) we pray for the repentance and forgiveness of sins of the departed. We believe that the departed souls also can repent, if they are not hardened completely in sin. Intercession of the saints: We seek intercession of the living and departed saints. Some Protestant churches do not seek intercession of the departed saints. Since the departed are watching over us (Heb 12:1) and are worshiping God (Heb Chapter 11) and since they are beyond time and space, (Moses and Elijah appeared at the mount of transfiguration), it is biblical to seek the intercession of the departed saints. They are with us, wherever we are, as they are with God who is with us wherever we are. Infant baptism: We give baptism to the infants also. St. Peter says that the Holy Spirit is given to the infants also (Acts.2:39). As children grow up, they are taught our faith and they are helped to have repentance. Thus they are made to dedicate themselves, especially through the Holy Confession and Holy Qurbana.
Auricular (told privately) confession confession is necessary as our Lord has given the authority to the church, not only to forgive, but also to retain sins (St.John.20:21-23). Isaiah's sins were forgiven when he confessed (Isa.6:1-6). Holy Confession is also a time in which we renew our baptismal promises. When we confess our sins of commission (doing things we ought not do), we make a promise not to repeat them. When we confess the sins of omission (not doing what we ought to do ), we make a promise not to omit the things in future.
Baptism is the most important of all the Christian Sacraments. But this doesn't reduce the importance of Holy Communion. Baptism is the first step with which one is entering into the church, the body of Christ. Through the turn of centuries Christian churches began to be separated and sub-divided based on difference in faith and practices. It is true that some divisions have happened due to misunderstanding in the interpretation some theological terms.
- Holy Baptism is a Sacrament, being the gate through which the human being enters into the Christian faith.Therefore, it should be performed with the utmost reverence and awareness by the priests, and received with true faith by the believers.
- The Sacrament of Baptism shall be performed at the baptistery in the church, except in cases of necessity resulting from extreme sickness or forcible circumstances; then baptism shall be performed in the homes of the believers by permission of the bishop. In this case, a wide and deep basin should be made ready in which water is to be sanctified. This basin is to be used exclusively for baptism. This procedure shall also be followed in countries where we have no church or house of prayer.
- The bishop as well as the priest shall perform the Sacrament of Baptism fully dressed in his vestments. Incense shall be offered as is required by the rituals of the church.
- Baptism shall be performed in the morning after the Divine Liturgy, unless an emergency may require its performance before or at any other time.
- For every male child there must be an Orthodox Godfather, and for every female child an Orthodox Godmother.
- Two kinds of oils shall be used in the administration of baptism. The Holy Oil, which is consecrated by the bishop, shall be administered before immersion.The Holy Chrism (myron), which is consecrated by the Patriarch / Catholicos, confirms the baptized and shall be administered after baptism.
- The godparents, before participating in the baptismal ceremony, shall, with due respect and purification, confess and receive Holy Communion. They should also instruct the baptized male or female in the Christian doctrine and religion.
- The priest shall register the name of the baptized in the church baptismal registry. It is proper and commendable that the baptized be given a Christian name.
- When the priest baptizes male and female children at the same time, he is not permitted to immerse them simultaneously in the same water. He should immerse the male children first, and after changing the water, the female children. In cases of multiple baptisms, the priest shall immerse the children in descending order with the oldest being first.
- If a child is near death, the priest shall baptize him without immersion, by pouring water upon his (her) forehead and the rest of his (her) body if possible.
- The Sacrament of Baptism should be fulfilled two weeks after birth, unless an emergency requires postponement. In such a case, baptism may be performed after one month but not later than two months.
- A priest can baptize his own child only in cases of emergency or when another priest is not available.
- If a child is near death, a high deacon (gospeller) can baptize him or her, in the absence of a priest. Later on, if the baptized lives the priest shall confirm the child by anointing him (her) with holy chrism.
- In an emergency, the priest can baptize even after having had his meal. In an emergency of death, the priest shall use the shortened service of Baptism of Mar Severius, Patriarch of Antioch.
- As to the holy water, it should be poured in the baptismal font or in a clean place, such as a field or a garden.
Source: OTH Kottayam