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What on Earth is a Chrismation?

Monday, August 12, 2013

Chrismation (n): 
a rite of initiation 
involving anointing with chrism 
and taking place at the same time of baptism*

Well, that's the dictionary.com definition.
It's sort of correct
and a little unclear as well
{what is chrism?
someone kindly inform me.}

Perhaps at some point
I'll ask Peter to write about his personal experience with this
as I was a puny 6 week old at the time of my chrismation
and hardly capable of lifting my head
or tracking with my eyeballs
{I did a mean post-breastfeeding spit-up though}

Basically,
if you are entering the Orthodox faith from another one
you must be baptized and chrismated.
and it looks like this: 

source

If you are entering the Orthodox faith from another one,
in which you've been baptized under the TRINITY
you must be chrismated
It is slightly less embarrassing than the above photo indicates.
and it is really, really, really, beautiful.

You can read in detail about it in the link above

Here's just a few photographs from the service itself.
Prior to this,
Peter was attending catechism classes for about 3 months
and had been attending churches in Greece, the U.K., and America,
both with me and on his own,
for a year and a half,
if not more. 
He's been reading the works of Schmemman, Gilquist, Ware 
(who we were fortunate enough to meet!)
and many other Orthodox writers
for even longer.
The time line for conversion to Orthodox Christianity varies
and is typically longer than that.

waiting for the service to begin

my mother chanted, which just made the day extra-special (she looks very serious because she was a bit nervous, poor thing!)

before entering the church, the convert and his sponsors must say the Nicean creed. Here, Father James is reciting the prayer of chrismation over Peter.

the catechumen is anointed with chrism (holy oil) on the forehead, cheeks, chin, hands, chest and feet




the catechumen is tonsured, offering as sacrifice locks of hair cut in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit

One of the final moments- unfortunately Peter's head did not quite fit the cross

the churching, in which Peter was brought into the church from the Narthex for the first time as an Orthodox Christian




can you tell I was excited? That smile is definitely a 10 on the scale of 0 to goofball happy (also, I need a tan.)

My Uncle and the lovely Greek parishioner who served as Peters' Godparents

a couple of family friends who love using Peter as a jungle gym :)



If you are interested in reading the service itself, 
you can find it here.
This is just a small peek 
at what Orthodox "chrismation" entails
I just thought I'd share what I learned this weekend
to the best of my knowledge.
I thought it was interesting,
and thought you might find it interesting too :)

Peter and I were both so touched by how many people-
from both my family and his parish-
who came out to celebrate with him on Saturday. 
Saint Michael's Orthodox Church 
is clearly a special place 
and I am so grateful that Peter found his way there. 

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