Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern United States
   A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z

"Salvation in the Orthodox Concept" by Pope Shenouda 111, states that it is an individual's faith which makes him eligible for baptism. How then can a baby be baptized? The Holy Book of Acts states that Cornelius and his whole household were baptized. Assuming that there were infants, indicates to me that children can receive baptism based on their parent’s faith. But what happens to those baptized children whose parents did not have TRUE faith at baptism? If those children when they grow up decide to commit their lives to the Lord, would they have to be baptized again or would the Lord recognize the original baptism; and at that point dispense the Holy Spirit?

I would like to encourage you to continue reading His Holiness Pope Shenouda's book regarding Baptism till the end. Answers to a few questions will only BEGIN to help you understand the ranked first among all the sacraments, "Baptism." It is through Baptism that the believer enters the church and has the right to partake in the rest of the sacraments. Thus, it is very important to comprehend this sacrament.

"Baptism," is carried out by immersion in the water three times in the name of the Holy Trinity: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. In this way, we are born again. There are many Holy Scriptures, which I suggest reading in order  to learn more regarding baptism. As we all know, the Lord Jesus Christ Himself was baptized in the River Jordan by John the Baptist.

The Lord Jesus Christ said to His disciples: "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit." (Matthew 28:19) The Holy Gospel of St. Mark 16:16 tells us "He who is baptized will be saved, but he who does not believe will be condemned." Baptism is a redemptive sacrament necessary for redemption and entry into eternal life. The Lord said, "Most assuredly I say to you, unless one is born of Water and of Spirit, he cannot enter the Kingdom of God." (John 3)

The Ritual of Baptism has 4 major parts: Woman's Absolution, Renouncing Satan, Liturgy of Baptism, and Baptism & Water Discharge. In the 2nd part, Renouncing of Satan, the mother of the infant being baptized (after confessing the Lord Jesus Christ and reciting  the Orthodox Creed) says "I believe" three times, at  the priestís  question  to her  three times: "Do you believe on behalf of this child?"

Therefore the infant is baptized on the mother or the guardian fathers' faith into the grace granted to the child in the Sacrament of Baptism. This grace is that of sonship to God and the spiritual preparation for the Kingdom of God.

During the "Baptism by Immersion" phase, the infant is immersed three times into the water in likeness to our Lordís three day's burial in the grave for three days. The first immersion is in the name of the Father, the second is in the name of the Son, and the third immersion is in the name of the HOLY SPIRIT. Baptism is death and resurrection with the Lord Jesus Christ. Through it the person baptized is granted the blessings of salvation that had been accomplished by the death of the Lord on the Holy Cross. Then the infant (or the person being baptized) emerges from the baptismal font as the Lord Jesus Christ came out of the tomb, "Buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised  Him from the dead" (Colossians 2:12).

Baptism is binding and is never repeated. Baptism in the Coptic Orthodox Church takes place only once.

The baptized infant receives the Holy Spirit in the Sacrament of Confirmation which is done immediately after Baptism; and from that time the Holy Spirit dwells in him. The baptism is true and the Holy Spirit dwells in the baptized infant after his confirmation.

This is a general review of your questions concerning Baptism and the Holy Spirit. Again, I encourage reading Holy Scripture regarding Baptism and Coptic literature from such authors as His Holiness Pope Shenouda, His Grace Bishop Moussa, and His Grace Bishop Mettaous.
Home | Ask A Question | Search Q&A