baptism - toliosphotography

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Christian Baptism is the mystery of starting anew, of dying to an old way of life and being born again into a new way of life, in Christ. In the Orthodox Church, baptism is "for the remission of sins" (cf. the Nicene Creed) and for entrance into the Church; the person being baptized is cleansed of all sins and is united to Christ; through the waters of baptism he or she is mysteriously crucified and buried with Christ, and is raised with him to newness of life, having "put on" Christ (that is, having been clothed in Christ). The cleansing of sins includes the washing away of the ancestral sin.


Immersion in water

The word baptize derives from baptizo, the transliterated form of the Greek word βάπτειν or baptivzw. In a historical context, it means "to dip, plunge, or immerse" something entirely, e.g. into water. Although commonly associated with Christian baptism, the word is known to have been used in other contexts. For instance, a 2nd century author named Nicander wrote down a pickle recipe which illustrates the common use of the word. He first says that the pickle should be dipped (bapto) into boiling water, followed by a complete submersion (baptizo) in a vinegar solution. The word was also used to explain the process of submerging cloth into a colored dye. The Christian ritual of water baptism traces back to Saint John the Forerunner, who the Bible says baptized many, including Jesus. Certain forms of baptism were practiced in the Old Testament. Additionally, baptism was practiced in some pagan religions as a sign of death and rebirth.


Infant Baptism

The Orthodox also practice infant baptism on the basis of various texts (e.g. Matthew 19:14) which are interpreted to condone full Church membership for children. This is generally based on a confession of faith for a child by his or her godparents. The Orthodox Church baptizes infants for the same reasons and with the same results as she baptizes adults.


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