Vested in Christ: Understanding the Mysteries of Holy Baptism and Sacred Chrismation
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Holy Baptism is the Mystery during which a person is born again and recreated; the image of God within is restored, formerly shattered by Adam and Eve’s disobedience in the Garden of Paradise. St. Paul emphasizes the significance of the Mystery of Holy Baptism: For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. (Gal. 3: 27) This means that at Holy Baptism, we put on Christ, and at Sacred Christmation, we receive the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit! When St. Synclitike (commemorated Jan. 5) was persuaded by the syncretists to explain the benefit of Holy Baptism, she said to them: “In the present life we are born three times: The first time, when we go forth from our mother’s womb, coming from the earth to the earth. The other two times we are born, we rise from the earth to heaven. Of these two second births, one is brought about by divine Grace at Holy Baptism and is rightly called rebirth and regeneration. The other is also brought about by divine Grace, when we repent…” The saints interpreted the Mystery of Holy Baptism as a revelation of the measure of the love of Christ for mankind. It was this divine Love, which we ourselves have experienced, that urged us to author the present book. Indeed, it was sufficient to motivate us to offer this effort to everyone who has been baptized! We developed the present book according to the order of the Service of Holy Baptism, as it is described in the Euchologion of our Church–recognizing that it is entirely possible to encounter examples of small alterations to the order of the celebration of the rite which do not affect the essence of the Mystery. The drawings in the book and the juxtaposition of the narratives from the Book of Elders and Lives of the Saints (Gerontiko and Synaxaria), are intended to assist the untaught in approaching this sacred Mystery.