Mesrop_of_Khizan_Armenian_active_1605_-_

BAPTISM

(MGRDOOTIUN)

It was Christ's will and commandment that we be born of the water and the spirit so that we might enter into the presence of God and His Kingdom. Jesus Himself was baptized in the River Jordan by John the Baptist, and after His resurrection, He commissioned the apostles to go forth and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. In the early days of Christianity, baptism was performed in rivers and pools (King Drtad was baptized in the Euphrates by St. Gregory the Illuminator).

In the early church, the sacraments of initiation (baptism, chrismation, and communion) were generally performed together administered by a bishop (who alone was allowed to bless the oil) and given to masses of converts after a period of study and prayer. Easter Sunday was a favored day for such mass baptisms. The Armenian Church has retained the earlier tradition of giving all three sacraments together at baptism.

The parents and the godparents, particularly the godfather (gnkahayr) present the child for baptism. (The gnkahayr would also sponsor an adult seeking baptism.) Some of the important symbols associated with baptism: the "narod", or red and white braid symbolizing the blood and water that poured from Christ's side, place along with a cross, around the neck of the child; the renunciation of Satan; the immersion into the water three times, and most importantly, water, the source of life. When the child is immersed he shares in Christ's baptism; when he is taken out, he shares in Christ's resurrection.