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Captain Howdy
03-23-2008, 05:59 AM
I hope I have posted in the right forum. I need some basic information for my WIP and am having trouble finding the answers I need on the internet.

The characters in my story have are from middle Europe, Romania, and I assume they are Eastern Orthodox. I say assume because the faith of the adults is not essential to the story.

At the beginning of the story I have the birth of one of the characters. The baby's mother is on her deathbed. There is a possibility the child is cursed (supernatural storyline here) and the grandparents insist on a rather hasty baptism.

the characters live in a rural southern US area populated mostly by baptists, with a few catholics here and there.

some questions are:

at what age is the christening usually done? is it within a week of birth? a month? three months? a specific length of time from the birth?

would it be unusual for someone of the Eastern Orthodox tradition to go to, say, a Roman Catholic priest, for the baptism?

is it required that the christening take place WITHIN the walls of a church or could it be done anywhere, provided the holy water and priest (and any other necessary tools are present)?

would it be plausable for a priest of one tradition to perform the ceremony in a church of another tradition (i.e. a priest of Eastern Orthodox would do the ritual in a Roman Catholic church)

also I need to know some basic facts about naming. The only thing I can reference in my brain is the christening scene at the end of The Godfather and that Catholics, no offense intended, tend to have three first names. I don't understand what this is all about.

many thanks to any one who can give me some pointers!

Puma
03-23-2008, 06:13 AM
Hi Captain - I'm not an expert, but I think the first thing here is to differentiate christening and baptism - they're not the same. Christening includes baptism and naming, but baptism does not have to include naming. In genealogical records, christening was frequently within days of birth but sometimes as much as a month or more later (you have to realize that in many cases priests were not available in each parish all the time). In a case of dire straits such as you suggest, I could see the possibility of grandparents requesting christening/baptism by a priest from a different Christian religion - especially if the proper priest was only in the town once every month.

From what I understand, Catholics are given two names and then receive a third name at confirmation. For quite a while there were specific naming traditions, i.e., German - the first son was named for the father's father and the first daughter for the mother's mother; the second son for the mother's father, etc. This custom was set up for at least eight children before the parents had any freedom to pick a name all their own.

As far as christening and baptism having to be done in a church - in earlier days (1900's) these were often done in the home, especially if there was a threat of losing the child. As far as I know, all sacraments can be delivered outside the bounds of a church proper.

Hope that helps. Puma

Ravenlocks
03-23-2008, 06:48 AM
I'm Greek Orthodox, so I'll give it a shot.


The characters in my story have are from middle Europe, Romania, and I assume they are Eastern Orthodox. I say assume because the faith of the adults is not essential to the story.
Yes, presumably they would be Eastern Orthodox.


at what age is the christening usually done? is it within a week of birth? a month? three months? a specific length of time from the birth?
It's called a baptism, not a christening, and the age when it's done really varies. Russians tend to do it soon after the 40 days (for the first 40 days after the birth the mother can't enter the church; after the 40 days she comes with the baby and prayers are read over them before she enters the church for the first time). Historically the baptism was sometimes done before the 40 days, and the parents wouldn't be there (possibly a good idea considering they're about to watch their offspring be totally submersed in a font three times; my non-Orthodox grandmother freaked). Greeks tend to wait a long time to baptize their kids, sometimes even as long as a year or two. But in an emergency situation, it would probably be done right away.


would it be unusual for someone of the Eastern Orthodox tradition to go to, say, a Roman Catholic priest, for the baptism?
Yes, it would be unusual, although someone ignorant might do it. More likely would be to call their usual priest, even if he lives far away, and he'll make the trip. Even in the south there are Orthodox priests around, so he probably wouldn't live too far away. If they don't have a usual priest, they'd probably ask their Romanian friends for recommendations. Somebody must have one. He probably wouldn't be Romanian, more likely Greek (more of them around), possibly Russian.


is it required that the christening take place WITHIN the walls of a church or could it be done anywhere, provided the holy water and priest (and any other necessary tools are present)?
It could be done in a home. But you'd have to bring the font to the home.


would it be plausable for a priest of one tradition to perform the ceremony in a church of another tradition (i.e. a priest of Eastern Orthodox would do the ritual in a Roman Catholic church)
Not too likely. More likely to do it in the home than in a church of another religion.


also I need to know some basic facts about naming. The only thing I can reference in my brain is the christening scene at the end of The Godfather and that Catholics, no offense intended, tend to have three first names. I don't understand what this is all about.
Naming customs vary by Orthodox culture. I'm not sure what the Romanian customs are, but it's probably plausible for the priest to give the child the name of the saint either of the day they were born on or the day they were baptized on. That's just a guess, though.

AmyBA
03-23-2008, 06:54 AM
I'm no expert either, but from a Catholic POV:



at what age is the christening usually done? is it within a week of birth? a month? three months? a specific length of time from the birth?


I don't believe there's a specific time frame required, but most of the Catholic christenings I've been to/know of have taken place within four to eight weeks of the child's birth. In my family, you didn't really venture too far from home with an infant before baptism-- God forbid something happened to the baby, he or she wouldn't get to heaven.



is it required that the christening take place WITHIN the walls of a church or could it be done anywhere, provided the holy water and priest (and any other necessary tools are present)?


No, it's not required. One of my siblings was baptized in the hospital immediately after birth.



also I need to know some basic facts about naming. The only thing I can reference in my brain is the christening scene at the end of The Godfather and that Catholics, no offense intended, tend to have three first names. I don't understand what this is all about.


It's usually two first names, the second being a saint's name. The third name (another saint's name) is chosen when the child/young adult receives the sacrament of confirmation.

Hope this helps!

FinbarReilly
03-23-2008, 08:18 AM
If the faith is not important, than why make it Eastern Orthodox? Otherwise, all that is required for a baptism is a few drops of water on the infant's head, and a few words, such as, "I baptize this child, in the name of Jesus Christ." There is a more formal ceremony, but this abbreviated version is acceptable, especially if there reason to believe that the infant may pass soon or if the parents need it done quickly.

If it helps...

FR

hammerklavier
03-23-2008, 10:49 PM
I'm Greek Orthodox, so I'll give it a shot.

Naming customs vary by Orthodox culture. I'm not sure what the Romanian customs are, but it's probably plausible for the priest to give the child the name of the saint either of the day they were born on or the day they were baptized on. That's just a guess, though.

All Ravenlocks' responses are right on. As to the question of names that varies. To add to the two possibilities you gave, they might have a family name, the paternal grandparent for first boy maternal grandparent for second boy would be strong possibilities. Or just any saint name they happen to like. Or some non-saintly name, which would raise eyebrows. Or some totally 'weird' traditional religious name which is used for religious purposes only as they have an American nickname which may or may not be related to their real name.

P.S. Search for Orthodox churches in the setting of your novel. If there was no Romanian Orthodox Church they would go to another brand without any problem. There might even be a Romanian priest working at another brand.

P.P.S. In a total emergency any Orthodox Christian could baptize the infant, most likely with their trusty bottle of holy water, always on hand. It would be done in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. But this doesn't sound like that kind of emergency. In the church, Orthodox baptizisms are by immersion (more or less) the kid gets dunked three times (once for each name) and gets pretty well coated with olive oil as well.

AnnieColleen
03-24-2008, 04:34 AM
If the faith is not important, than why make it Eastern Orthodox? Otherwise, all that is required for a baptism is a few drops of water on the infant's head, and a few words, such as, "I baptize this child, in the name of Jesus Christ."
Depends on the religious tradition...for a Catholic baptism (& I think Orthodox would be the same, but don't quote me) it would be in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.


God forbid something happened to the baby, he or she wouldn't get to heaven.
Depends on the time/place you're talking about; this belief isn't held across-the-board. Ditto the saint's name as middle name.

johnnysannie
03-24-2008, 03:49 PM
One more Catholic opinion......

The sacrament is called baptism and yes, there is more involved than just sprinkling a few drops of water and a blessing. In an emergency baptism, it could be that simple but a traditional baptism is more involved. The two godparents are there, they agree to do their best to see that the child is raised in the Catholic faith, they speak for the child renouncing sin and Satan, and everyone (priest, baby, parents and godparents) is gathered around the font.

An emergency - one in which the life of the child is in danger - can be done anywhere; otherwise baptisms are done in the church.

In the US today, some parishes have baptisms during Mass but that isn't a requirement. My kids were all baptised as I was, in a small private ceremony at the church at a time other than during Mass.

Most people baptise babies within the first few months but that also varies. I wasn't baptised until I was six months old, primarily because of waiting for the godparents to be able to attend.

Parents can give their child as many names as they wish but the tradition in my family and in the parishes where I have lived is that the name should be a saint's name. Sometimes if the first name is too modern and trendy, the middle name is used as baptismal name. But as long as the first name is a saint's name, there is no number of names requirement that I am aware of and I am a cradle Catholic.

It would be unusual for an Eastern orthodox priest to conduct Roman Catholic rites and vice versa. Your setting, however, in the rural American south, would probably mean that Eastern Orthodox churches would be very rare in that area. There are parts of the South where there are larger numbers of Catholics but others where Catholics are a definitive minority. In the event that the family is Eastern Orthodox and there are no priests available but Roman Catholic, then a priest might but it would be an individual decision.

Captain Howdy
03-24-2008, 04:13 PM
My thanks to each of you for your terrific and thoughtful responses. You all have given me plenty to ponder.

You guys are better than Google, Wikipedia, and the Public Library all put together!

AZ_Dawn
03-25-2008, 12:06 AM
The sacrament is called baptism and yes, there is more involved than just sprinkling a few drops of water and a blessing. In an emergency baptism, it could be that simple but a traditional baptism is more involved.
There are 2 requirements for a baptism to be valid in the eyes of the Catholic Church:

You must use water.
You must baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. (Holy Ghost is an acceptable substitute for Holy Spirit.)The Church is very fussy about this. I've heard of a case where a Catholic priest tried to get PC with the formula and several babies had to be rebaptized. (I can't remember the exact words he used were, but I think he substituted "creator" for either "Father" or "Son".) On the other hand, converts don't have to get rebaptized if they come from another sect of Christianity that follows the above rules (most Lutherans, for example).

An emergency - one in which the life of the child is in danger - can be done anywhere; otherwise baptisms are done in the church.
An emergency baptism can also be performed by anyone, whether clergy, laity, male, female, Catholic, Non, etc.

Hope this helps.

johnnysannie
03-25-2008, 01:16 AM
There are 2 requirements for a baptism to be valid in the eyes of the Catholic Church:

You must use water.
You must baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. (Holy Ghost is an acceptable substitute for Holy Spirit.)The Church is very fussy about this. I've heard of a case where a Catholic priest tried to get PC with the formula and several babies had to be rebaptized. (I can't remember the exact words he used were, but I think he substituted "creator" for either "Father" or "Son".) On the other hand, converts don't have to get rebaptized if they come from another sect of Christianity that follows the above rules (most Lutherans, for example).

An emergency baptism can also be performed by anyone, whether clergy, laity, male, female, Catholic, Non, etc.

Hope this helps.

As a lifelong Catholic, a Eucharistic minister, a lector, and former PSR (Parish School of Religion) teacher, I am well aware of all of the above and in fact said nothing that contradicted any of the Church's teachings.

And in point of fact, converts from other Christians faiths do indeed have what is called a "provisional" baptism "just in case". My husband is a convert and he did.

AZ_Dawn
03-25-2008, 02:03 AM
As a lifelong Catholic, a Eucharistic minister, a lector, and former PSR (Parish School of Religion) teacher, I am well aware of all of the above and in fact said nothing that contradicted any of the Church's teachings.
Sorry, I didn't mean to imply you didn't know. I just felt a little more elaboration was needed for Captain Howdy. I'm sorry if I failed to clarify who I talking to and upset set you by it.:(

citymouse
03-25-2008, 03:08 AM
Throughout history Doctors of the Church have always taught that in the absence of water, baptism of blood (martyrdom) and baptism of desire can be a means of replacing baptism of water. That does not mean in any sense that there are three baptisms because we as catholics "confess one baptism for the remission of sins".

The RCC teachs further that in the case of infants water is necessary because they cannot make an act of faith which requires the use of reason.

I think it interesting that few entering the sacrament of baptism think of it as an exorcism, which it is:
"I abjure thee, thou unclean spirit, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit: depart and keep far from this servant of God. He Himself is commanding thee, accursed reprobate... therefore acknowledge thy defeat and cede the honor to the living and true God, cede the honor to Jesus Christ, His Son, and to The Holy Spirit. Withdraw from this servant of God... and do thou, accursed fiend, never dare to violate this sign of the holy cross, which we trace upon his forehead.

Pretty heavy stuff!

C

AnnieColleen
03-25-2008, 03:45 AM
One more thought - I don't know if this would apply to a Romanian church specifically, but there are also Eastern-rite churches that are in union with Rome. A few priests are bi-ritual -- authorized to perform sacraments for multiple rites, e.g., Roman and Maronite. (Roman rite is the one most people think of when they think of Catholic.) That might also be an option -- but you'd want to look into whether it applies for the people and the location you want.

Ravenlocks
03-25-2008, 06:51 AM
One more thought - I don't know if this would apply to a Romanian church specifically, but there are also Eastern-rite churches that are in union with Rome. A few priests are bi-ritual -- authorized to perform sacraments for multiple rites, e.g., Roman and Maronite. (Roman rite is the one most people think of when they think of Catholic.) That might also be an option -- but you'd want to look into whether it applies for the people and the location you want.
I think Eastern-rite churches in union with Rome are more likely to be Ukrainian.

AnnieColleen
03-25-2008, 09:18 PM
There's a variety of them. Maronites are the ones I've heard most about -- they still use Aramaic in the liturgy :) -- but they're not helpful here.

IceCreamEmpress
03-25-2008, 10:31 PM
The religion of Romania is the Romanian Orthodox Church.

The website of the Romanian Orthodox Church in America (http://www.roea.org/) may be helpful to you.

I would not generalize about the rites and rituals of one Catholic denomination from another--they differ pretty dramatically, even within the Eastern Orthodox traditions.

reigningcatsndogs
03-25-2008, 11:39 PM
I'm Catholic, my husband was Anglican. When son #1 arrived, the Catholic priest (a drunken a**hat at best) refused because, even though I was a practicing Catholic, my husband was not and so the baby could not be baptised in the church. I talked with several other Catholic priests I know, all of them appauled at what we were told. All of them also told me it didn't matter where or when a baby was baptised, or who did it. A nurse in a delivery room with tap water (although Holy water would be better) could baptise a baby if the need was there, as long as the child was baptised 'in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit'. My son was baptised by the Anglican minister because he was our only other option at the time.

citymouse
03-26-2008, 02:54 AM
I'm Catholic, my husband was Anglican. When son #1 arrived, the Catholic priest (a drunken a**hat at best) refused because, even though I was a practicing Catholic, my husband was not and so the baby could not be baptised in the church. I talked with several other Catholic priests I know, all of them appauled at what we were told. All of them also told me it didn't matter where or when a baby was baptised, or who did it. A nurse in a delivery room with tap water (although Holy water would be better) could baptise a baby if the need was there, as long as the child was baptised 'in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit'. My son was baptised by the Anglican minister because he was our only other option at the time.

I wrote in another forum that the Catholic Church will regain its lost glory when it begins once again to love and to serve rather than to command.

The clergy would get a lot of stiff back relief if they would only trade it for knees made stiff in prayer!
C

Skyraven
03-26-2008, 06:59 AM
I hope I have posted in the right forum. I need some basic information for my WIP and am having trouble finding the answers I need on the internet.

The characters in my story have are from middle Europe, Romania, and I assume they are Eastern Orthodox. I say assume because the faith of the adults is not essential to the story.

At the beginning of the story I have the birth of one of the characters. The baby's mother is on her deathbed. There is a possibility the child is cursed (supernatural storyline here) and the grandparents insist on a rather hasty baptism.

the characters live in a rural southern US area populated mostly by baptists, with a few catholics here and there.

some questions are:

at what age is the christening usually done? is it within a week of birth? a month? three months? a specific length of time from the birth? As far as I know, it doesn't matter. At the very least from one month onward. I was baptized at six months, my son at three years.

would it be unusual for someone of the Eastern Orthodox tradition to go to, say, a Roman Catholic priest, for the baptism? can't say, don't know.

is it required that the christening take place WITHIN the walls of a church or could it be done anywhere, provided the holy water and priest (and any other necessary tools are present)? It is not required in case of an emergency. I was a certified EMT for three years. If I was to deliver a baby in distress, I would be able to baptize the baby in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. If the baby is healthy, then a priest or deacon can baptize the infant.

would it be plausable for a priest of one tradition to perform the ceremony in a church of another tradition (i.e. a priest of Eastern Orthodox would do the ritual in a Roman Catholic church) Don't really know.

also I need to know some basic facts about naming. The only thing I can reference in my brain is the christening scene at the end of The Godfather and that Catholics, no offense intended, tend to have three first names. I don't understand what this is all about. I gave my son two saints names. My own first name, Heiddi is not a saints name, but my middle name Felicita is. Felicita is the patron saint for young mothers, women who want to be mothers and for children who die young. this was also my paternal grandmother's first name.

many thanks to any one who can give me some pointers!
Hope this helps. :)

heiddi

maxmordon
03-27-2008, 12:23 AM
I don't know how is on other Catholic societies but the Spanish-speaking Catholics until recently gave their child the name of the saint they were born. Giving some really old names like Eleutherious, Stanislaw, Abundious, Segolene, Letitia, et al

matdonna
04-16-2008, 06:29 AM
Even in the south there are Orthodox priests around, so he probably wouldn't live too far away. If they don't have a usual priest, they'd probably ask their Romanian friends for recommendations. Somebody must have one. He probably wouldn't be Romanian, more likely Greek (more of them around), possibly Russian.


There are also Antiochians (Arab church) and other smaller groups like the Bulgarians and Serbians. If this is contemporary, the priest may very possibly be a convert of non-traditional ethnic Orthodox background, whatever church he is with-- i.e. he could have a last name like Smith and not really speak any of the European languages.

Also, somewhere else on the thread someone mentioned putting a lot of oil on the baby-- this is definitely the Greek custom, but not the Russian one. I think the Romanian custom for this is more likely to be like the Russian one, but I don't know for sure.

matdonna
04-16-2008, 06:46 AM
another note-- as someone said, an emergency baptism at home can be done by any Orthodox Christian. I think that more likely than that they would ask a Roman Catholic priest. And if the priest comes I don't think the font would have to be brought to the house-- any vessel will do, the priest blesses the water in the vessel, and it is even possible if the child is extremely ill that he might only sprinkle instead of immerse. At any rate my husband (Orthodox Church in America, a descendant of the Russian Church) has done that on hospital calls.

Also, when an Orthodox baptism is done, the chrismation or anointing with oil is done right away, by the priest, who has the chrism which is blessed and provided by his bishop. In the western church this is done by a bishop when the candidate is older and is called confirmation.

Please note this is not the generous slathering with oil(in the Greek tradition-- smaller anointings in the Russian) before the child is immersed. That is called the 'oil of gladness' or oil of the catechumens. I don't think it would be needed in an emergency. But if a priest came to baptise a child, he would also bring the Holy Chrism with him and anoint the child on the forehead, lips, hands, feet and heart after baptism. If a lay person had to do an emergency baptism, they would not have this chrism and would have to get the priest to do it later, probably when the family is finally able to get the baby to a church.

matdonna
04-16-2008, 06:51 AM
re: names I think one name suffices, a saint's name, but you will need something more specific to Romanian. In baptism the priest says "The servant of God N. is baptised in the name of the Father (immersion) and of the Son (immersion) and of the Holy Spirit (immersion)."

Komnena
06-10-2008, 08:10 PM
You need to visit this site. www.goarch.org. It's the official website for the Greek Orthodox in America. They should be able to help you with your questions.