On July 21, Emilia was Christened in a Serbian Orthodox ceremony at St. Basil the Great Greek Orthodox Church, officiated by Father Serge Veselinovich. Her Godparents, Kirby and Brett, came into town and played an integral part of the ceremony. I’ve been best friends with Kirby for over 12 years now, and we are so glad that they’ll play a key role in our daughter’s life forever. Emi is a lucky girl! Isla’s Godmother, McKenzie, flew into Houston from Chicago to celebrate with us! I have the best best friends.
While we attend a Baptist church, Bayou City Fellowship, we wanted to follow Sasha’s Serbian traditions for the Christening, which is very closely aligned to the Greek Orthodox faith (in which Kirby was raised). I did research about the ceremony prior to Isla’s Christening, and wrote about it in her blog post (which is linked at the bottom of this post!).
Although we didn’t know it at the time, sweet Emi had an ear infection on July 21st (now obvious in some of the photos, since she is pulling on her ear!). Needless to say, she was not a super happy camper during the 45 minute ceremony. Kirby was Godmother-extraordinaire, rocking her, giving her a bottle, soothing her, letting her play with her face and hair, etc.
That evening, we had an intimate party at our house with 2-3 friends each and our family. It was so much fun! I didn’t want the night to end. Emi wore the same gown that my grandfather was Christened in (and my dad, aunt, sisters, Isla, amongst other family members)! After she was baptized in the water, she put on Kirby’s stunning Christening gown. And for the reception, she wore a Janie & Jack dress to match Isla, but truth be told, she was so tired and miserable that she only wore it for about 45 minutes.
We were lucky enough to have Nancy Aidée photograph this special occasion for us! Despite Emi being rather fussy, she did such a great job capturing the event. We totally don’t look as sweaty as we all were – 10am in Houston mid-July is about 99 degrees! Prepare for photo spam below the description of the ceremony. I am terrible about narrowing down my favorite images! I also wanted to say a special thanks to Father Serge Veselinovich for officiating the ceremony, to Erica of Wink by Erica for the macarons and cake pops, to Lauren of Tone & State for the custom scripture sign, to Rachel Johnson at House of Hough for the last minute linen request, to Nancy for the photos, to Kirby and Brett for being such wonderful Godparents, and to my wonderful mom for the meringues and pink backdrop!
The Christening Ceremony
The first act of the Christening begins in the entrance of the church, which is to show that Emilia is not yet a member of the Church. The purpose of the Christening is to bring her into the Church. To enter into the temple of God is to be with Christ, to become a member of His body.
Father Serge then called upon the Godmother, Kirby, to renounce the devil and all his works for Emi. The renouncing of Satan was done facing the west because the west is where the sun disappears and was regarded by the ancient Greeks as the place of the gates of Hades.
Then Father Serge faced the east whence the light of the sun rises and asked Kirby to accept for Emi Him who is the Light of the World. He asked, “Do you unite yourself to Christ?” The renunciation of Satan and the union with Christ expresses with faith that Emi has been transferred from one master to another, from Satan to Christ.
Father Serge then made the sign of the cross on Emi’s body. This was repeated often during the service. Essentially, the cross is the sign of victory which puts the devil to flight.
Turning to the baptismal font, Father Serge read several prayers and blessed the baptismal water. The blessed water represents all of creation restored to its original condition—filled with the presence of God. The immersion into the water signifies burial with Christ to a new life. The triple immersion represents the Trinitarian dimension of the Christian life, the life of the Holy Trinity (unlike Isla, Emi rather enjoyed this little bath!).
“Except a man be born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the Kingdom of God.” John 3:5
After receiving the Christening, Emi was clothed in white expressing the purity of the soul that has been washed from sin. It also recalls the shining robe in which Christ appeared at the Transfiguration. There is now a likeness between the one baptized and the transfigured Lord.
The Procession then takes place in a circle that has a beginning with no end, following Father Serge around the baptismal font and the table upon which lay the Gospel and Cross, the center of Unity. This shows faithfulness to the Gospel of Christ and the willingness to accept the Cross, the center of Christian life, a life of future spiritual happiness.
Before the conclusion of the service, Father Serge took Emi to the altar. She was offered to God and the church, as he proclaims, “The servant of God is Churched in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.”
This might be my favorite photo ever of the girls. It’s hilarious to me.