1. Students should know the Scriptural basis for baptism in the baptism of Jesus and Romans 6.
  2. Students should be able to review the order of the service and its meaning.
  3. Each student should be able to perform an “emergency” baptism.

Possible Lesson Plan:

  1. Open with prayer.
  2. This is the first lesson on sacraments; spend a few minutes discussing what a sacrament is: Sacraments are the means established by God to help us enter into the life of Christ.  Through the Sacraments, all the benefits of salvation are imparted to us. Which is the sacrament of initiation? (Baptism) In which do we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit? (Chrismation) In which are we united with Christ and the entire Church? (Eucharist) In which is our life in Christ restored after sin? (Confession or Penance) With which does the Church establish its hierarchical unity? (Orders or Ordination) With which are we healed in soul and body? (Holy Unction) Which is a remembrance of our life on earth and our hope of the resurrection? (Requiem)


  1. Scriptural basis: Ezekiel 36: 25-28, I Corinthians 10:1-2, Mark 1:4, Acts 19:4, Matthew 28:19, Romans 6:3-4, I Peter 3:21, Galatians 3:27


  1. Order of the service (Who can remember what happens?):



1. We face the East.

Light comes from the East; God gives light to our souls.

2. Priest breathes on the face of the child.

God breathed life into Adam; Baptism will breathe New Life into the soul.

3. Priest’s hand on child’s head.

Child enters the shelter of the Church.

4. Exorcism:

    Face West.


    Spit on Satan.

Drives Satan away:

West means Darkness; Satan is the Prince of Darkness.

Shows our hatred of the devil.

5. Profession of Faith (Creed), facing altar.

Testify to our Faith in God, turning to Him and from Satan.

6. With his hand, Priest makes a cross in the water; he then blows on the water and prays.

All evil is driven from the water, which is made holy.

7. Oil is poured on the water.

Purifying of Baptism (water) is only possible through God’s Holy Spirit (oil).

8. Anointed of parts of body with oil.

Oil of gladness for healing, in preparation for His new life.

9. Dipping 3 times in the name of the Trinity.

All sins are washed away: buried with Christ (under water) and risen with Christ: Child dies to sin and is born again to God.

10. White robe of holiness.

Clean and pure new life in Jesus.


  1. Songs of the Sacrament: As many as have been baptized into Christ have put on  Christ, Alleluia! Sung in the place of the Trisagion Hymn; sing it now.


6.   Discussion questions:

Which of the major feasts commemorates the baptism of Jesus? (Theophany) Review the story of Theophany: Who performed the baptism? Who spoke? What did He say? Who showed himself as a dove?

Who represents the child if he is too young to speak for himself? (godparents) By what criteria would you choose the godparents of your children? How do you choose the name of your child? Why do we baptize infants? (God loves us even from the very moment of our birth.) Is baptism a divine pass to get into heaven, or must we as adults make a personal decision regarding the Christian faith?

Why is the first part of the service performed in the narthex and not in the sanctuary? (The child has not yet renounced Satan and is not yet a member of the Church.) Why do we come to the Lord naked? (Remember the Garden of Eden, before sin, when man was not ashamed of the body God had created?) Why do we use a candle in baptism? (Jesus is the light of the world.) Why do we keep the candle and use it at future feast days and our wedding? (Matthew 5:16 – Let your light so shine before men…) What Scriptural references can you think of for the use of oil in healing? (olive branch and Noah, Good Samaritan) Why are the members of our body anointed? (In baptism, not only are we cleansed from sin, but also we become useful members of Christ’s body, the Church.) Why is water so necessary for life?

In what way does the sign of the cross, performed on our body, “brand” us as belonging to Christ? Why a triple immersion? (Several possible symbolisms: the Trinity, the days of the Lord in the tomb) Comment on the theme: “Baptism is important, but don’t hang around the river forever.” What is the meaning of the white robe? (perhaps the shining robe of Christ at the Transfiguration, since we are putting on Christ’s nature or perhaps purity as in Psalm 51 or the multitudes in white robes in Revelation 7:9-17)


  1. Practice performing an emergency baptism, complete with baby doll and cup of 

water (a place to immerse is unlikely in a hospital or other emergency situation):

Say: “The servant of God (name) is baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen” Pour or sprinkle water on the person 3 times, once each time you say the names of the persons of the Trinity.  Call a priest immediately to give the name of the newly baptized. An emergency baptism can be performed by any Orthodox Christian.




  1. Play “A Penny for your Thoughts”: Players sit in a circle. Leader has 10-12 6x6 cards prepared in advance, each requiring the student to answer some question about baptism. Place a bowl in the center of the circle and the cards upside down around it so they cover the surrounding floor. Players take turns trying to throw a penny in the bowl.  If it lands instead on a card, they must answer the question on the card. The player who lands the penny in the bowl the most times is the winner and gets to keep the penny. Sample questions might include:

In whose name do we baptize?           Who can perform a baptism?

How many times do we immerse?      Who do we spit on?

What feast is Jesus’s baptism?            What color is the child’s robe?

Who baptized Jesus?                           We begin facing which direction?

What do the godparents recite?          What is poured in the water?

Who does the priest breathe on?        

What sign does the priest make in the water?


9.  Close with prayer.