The Greek Orthodox Baptism Book

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I’m almost positive it happened over lunch. At a little French cafe on Main St in Sarasota, Florida, as I was enjoying a Salad Nicoise. That’s when the idea to do an art-filled book about the Greek Orthodox baptism ceremony came up — thanks to my good friend, Pat Kaufman.

Just back from NYC where she attended a Greek baptism, Pat was still overwhelmed by the experience. She described the beauty and the mystery. The rituals at the baptismal font. How she was moved by it all. But to her, it was much more aesthetic appreciation, than religious.

I didn’t mention that Pat’s an artist. Of course, that’s how she’d feel.

It seemed clear to me Pat should express her enthusiasm for the ceremony through her art. And I told her so. Maybe do a book. A gift book with lots of colorful illustrations that would explain the ceremony.

That was it. We both loved the idea, and before our lunch was finished, we had decided to do what we could to make the gift book happen. I would research, write and publish, Pat would create the art.

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That was four years ago. Since then, ArtSource Publishing was formed, Child of Light: The Greek Orthodox Baptism Book is in church bookstores, as well as on Amazon, and we’ve gone on to publish other titles.

But back to the baptism ceremony. If you ever get a chance to go to one, by all means, don’t pass it up. And if you ever need a Greek Orthodox baptism gift, hopefully, you’ll remember this post and our gift book.

Here’s a remarkable fact from the book: The baptism ceremony in the Greek Church has remained basically unchanged for over 1500 years.

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My Latest Book

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It all started at the beach when I read a translation of the Greek wedding service to my sister and my soon-to-be-wife on the timeless Cycladic island of Sifnos, the day before my marriage in a tiny, icon-filled, 16th Century chapel there. That’s when I first became aware of the exceptional beauty of what is thought to be the most ancient of all Christian wedding ceremonies.

Since then, those Greek island memories have become ever more present in my life. So much so that not long ago I decided to write and publish a book about the Orthodox wedding ceremony. I wanted it to be a very special “gift book” explaining the ceremony and its symbolism based on conversations with the clergy, filled with original art illustrating an easy-to-understand text. And that’s just what it turned out to be.  The talented Evangelia Philipidis created the captivating art to go with my text.  I know it’s hard to believe, but up until now a book like this didn’t exist.  

Know anyone getting married in the Greek Church?  If you do, you might want to think about the book as an engagement or wedding gift.  The Greek Orthodox Wedding Book is available in many Greek church bookstores around the country and on Amazon.

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“Long before there was a Greek Orthodox Church, back in pagan, ancient Greece there was a certain time of year when most couples married. Classical scholars say it was in winter.”

“Various superstitions compelled the ancient Greeks to be married at night, during a full moon. The most common month for couples to marry was called Gamelion, which means “wedding month” in ancient Greek. We call that month January.”

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“The Greek Orthodox wedding ceremony is unique among Christian marriage ceremonies in that this ancient Orthodox rite has remained primarily unchanged for centuries.”

“Another aspect that sets the ceremony apart from other wedding rituals is that the bride and groom do not exchange vows. Instead, it is their presence before Christ, the priest and the congregation that signifies their wish to be joined in holy matrimony.”

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“The role of a koubaros is similar to that of a best man, but he plays a much more active part in the Greek Orthodox wedding ceremony, both spiritual and financial.”

“Custom dictates that he is responsible for tipping the priest, as well as buying the koufeta favors, alter candles and even the couple’s stephana or crowns.”

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The Greek Orthodox Wedding Book contains twenty nine original illustrations; all are available through ArtSource as fine art prints.

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