Baptism existed before Christ. It was accomplished by submerging the subject into water, the cleansing properties of which were viewed as a sign of sanctification. However, Baptism as a divine mystery was established by Christ Himself. Receiving baptism from John, Christ sanctified this rite through Himself, crushing in the waters of Jordan the skull of the dragon – the Satan – and washed the burden of Adam’s sin away from human nature. Upon His resurrection, He commissioned his disciples “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” [Matthew 28:19
]. Baptism is the first of Saving Mysteries, by means of which the faithful gains membership of the Church and is adopted by Christ. Through baptism, man is cleansed of original sin as well as any sins committed prior to baptism; he is born again by the grace of Holy Spirit and becomes a new man and heir to the Kingdom of Heaven.
Yerevan, man. No 10675, f. 22v,
Gospel of Melitene, 1267-1268 A.D.
Written and illustrated by Toros Roslin
The Sacrament of Baptism is carried out by the priest according to the established rite. It is a necessary precondition in becoming Christian and inheriting eternal life, since Christ Himself says “Unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God” [John 3:5
In order to partake in the Sacrament of Baptism, one should become established in Orthodox faith and repent. Infants are baptized on the basis of the faith of their parents and godparents. It is the latter’s responsibility to ensure that the child is raised as a Christian.
Just as there is one bodily birth, so the Sacrament of Baptism (indicating spiritual birth) is performed only once.
There is “… one Lord, one faith, one baptism”, says apostle Paul [Ephesians 4:5
In Armenian Church, the Sacrament of Baptism is immediately followed by the Sacrament of Confirmation and Holy Communion.