Description of Content

Man holding baby in a church with priests at either side, during a christening ceremony. This photograph shows Dimitra Papadimitropoulos as a baby, being anointed with holy oil after her christening in about 1964. She is being held by her godfather, as the priest anoints her with the sign of the cross on her hands. Babies were christened in the Greek Orthodox Church between six and twelve months old. According to the family, between the birth of the child and the christening, the family is not allowed to cut the baby's hair. Before the child is dipped in the water, the godparent covers the child with holy oil. Then the child is immersed. The godparent holds a brand new white towel and brand new white sheet waiting to receive the baby after she has been baptised in holy water. Once the godparent has the baby in their arms, the priest will make a sign of the cross on hands, feet, back, chest, forehead, cheeks and chin in holy oil. They cut off a lock of hair, they clip a bit of fingernail, and the godparent brings a cross which they put around the baby's neck. After the christening ceremony, the child is dressed by the godparent in a new set of clothes, and then he or she takes the child to the altar, where the baby receives first communion. Dimitra's godfather was a friend of the family, Stanley Young, now deceased.

More Information