Godparent: Loving Your Children from God

The Responsibility of the Godparent

Sub-deacon Thomas Wilson has compiled from the OCA web site and Fr. Timothy Sawchak some areas of responsibility for the godparent. They are written mostly in the tone of godparents of non-adult godchildren, but essentially, they break down into these twelve:

1. Keep the anniversary of his baptism, learning the life of his patron Saint together. Keep his name day together with reverence and joy. Be together, break bread, and give a particularly appropriate type of gift.

2. Study, learn, and make progress, in order to answer questions.

3. Encourage progress in the Faith by offering presents that help with it, such as icons, prayer books, scriptures, lives of Saints, and help him start an Orthodox library.

4. Be available. Spend time together. Strengthen the relationship. If distant, call, write, email and/or visit. Send letters at the beginnings of liturgical seasons (Nativity, Great Lent, etc) to help keep the calendar. “Prayer and love in Christ know no distance.”

5. Pray always for him; You will be asked about his soul in The Judgment.

6. Be a genuine friend and an example in Christ. “The relationship between the Godparent and the baptized is so important and so close that the Church forbids marriage between the Godparent and Godchild.” They are parent and child, and also siblings.

7. “Pray through the ups and downs of life with your godchild. Find out what’s troubling or challenging your Godchild, what he or she is excited about or eagerly anticipating,” and contextualize it in the Faith. Encourage prayer, pray together, and remind him of your prayers for him.

8. Emphasize the “spiritual” (ascetic) aspects of the Feasts and holy days. Make it a tradition to share fitting readings at such time, and keep the days in proper veneration. Diminish the commercial culture in the keeping of time.

9. “Invite your godchild to go with you to Great Vespers, Matins, or weekday services . . . Encourage your whole “god-family” to come to Church for services other than (in addition to) the Sunday resurrectional Divine Liturgy”

10. Ask what your godchild is studying and learning, discuss these things and be be a help in them, and encourage study of the Holy Gospel.

11. “Help your godchild serve God. Choose a service project to work at regularly together, such as working at a hot-meal program or visiting parishioners in the hospital.” Encourage service in the Church and to others. Help him find and fulfill his vocation. Encourage seminary or monasticism, if interest is shown. Do not rule out Holy Orders as his vocation.

12. “Make your godchild “one of the family”. Include your godchild, and his or her parents and siblings, in your own family’s “social” events: reunions, picnics, camping trips, and zoo and museum outings.”

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