The birth of a child is one of the most beautiful moments in a person’s life. The rite of baptism is necessary for the baby to receive the protection of the Almighty, his Guardian Angel and God’s Blessing. He is presented with the first material gift — a cross, which should accompany him throughout his life. It symbolizes faith in Divine power and recalls the sacrifice of the Son of God Jesus in the name of atonement for the sins of people.
The ideal time for baptism is the 8th or 40th day after the baby is born. According to the Orthodox rite, the priest places a cross on the chest of the baptized person after his three-fold ablution in a font with consecrated water and puts on him a baptismal garment. From that moment on, the Life-Giving Cross fills the whole life of the child, his body and soul with grace.
The rules and nuances of what kind of cross you need to baptize a child, who should give it and how to choose it successfully, we will tell in this article.
What should be the pectoral cross for christening?
There are no clear rules in this regard. Traditions in every Ukrainian city and village are different.
Where to buy a cross for baptism is also not particularly important. There is only one merit in purchasing this children’s jewelry in a church shop. Unlike stationary jewelry outlets and online stores, these goods are already consecrated in the church. Shop decoration must be consecrated before the ceremony or in the temple at the morning service.
It is permissible to give an old breast cross, inherited, to a child if he can wear it, but before that, consecrate. Do not worry that he will inherit the fate of the deceased. This is just a superstition that has never been confirmed.
Regardless of which cross is given for christening, it will protect the child from evil, failures and illnesses, provided that it is constantly on the body, under clothes, which is why it is called wearable.
What kind of cross is needed for the baptism of a child in the Orthodox tradition?
The main requirement for which cross is used for christening in Ukraine is compliance with the canons of Orthodoxy. The Christian Church only recognizes 6‑pointed and 4‑pointed crosses, not 8‑angled ones. The product should be with a crucifix, where there are two nails at the feet of Christ. They symbolize two thieves crucified next to him. The one to his left mocked him along with the crowd. On the right — after all, he recognized Christ as the Messiah and repented, therefore the foot of the cross is always raised to the right side. In Catholicism, three nails are used.
On the Orthodox cross at the head of Christ there is no lightning, and his arms are straight. There are three crossbars in total: the upper one with the initials I.N.Ts.I. (Jesus Nazarene, King of the Jews). On the central one are the hands of the Savior, on the lower one — the legs. It is a symbol of the road to God — from the fall of man to his purification through repentance.
The prayer “Save and Save” must be engraved on the inside.
A model of a cross without a crucifix is just a jewelry accessory that is not suitable for the rite of baptism and constant wear on a naked body. Such products are beautifully encrusted with precious stones, covered with colored or plain enamel, original compositional ornaments, nominal or dated engravings are applied.
To determine which baby cross will be the best purchase for a christening, you need to consider the following criteria:
manufacturing material. Silver and gold do not cause allergies or other adverse reactions when in contact with the skin. Usually pick up a chain of the same metal as the pendant. In addition to the cross, you need a soft chain with an adjustable length of 40–50 cm so that the child can wear it when he grows up, or a gaitan cord made of leather, rubber, silk, cotton or nylon with a convenient clasp. It is important that it does not tighten the neck too much. Plain gold chains are much more resistant to air, sun and sweat. Silver can blacken over time. Which cross to buy for christening — wooden, gold, aluminum, or silver — each option has its pros and cons. Jewelry made of silver is cheaper than gold, they have antibacterial properties, are lighter in weight;
try. The most popular models of children’s crosses are made of white or rose gold 585 or silver 925;
production technology. Like other jewelry, crosses are made using the stamping or casting method. A stamped cross for a baby’s christening is not suitable because of the sharp edges that can injure the baby’s delicate skin and damage clothes. It is better to choose one-piece cast jewelry with safe edges that are rounded;
weight and size. These parameters depend on the age of the godson. For babies up to a year, miniature models weighing up to 1 g are suitable. Up to 3 years — up to 1.5 g, 2 cm long. Up to 5 years — medium-sized jewelry 2.5–3.5 cm long. Silver items are larger and longer, but not much, and they are always thinner and lighter in weight than gold ones;
the form. The main requirement for what a cross should be for the baptism of a child is the absence of large protruding elements, voluminous stone inserts, and sharp edges. It is necessary to give preference to simple smooth products with rounded ends;
design. This characteristic most of all depends on the gender of the child. For girls, it is customary to choose openwork models with floral patterns. Small flat gemstone inserts are acceptable. Boys are usually given simple crosses, without any decorative elements. These can be products with selective blackening or completely with black enamel.
The classic form is universal. She never goes out of fashion.
How to choose a cross for baptism, given the symbolism of the stones
When choosing jewelry for children, as well as for adults, it must be taken into account that each stone means something and protects the owner of the jewelry from something, endows it with certain properties. Most gemstones belong to one of the months or signs of the zodiac. During these periods, they have the strongest and most intense impact on their owner.
To choose the right cross to buy with a specific semantic message — a wish for a child, for baptism, give preference to inserts from the following minerals:
emerald — means I wish you happiness, fidelity and unconditional love;
aquamarine — I give you courage and balance in life;
diamond / diamond (in the budget version — jewelry with zircons, cubic zirkonia or Swarovski crystals) — be pure and pure;
ruby — may you have a lot of energy and love all your life, follow your happiness;
sapphire — I wish you wisdom and patience, always be yourself;
opal — I want to protect you so that nothing bad happens to you on the path of life;
topaz — I wish you to find your love and always achieve your goals;
amethyst — let it help to give calmness, prudence, maintain clarity of mind;
chrysolite — will give self-confidence, happiness and good health;
citrine — I wish you vitality and wealth;
pearl — may your soul always be pure and innocent;
pomegranate — a wish to find loyal friends, passionate and true love;
amber — giving courage, confidence and health.
Who should buy a baptismal cross?
There are no specific requirements in Orthodoxy regarding who should choose and purchase a cross for a child for baptism. It can be bought by parents, godparents, any interested relatives and family friends. The main thing is to do it with all my heart, soul and with good intentions.
In most Ukrainian cities and villages, a cross is bought by someone who is of the same sex with a baby. For a boy, a godfather is a man; for a girl, a godmother is a woman.
If two godparents are planned, the cross is presented by the godfather, and the kryzhma (baptismal towel) and shirt are presented by the godmother.
To strengthen the spiritual connection between the godfather and the godson, the boy is presented with an icon with the Guardian Angel (usually Nicholas the Wonderworker, Archangel Michael), and the girl is given an amulet or medallion of the Virgin Mary. Sometimes girls are given gold or silver earrings, bracelets or pendants.
Now you know how to choose the right cross for baptism. Check out the assortment in the catalog of the Silvers online store, where you are sure to find suitable models that will become a personal and sacred decoration for a child.
Do not delay your decision and do not waste time, because you must not forget to consecrate the cross in the church in order to endow it with blessed properties.