*What are the requirements for a Godparent? How do I select a Godparent (Koumbaro or Koumbara) for my child?

All About Orthodox Baptisms: Preparing for the Baptism

What are the requirements for a Godparent?

How do I select a Godparent (Koumbaro or Koumbara) for my child?

A Godparent - or sponsor - must be:

- At least 12 years of age
- Baptized and/or chrismated in the Eastern Orthodox Christian Church
- If married, married in the Greek Orthodox Church
- If divorced, has received an Eccelesiastical Divorce

- Of sound mental capabilities
- Is a current parishioner in good standing (a member /steward) of any parish in the Greek Orthodox Church.

· A person may not serve as a godparent:

  • If he/she is the parent of the baptized child
  • If he/she is ignorant of the Orthodox faith
  • If married civilly and the Church has not blessed his/her marriage
  • If he/she is civilly divorced and has not been granted an ecclesiastical divorce
  • If he/she is not a steward of a Greek Orthodox church in good standing
  • If he/she is guilty of overt sins or for any other reason he/she is not in communion with the Greek Orthodox Church

The selection of a Godparent is an important choice. The Godparent – also known as a koumbaro (male) or koumbara (female) is responsible for the spiritual upbringing of the baptized individual. The person becomes a member of the baptized person’s family and the baptism brings about a lifelong relationship.

A Godparent can be a family member or a non-family member. Many chose a non-family member in order to expand the family of the baptized child. What is important is choosing someone who you feel will make an effort to guide the baptized person spiritually – and who you can entrust with your child’s well being.

In Greek Orthodox tradition, when a person marries, the best man (the koumbaros) or the maid of honor (the koumbara) from the wedding will likely serve as the Godparent to the first born child. It is not a requirement to ask them to serve as Godparent to your child – but is a natural choice. Many times, however, if the Maid of Honor or Groomsman is a family member, the Godparent may not choose to select them for serving as Godparent, as they wish to bring in an outside member to the child’s spiritual family.


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