Baptism is the Sacrament through which the believer is absolved of sins, is regenerated by the Holy Spirit, becomes a Christian and attains adoption by God. "Unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the Kingdom of God" (John 3:5).
The ceremony of the Baptism can be performed in two ways:
1. After having consecrated the water by the sign of the cross and with the holy chrism and emerging the body of baby into the water three times,
2. Pouring holy water three times upon the head of the person being baptized and washing the face and the senses of adults.
The ceremony is accompanied with the following words of the priest: "This servant of God, coming from the state of catechumen to baptism, is being baptized in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit and, being expiated by the blood of Christ from the captivity of sin, receives the adoption of Heavenly Father, becoming co-heir with Christ and a temple for the Holy Spirit".
The Creed acknowledges one Baptism. It is not repeated, because it is a spiritual birth: a man is born once, that is why he should be baptized only once.
The Armenian Church accepts as authentic the baptism of those Churches, who confess the Holy Trinity and baptize people in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. If a believer, who has been christened in an Orthodox, Catholic or other Church, wishes to become a member of the Armenian Church, he does not need to be baptized for a second time.
One needs a godfather for baptism; the latter should guarantee the faith of the person being christened before the Church and take him/her under his charge and educate the person according to the right faith.
Baptism should take place in the Church. But in those places, where there are no Churches or in the case where the person to be baptized is seriously sick, it is allowed to perform the baptism at home or in some other proper place.
Baptism is the first sacrament; a person who is not baptized cannot receive other sacraments. Immediately after the baptism the sacraments of confirmation and Holy Communion are administered.
Confirmation is a sacrament, in which a baptized person receives the gifts of the Holy Sprit, when he is anointed with chrism (1).
In the Armenian Church the sacrament of the confirmation is called "droshm" or "knounk", which means "seal". Confirmation takes place immediately after the baptism.
The grace of the Holy Spirit is granted by chrism for confirmation in Christian life; it strengthens our spirits, sanctifies our spiritual possibilities and equips us with courage to struggle against all trials.
Parts of the body are granted special graces while being anointed:
Forehead: "Sweet ointment in the name of Jesus Christ is poured upon you as a seal of incorruptible heavenly gifts".
Eyes: "This seal in the name of Jesus Christ may enlighten your eyes that you may never sleep unto death".
Ears: "This holy anointing be unto you for the hearing of the divine commandments".
Nostril: "This seal in the name of Jesus Christ be to you a sweet smell from life unto life".
Lips: "This seal in the name of Jesus Christ be for you a guardian for your mouth and a strong door for your lips".
Hands: "This seal in the name of Jesus Christ be to you a cause for charity and for all virtuous deeds and behavior".
Heart: "This divine seal may confirm in you a pure heart and renew within you an upright spirit".
Back: "This seal in the name of Jesus Christ be to you a shield of strength thereby to quench all the fiery darts of the Evil".
Feet: "This divine seal of God may direct your steps unto life everlasting that you may not be shaken".
(1) Chrism, In Armenian "myron", is made of olive oil and other special oils of different fragrant substances and flowers. In the Armenian Apostolic Church the chrism is consecrated once every seven years. Only the Catholicos of All Armenians and the Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia have the right to consecrate the chrism.