Prayers on the Eighth Day after Birth
On the eighth day after a child is born, the priest may be invited to the home to say the prayers for the eighth day after birth. On this day, the child receives his or her name, just as Jesus was named by his mother and adoptive father on the eighth day after his birth.
Churching (Blessing )of the Mother and Child after Forty Days
The most important custom for the newborn and the mother is the forty-day blessing (sarantismos). On the first Sunday after the fortieth day of birth (or the closet following Sunday) , the mother and father bring the child to the narthex of the Church for a brief service of purification and to formally bring the baby into the church. This usually takes place at the beginning of the Divine Liturgy, but can also be arranged prior to Holy Communion if the mother so desires. The mother and the child remain in the church narthex and do not enter the nave until the priest has offered a prayer. Prayers are said for the mother and the child.
Then the priest carries the baby to the front of the church, followed by the mother and father, after which the child is presented in the Church. The priest proclaims: “The servant of God is brought within the church in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.” Male children are carried around the altar. Females must remain at the altar gates in keeping with the Orthodox practice that only males may enter the sanctuary area. This service recalls the presentation of Christ in the temple on the fortieth day after his birth.
After the forty-day blessing, close family members say “Na mas zisi” (May he/she live for us”) and acquaintances offer congratulations with “Na sas zisi” (“May he/she live for you”) or “Na zisi” (May he/she live”).
To make arrangements for the churching service, please contact the Church Office at firstname.lastname@example.org (734/332-8200).