When one is baptized in the Greek Orthodox church, becomes a servant of God and a member of the Orthodox faith. The child or adult who is baptized is anointed with sacred olive oil and receives the Holly Spirit for Christian life. This anointing explains the arrival of the Holy Spirit on Jesus at his baptism in the Jordan River according to Mark 1:9-11.
Baptisms in the Greek religion are very happy events and are celebrated like weddings.
The parents choose somebody to stand as godparents for the child that is getting baptized. The godparents are responsible for this child, in case something happened to the parents. They are always playing an important role in the child’s life. They are spiritual parents.
The child or adult who is getting baptized, is covered completely with olive oil. The baptism is a very serious ceremony and one of the most important sacraments in the Orthodox religion. Olive oil holds first place in this sacrament and others too.
The priest blesses the water in the font and adds some olive oil, the godparents brought. The godparents undress the child, as a symbol of removal of old sin. The priest makes the symbol of the cross with olive oil on various parts of the child’s body. After that the godparents apply olive oil all over the child’s body and hand the child to the priest. The priest dips the child in the water into the font three times, a symbol of Christ’s three days death and resurrection.
At the end the priest gives the child to the godparents who dress it in white clothing, a symbol of purity.
If you are curious to see how an Orthodox baptism is performed, please watch the movie “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”.
There are superstitions about olive oil. Superstitious people believe that during the baptism, a child’s body should be oiled well, because if it isn’t, that part of the child’s body will be weak and smell bad for the rest of the child’s life. This superstition began from the Achilles days. His mother dipped him in the water during his baptism, holding him by his heal. The heal didn’t get wet and ended up to be the weakest part of his body. He died when he was hit in the heal by an arrow during the Trojan war.
Take it from me, for all its worth. The guy didn’t break his heal and died, he was struck by an arrow.