The Seal of the Gift of the Holy Spirit
Chrismation is the Sacrament of the Holy Spirit. As the fulfillment of Baptism, it is an integral part of the baptismal mystery. It is a personal Pentecost when we receive as a gift what Christ has by nature: the Holy Spirit eternally bestowed by the Father upon His Son. We truly become a temple of the Holy Spirit.
He will glorify me, because he will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine. For this reason I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you. John 16:14-15.
||“Blessed are You, O Lord God Almighty, Source of all good things, Sun of Righteousness, who did shed forth upon them that were in darkness the light of salvation, through the revelation of Your Only-begotten Son and our God; and who have given to us, unworthy though we be, blessed purification through hallowed water, and divine sanctification through life-creating Chrismation; who now, also have been graciously pleased to regenerate Your servant that has newly received Illumination, by water and the Spirit, and do grant unto him/her remission of sins, whether voluntary or involuntary. Do You, the same Master, compassionate King of kings, grant also unto him/her the seal of the gift of Your holy, and almighty, and adorable Spirit, and participation in the holy Body and precious Blood of Your Christ.”
The White Garment
The unvesting before Baptism symbolizes the rejection of the “old man” and the “old life” of sin and corruption. After Chrismation we receive new vestments, a white Baptismal gown. This, one of the most ancient rites of the baptismal liturgy, reveals the purity and righteousness of life in Christ. It also reveals the genuine spiritual sobriety of the Orthodox tradition. This is the royal robe, the robe of immortality, the garment by which we will be received into the wedding feast with Christ. The post-baptismal vesting is a return to the innocence of Paradise, a return to our true nature.
“Preserve pure and unpolluted the garment of incorruption which You have clothed him/her, upholding inviolate in him/her, by Your grace, the seal of the Spirit, and showing mercy to him/her and to us, through the multitude of Your mercies.”
The washing off of the Holy Chrism and the tonsure are performed immediately after the reading of the Gospel. The cutting of hair is a symbol of obedience and sacrifice. This is the child’s first offering to God. The prayer of the tonsure sums up the meaning of baptism – it is the restoration of man as the most perfect and beautiful creature of God. Man is the image of God’s ineffable glory and beauty. Thus the way to true beauty begins with sacrifice to God, by surrendering to Him in joy and gratitude.
||“O Master, Lord our God, who has honored man with Your own image, You have fashioned him from a reason-endowed soul and a comely body (for the body serves the reason-endowed soul): for You set the head on high, and endowed it with the chief portion of the senses, which nevertheless, impede not one another; and You have covered the head with hair, that it be not injured with the changes of the weather and have fitly joined together all his members, that with them all he may give thanks to You, the Great Artificer. You, the same Master, through Your chosen vessel, the Apostle Paul, have given us a commandment that we should do all things to Your glory: Bless, now Your servant, who has come to make a first offering shorn from the hair of his/her head, and likewise his/her Sponsor; and grant that they may exercise themselves in Your law, and do those things which are well pleasing in Your sight.”