Christian Baptism is the mystery of starting anew, of dying to an old way of life and being born again into a new way of life, in Christ. In the Orthodox Church, baptism is “for the remission of sins” and for entrance into the Church; the person being baptized is cleansed of all sins and is united to Christ; through the waters of baptism he or she is mysteriously crucified and buried with Christ, and is raised with him to newness of life, having “put on” Christ (that is, having been clothed in Christ). The cleansing of sins includes the washing away of the ancestral sin.
Baptism as a Sacred Mystery
Baptism is more than just a symbolic act of burial and resurrection, but an actual supernatural transformation. Baptism is believed to impart cleansing (remission) of sins and union with Christ in his death, burial and resurrection (Romans 6:3-5; Colossians 2:12, 3:1-4).
Baptism is normally performed by the three-fold immersion of a person in the name of the Holy Trinity. Baptism is immediately followed by Chrismation (anointing with oil) and Holy Communion at the next Divine Liturgy, regardless of age. Although baptism is a separate Mystery (Sacrament) from Chrismation, normally when it is said that someone “has been baptized” this is understood to include not only Baptism but Chrismation as well.