Our Faith - Churching
The Forty-Day Blessing

The most important custom for the newborn and the mother is the forty-day blessing (sarantismos), a reenactment of Mary’s bringing Jesus to the temple on the fortieth day after his birth (The Presentation of Jesus Christ in the Temple). The mother brings her baby to the church on the fortieth day (or the closet following Sunday) for a brief service of purification and to formally bring the baby into the church. Call your local priest to arrange a convenient time.

The mother and the child remain in the church narthex and do not enter the nave until the priest has offered a prayer. Then the priest carries the baby to the front of the church, followed by the mother and sometimes other participants. 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.

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").