Day 2 Athens – Greek Orthodox Forty Day Blessing
When a baby reaches its fortieth day of life, the Greek Orthodox Church instructs its parents to present the newborn at church for its blessing. It was last night over midnight conversations between myself, my excellent Aunt Marina and my mum that the decision was reached that Kingsley would be presented at church to receive his Forty Day Blessing, tomorrow.
With this welcome decision made the night before, the schlep this morning to get us to church: quick shower, quicker breakfast, two nappy changes, one huge feed, change in outfits, rummage about for appropriate attire-both myself and the boy, and stuff the nappy bag full with baby necessities. Cousin Mirella drives us the four blocks, while mum and Aunty Marina walk. Its a brilliant blue sky, sunny winter’s day in Athens worthy of a city saunter. But of course of I am forbidden to expose the bebe to the elements, so drive to church we do.
So what is the history behind the Forty Day Blessing? This special service emulates the Old Testament custom in which the Blessed Virgin Mary brought Jesus into the Temple on the fortieth day after His birth. It consists of prayers of joyful thanks for the safe delivery of mother and child.
That crisp Winter’s morning, in front of our family as witnesses, a kindly Priest blessed me and formally presented Kingsley into the Sanctuary of the Greek Orthodox Church in downtown Athens. Our baby is blessed.