What is a Catechumen?
A catechumen (Greek: κατηχούμενος) is one who is preparing for baptism in the Church.
In the ancient Church, the catechumenate, or time during which one is a catechumen, often lasted for as long as three years, and included not only participation in the divine services but also catechesis, formal instruction from a teacher, often the bishop or appointed catechist.
Catechetical instruction in Orthodox parishes in America does not typically last the three years which was common in the time of St. John Chrysostom, but typically can last from six months to a year, depending on the practice of the bishop, his jurisdiction, and the level of spiritual maturity of the catechumen. Local parish priests oversee the catechesis of those preparing to be received into the Church.
Catechumens are understood to be Christians upon beginning their catechumenate, and should they die before baptism, they are traditionally given an Orthodox funeral.
- New Member Class
- Fall and Spring Catechumen Lecture Series
- Bible Studies, Special Lectures, Lenten Retreats, Homilies as offered by ASONA and other local churches
Attend Services Regularly:
- Divine Liturgy (monthly)
- Weekday Prayer (weekly)
- Feasts & Seasonal
- Parishioner Info
- Pledge Form
- Orthopraxis Form
- Patron Saint Form
- Renunciations and Affirmations Form
- The entire Bible or at least the New Testament and Psalms
- “Starting Down the Royal Path“ by Archpriest Josiah Trenham, Ph.D.
- Light from the Christian East, by James Payton
- The Orthodox Church – Kallistos Ware
- The Faith – Clark Carlton
- For the Life of the World – Alexander Schmemann
- Orthodox Spirituality – Metropolitan Hierotheos
- Find an AncientFaith.Com Podcast series to listen through. (I do recommend The Intersection of East and West to start!)
Final Preparations for Baptism & Chrismation
- A baptismal Cross, Candle, and a Baptismal Garment.
- Review weekly the Baptism and Chrismation Service
- Pray through the Communion Prayers
- Schedule your “Life Confession”
- Get the ASONA prayer book, or Orthodox Daily Prayers. Pray daily and try to memorize the prayers.
- Sign Up for the ASONA text/email list
- Attend Coffee Hour and get to know your Church
- Attend and help with Special Events (Lectures, Services, Outreach, etc.)
- Two Interviews – discuss with and report to Fr. John
- Visit at least two other parishes in the area
- Visit a monastery (St. Anthony’s and St. Paisius are nearby.)
- Come to an unofficial confession quarterly (after vespers, or by appointment)
- Select a Godparent/Sponsor – discuss and then confirm with Fr. John
- Write a Letter, Essay or schedule a Discussion – “Why I want to become Orthodox?”
List of Activities to Complete in Preparation for Baptism & Chrismation