September 6, 2015

The Archangel Michael of Panormitis as Godfather

The Greek island of Symi is an island dedicated to the Archangel Michael, with nine shrines dedicated to him there, the most famous of which is the Monastery of the Archangel Michael the Panormitis built in 1783. He is called Panormitis because the Monastery is built in the cove of Panormos, which basically implies the meaning of "cove where all the currents are hushed". Many miracles take place annually here, and the fame of this Monastery has spread throughout the world, making it one of the most visited pilgrimage sites of the Greek islands. Orthodox believers see the Archangel Michael as a sure protector and intercessor of those who call upon him with faith. For this reason, many seek to have their children baptized in Panormitis Monastery, and seek to have the Archangel Michael himself as their godfather.

The Archangel Michael becomes the godfather of the child being baptized in the following manner. The Abbot of the Monastery or the Priest celebrating the Baptism take an icon of the Archangel from the Holy Sanctuary. From the tip of the icon they tie a long white ribbon, securing the other end to the edge of the font, and the icon is given typically to a young boy to hold. Then the boy is told to stand next to the godparent of the child during the Baptism ceremony. In this way the Panormitis becomes a co-sponsor or co-godparent of the newly-illumined child and becomes their protector.