Recently I saw this video in which infants have their head immersed in water, are flipped over and have their feet then immersed. This cycle is repeated 3 times for a total of 6 immersions.

Is this something that is practiced only locally in Georgia (the country) or is this something which is done in all of Eastern Orthodoxy?

  1. Why are both the head and feet immersed (as opposed to the whole child, or just the head or just the feet) and

  2. why is it repeated 3 times? (Is the 3 times to signify the 3 persons of the godhead?)

1 Answer 1


This seems to be only the practice in Georgia by the Patriarch there.

  1. Both are immersed because that is how Ilia II decided to baptize them.

Ilia II, recognised as the Patriarch of the Georgian Orthodox Church, carried out the baptisms of 780 babies at the Trinity Cathedral last Friday ...

The baptism sees each baby's head dipped in holy water, before being spun 180 degrees so its feet can be dipped immediately after. That process is repeated three times.

Ilia II is one of the country's most powerful public figures, and came up with the routine himself.1

  1. Baptism is normally performed by the three-fold immersion of a person in the name of the Holy Trinity; in other words, a person is immersed "in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit," with one immersion at the mention of each person of the Holy Trinity. 2

1 http://www.newshub.co.nz/home/world/2017/01/georgian-priest-s-acrobatic-baptism-technique.html

2 https://orthodoxwiki.org/Baptism#Infant_Baptism and http://www.orthodoxchristian.info/pages/Baptism.htm

  • So, the only remaining question is if Ilia attached any significance to immersing both the head and feet or if he is just trying to be quirky for the sake of being strange. Commented Feb 16, 2017 at 19:25
  • @JamesShewey I haven't found his response/statement if he ever made one
    – depperm
    Commented Feb 16, 2017 at 19:29
  • @depperm Ilia II baptized those infants for a purely demographic reason. He simply wanted to encourage Georgians to procreate. Every third child in a family would be baptized by Ilia II and he would become their godfather.
    – Beqa
    Commented Dec 13, 2022 at 22:14
  • @Beqa ok, do you have a source for that info? that wasn't asked in the question
    – depperm
    Commented Dec 14, 2022 at 12:18
  • @depperm Here is the link - eurasianet.org/…
    – Beqa
    Commented Dec 14, 2022 at 13:29

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