Who can be a godparent?

The role of a godparent is an honorary position awarded by the Church and the child’s parents.

A godparent must meet the following criteria:

  • Be a member of the Lutheran Church
  • Have attended confirmation preparation
  • Be confirmed

Ideally, the baptised person – child or adult – should have at least two godparents who are baptised and confirmed members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland or of the Porvoo Communion.

Any additional godparents may belong to some other Christian church that accepts the infant baptism of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland. People who do not belong to a church cannot act as godparents. If you have trouble finding suitable godparents, contact your parish for help.

For a particular reason, baptism can be administered with only one godparent. Such cases require the permission of the vicar of the parish, whose member the baptised person will become.

There is no maximum number of godparents, but additional godparents can only be nominated after baptism under special circumstances. The role of a godparent cannot be exchanged with someone or taken away from the godparent after the christening ceremony.

To register the godparents, the parish needs their names and personal identity codes. For godparents who live abroad, the parish needs the following information: name, date of birth, home parish, religion, city and country. Please ask the godparents-to-be for this information before you contact a pastor about baptism.

Godparental duties

  • Godparents act as witnesses in the baptism ceremony. If at least two godparents are not present at the ceremony, two other people are needed as witnesses.
  • Godparents are adult friends to their godchild.
  • Godparents support the child’s parents in Christian education. They can, for example, take part in parish activities with their godchild or take the child to mass or Sunday school.
  • Praying for the child is not just the godparents’ duty, but also their privilege.
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