The Orthodox Baptismal Font - the Divine Womb
The baptismal font is a basin or other receptacle that can hold water and is central to the Orthodox Sacrament of Baptism. The persecution of Christians in historical times led to the practice of baptizing individuals indoors – both for ease and for confidentiality. The Orthodox baptism, like Christ’s baptism by John The Baptist in the River Jordan, includes three full submersions the Holy water. With the submersion of the head underwater, the old sinful Christ-less way of the person dies and the person begins their Orthodox life cleansed in Christ. It signifies the wiping away of past sins and the rebirth of the individual into a new life.
The baptismal font is generally made of metal - aluminum, brass, copper - with a pedestal at the bottom. The overall shape is of a chalice – similar to the shape of the chalice used in Communion. The basin above the pedestal holds the holy water. Some fonts – especially the larger ones – come with a water drain to allow for draining of the water from the base.
Most modern fonts have two handles on the side that serve a 3-fold purpose. (1) They are aesthetically pleasing and orient the font basin as the sides – and with a back and side. (2) The handles allow for ease of moving the font. (3) The font handles are used for hanging the towels from the side.
The font vestibule can be a simple patter (i.e, hammered pattern) or adorned with religious imagery (the image of Christ, the image of the Theotokos, the image of Christ’s baptism, etc. )
The font – or chalice – may also have candle holders crafted into the design.. These candle holders are at the top rim of the basin and are lit around the font during the Baptism. The baptismal font often has a cover, as well, often with an Orthodox cross at top. This cover is used to cover the font when not in use - both for decorative reasons and for practical reasons.
Eastern Orthodox fonts tend to be large and portable. Symbolically, they represent the womb of the Church. They are also said to represent the tomb of Christ. The baptized individual is put into the tomb/womb and is brought out born into Christ.
Blessed Celebration carries a large assortment of baptismal fonts in various sizes and metals. These are made by a leader craftsman of the trade in Greece. You can browse the selection here: https://blessedcelebration.com/collections/baptismal-fonts