What does the Bible say about wedding godparents?

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What does the Bible say about wedding godparents and what’s exactly their role at the wedding?


A single mention in the Bible


There is only one text in the Bible where the word “headwaiter”, i.e. “godfather”, is mentioned three times.I present the entire biblical passage below:

On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there; and both Jesus and His disciples were invited to the wedding. When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to Him, “They have no wine.” And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does that have to do with us? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Whatever He says to you, do it.” Now there were six stone waterpots set there for the Jewish custom of purification, containing twenty or thirty gallons each. Jesus said to them, “Fill the waterpots with water.” So they filled them up to the brim. And He said to them, “Draw some out now and take it to the headwaiter.” So they took it to him. When the headwaiter tasted the water which had become wine, and did not know where it came from (but the servants who had drawn the water knew), the headwaiter called the bridegroom, and said to him, “Every man serves the good wine first, and when the people have drunk freely, then he serves the poorer wine; but you have kept the good wine until now.” This beginning of His signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory, and His disciples believed in Him. (The Gospel of John 2:1-11)(NASB)


The word’s meaning

The New Testament was written in Koine dialect, a common dialect of Greek spoken by the people. The word which is translated into English by “headwaiter” is the Greek arhitriklinos and it is used with reference to the supervisor of the banquet room, i.e. the person who manages the banquet. So, in the biblical text from the Gospel of John, the godparent is the one who manages the banquet.

Today, young people who marry expect from their wedding godparents to firstly be the official witnesses of their marriage covenant and then to be spiritual parents, spiritual mentors during their life.

Translated by Felicia Rotaru