In Orthodox theology the baptismal robe symbolizes the “Garments of Light” (i.e., the fullness of Divine grace) with which Adam and Eve were clothed in the Garden of Eden before the Fall of Man. Baptism is believed to cleanse the believer of all the sinful defilements both of original sin and personal sins and the white garment is symbolic of this. During the ektenia (litany) before baptism, the deacon prays “That he (she) may preserve this (her) baptismal garment and the earnest of the Spirit pure and undefiled unto the dead Day of Christ our God…”, referring not so much to the material garment as to the spiritual cleansing it represents.
The newly baptized will traditionally wear their baptismal garment for eight days, especially when receiving Holy Communion. These are special days of prayer and fasting, at the end of which they return to the church for the “Removal of the Robe on the Eighth Day” and ablutions Adult Baptism Robes (in many places today, this ceremony is performed on the same day as the baptism, immediately after Chrismation). During this ceremony, the priest loosens the belt on the baptismal robe and prays:
“O Thou who, through holy Baptism, hast given unto Thy servant remission of sins, and hast bestowed upon him (her) a life of regeneration: Do Thou, the same Lord and Master, ever graciously illumine his (her) heart with the light of Thy countenance. Maintain the shield of his (her) faith unassailed by the enemy [i.e., Satan]. Preserve pure and unpolluted the garment of incorruption wherewith Thou hast endued him (her), upholding inviolate in him (her), by Thy grace, the seal of the Spirit, and showing mercy unto him (her) and unto us, through the multitude of Thy mercies…”
He then sprinkles the newly baptized with water and washes all of the places the chrism was applied, and performs the tonsure.
Someone who has been baptized as an adult will often be buried in their baptismal robe, if they have not advanced to some higher ministry within the church.