Baptismal Instructions

Baptismal Instructions

Baptismal Instructions

Baptismal Instructions


A monumental project which brings the English-speaking work key selections from the remarkable literature of early Christianity -- vertiable trasures of Christian faith and theology in superb translations.


Baptism, its symbolism, and its place in the economy of redemption have always been a matter of extreme interest to theologians, liturgists, and all members of Christ's Body. No part of the Church Militant can remain indifferent to any knowledge, new or old, of the sacrament of regeneration; when some new knowledge emerges from the obscurity of nearly sixteen centuries, the entire Church must leap for joy. The recent discovery of a MS. in a monastery on Mount Athos in Greece gives occasion for such joy because, among other things, this MS. contains a complete series of eight instructions on baptism given by St. John Chrysostom, probably at Antioch, about 390 A.D.


This discovery throws new light on a hitherto little-known aspect of Chrysostom's pastoral activity. He was born about 347 A.D. at Antioch, where he acquired fame as a student and speaker in the school of the pagan rhetorician Libanius. His reputation as an orator followed him into the Church. Baptized in 370, he abandoned the world to take up the study of Scripture as both monk and hermit; but the rigors of his fasts undermined his health and forced his return to Antioch, where he was ordained to the priesthood in 386. Here began his outstanding career as an exegete, preacher, and moralist, functions which he fulfilled under Bishop Flavian until 397.

In that year Chrysostom was at once elevated to the patriarchate of Constantinople and plunged into a morass of intrigue, both political and ecclesiastical. Always standing firm . . .

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