Order of Centurions
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you
TIME DEUM ET
Baptism and Communion are the sacraments commanded by Christ. In St. Matthew 28:19-20, he said: "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. Salvation security is assured when we confess Jesus as Lord and Savior with our mouth, and believe God raised him from the dead in our hearts [Rom 10:9], and abide in him [John 15:6]. In obedience to Jesus' command [Matthew 28:19], the Church has always baptized believers with water in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit into the Church. Baptism is a sacrament for regeneration, removal of sin, and with Confirmation the infilling of the Holy Spirit. In Baptism, believers are sanctified (set apart) as Holy for the Church and marked as Christ's own. Baptism is a sign of full membership and communion in the Church community. Baptism is normally performed by an ordained minister, but may be performed by any Christian if need be. A form of Baptism in the Early Church may be used. There is only one baptism in the Church Militant. Baptism is obligatory in obedience to Jesus' command: Remember the words of our Lord who said, "And I tell you, everyone who acknowledges me before others, the Son of Man also will acknowledge before the angels of God; but whoever denies me before others will be denied before the angels of God" and "Except a man be born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God".
Baptism was performed in the earliest days of the Church. Indeed, St. John the Baptist baptized with water, and at his hand our Lord was baptized with water and God baptized him with the Holy Spirit. This Order honors the first Gentile to be baptized into the New Church, Cornelius the Centurion of Caesarea.
All Christian Churches conduct baptisms. Therefore anyone baptized according to the formula in Matthew 28 is considered a Christian and a member of the Holy Universal Christian Church - the Church Militant.
Although baptism is acceptable in any season, a Cohort wishing to follow the ancient tradition that the Centurions saw, would choose the Easter Vigil as the time for the baptism.
(The manner of baptism is not specified in Scripture except that it be done in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit with water, and by the example of our Lord who was batized in the Jordon River. Early tradition in the Church preferred cold running water and immersion, but allowed for other methods) The Apostles Tradition, published about 215AD, records the historic rite used in Rome. Cohorts wishing to adopt this ancient form should adopt it so that it is appropriate for their culture. Cohorts may adapt this baptismal liturgy to suit local situations, but should always have three times that the water is applied in the baptism: for the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, with water and a form of examination and renunciation of evil.
Homily of Ambrose on the nature of the Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist | Cyril of Jerusalem on Chrism at Baptism
- Catechumens will hear the word for three years. Yet if someone is earnest and perseveres well in the matter, it is not the time that is judged, but the conduct.
- When the teacher finishes his instruction, the catechumens will pray by themselves, separate from the faithful. After the prayer, the teacher shall lay hands upon the catechumens, pray, and dismiss them. Whether such is one of the laypeople or of the clergy, let him do so.
- When they are chosen who are to receive baptism, let their lives be examined, whether they have lived honorably while catechumens, whether they honored the widows, whether they visited the sick, and whether they have done every good work. If those who bring them forward bear witness for them that they have done so, then let them hear the Gospel. From the time at which they are set apart, place hands upon them daily so that they are exorcised. When the day approaches on which they are to be baptized, let the bishop exorcise each one of them, so that he will be certain whether each has been purified. If there are any who are not purified, they shall be set apart. They have not heard the Word in faith, for the foreign spirit remained with each of them. Let those who are to be baptized be instructed that they bathe and wash on the fifth day of the week (Thursday). If a woman is in the manner of women, let her be set apart and receive baptism another day. Those who are to receive baptism shall fast on the Preparation of the Sabbath (Friday). On the Sabbath (Saturday), those who are to receive baptism shall all gather together in one place chosen according to the will of the bishop. They shall be commanded to pray and kneel. Then, laying his hand on them, he will exorcise every foreign spirit, so that they flee from them and never return to them. When he has finished exorcising them, he shall breathe on their faces and seal their foreheads, ears and noses. Then he shall raise them up. They shall all keep vigil all night, reading and instructing them. Those who are to be baptized are not to bring any vessel, only that which each brings for the Eucharist. It is indeed proper that each bring the oblation in the same hour.
- At the hour in which the cock crows, they shall first pray over the water. When they come to the water, the water shall be pure and flowing, that is, the water of a spring or a flowing body of water... The children shall be baptized first. All of the children who can answer for themselves, let them answer. If there are any children who cannot answer for themselves, let their parents answer for them, or someone else from their family. After this, the men will be baptized. Finally, the women, after they have unbound their hair, and removed their jewelry. No one shall take any foreign object with themselves down into the water.
- At the time determined for baptism, the bishop shall give thanks over some oil, which he puts in a vessel. It is called the Oil of Thanksgiving. He shall take some more oil and exorcise it. It is called the Oil of Exorcism. A deacon shall hold the Oil of Exorcism and stand on the left. Another deacon shall hold the Oil of Thanksgiving and stand on the right
Q: Do you renounce Satan?
A: I renounce you Satan and all your works
The elder shall then anoint them with the Oil of Exorcism, saying,
"Let every evil spirit depart from you."
Then, after these things, the bishop passes each of them to the elder who stands at the water... A deacon, likewise, will go down with them into the water. When each of them to be baptized has gone down into the water, the one baptizing shall lay hands on each of them, asking
Q:"Do you believe in God the Father Almighty?"
He shall then baptize each of them once, laying his hand upon each of their heads. Then he shall ask,
Q:"Do you believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who was born of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary, who was crucified under Pontius Pilate, and died, and rose on the third day living from the dead, and ascended into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of the Father, the one coming to judge the living and the dead?"
he shall baptize a second time. Then he shall ask,
Q: "Do you believe in the Holy Spirit and the Holy Church and the resurrection of the flesh?"
And thus let him baptize the third time. Afterward, when they have come up out of the water, they shall be anointed by the elder with the Oil of Thanksgiving, saying,
"I anoint you with holy oil in the name of Jesus Christ."
Then, drying themselves, they shall dress and afterwards gather in the church. The bishop will then lay his hand upon them, invoking, saying,
"Lord God, you who have made these worthy of the removal of sins through the bath of regeneration, make them worthy to be filled with your Holy Spirit, grant to them your grace, that they might serve you according to your will, for to you is the glory, Father and Son with the Holy Spirit, in the Holy Church, now and throughout the ages of the ages. Amen.
After this he pours the oil into his hand, and laying his hand on each of their heads, says,
"I anoint you with holy oil in God the Father Almighty, and Christ Jesus, and the Holy Spirit."
Then, after sealing each of them on the forehead, he shall give them the kiss of peace and say,
"The Lord be with you."
"And with your spirit."
After the confirmation by the Bishop, the newly baptized would partake of the Holy Communion with all other baptized Christians. In addition to the consecrated bread and wine, they would receive milk and honey mixed together. The eucharist was often at dawn
One can see a dove, indicative of the Holy Spirit at Baptism. The minister figure wears a loin cloth. A fisherman drawing a fish out of the sea - a symbol of baptism. There are said to be other catacomb drawings like this, without the dove and the minister with a tunic (the common dress) and a pallum worn by ordained ministers
SYMBOLIC REPRESENTATION OF BAPTISM
Catacomb of Callistus, 2nd century
Almighty God, who hast given us the blessed mystery of baptism which was instituted and ordained by thy Son, as a sign of cleansing, adoption into the Church family, and of spiritual regeneration; (we give thanks unto thee for the baptism we have witnessed.) Grant that this day we might remember our own baptism, and in the days to come glorify thy holy name, through Jesus Christ our Lord who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, forever and ever. Amen by Primus Pilus, MMVI
From the Jerusalem Catechism
You were led down to the font of holy baptism just as Christ was taken down from the cross and placed in the tomb which is before your eyes. Each of you was asked, “Do you believe in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit?” You made the profession of faith that brings salvation, you were plunged into the water, and three times you rose again. This symbolised the three days Christ spent in the tomb.
As our Saviour spent three days and three nights in the depths of the earth, so your first rising from the water represented the first day and your first immersion represented the first night. At night a man cannot see, but in the day he walks in the light. So when you were immersed in the water it was like night for you and you could not see, but when you rose again it was like coming into broad daylight. In the same instant you died and were born again; the saving water was both your tomb and your mother.
Solomon’s phrase in another context is very apposite here. He spoke of a time to give birth, and a time to die. For you, however, it was the reverse: a time to die, and a time to be born, although in fact both events took place at the same time and your birth was simultaneous with your death.
This is something amazing and unheard of! It was not we who actually died, were buried and rose again. We only did these things symbolically, but we have been saved in actual fact. It is Christ who was crucified, who was buried and who rose again, and all this has been attributed to us. We share in his sufferings symbolically and gain salvation in reality. What boundless love for men! Christ’s undefiled hands were pierced by the nails; he suffered the pain. I experience no pain, no anguish, yet by the share that I have in his sufferings he freely grants me salvation.
Let no one imagine that baptism consists only in the forgiveness of sins and in the grace of adoption. Our baptism is not like the baptism of John, which conferred only the forgiveness of sins. We know perfectly well that baptism, besides washing away our sins and bringing us the gift of the Holy Spirit, is a symbol of the sufferings of Christ. This is why Paul exclaims: Do you not know that when we were baptised into Christ Jesus we were, by that very action, sharing in his death? By baptism we went with him into the tomb.
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