Catechumenatediscipleship is situated in the heart of the church’s pastoral efforts: 2nd-3rd c. Riyadh Metro Map before 313. Preamble. It should be noted that the practices described were, not rarely, more ancient than the evidence we have of them. In any case, we note that admission to baptism was more cautious than in the NT period. In fact, in this period, as an antidote to the moral decadence of the Christian communities and to cases of apostasy in the period of persecution, there was the introduction of a twofold examination, the first in the initial phase of orientation toward Christianity, the second at the act of enrollment for baptism. The phase of preparation for baptism was designed to last 2-3 years. The rejection of other religions by candidates for baptism was more clearly required, along with a personal renunciation apotaxis, abrenuntiatio of Satan. Since pagan cults and rites were rejected en bloc, it is not possible to hypothesize the assumption by Christianity of extraneous religious rites during that period: words and figures borrowed from the pagan mysteries expressed different spiritual realities for Christians R. Turcan, RAC 18, 142. The Christians explain possible similarities with foreign rites that entered into Christian worship as the inheritance of a common culture, or even as the work of demons, though the greater antiquity of the Christian rites was asserted Justin, 1 Apol. 62,1; Tert., Bapt. 5,3; cf. M. Metzger, RAC 20, 509-510. 1. 2nd c.: at the origins of the catechumenate discipleship: the first witnesses 2nd half of 2nd c.. This was the first, and most authentic and serious, phase of catechumenatediscipleship. It is documentable from the 2nd half of the 2nd c., at the level of pastoral practice more than that of institutions, by the work of individual Christians engaged in an evangelization of the surrounding area, door-to-door. In the last decades of the 2nd c. we see a serious commitment on the part of the Christian communities to recruit candidates for baptism: the idea of training developed, combined with sponsors for those who intended to enroll in the catechumenate discipleship to receive the three sacraments of Christian initiation: thus arose the tradition of godparents M. Dujarier, Le parrainage, 37-39. At Rome, ca. 140, a catechumenal way is documentable in the Shepherd of Hermas, with indications of specific baptismal requirements: some candidates, represented by the rocky ground of the parable, hearers of the word of God and desirous of being baptized, as soon as they reflect on the holiness baptism requires, return to their evil passions Vision III, 7,3. Justin, a layman ca. 100ca. 165, in his 1 Apologia alludes to an instruction prior to baptism: Those who are convinced and believe in the truth of the teachings expounded by us, and give promise of being able to live according to these maxims, are taught to pray, and to ask God with fasting for the remission of sins; and we too pray and fast with them 61,2. The 1st-c. criteria for admission to baptism persist: repentance, since baptism is a washing for the remission of sins 66,1, faith in the church, a transformed life 66,1. The candidates are accompanied by the community, which prays and fasts with them 61,2; in this way they are introduced to communitarian worship, up to the rite of baptism and participation in the Eucharist 65-66. For Irenaeus, see O. Pasquato: RAC 20, 430-432; Id., Ireneo, Diz. di Cat., 360-361. At Alexandria in Egypt ca. 190200, Clement of Alexandria gives us glimpses of a preparatory period of at least three years from enrollment as catechumens Strom. II, 96,1-2; cf. VI, 130,1: neokatechetos; Paed. 1, 36, 2: ho neosti katechoumenos. Preparation of the hearers of the word contributes to the enculturation of the faith: Clement’s Greco-Hellenistic culture must serve the instruction of catechumens Strom. VI, 19,4. Prebaptismal catechesis is likened to milk, as the first nourishment of the spirit; postbaptismal contemplation to more solid food Strom. V, 10,66. For him, catechumens who are carnal have the will to live as Christians, whereas the faithful spiritual have received the capacity to do so through the sacrament Strom. II, 26,4-5. In both East and West, the requirement arose of a preparation and of a serious discernment of a conversion that would transform one’s life Origen, In Lc. hom. 21, so as to be able to gain access to faith, to enter into faith and to seal faith accedere, ingredi, obsignare Tertullian, De idol. 9,11; 24,3.
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