IMAGES OF BAPTISM

 

Baptism and eucharist (also known as the Lord's supper and holy communion) are historically the oldest of the seven sacraments, going back to the early Christian community. The earliest baptisms would have been for adults, but fairly soon entire households (including children) were coming into the church. By the fifth century, baptizing infants born into Christian families had become common, and during the Middle Ages it became the norm. Some Protestant reformers in the 16th century insisted on returning to adult baptism, athough many Protestant churches retained infant baptism. The Catholic, Orthdox and mainline Protestant churches still practice infant baptism, although the Second Vatican Council established the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) as the theological norm for the Catholic sacrament.

The following images primarily depict the sacrament from the Middle Ages to today. Unless otherwise noted, the rituals are those of the Roman Catholic Church.

 

Baptism

Baptism in the Middle Ages
Detail from the baptismal font of St. Margaret’s Church in Norfolk, England

 

 Baptism

Baptism in the Early Renaissance
Detail from a tapestry (artist unknown)



Baptism

Depiction of popular beliefs about baptism
Pietistic 18th century print by Pietro Antonio Novelli
Notice the symbolism of the Trinity, the blood of Christ pouring out as the water is poured,
the guardian angel on the left, and the dismayed devil on the right.



Baptism

The Sacrament of Baptism
(19th century colored print)



Baptism

Russian Orthodox infant baptism



Baptism

Orthodox practices reflect those of the fourth to sixth centuries.
Notice how deep the baptismal font is.



Baptism

Orthodoxy emphasizes belief in the Blessed Trinity, symbolized by three lighted candles
and triple immersion in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
The Orthodox prefer baptism by immersion, even for infants.


 

Baptism

The Orthodox still practice baptism by immersion for adults.



Baptism

A special issue of Life magazine in 1956 highlighted
the Christian sacraments as practiced in America.



Baptism

Infant baptism today is often a family affair.



Baptism

But it can also be a papal affair.



Baptism

A Catholic baptism in Missouri



Baptism

And one in New Zealand



Baptism

Not much diferent from this Anglican baptism



Baptism

Infant baptism is not always for newborns!



Baptism

Many Catholic churches have new baptismal fonts with running water.



Baptism

Evangelical Protestants have long insisted on adult baptism,
and in running water if possible.



Baptism

Baptism in a river by contemporary Baptists



Baptism

But sometimes running water is not readily available,
as in the case of this baptism by a Protestant missionary in north Africa.



Baptism

Ocean water is sometimes used in Haiti.



Baptism

These Evangelicals in Poland make use of a public swimming pool.



Baptism

More often, Protestants use baptismal pools on church property . . .



Baptism

. . . such as this one in England.



 Baptism

With the RCIA, Catholics have returned by adult baptism,
sometimes by full or partial immersion.



Baptism

More often than not, Catholcs improvise with creatvity
when it comes to baptizing adults.



Baptism

But sometime they just adapt . . .



Baptism

. . . from their more customary practice of infant baptism.



Baptistry

Baptismal pools have a long tradition in Christianity,
like this one in Israel dating from the fifth century . . .



Baptistry

. . . and this one in Jordan dating from the sixth century.



Baptistry

This 12th century baptismal pool in Pisa, Italy . . .



Baptistry

. . . is housed in its own separate baptisty, next to the cathedral.



Baptistry

The 13th century baptistry next to the cathedral in Florence . . .



Baptistry

. . . is renowned for its magnificent art work.



Baptistry

Catholic baptismal pools and baptistries today
are less elaborate and more functional,
like this one in Portland, Oregon.



If you have any suggestions or contributions for this page,
please send them to TheSacraments@Gmail.com.


Last modified: Wednesday, 17 February 2016, 5:24 PM