see, there were exceptions to this general practice). Enrolment would often take place many months - perhaps even a year or more - before baptism to allow adequate time for instruction and training. The learner (or 'catechumen') was sometimes regarded as already belonging to the church, albeit in an incomplete or defective sense. There are two aspects to such incomplete membership: on one hand, the catechumens could be seen as enjoying a specific situation within the community that set them apart from unbelievers; on the other, the catechumens' situation was by definition inferior to that of fully initiated believers. Even so, some believers maintained their affiliation to the church as catechumens for years. But since such instances come increasingly to constitute special cases, we will want to turn our attention first to the developing norm of following a limited period of intense instruction with full incorporation into the community.

Catechesis and orthodoxy Instruction for catechumens ('catechesis') provided them with the intellectual, moral and spiritual resources that they would need after renouncing the devil and embracing life in Christ. The major vehicle for instruction was the catechetical homily, which during Lent senior clergy would deliver to those who had expressed a serious interest in becoming Christian. Often the bishop would deliver these homilies (as with Cyril of Jerusalem; Egeria also mentions this practice in her Travels), though in some cases they were given by a priest (such as John Chrysostom was, when giving his catechetical homilies in Antioch). Standard fare for these homilies included the literal and spiritual exposition of Scripture.9 The learners were often accompanied by their sponsors, who in some cases seem to have also undertaken to offer the learners additional instruction.10 Other Christians might well attend the homilies, too. When several monks from the Syrian countryside chanced into Antioch during a series of his lectures (c. 390), Chrysostom availed himself of the opportunity to illustrate the manner of living that he was urging the catechumens to lead by referring them to the renunciations that the ascetics had undertaken. Circumstance thus provided an excellent opportunity for Chrysostom to exhort his catechumens to moral living. But the arrival of the Syriac monks also demonstrates something unexpected that could transpire during the catechetical lectures. In the Christian Near East especially, it sometimes happened that

10 E.g., Dionysius, Eccl. hier. 2.2.2 (PTS 36: 70); Egeria, Travels 45.2, 46.1 (SC 296: 306, 308); for a warm description of baptism and catechism in Augustine's Hippo, see F. van der Meer, Augustine the bishop, 347-82.

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