Rites of initiation

The rite of baptism begins with prayers over the catechumens, and a prayer for oil of the catechumens, which is exorcistic in theme. Exorcisms follow, together with anointing with the oil of exorcism. The rite then replicates much of the eucharistic rite, with four lections, psalmody, intercessions, sursum corda, blessing of water (modelled on the eucharistic prayer) into which chrism (myron) is poured. The blessing of the water asks God to:

Show forth yourself and look upon this your creature, this water; give it the grace of the Jordan, and the power and the strength of heaven; and by the descent of your Holy Spirit upon it, hallow it with the blessing of the Jordan. Amen.

The candidate is led to the font, and then immersed three times, using the active western formula. The rite provides a prayer for deconsecrating the water after the baptism. Anointing with chrism follows, with the formula:

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. An unction of the grace of the Holy Spirit; an unction of the pledge of the kingdom of heaven; an unction of participation in eternal and immortal life. A holy unction of Christ our God, and a seal that shall not be loosed. The perfection of the grace of the Holy Spirit, and the breastplate of the faith and the truth. You are anointed, N, with holy oil, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

A rubric directs anointing with thirty-six crosses. There follows a laying on of hands, clothing in a white garment, signing and breathing on the candidates, a crowning and the giving of a girdle.

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