A Dictionary of All Religions and Religious Denominations/Christians Of St John

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CHRISTIANS OF ST. JOHN, so called because they pretend to have received their faith and traditions from John the Baptist. They always inhabit near a river, in which they baptize; for they never baptize but in rivers, and only on Lord's days. Before they go to the river, they carry the infant to church, where there is a bishop, who reads certain prayers over the head of the child; thence they carry the child to the river, with a train of men and women, who, together with the bishop, go up to the knees in water. Then the bishop reads again certain prayers out of a book; which done, he sprinkles the infant three times, saying, In the name of the Lord, first and last of the world and paradise, the high Creator of all all things. After this the bishop reads again in his book, while the godfather plunges the child all over in the water; after which they all go to the parent's house to feast. They have no knowledge of the doctrine of the trinity; only they say that Christ is the Spirit and Word of the eternal Father. They confess that he became man to free us from the punishment of sin; but when the Jews came to take him, he eluded their cruelty with a shadow.

They have no canonical books, but a number full of charms and traditions. Their chief festivals are three: one in memory of the creation; another on the feast of St. John; and the third, which lasts five days, in June, during which time they are all rebaptized.[1]

Original footnotes[edit]

  1. Tavinier's Travels, p. 90, 93.