The Church at Prayer

Henry Chadwick

in The Church in Ancient Society

Published in print December 2001 | ISBN: 9780199246953
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191600463 | DOI:

Series: Oxford History of the Christian Church

 The Church at Prayer

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Varying rites and practices surrounded baptism in the early Church. It involved a solemn renunciation of the devil and his works and implied moral obligations and adherence to a Christian code of conduct. Baptism was unbreakable and referred to as a ‘seal’, as in a formal contract. Fixed forms of prayer at the central ceremony of the eucharist were slow to develop, with local and regional variants persisting. A distinction was made between clergy and laity, with the order of bishops as ‘the most evident and visible element in the continuity of the entire community’. The first generations of Christians met in private houses; special houses of prayer began to appear in the third century. The earliest examples of Christian art are to be found underground in the catacombs. Decoration of churches began in the fourth century.

Keywords: art; baptism; church buildings; clergy; eucharist; liturgy

Chapter.  6667 words. 

Subjects: History of Christianity

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