Baptism is the sacrament by which a human being becomes a Christian, usually received in childhood. Its name comes from the Greek ‘βαπτισμα’, and this in turn from the verb ‘βαπτιζειν’, which can be translated, amongst other meanings, as ‘to immerse’, ‘to dip’, ‘to plunge’, or ‘to put into a yielding substance’. It was administered to primitive Christians by the apostles. Adults were typically baptised by immersion in a river or a place full of water. As Christianity spread, baptism was performed on infants and total immersion was no longer required, as the Western Church introduced baptism by affusion (pouring water over the head) or aspersion (sprinkling water) as early as the 12th century. In the Eastern Church, baptism by immersion continued and is practiced ...

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