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The Christian writer Hippolytus, writing about 200 A.D., describes baptism at Rome. Candidates took off their clothing, were baptized three times after renouncing Satan and affirming the basic teaching of the faith, and put on new clothes. Then they joined the rest of the church in the Lord’s Supper.

Baptism was not entered into lightly. First one went through an extensive period of preparation as a “catechumen.” This lasted as long as three years, involving close scrutiny of the catechumen’s behavior. The church would only admit those who proved to be sincere in seeking a totally new life within the Christian community.