Nymphaeum was the name of a fountain of water placed in the atrium of a church, in which the people were accustomed to wash their hands and faces before they entered. It was variously called κρήνη, φιάλη, φρέαρ, κολυμβεῖον, λεοντάριον olymphceum, etc. Romanists labor hard to prove that the practice of sprinkling with holy water at the entrance of the church is derived from that which was considered, by the earlier Christians, as a symbol of purification. But at its introduction it was recognized as a Grecian rite, and is to be traced, with the greater number of papal ceremonies, to heathenism. Nymphagogue (νυμφαγωγός) is a title of the attendant of the bridegroom among the Greeks (and Romans). It was his duty to accompany the parties to the marriage; to act as sponsor for them in their vows; to assist in the marriage ceremonies'; to accompany the parties to the house of the bridegroom; and to preside over and direct the festivities of the occasion. SEE MARRIAGE.

Definition of nympha

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