Trine Baptism

Trine Baptism A mode of administering the sacrament, which was so universal in the primitive Church that some entertain no doubt of its being derived: from apostolic tradition. The person baptized was thrice immersed, or water was thrice poured on him, in the name of the three persons of the Godhead. The reason of trine baptism was manifest: the three immersions showed the distinction of the three divine Persons, although the baptism was only one, in the name of the undivided Godhead— "one baptism for the remission of sins." Thus in baptism the unity of the Divine Nature and the distinction of the three Persons are clearly implied and set forth. The first who departed from this usage was Eunomius the Arian. Trine baptism was according to the fiftieth apostolical canon, the bishop or presbyter who baptized with one immersion being ordered to be deposed. In the 6th and 7th centuries one immersion in baptism was substituted by some in Spain for the ordinary rule of the Church, the Council of Toledo (A.D. 633, canon 6) allowing single immersion in Spain, to avoid schism; but this innovation lasted for only a short period, the early usage being restored, and remaining the rule of the Western Church. Single immersion has never been authorized by the Eastern Church. See Blunt, Dict. of Doct. and Hist. Theol. s.v.; Landon, Manual of Councils, p. 582.

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