There is too little study of Cyril of Jerusalem’s notion of the ecclesiological identity of baptismal candidates. I found that his use of familial terminology was not simply limited to that of the Biblical and Patristic models, i.e., fully initiated members of the church. He applied it to unbaptized candidates as well. They shared in a primal yet real membership of the ecclesial family. They were progressively brought into church membership through the individual rites of initiation, each contributing to a growing transformation in the candidates. They could be identified as family even prior to their ultimate, baptismal adoption as members. This article fills a significant gap in research on the late fourth century theology of initiation. It provides present-day catechists with a deeper understanding of their baptismal candidates’ ecclesiological status. It opens a Patristic and ecumenical vista into the relationship of non-Orthodox Christians with the Orthodox church.
- Familial terminology
- Church membership
- Christian initiation
- Cyril of Jerusalem
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