It is always performed by immersion. In the rich houses, two tables are laid in the drawing-room by the priest, one is covered with holy images, on the other is placed an enormous silver basin filled with water, surrounded by small wax tapers. The chief priest begins by consecrating the font, and plunging a silver cross repeatedly in the water ; he then takes the child, and after reciting certain prayers, undresses it completely. The process of immersion takes place twice, and so rigorously that the head must disappear under the water; the infant is then restored to its nurse, and the sacrament is finally administered. In former times, when a child had the misfortune to be born in winter, it was plunged without pity under the ice, or into water of the same temperature. In the present day that rigor has been relaxed by permission of the church, and warm water substituted for the other; but the common people still adhere scrupulously to the ancient practice in all seasons. On these occasions numbers of children are baptized at the same time on the ice; and the cold often proves fatal to them. It sometimes happens, also, that a child slips through the hands of a priest, and is lost, in which case he only exclaims, "God has been pleased to bring this infant to Himself - hand me another;" and the poor people submit to their loss without a murmur, as a dispensation of Heaven.
[From The Baptist newspaper, May 25, 1867. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]
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