CopticChurch.net Dictionary of Church Terms
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Link to the term http://copticchurch.net/topics/dictionary/index.php?a=term&d=1&t=471
Catechumen
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The catechumens are those who have believed in the Lord Jesus Christ and are getting ready to Baptism.

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In the early church, a new Jewish or pagan convert used to undergo a course of basic instruction and training in Christian doctrine and ritual.

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Catechumens were classified according to their spiritual progress and achievement in assimilating Christian doctrine. 1. Those who were allowed to hear the word of God were called listeners or hearers (audiented). 2. Those of longer standing, who were allowed to stay and attend the sermon given by the bishop or priest and certain prayers during which they knelt, were designated as prostrate. 3. Those who had passed the two previous stages and were considered to be sufficiently trained in faith to receive the sacrament of baptism were called competents.

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Catechumens studied various theological works.

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Catechumens were kept under the close supervision and guidance of their catechists, and those of them who lapsed were subjected to strict disciplinary punishment.

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