Christian Initiation

A History of the Catechumenate in the Early Church/ by Pavel L. Gavrilyuk. Moscow: St. Philaret Institute Press, 2000.

English Description: A pioneering study in Russian of the history of patristic catechesis. The book is a contribution to the on-going discussion on the structure and content of the ancient catechetical practices and their significance for the Christian initiation in today’s church. The study traces, in broad lines, the development of select local catechetical practices from the Apostolic to the Early Medieval period.

In the introduction, drawing upon substantial similarities between major catechetical traditions, both Eastern and Western, the author offers a reconstruction of the canonical catechumenate at the peak of its development in the fourth century.

Special attention is given to the setting of the catechumenate in baptismal, exorcistic, liturgical, ascetic, and penitential practices of the church. The influence of the catechumenate upon the development of the early creeds, doctrine and church architecture is discussed. The role of the catechumenate among other methods of conversion is emphasized.

Table of contents:
Chapter 1. The traces of the catechetical practices in the NT.
Chapter 2. The catechumenate in the late second—early third century Rome and North Africa.
Chapter 3. The Catechetical School of Alexandria in the late second—middle of the third century.
Chapter 4. Jerusalem Lenten catechumenate in the fourth century.
Chapter 5. The catechumenate in Antioch at the end of the fourth—middle of the fifth century.
Chapter 6. The catechumenate in Milan and North Africa towards the end of the fourth—middle of the fifth century.
Chapter 7. The gradual disappearance of the formal catechumenate for adults in the Early Medieval period.
Includes bibliography, subject, ancient and modern author indices, illustrations.


Histoire de catéchuménat dans l’Église ancienne

French Description: Dans l’Antiquité, le catéchuménat était le pont qui reliait le monde de la culture païenne à la vie intérieure de l’Église. L’école catéchuménale était le creuset auquel l’âme du païen était refondue et devenait peu à peu chrétienne. Le présent ouvrage met en lumière la pratique catéchuménale de l’Église aux premiers siècles de son existence. Chacun des chapitres raconte comment on préparait les candidats au baptême dans les Églises locales de Rome, Carthage, Milan, Alexandrie, Jérusalem, Constantinople, Antioche et d’autres villes encore. À partir d’exemples concrets, on examine systématiquement différents aspects de l’attitude de l’Église envers son environnement : la culture intellectuelle, les étapes, la structure et la longueur du catéchuménat, le contenu des catéchèses qui sont parvenues jusqu’à nous, la participation des catéchumènes à la vie de l’Église. Le processus du catéchuménat y est examiné dans le contexte de la vie ascétique, pénitentielle et liturgique de l’Église.


9780802863966.jpgImmersed in the Life of God: The Healing Resources of the Christian Faith

In this volume honoring William J. Abraham, noted theologians, philosophers, and historians offer erudite analysis of various aspects of the faith — Scripture, conversion, initiation, liturgy, confession, reconciliation, and more — and explore how those elements can serve to effect healing in broken lives. Brilliantly highlighting the therapeutic function of the means of grace available in Christian tradition, Immersed in the Life of God opens a conversation concerning an important theme too often neglected in the church today.

Doug Koskela 
Jason E. Vickers
Paul L. Gavrilyuk 


Elijah listening to the voice of God EG small


Additional academic materials, such as articles, book chapters, conference papers, and addresses on Christian Initiation can be found HERE