NPS 023

On baptism and initiation

Now in the Maratrean religion there are two chief sacraments of initiation, and they are as follows: the sacrament of baptism, by which one becomes associated to her Cause, but has not yet vowed to be fully in devotion to it, and the sacrament of initiation, in which the initiate vows themselves to serve her Cause, and they are fully endowed with her favour for her Cause. Now baptism shall take place in any public place, the best being in a natural body of pure fresh water, such as rivers or lakes; but if that not be practicable, then a cistern may be used. The baptism should be in a place undisturbed by the presence of unbelievers, save those who wish to witness the sacrament. And any may be baptised, even the newborn. Now one may be baptised once, but the baptism may be repeated in remembrance and strengthening of the original baptism; but this subsequent baptism is not a separate baptism from first baptism, but a continuation of it. And baptism is preparatory to initiation. Now initiation must take place in a temple or shrine, and none may be admitted to it save initiates and those about to be initiated. Now a priestess or priest must preside at the initiation; whereas at baptism, while it is best if a priestess or priest preside, one who is neither may do so if no priestess or priest be available. And baptism is a rite preparatory to initiation. Now while the newborn babe may be baptised, let none be initiated until they have demonstrated understanding of the truths into which they are to be initiated. And there will be some who are baptised but are never initiated, for they never gain the necessary knowledge, understanding, faith and devotion for initiation; and let none pressure these ones into initiation, for it be better that they remain uninitiated. Now none may be ordained a priestess or priest, save for an initiate; neither may any become the Prophet, or the Appointed Successor, or a Holy Councillor, or the prefect of a province or diocese, or a provincial or diocesan councillor, without the benefit of initiation. But one who has not been initiated may serve in the Holy Assembly, and in the provincial and diocesan councils.