Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Catechumens, people who had to be catechised. A term applied in the early Christian church to those Jews and heathens who were being prepared for baptism. There were four classes of catechumens, of whom the most usual were the audientes, who might be present at sermons, the prostrati, who were allowed to join in the prayers of the faithful, and the electi who were prepared for baptism, and only waiting for a fit season to receive the rite. Some catechumens deferred the time of baptism as long as possible under the idea of getting rid of all responsibility for past sin by receiving baptism at the latest possible moment. No catechumen might be present at the Eucharist. There was a great catechetical school at Alexandria, and Cyril of Jerusalem issued a set of twenty-three lectures in 348 A.D. St. Augustine also wrote De Catechizandis. The name afterwards was applied to those preparing for confirmation.