Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Consolamentum, known as heretication to its critics, was the baptismal sacrament of the Albigensians. Unlike modern mainstream Christianity the Baptism did not involve water, only words and the Gospel attributed to St-John; according to the Cathars, the consolamentum was the baptism of the Holy Spirit. As in other strands of early Christianity with no central authority over the religion the ritual took many forms.
There was only one form of the consolamentum ceremony, though it was administered in two different circumstances. The first was for only the most committed of believers. It was administered to willing ascetic adults of either sex who, once baptized, became a "Parfait " (Perfect). Parfaits were required to be vegetarian, to be celibate, and to dedicate their lives to travelling and teaching Cathar doctrines. These Parfaits were the leaders of the Cathar community. The modern mainstream sacrement of Ordination seems to evolved from a similar early Christian practice.
The vast majority of the population did not receive consolamentum until on the verge of death. Once given the consolamentum the same rules applied to them, though obviously they were not expected to travel or preach. Again, the medieval mainstream sacrement of last rites appears to have evolved from something similar to the Consolamentum. This allowed most believers to indulge in worldly pleasures during their life and receive absolution on the verge of death.
In a few known cases, in the latter years of Albigensianism before it was driven to extinction by the Roman Church, after the taking of consolamentum the dying person would voluntarily undertake a complete fast, known as the endura , essentially a form of ritual suicide ensuring their quick demise and reunification with the Good God.
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