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Seal of Baptism 

In Judaism, the newly baptized person was marked on the forehead with the Taw (T), the last letter of the alphabet, indicating the name of God. The newly baptized person was "branded" as God's sheep, slave, and soldier. A similar post-baptismal practice continued in the Christian church with the sign of the cross on the forehead by which we are "marked as Christ's own for ever." The use of chrism is associated with incorporation into Christ, the "Anointed One." It is also associated with the historic anointing of kings and priests, and the cleansing of a bath. The Apostolic Tradition of Hippolytus, dated about 215, indicates that the newly baptized were anointed and signed with a cross on their foreheads. The post-baptismal anointing was almost universal practice in the church by the late fourth or early fifth century. The 1549 Prayer Book included a post-baptismal anointing, but this was not continued in the 1552 BCP. A sign of the cross on the forehead replaced the post-baptismal anointing in the 1552 Prayer Book. The signation was made optional by the 1789 BCP, but it was once again required by the 1928 BCP. The 1979 BCP restored the rite of chrismation at baptism. The baptismal service includes a form for the consecration of the chrism by the bishop (BCP, p. 307). See Chrism. 




Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from "An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians," Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.
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