Baptism (literally “a dipping [in water]”) is a Christian initiation ritual. For a Christian, baptism is among the most important events in a person’s life.
In early African Christianity, there was real contention about who could (and could not) perform the ritual and who could (and could not) undergo it. For instance, did apostates (baptized Christians who had renounced the religion) need to be baptized again in order to rejoin the church? Could apologetic apostates continue to perform baptism? How much apologizing was necessary, and what exactly made someone an apostate in the first place?
The liturgical and theological issues surrounding baptism are complicated to say the least. The point is simply: baptism was a really big deal. So too is the opportunity to take pictures of baptismal fonts, where the ritual was performed.
Here are pictures of the baptismal font at the church in Hippo Regius. As was usual, it was located in a small private room just off the basilica.
For more images of Hippo Regius, see Terrae Transmarinae’s Flickr page!