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During the years of persecution the necessity of the institution was realized, and in the intervals of peace the arrangements were more and more elaborated.
In Apostolic times this would vary according as these were Jews or pagans, and was naturally simple in character and short in duration.
L., II, 56) A little later we read of Origen being in charge of the catechetical school ( tou tes katecheseos didaskaleiou ) at Alexandria (Eusib., Hist., Eccl., VI, iii).
It is not necessary to quote further author ities for the third and fourth centuries, the age in which the catechumenate flourished in its full form.
He had to show by his conduct that he was in earnest about the step he was about to take. Among the Latins, and especially at Rome, breathing accompanied with a form of exorcism and placing in the mouth a little exorcised salt, was employed in addition to the signing with the cross and the imposition of hands. At the first scrutiny the candidates gave in their names.
So far, he was only in the stage of inquiry, and was not counted as a Christian at all. In the early ages the rites of admission to the catechumenate were quite simple, but in the course of time they became more elaborate. Eusebius mentions the imposition of hands and prayer (Vita Constantini, iv. Other rites were the opening of the ears ( Mark ) and anointing. After the collect of the Mass, and before the lessons, the ceremony of exorcism was performed over them.