Occasionally some people didn’t get baptized until late in life, but the Church has baptized infants from the beginning. You might like this article:
Early Teachings on Infant Baptism
It contains writings from nine early Christians between and 189 A.D. and 416 A.D. about baptizing babies.
I have a few questions:
- Did early Christians receive Communion? I always thought baptism was necessary to receive other sacraments.
The only early Christians who received Communion were the baptized. Those who had not yet been baptized remained in a separate section of the Church which was designated for “Observers.”
I think that was the term they used. If I remember right, the early churches had three sections: one for Communicants, one for Penitents, and one for Observers. Everyone in the Communicants section had to be baptized and be living a Christian life. People in the Penitents section had recently confessed a mortal sin but were still doing penance, because in those times you did not ordinarily get absolution until you completed your penance. And people in the Observers section were non-baptized believers who were waiting for various reasons.
2)When did infant baptism become common?
The link I gave you above shows that infant baptism was common from the beginning, but not everybody wanted to be baptized right away. I think St. Augustine’s mother did not baptize him when he was an infant because she wanted him to get baptized after his teenaged years, when she expected him to fall into great sexual sins. Maybe she figured she had better postpone his forgiveness until he had committed all his sins? :shrug: Anyway, Augustine said he wished she had baptized him as an infant because then maybe he would have had the grace to avoid those sins.
- Did early Christians believe in originals sin? If they did I’m sure they’d be quick to have their children baptized.
Yes, here are some quotes from the early Fathers on original sin:
Eastern Fathers who Taught Original Sin Before Augustine (And Western Ones)
- Was postponing baptism encouraged by the Church (Popes, bishops, etc.) or was baptizing immediately?
Tertullian is the only early Christian who I’ve read who encouraged postponing baptism: “According to circumstance and disposition and even age of the individual person, it may be better to delay Baptism; and especially so in the case of little children…[except] if it be…a case of necessity…” source
Tertullian is, btw, technically not a Church Father, since he left the Catholic Church around 200 A.D.