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The Archaeological Site of St. Peter's Cathedral in Geneva

Visit the Baptistery zone with Class 6


From this area of the site, we can learn how development in the theology and practices of the early church inspired physical reconstruction and remodeling of the church buildings

This area was remodeled more that 40 times between the IVth and the VIIIth centuries.

In the New Testament of the Bible, Peter represents baptism as the rite of admission into the church, and to the reception of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38; Corinthians 12:13). Paul wrote that it involved a new relation to Christ, and a participation in His death and resurrection (Romans 6:4; Colossians 2:12). The first baptismal basins found under the Cathedral were shaped like a tomb, so that the person receiving the baptism could literally lie down in the water, and then "rise" into life.

As the understanding of baptism developed and changed through the years, as can be seen in the writings of the early church, the baptistery itself was redesigned and reconstructed accordingly.

By 1150,when the present Cathedral was begun, full immersion was no longer the prevailing practice. New church members were also baptized by affusion, in which small amounts of dedicated water was poured or sprinkled over their head by a priest.


Beyond the bridge across the site, visible in the movie, is the area of the Romanesque crypt where arechaeologists are still working, and which is not yet opened to the public.

Use the controlls to play this QuickTime Movie. (There is sound, but no dialogue in this movie)
To see the QuickTime movies on this page, you must have QuickTime Player installed on your computer. Click on here to go to the QuickTime web page and download QuickTIme Player.

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This page was updated on 8 April, 2004 by K. Epps

Unless otherwise mentioned, all photos are by Katharine Epps.
Sauf mention contraire les photos sont de Katharine Epps