Religion Past and Present

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Holy Water
(198 words)

[German Version]

Although properties of cleansing (Purification) and atoning (Expiation) were ascribed to water in Judaism and in the ancient world, it was only in the 6th century that there is documented evidence for water being blessed in the West (there with salt added). In the 8th century, the practice of aspersion with holy water at the start of the Sunday mass began in Merovingian and Carolingian monasteries. This practice found its way into parish church services in the 9th century, where it becam…

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Brüske, Gunda, “Holy Water”, in: Religion Past and Present. Consulted online on 24 June 2022 <>
First published online: 2011
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004146662, 2006-2013

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