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Cornelius, Centurion [4 February]

Centurion and Bishop
[4 February]
First Baptized Gentile of the Church and by tradition Bishop of Caesarea

Almighty God, our Sovereign Lord, who didst call Cornelius the Centurion to be the first baptized Christian amongst the Gentiles; send your Spirit to strengthen us so that we might follow his example of faith, charity, piety, and devout service; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the same Holy Ghost, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

[On this day the Order of Centurions recognizes its veterans as of Honorary Tribunes]

Peter baptizes Cornelius

Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?

1 Kings viii, Acts x. Psalm XL, John xiv. 15.

It was meet that God should first show that He worketh by the ministry of men; but afterwards by Himself, lest men should think, as Simon thought, that it was man's gift, and not God's. Though the disciples themselves knew this well already. For there were one hundred and twenty men collected together, when without the imposition of any hand the Holy Ghost came upon them. For who had laid hands on them at that time? And yet He came, and filled them first...

Again, another more wonderful example. Peter came to Cornelius the centurion, to a Gentile man, uncircumcised: he began to preach Christ Jesus both to him, and to those who were with him. "While Peter was yet speaking," I do not say, when as yet he had not laid on his hands, but when he had not even yet baptized them, and when they who were with Peter were in doubt whether the uncircumcised ought to be baptized (for there had arisen an offence between the Jews who believed, and those who had been brought to the faith from among the Gentiles, between the Jews, that is, and the Christians who were baptized though uncircumcised), that God might take away this question, "while Peter was speaking, the Holy Ghost came," filled Cornelius, filled them who were with him. And by this very attestation of so great a thing, as it were a loud voice came to Peter, "Why dost thou doubt of water? Already I am here."

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