In Christian theology, baptism of blood (Latin: baptismus sanguinis[1]) or baptism by blood, also called martyred baptism,[2] is a doctrine which holds that a Christian is able to attain through martyrdom the grace of justification normally attained through baptism by water, without needing to receive baptism by water.

Patristic period

Cyprian of Carthage in a letter of 256 regarding the question of whether a catechumen seized and killed due to his belief in Jesus Christ "would lose the hope of salvation and the reward of confession, because he had not previously been born again of water", answers that "they certainly are not deprived of the sacrament of baptism who are baptized with the most glorious and greatest baptism of blood."[3]

Cyril of Jerusalem states in his Catechetical Lectures delivered in Lent of 348 that "if any man receive not Baptism, he hath not salvation; except only Martyrs, who even without the water receive the kingdom."[4]

Denominations' opinions

This doctrine is held by the Catholic Church,[5] the Oriental Orthodox Churches,[6][7][8][9] the Eastern Orthodox Church,[2] and the American Association of Lutheran Churches.[10]

Similarly, those who die as Christian martyrs in a persecution of Christians are also judged by Anabaptists and Lutherans as having acquired the benefits of baptism without actually undergoing the ritual.[11][verification needed]

The Augsburg Confession of Lutheranism affirms that "Baptism is normally necessary for salvation". Citing the teaching of the early Church Fathers, Lutherans acknowledge a baptism of blood (martyrdom) in "the circumstances of persecution".[12][verification needed]

Feeneyism denies baptism of blood as well as baptism of desire.[13]

See also


  1. ^ "CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Baptism". Retrieved 27 December 2021.
  2. ^ a b Mastrantonis, George (1969). "Section one – On Faith - The Sacrament of Baptism". A new-style catechism on the Eastern Orthodox faith for adults. Internet Archive. St. Louis: The Ologos Mission. p. 118.
  3. ^ "CHURCH FATHERS: Epistle 72 (Cyprian of Carthage)". Retrieved 26 December 2021.
  4. ^ "CHURCH FATHERS: Catechetical Lecture 3 (Cyril of Jerusalem)". Retrieved 26 December 2021.
  5. ^ Catechism of the Catholic Church (2nd ed.). Libreria Editrice Vaticana. 2019. Paragraph 1258.
  6. ^ "Holy Baptism". Malankara Archdiocese of The Syrian Orthodox Church in North America (Under the Holy See of Antioch & All the East). 14 December 2020. Archived from the original on 24 April 2014. Retrieved 26 December 2021.
  7. ^ "The Sacrament of Baptism". Archived from the original on 26 February 2021. Retrieved 26 December 2021.
  8. ^ "The history of the Armenian Church". CHIESA APOSTOLICA ARMENA D'ITALIA. Archived from the original on 17 April 2019. Retrieved 26 December 2021.
  9. ^ "THE FAITH OF THE CHURCH - PART-II, The Seven Sacraments - CHAPTER 1". The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church. Archived from the original on 28 August 2008. Retrieved 27 December 2021.
  10. ^ "The Necessity of Holy Baptism". The American Assoc. of Lutheran Churches. 17 January 2017. Archived from the original on 26 April 2017. Retrieved 26 December 2021.
  11. ^ Hill, Kat (2015). Baptism, Brotherhood, and Belief in Reformation Germany: Anabaptism and Lutheranism, 1525-1585. Oxford University Press. p. 134. ISBN 9780198733546.
  12. ^ Larson-Miller, Lizette; Knowles, Walter (26 June 2013). Drenched in Grace: Essays in Baptismal Ecclesiology Inspired by the Work and Ministry of Louis Weil. Wipf and Stock Publishers. p. 55. ISBN 9781621897538.
  13. ^ "Why is the Vatican taking action against the Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary?". Catholic Herald. 17 January 2019. Retrieved 2 June 2022.