Chrisom

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Anciently, a chrisom, or "chrisom-cloth," was the face-cloth, or piece of linen laid over a child's head when he was baptised or christened. Originally, the purpose of the chrisom-cloth was to keep the chrism, a consecrated oil, from accidentally rubbing off.[1] With time, the word's meaning changed, to that of a white mantle thrown over the whole infant at the time of baptism. The term has come to refer to a child who died within a month after its baptism—so called for the chrisom cloth that was used as a shroud for it. Additionally, in London's Bills of Mortality, the term chrisom was used to refer to infants who died within a month after being born.[1]

References[edit]

  • Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913)