On This Day In Messianic Jewish History

19 February 1543 Pope Paul III opens House of Catechumens in Rome

CATECHUMENS, HOUSE OF (Casa dei catecumeni), institution in Rome for intended converts (catechumens) and converts in Christianity (neofiti). A building in Rome to house intended Jewish or Muslim converts to Christianity was allocated by Pope Paul III in 1543.

In 1554, Pope Julius III imposed a tax of ten gold ducats on each of the 115 synagogues in the Papal States to cover the cost of maintaining the converts. Subsequently the tax was borne by the Jewish community in Rome alone, which had to pay 1,100 scudi yearly. A College of Neophytes was established in 1575 to accommodate converts who wished to enter a religious order. Both institutions were supervised by a cardinal-protector. Houses of catechumens were also established in other Italian cities where there was a ghetto. The potential convert received instruction for 40 days, and if he…

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