(6) The Plynteria and Callynteria, at which her ancient image and peplus in the Erechtheum and the temple itself were cleaned, with a procession in which bunches of figs (frequently used in lustrations) were carried.
Tertullian (c. 200) had long before condemned this as a heathen custom; none the less, it was insisted on in later ages, and is a survival of the pagan lustrations or -repcppavTiipca.
Thus we consecrate a king, a priest, a deacon; a temple or a church and any part of church furniture; we also consecrate water for use in lustrations, bread and wine in the sacrament; a season or day is consecrated, as a feast or fast.
The ancient feeling, especially Jewish, was that in lustrations the same water must not pass twice over the body.
Such were those of the Ambarvalia, Robigalia, &c., which were essentially rustic festivals, lustrations of the fields, consisting in a procession round the spot to be purified, leading the sacrificial victims with prayers, hymns and ceremonies, in order to protect the young crops from evil influences.
It is generally acknowledged that they are the equivalent of the Christian Church of the Roman lustrations of the crops in spring, the Ambarvalia, &c. The litania major, or great procession on St Mark's day (April 25) is shown to coincide both in date and ritual with the Roman Robigalia, which took place a.d.
For pagan lustrations were normally threefold; thus Virgil writes (Aen.
37) similarly speak of trine lustrations; and on the last mentioned passage the scholiast Acro remarks: " He uses the words thrice purely, because people in expiating their sins, plunge themselves in thrice."
Following the fashion of the pagan mysteries in which men were only permitted to gaze upon the sacred objects after minute lustrations and scrupulous purifications, Christian teachers came to represent the Creed, Lord's Prayer and Lord's Supper as mysteries to be guarded in silence and never divulged either to the unbaptized or to the pagans.