Today in Catholic History – The Baptism of Chitomachon

On the 5th of July, 1640, having been sufficiently instructed in the mysteries of faith, he [the Tayac or Emperor Chitomachon] received the Sacramental waters with solemnity in a little chapel, which for that ceremony and for divine worship he had erected in Indian fashion out of the bark of trees.

These are the words of Fr. Thomas Hughes, S.J. describing the baptism of Chief [Tayac] Chitomachon [Kittamaquund] of the Piscataway and his wife by Fr. Andrew White, S.J. Also present was the governor of the Province of Maryland, Leonard Calvert.

Chitomachon began receiving catechism after being cured of an illness with the aid of medicine provided by Fr. Andrew.

After baptism, Chitomachon received the Christian name of Charles and his wife that of Mary. Chitomachon and his wife also received the Sacrament of Marriage on this same day, a Cross was erected to memorialize the event and a Litany to the Blessed Mother was said. The chapel in which Chitomachon was baptized was the first chapel in Prince George’s County, Maryland.

Chitomachon would die shortly after his baptism in 1641, but other Piscataway would later also accept Christianity from Fr. White.


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