Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern United States
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Did Jesus baptize His disciples? Who received the Holy Spirit at the Pentecost? I'm just a little confused because if our Lord Jesus baptized His disciples, it makes sense that they are the ones to receive the Holy Spirit at Pentecost; but St. Mary and the rest of the women were not baptized yet?

It is believed that the Lord actually first baptized His disciples and then the disciples baptized the people. This baptism is considered the baptism of the New Testament and not of John the Baptist, which was for repentance.

The Day of Pentecost is mentioned in the Holy Book of Acts, Chapter 2. The names of those in attendance is not specifically mentioned here, but are rather described as "all." Chapter 1 provides a glimpse of the main figures that spent much time together from the time of the Ascension of the Lord to the Pentecost. These included the following:

"Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day’s journey. And when they had entered, they went up into the upper room where they were staying: Peter, James, John, and Andrew; Philip and Thomas; Bartholomew and Matthew; James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot; and Judas the son of James. These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers" (Acts 1:12-14).

For clarification, "His brothers" indicates, cousins or close relatives of our Lord Jesus Christ, as it was and is still customary in these regions to refer to one's close relatives as "brothers". The Lord told them to remain in Jerusalem until the Pentecost. Thus, the Holy Tradition depicts the eleven apostles, in addition to the Apostle Matthias as the twelfth disciple who was chosen in place of Judas Iscariot who betrayed the Lord and then hung himself. St. Mary and the women known to have accompanied her were also with them in prayer and anticipation of the descent of the Holy Spirit, as commanded by the Lord:

"And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, 'which,' He said, 'you have heard from Me; for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now'” (Acts 1:4-5).

In the Divine Liturgy, during the reading from the Holy Book of Acts, the priest only censes the frontal areas of the church as an enactment of the apostles remaining in Jerusalem until the Pentecost, as the Lord commanded.

The Lord's baptism of his disciples was for the New Testament. He baptized them first, so that they can baptize others. St. Mary and others may have been baptized by the Lord's disciples or by St. John the Baptist for the remission of sins, for everyone needed a Savior to forgive original sin, as we pray in the Litany of the Departed, "For no one is pure and without blemish even though his life on earth be a single day." The baptism of the Holy Spirit who descended upon the disciples, apostles, St. Mary, and others was for Chrismation, as the Myron Oil was not yet used. The descent of the Holy Spirit was also as well as for the grace of evangelism.
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