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A portion of a church or separate building set apart for the administration of baptism. It is often placed in the open entrance court to signify the need of baptism for entrance into the Church. As separate buildings, baptisteries are mainly octagonal or circular in shape, are surrounded by an ambulatory, have an anteroom and a central chamber that contains a pool. The finest such buildings are in Palma on Mallorca; Florence and Pisa in Italy; and Cranbrook in England.
All items in this dictionary are from Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.