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Penance; Penitence

(from Lat. poena). Regarded as a sacrament in the Eastern and Roman churches, it originated as a development of the idea of repentance which included not only an inward feeling of contrition, but also an outward act of self- abasement. Gradually the latter predominated and ultimately took the place of the former. The penitent was required to confess his guilt (exomologesis) and submit to discipline (e.g., exclusion from the Eucharist; committal to prayer, fasting, almsgiving), eventually to receive absolution and restoration. It probably arose from NT passages on discipline (e.g., Matt. 18:18; 1 Cor. 5:3-5; 1 Tim. 1:20; Titus 3:10). Early references to such discipline can be found in 1 Clement 57 and Hermas, Visions 3.5.