confirmation, Christian rite in which the initiation into the church that takes place by baptism is confirmed. In the Roman Catholic and Orthodox Eastern churches, it is a sacrament by which a Christian is strengthened in his faith. In the Lutheran and Anglican churches it is universally used, but it is not a sacrament (except among High Anglicans). In the East it is conferred by the priest on the newly baptized person of any age. In the West it is ordinarily an episcopal function, and the recipient has reached a canonical age of discretion. Confirmation consists of the laying on of hands and anointing with chrism, a mixture of oil and balm; Anglicans and Lutherans have abandoned the anointing. Some other Protestant churches use the term confirmation for the ceremony of admitting baptized persons into full church membership. Scriptural passages cited as authority for confirmation include Acts 8.14–17; 19.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.