An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

Christian Initiation

The sacramental rites incorporating one into the life of the church. In the ancient church such initiation consisted of water baptism, anointing with oil and the laying on of hands, followed immediately by the reception of the Holy Eucharist. In later times this continuity of rites was broken. In the western church, what came to be known as Confirmation was administered separately from water baptism either by the laying on of hands and the invocation of the Spirit or by anointing and the invocation of the Spirit. The bishop was the minister for Confirmation. The BCP now states that Holy Baptism is “full initiation by water and the Holy Spirit into Christ's Body the Church” (BCP, p. 298). Confirmation follows a mature, public affirmation of faith and commitment to the responsibilities of baptism by the candidate (BCP, p. 413).

Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from “An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians,” Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.