An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

Laying on of Hands

A significant ritual action in several sacramental rites. It is an external sign of the bestowal of God's grace through the prayer or the ministry of the one laying on hands, whether for spiritual growth or ministry or forgiveness or healing. It is the action which accompanies the prayer of consecration in ordination rites. It is a prominent action in the Ministration to the Sick. It accompanies the baptismal signing with the cross, and the pronouncing of the priestly absolution in the Reconciliation of Penitents. It may also accompany the nuptial blessing or other blessings. The term may be used as a synonym for confirmation.

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.