IMAGES OF CONFIRMATION

 

Confirmation as a separate sacrament dates from the latter part of the fourth century, when Christian communities became too large and numerous for the local bishop to preside at the baptism of every adult and child. Bishops in the western (Latin speaking) part of the Roman Empire reserved the right to confirm all the baptisms in their territory, hence the need for a separate ritual presided over by a bishop. Bishops in the eastern (Greek speaking) part of the empire allowed priests to preside over the entire initiation process, and eventually infants there were initiated in a ceremony that included baptism in water, chrismation with oil, and the reception of holy communion. The recommended age for confirmation has varied according to the various theologies of the sacrament.

The following images depict the sacrament from the Middle Ages to today. Unless otherwise noted, the rituals are those of the Roman Catholic Church.

 

Confirmation

 

Infant confirmation in the Middle Ages

Detail from the baptismal font of St. Margaret’s Church in Norfolk, England




Confirmation

 

The Sacrament of Confirmation by Nicholas Poussin (17th century)
The artist imagined how the apostles might have perforrmed the confirmation of children.




Confirmation

 

Confirmation being administered by a bishop
18th century colored print (artist unknown)




Confirmation

The Sacrament of Confirmation
19th century colored print




Confirmation

 

Adolescent confirmation by a bishop




Confirmation

 

Confirmation in the Anglican Church is very similar.



 

 Confirmation

 

A humorous aside during the confirmation ceremony

 

 


Confirmation
 

Bishop with children’s confirmation class in Ireland




Confirmation

 

Group confirmation at a Catholic high school for boys in the Philippines




Confirmation

 

High school girls and boys after their confirmation in Virginia




Confirmation

 

Bishop and older adolescents pose after confirmation in Minnesota.




Confirmation


Some bishops allow local pastors to confirm the bapisms of adolescents.

 


Confirmation

In some dioceses, children are confirmed before making their first communion,
in which case the sacramental minister is always a priest.

 

Confirmation

Adults are received into the Catholic Church through the sacrament of confirmation,
usually presided over by the bishop in the diocesan cathedral.



Confirmation

As the culmination of the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults,
confirmation can be a deeply spiritual experience.



Chrismation

Adults are received into Orthodox churches through an anointing ritual,
which they call the sacrament of chrismation.




Chrismation

The Orthodox use a brush or something similar when anointing.

 


Chrismation

A convert to Orthodoxy being chrismated in Africa




Chrismation


Children are chrismated immediately after being baptized in Orthodox churches.

 



Chrismation


Infant chrismation in an Orthodox church in Texas




 

Tonsure

 

Symbolic tonsure after chrismation signifies dedication to God.




Tonsure

Medieval woodcut of tonsure before entrance into religious order

(Notice the already tonsured monk in the upper left of the picture.)




Tonsure

 

           Tonsure (ritual cutting of hair in the style of a monk)

          Detail from a medieval tapestry (artist unknown)

 



Tonsure

 

Women as well as men receive the symbolic tonsure
as part of their initiation into the Orthodox Church. 



Tonsure

 

Infant tonsure is sometimes explained as the child’s first offering to God.




Tonsure


Sometimes finding hair for the tonsure is not easy!

 

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Last modified: Wednesday, 17 February 2016, 6:04 PM