In Christianity’s earliest days, every community had its own bishop. The bishop, assisted by presbyters (priests) and deacons, presided at Eucharist. At each Easter Vigil, the bishop would baptize, anoint with oil in the sign of the cross, and lay his hands upon the white-robed catechumens who had undergone a year of instruction preceding this event. As Christian communities multiplied in number, a bishop became responsible for several communities. Because a bishop could not be present at each baptismal celebration, priests assumed the responsibility for baptism. Subsequently, the bishop would anoint and lay his hands upon the baptized to “confirm” the baptism performed by the priest. In this paradigm, a bishop’s confirmation of a priest’s baptism had nothing to do with a reaffirmation of personal commitment. As the Church evolved, the perception of confirmation changed radically. Today, confirmation is perceived as an individual’s affirmation of their faith, and an individual’s baptism by any person is sufficient. In early times, catechumens were asked to leave before Eucharist was celebrated. Our current canons do not require a person to be confirmed to receive Eucharist. However in 2012 our national church rejected a resolution removing the requirement for baptism.
~Dr. Gil Haas
Various Clergy and members of St. Augustine contribute to authoring the blog on a variety of topics.