The Sacrament of Chrismation (Confirmation) immediately follows baptism and is never delayed until a later age. As the ministry of Christ was enlivened by the Spirit, and the preaching of the Apostles strengthened by the Spirit, so is the life of each Orthodox Christian sanctified by the Holy Spirit. Chrismation, which is often referred to as one’s personal Pentecost, is the Sacrament which imparts the Spirit in a special way.
In the Sacrament of Chrismation, the priest anoints the various parts of the body of the newly-baptized with Holy Oil saying: “The seal of the gifts of the Holy Spirit.” The Holy Oil, which is blessed by the bishop, is a sign of consecration and strength. The Sacrament emphasizes the truths that not only is each person a valuable member of the Church, but also each one is blessed by the Spirit with certain gifts and talents. The anointing also reminds us that our bodies are valuable and are involved in the process of salvation.
The Sacraments of initiation always are concluded with the distribution of Holy Communion to the newly-baptized. Ideally, this takes place within the celebration of the Divine Liturgy. This practice reveals that Orthodoxy views children from their infancy as important members of the Church. There is never time when the young are not part of God’s people. (From “The Sacraments“, by Fr. Thomas Fitzgerald)
Reception Into the Church by Chrismation
In some cases, when a person has already been baptized in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, they will be received into the Orthodox Church by Chrismation, usually after a period of being a catechumen.
Adult chrismation is often done during the Divine Liturgy. A candidate for chrismation should select a godparent, who is a member of an Orthodox Church in good standing, and a patron saint.
The following items, which are traditionally provided by the godparent, are needed for the service:Ω
- Cross – provided by the sponsor
- 1 candle for newly illumined person
- 1 candle for godparent
- A new set of white clothes to wear during service – these clothes should also be worn to church through the next 3 Liturgies after the baptism.