Table of Contents Table of Contents
Previous Page  327 / 904 Next Page
Information
Show Menu
Previous Page 327 / 904 Next Page
Page Background

The Celebration of the Christian Mystery

327

1289

Very early, the better to signify the gift of the Holy Spirit,

an anointing with perfumed oil (

chrism

) was added to the laying

on of hands. This anointing highlights the name “Christian,” which

means “anointed” and derives from that of Christ himself whom

God “anointed with the Holy Spirit.”

100

This rite of anointing has

continued ever since, in both East and West. For this reason the

Eastern Churches call this sacrament

Chrismation,

anointing with

chrism, or

myron

which means “chrism.” In the West, the term

Confirmation

suggests that this sacrament both confirms baptism

and strengthens baptismal grace.

Two traditions: East and West

1290

In the first centuries Confirmation generally comprised one sin-

gle celebration with Baptism, forming with it a “double sacrament,”

according to the expression of St. Cyprian. Among other reasons, the

multiplication of infant baptisms all through the year, the increase of rural

parishes, and the growth of dioceses often prevented the bishop from

being present at all baptismal celebrations. In the West the desire to reserve

the completion of Baptism to the bishop caused the temporal separation

of the two sacraments. The East has kept themunited, so that Confirmation

is conferred by the priest who baptizes. But he can do so only with the

“myron” consecrated by a bishop.

101

1291

A custom of the Roman Church facilitated the development of

theWestern practice: a double anointing with sacred chrism after Baptism.

The first anointing of the neophyte on coming out of the baptismal bath

was performed by the priest; it was completed by a second anointing on

the forehead of the newly baptized by the bishop.

102

The first anointing

with sacred chrism, by the priest, has remained attached to the baptismal

rite; it signifies the participation of the one baptized in the prophetic,

priestly, and kingly offices of Christ. If Baptism is conferred on an adult,

there is only one post-baptismal anointing, that of Confirmation.

1292

The practice of the Eastern Churches gives greater emphasis to

the unity of Christian initiation. That of the Latin Church more clearly

expresses the communion of the new Christian with the bishop as guar-

antor and servant of the unity, catholicity and apostolicity of his Church,

and hence the connection with the apostolic origins of Christ’s Church.

II.

T

he

S

igns and

the

R

ite of

C

onfirmation

1293

In treating the rite of Confirmation, it is fitting to consider the

sign of

anointing

and what it signifies and imprints: a spiritual

seal.

100

Acts

10:38.

101 Cf. CCEO, can. 695 § 1; 696 § 1.

102 Cf. St. Hippolytus,

Trad. Ap.

21: SCh 11, 80-95.

695

436

1297

1233

1242

1244