—confirmational, adj./kon'feuhr may"sheuhn/, n.1. the act of confirming.2. the state of being confirmed.3. something that confirms, as a corroborative statement or piece of evidence: His birth certificate served as confirmation of his citizenship.4. a rite administered to baptized persons, in some churches as a sacrament for confirming and strengthening the recipient in the Christian faith, in others as a rite without sacramental character by which the recipient is admitted to full communion with the church.5. a solemn ceremony among Reform and certain Conservative Jews that is held in the synagogue, usually on Shavuoth, to admit formally as adult members of the Jewish community Jewish boys and girls 14 to 16 years of age who have successfully completed a prescribed course of study in Judaism.[1275-1325; ME < L confirmation- s. of confirmatio. See CONFIRM, -ATION]
* * *Christian rite in which believers reaffirm the faith into which they were baptized as infants or young children.The rite admitting adults to full membership in the community of the faithful did not exist as a distinct ceremony in the early church but probably coincided with baptism, since those who joined did so as adults and were baptized after instruction. As baptism of infants became common, some means of ascertaining their knowledge and commitment as young adults became necessary. A period of instruction was introduced, after which the candidates were examined and confirmed. In Roman Catholicism confirmation became a sacrament, usually performed by a bishop. The rite is also used in the Anglican and Lutheran churches.
* * *Christian rite by which admission to the church, established previously in infant Baptism, is said to be confirmed (or strengthened and established in faith).During the first several centuries of Christian history (Christianity), when most of those who joined the church were adult converts from paganism, the baptism of these adults and the ceremony admitting them to the full rights of membership (equivalent to, but not yet called, confirmation) probably coincided. Early Christian theologians, therefore, closely connected the meaning and effects of confirmation with those of baptism. But as the baptism of infants rather than of adults became customary, a sharper distinction between baptism and confirmation became necessary. In those Christian churches where confirmation is still observed, its connection with and its distinction from baptism influence both the practice and the theological interpretation of the rite. (The Lutheran, Anglican, and Reformed churches acknowledge baptism as a sacrament.)The Roman Catholic church (Roman Catholicism) views confirmation as a sacrament instituted by Jesus Christ. It confers the gifts of the Holy Spirit (grace, strength, and courage) upon the recipient, who must be a baptized person at least seven years old. A bishop normally performs the rite, which includes the laying on of hands (hands, imposition of) and anointing the forehead with chrism.The Eastern Orthodox churches (Eastern Orthodoxy) and some Eastern churches in communion with Rome permit a priest to administer confirmation. In Eastern Orthodoxy, the child generally receives the sacraments of baptism, confirmation (see chrismation), and the first communion all in the same service.After the Protestant Reformation, Anglicanism and Lutheranism retained a form of confirmation. In the Anglican church a bishop must administer the rite. Lutheranism rejects the sacramental definition of confirmation and considers it a public profession of the faith into which the candidate was baptized as an infant. In both Anglicanism and Lutheranism, confirmation is preceded by instruction in the catechism.Other Protestant bodies also deny that confirmation is a sacrament and ascribe its origin at the earliest to the Apostles, but they sometimes use the term confirmation for acceptance of baptized members into full membership of the church, including the right to receive Holy Communion.
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