What Is the Link Between Baptism and Confirmation?

In most Christian denominations, confirmation is a sealing and strengthening of the initial rite of baptism. Baptism, usually performed with water, symbolizes salvation. Confirmation, often performed later by the laying on of hands, symbolizes the receiving of the Holy Spirit.

In the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Lutheran and Anglican Churches, the sacrament of baptism is performed at infancy. It is only performed once, as church doctrine believes that it bestows eternal salvation and washes away the guilt and punishment of sin for all time. The Eastern Orthodox Church practices complete submersion, in which the baptismal candidate is fully submerged under water. Most denominations use immersion, in which the candidate stands in water while water is poured over the head, or affusion, in which water is poured on the forehead. Roman Catholics also recognize conditional baptism, which is performed when a candidate is not sure if they have been baptized; baptism of desire, which confers baptism on someone who wants to be baptized but dies before receiving the sacrament; and baptism of blood, which is conferred when someone is martyred before physical baptism.

Among Roman Catholics, members of the Eastern Orthodox Church and Anglicans, confirmation is a sacrament that bestows the Holy Spirit through prayer and laying on of hands. In most Protestant denominations, confirmation is a ceremony whereby people affirm their belief in church doctrine and become official church members. In all Christian denominations, confirmation follows baptism. Usually, confirmation is performed during young adulthood or after. However, in the Orthodox church, confirmation, known as chrismation, is performed immediately after baptism.