The Sacrament of Confirmation is the second part of the Christian Baptism.
In the early Church, baptisms were performed in a building separate to the Church. After the naked candidate was baptised, they were anointed, clothed in white garments and led into the Church where the Bishop laid his hand upon them and prayed for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit. At the celebration of the Eucharist they would receive the Holy Communion for the first time.
Over time, the three parts of Christian initiation were separated, and with an increase in the number of infant baptisms confirmation and first communion was delayed.
Confirmation is a ministry of a Bishop. Before confirmation the candidate renews the promises of baptism and affirms Christian faith in the words of the ancient baptismal creed. With the laying on the Bishop's hand, initiation is completed, and the Christian can be regarded as a full member of the Church. The candidate is anointed with holy chrism, a sign that the Holy Spirit who has made us members of a royal priesthood renews us in our calling. Those who have been confirmed are reminded that they are empowered to be ministers of the Kingdom of God.
Young candidates for confirmation are usually aged eleven or twelve years. At a confirmation service there are usually a number of adult candidates. Sometimes candidates for confirmation are baptised at the service.