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Chrismation

Chrismation is the name given in Orthodox and Eastern Catholic churches to the sacrament known as confirmation in the Latin Rite Catholic churches. It is so called because of the holy oil, or chrism, which has been consecrated by a bishop and with which the recipient of the sacrament is anointed, as the priest speaks the words, "the seal of the gift of the Holy Spirit."

All baptized Christians in these churches are encouraged to receive the sacrament. In the East, i.e., in Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, and Eastern-rite Catholic churches, the sacrament may be performed by a priest, and is usually conferred immediately after baptism; therefore, it is usually received by infants. In the West the sacrament is normally performed by a bishop or a priest he delegates. Since a bishop cannot be present at every infant baptism, this led to the custom of confirming larger groups of older children and young adults, so that confirmation took on something of the nature of a rite of passage, and an opportunity to affirm a personal committment to the faith.

In both traditions, the sacrament is considered to bind the recipients more perfectly to the Church, and to enrich them with a special strength of the Holy Spirit (see Lumen Gentium). After receiving this sacrament, the recipient is eligible to receive the Eucharist.



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