Earliest Mention of Confirmation?

What is the earliest mention of the sacrament of confirmation? The earliest I have found in various sources is from Theophilus of Antioch in roughly 181 A.D. Thanks in advance!



In both instances, apostles (note: apostles, bishops in modern parlance) had to lay their hands on people after baptism for them to receive the Holy Spirit.

And according to Hebrews 6:2 this laying of hands is essential to the life of a Christian.

[BIBLEDRB]Hebrews 6:1-2[/BIBLEDRB]

This is the Sacrament of Confirmation.

Yes, it is in the Bible. Anointing and receipt of the Holy Spirit goes back to King David and beyond.


I thought we received the Holy Spirit in Baptism? :confused:



CCC 1265 Baptism not only purifies from all sins, but also makes the neophyte “a new creature,” an adopted son of God, who has become a “partaker of the divine nature,” member of Christ and co-heir with him, and a temple of the Holy Spirit.

Confirmation is rather receiving the fulness of the Holy Spirit, i.e. it “unlocks” the power of the Holy Spirit in the Christian by a new outpouring of Him.

Baltimore Catechism Q. 670. What is Confirmation? A. Confirmation is a Sacrament through which we receive the Holy Ghost to make us strong and perfect Christians and soldiers of Jesus Christ.

CCC 1302 It is evident from its celebration that the effect of the sacrament of Confirmation is the special outpouring of the Holy Spirit as once granted to the apostles on the day of Pentecost.

CCC 1303 From this fact, Confirmation brings an increase and deepening of baptismal grace:

  • it roots us more deeply in the divine filiation which makes us cry, “Abba! Father!”;
  • it unites us more firmly to Christ;
  • it increases the gifts of the Holy Spirit in us;
  • it renders our bond with the Church more perfect;
  • it gives us a special strength of the Holy Spirit to spread and defend the faith by word and action as true witnesses of Christ, to confess the name of Christ boldly, and never to be ashamed of the Cross

Yeah sorry about that, I should have used clearer language :confused:

I was referring to outside of the Bible. The passages cited here don’t really help for what I am attempting to look for…but I appreciate all of the responses!

Most of the Earliest Fathers did not write much because people were not denying truths as much. If Fathers around 200 A.D. teach something it is likely that it was believed and done since the beginning especially if there is no evidence of it starting then or just before

Thanks for your reply.

So therefore, at Confirmation we only receive a partial outpouring of the Spirit? Or a sort of dormant Spirit that is “locked” and is woken up, or “unlocked” later?

You could say that Confirmation is in the Gospels.

Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit.
-Matthew 1:18

Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heaven was opened, and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.”
-Luke 3:21-22

Yes, but again…I am looking for something from the early church fathers. Thanks for posting though!

This tract from Catholic Answers gives an explanation of an early reference from scripture:

Hebrews 6:2 is especially important because it is not a narrative account of how confirmation was given and, thus, cannot be dismissed by those who reject the sacrament as something unique to the apostolic age. In fact, the passage refers to confirmation as one of Christianity’s basic teachings, which is to be expected since confirmation, like baptism, is a sacrament of initiation into the Christian life.

We read: “Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings of Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment” (Heb. 6:1–2).

Notice how in this passage we are walked through the successive stages of the Christian journey—repentance, faith, baptism, confirmation, resurrection, and judgment. This passage encapsulates the Christian’s journey toward heaven and gives what theologians call the order of salvation or the ordo salutis. It well qualifies as “the elementary teachings” of the Christian faith.

The laying on of hands mentioned in the passage must be confirmation: The other kinds of the imposition of hands (for ordination and for healing) are not done to each and every Christian and scarcely qualify as part of the order of salvation.

From: catholic.com/tracts/confirmation

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