Order of sacraments in the primitive church


According to Acts 9:17-19, Ananias first laid his hands on Paul, curing him, and then got him baptized.

Nowadays, we believe that baptism always comes first, followed by other sacraments. Laying of hands was a way to transfer the Holy Spirit, being a precursor of modern confirmation and, possible, ordination. How do we explain the sequence of actions in this fragment?


One option: it needn’t be confirmation. Laying hands on someone can also mean you’re blessing them, as in Acts 13:3. Or healing them, as in Acts 28:8.


I didn’t think formal Sacramental Theology, as we understand that today, and which traditional rituals were in fact the Seven Sacraments, developed until the second millennium of Christianity - let alone the first Century.


Before the 20th century, the traditional order was always Baptism, then Confirmation, then Holy Communion.


It would probably be a mistake to consider this healing as the Sacrament of Chrismation/Confirmation, which always happens after Baptism.

Father Haydock’s Bible Commentary:


Ver. 17. Laying his hands on him. This imposition of hands, made use of on different occasions, was to pray that he might receive his sight, as well as the grace of the Holy Ghost, which God sometimes gave to persons not yet baptized, as to Cornelius. (Acts x. 44.) (Witham) — This imposition of hands, was not the same as that, by which the faithful were confirmed, or ordained ministers, but a ceremony commonly used by the apostles to restore health to the sick. If Saul, in consequence, receives the Holy Ghost, it was an extraordinary miraculous event, which was not an unfrequent circumstance in the infancy of Christianity. The Almighty, who establishes the laws of grace, can dispense with them himself whenever he pleases. (Calmet)


It was not the Sacrament of confirmation.

Baptism yes came first (after his healing).


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