The Church Fathers and Confirmation by Joe Gallegos
Theophilus of Antioch,To Autolycus,I:12(A.D. 181),in ANF,II:92
" 'And she said to her maids, Bring me oil.' For faith and love prepare oil and unguents to those who are washed. But what were these unguents, but the commandments of the holy Word? And what was the oil, but the power of the Holy Spirit, with which believers are anointed as with ointment after the layer of washing? All these things were figuratively represented in the blessed Susannah, for our sakes, that we who now believe on God might not regard the things that are done now in the Church as strange, but believe them all to have been set forth in figure by the patriarchs of old, as the apostle also says: 'Now these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they were written for our instruction, on whom the ends of the world are come.' "
Hippolytus of Rome,Commentary on Daniel,6;18(A.D. 204),in ANF,V:192
"After this, when we have issued from the font, we are thoroughly anointed with a blessed unction,--(a practice derived) from the old discipline, wherein on entering the priesthood, then were wont to be anointed with oil from a horn, ever since Aaron was anointed by Moses. Whence Aaron is called "Christ,' from the 'chrism,'which is 'the unction;' which, when made spiritual, furnished an appropriate name to the Lord, because He was 'anointed' with the Spirit by God the Father; as written in the Acts: 'For truly they were gathered together in this city against Thy Holy Son whom Thou hast anointed.' Thus, too, in our case, the unction runs cornally, (i.e. on the body,) but profits spiritually; in the same way as the act of baptism itself too is carnal, in that we are plunged in water, but the effect spiritual, in that we are freed from sins."
Tertullian,On Baptism,7(A.D. 206),in ANF,III:672
"But Satan, who entered and dwelt in him for a long time, became the occasion of his believing. Being delivered by the exorcists, he fell into a severe sickness; and as he seemed about to die, he received baptism by affusion, on the bed where he lay; if indeed we can say that such a one did receive it. And when he was healed of his sickness he did not receive the other things which it is necessary to have according to the canon of the Church, even the being sealed by the bishop. And as he did not receive this, how could he receive the Holy Spirit?' "
Pope Cornelius[regn. A.D. 251-253],To Fabius;fragment in Eusebius' Ecclesiastical History 6,43:14(A.D. 251),in NPNF2,I:288-289
"But, moreover, the very interrogation which is put in baptism is a witness of the truth. For when we say, 'Dost thou believe in eternal life and remission of sins through the holy Church?' we mean that remission of sins is not granted except in the Church, and that among heretics, where there is no Church, sins cannot be put away. Therefore they who assert that heretics can baptize, must either change the interrogation or maintain the truth; unless indeed they attribute a church also to those who, they contend, have baptism. It is also necessary that he should be anointed who is baptized; so that, having received the chrism, that is, the anointing, he may be anointed of God, and have in him the grace of Christ. Further, it is the Eucharist whence the baptized are anointed with the oil sanctified on the altar. But he cannot sanctify the creature of oil, who has neither an altar nor a church; whence also there can be no spiritual anointing among heretics, since it is manifest that the oil cannot be sanctified nor the Eucharist celebrated at all among them. But we ought to know and remember that it is written, 'Let not the oil of a sinner anoint my head,' which the Holy Spirit before forewarned in the Psalms, lest any one going out of the way and wandering from the path of truth should be anointed by heretics and adversaries of Christ. Besides, what prayer can a priest who is impious and a sinner offer for a baptized person? since it is written, 'God heareth not a sinner; but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth His will, him He heareth.' Who, moreover, can give what he himself has not? or how can he discharge spiritual functions who himself has lost the Holy Spirit? And therefore he must be baptized and renewed who comes untrained to the Church, that he may be sanctified within by those who are holy, since it is written, 'Be ye holy, for I am holy, saith the Lord.' So that he who has been seduced into error, and baptized outside of the Church, should lay aside even this very thing in the true and ecclesiastical baptism, viz., that he a man coming to God, while he seeks for a priest, fell by the deceit of error upon a profane one."
Cyprian,To Januarius,Epistle 70/69:2(A.D. 255)
"But a gate has been opened for seeking peace,whereby the mist has lifted from the reason of the multitude; and light has dawned in the mind; and from the glistening olive,fruits are put forth,in which there is a sign of the sacrament of life,by which Christians are perfected, as well as priests and kings and prophets. It illuminates the darkness, anoints the sick, and leads back penitents in its secret sacrament."
Aphraates,Treatises,23:3(A.D. 345),in JUR,I:306
"But beware of supposing this to be plait ointment. For as the Bread of the Eucharist. after the invocation of the Holy Ghost, is mere bread no longer, but the Body of Christ, so also this holy ointment is no more simple ointment, nor (so to say) common, after invocation, but it is Christ's gift of grace, and, by the advent of the Holy Ghost, is made fit to impart His Divine Nature. Which ointment is symbolically applied to thy forehead and thy other senses; and while thy body is anointed with the visible ointment, thy soul is sanctified by the Holy and life-giving Spirit."
Cyril of Jerusalem,Catechetical Lectures(On Chrism),21:3(A.D. 350),in NPNF2,VII:150
"You may effect in this chrism a divine and heavenly operation,so that those baptized and anointed in tracing with it of the sign of the saving cross of the Only-begotten,through which cross Satan and every adverse power is turned aside and conquered,as if reborn and renewed through the bath of regeneration,may be made participants in the gift of the Holy Spirit,and confirmed by this seal,may remain firm and immovable,unharmed and inviolate."
Serapion of Thmuis,Prayer over Chrism,25:1(A.D. 350),in JUR,II:133
" 'And your floors shall be filled with wheat,and the presses shall overflow equally with wine and oil.'... This has been fufilled mystically by Christ,who gave to the people whom He had redeemed,that is,to His Church,wheat and wine and oil in a mystic manner...the oil is the sweet unguent with which those who are baptized are signed,being clothed in the armaments of the Holy Spirit."
Ephraim,On Joel 2:24(ante A.D. 373),in JUR,I:314
"Thirsty men in their dreams eagerly gulp down the water of the stream, and the more they drink the thirstier they are. In the same way you appear to me to have searched everywhere for arguments against the point I raised, and yet to be as far as ever from being satisfied. Don't you know that the laying on of hands after baptism and then the invocation of the Holy Spirit is a custom of the Churches? Do you demand Scripture proof? You may find it in the Acts of the Apostles. And even if it did not rest on the authority of Scripture the consensus of the whole world in this respect would have the force of a command. For many other observances of the Churches, which are due to tradition, have acquired the authority of the written law, as for instance the practice of dipping the head three times in the layer, and then, after leaving the water, of tasting mingled milk and honey in representation of infancy; and, again, the practices of standing up in worship on the Lord's day, and ceasing from fasting every Pentecost; and there are many other unwritten practices which have won their place through reason and custom. So you see we follow the practice of the Church, although it may be clear that a person was baptized before the Spirit was invoked."
Jerome,Against the Luciferians,8(A.D. 379),in NPNF2,VI:324
" THEY who are baptized must after Baptism be anointed with the heavenly chrism, and be partakers of the Kingdom of Christ."
Council of Laodicea,Canon 48(A.D. 343-381),in NPNF2,XIV:154
"And then remember that you received the seal of the Spirit; the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and strength, the spirit of knowledge and godliness, and the spirit of holy fear, and preserved what you received. God the Father sealed you, Christ the Lord strengthened you, and gave the earnest of the Spirit in your heart, as you have learned in the lesson from the Apostle."
Ambrose,On the Mysteries,7:42(A.D. 391),in NPNF2,X:322
"He would likewise be permitting this to the Apostles alone? Were that the case,He would likewise be permitting them alone to baptize,them alone to baptize,them alone to Confer the Holy Spirit...If,then,the power both of Baptism and Confirmation,greater by far the charisms,is passed on to the bishops..."
Pacian,Epistle to Sympronian,1:6(A.D. 392),in JUR,II:142
'For indeed the word of Ecclesiastes says true; your heretic is no living man, but 'bones,' he says, 'in the womb of her that is with child'; for how can one who does not think of the unction along with the Anointed be said to believe in the Anointed? 'Him,' says (Peter), 'did God anoint with the Holy Spirit.' These destroyers of the Spirit's glory, who relegate Him to a subject world, must tell us of what thing that unction is the symbol. Is it not a symbol of the Kingship? And what? Do they not believe in the Only-begotten as in His very nature a King? Men who have not once for all enveloped their hearts with the Jewish 'vail' will not gainsay that He is this. If, then, the Son is in His very nature a king, and the unction is the symbol of His kingship, what, in the way of a consequence, does your reason demonstrate? Why, that the Unction is not a thing alien to that Kingship, and so that the Spirit is not to be ranked in the Trinity as anything strange and foreign either. For the Son is King, and His living, realized, and personified Kingship is found in the Holy Spirit, Who anoints the Only-begotten, and so makes Him the Anointed, and the King of all things that exist. If, then, the Father is King, and the Only-begotten is King, and the Holy Ghost is the Kingship, one and the same definition of Kingship must prevail throughout this Trinity, and the thought of "unction" conveys the hidden meaning that there is no interval of separation between the Son and the Holy Spirit. For as between the body's surface and the liquid of the oil nothing intervening can be detected, either in reason or in perception, so inseparable is the union of the Spirit with the Son; and the result is that whosoever is to touch the Son by faith must needs first encounter the oil in the very act of touching; there is not a part of Him devoid of the Holy Spirit. Therefore belief in the Lordship of the Son arises in those who entertain it, by means of the Holy Ghost; on all sides the Holy Ghost is met by those who by faith approach the Son. If, then, the Son is essentially a King, and the Holy Spirit is that dignity of Kingship which anoints the Son, what deprivation of this Kingship, in its essence and comparing it with itself, can be imagined?"
Gregory of Nyssa,On the Holy Spirit,16(ante A.D. 394),in NPNF2,V:321
"Now concerning baptism,O bishop, or presbyter, we have already given direction, and we now say, that thou shalt so baptize as the Lord commanded us, saying: 'Go ye, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost(teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you):' of the Father who sent, of Christ who came, of the Comforter who testified. But thou shalt beforehand anoint the person with the holy oil, and afterward baptize him with the water, and in the conclusion shall seal him with the ointment; that the anointing with oil may be the participation of the Holy Spirit, and the water the symbol of the death of Christ, and the ointment the seal of the covenants. But if there be neither oil nor ointment, water is sufficient both for the anointing, and for the seal, and for the confession of Him that is dead, or indeed is dying together with Christ. But before baptism, let him that is to be baptized fast; for even the Lord, when He was first baptized by John, and abode in the wilderness, did afterward fast forty days and forty nights. But He was baptized, and then fasted, not having Himself any need of cleansing, or of fasting, or of purgation, who was by nature pure and holy; but that He might testify the truth to John, and afford an example to us. Wherefore our Lord was not baptized into His own passion, or death, or resurrection--for none of those things had then happened--but for another purpose. Wherefore He by His own authority fasted after His baptism, as being the Lord of John. But he who is to be initiated into His death ought first to fast, and then to be baptized. For it is not reasonable that he who has been buried with Christ, and is risen again with Him, should appear dejected at His very resurrection. For man is not lord of our Saviour's constitution, since one is the Master and the other the servant."
Apostolic Constitutions,7,2:22(A.D. 400),in ANF,VII:469
"Why, therefore, is the Head itself, whence that ointment of unity descended, that is, the spiritual fragrance of brotherly love,--why, I say, is the Head itself exposed to your resistance, while it testifies and declares that "repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem"? And by this ointment you wish the sacrament of chrism to be understood, which is indeed holy as among the class of visible signs, like baptism itself..."
Augustine,Letters of Petilian the Donatist,2,104:239(A.D. 403),in NPNF1,IV:592
"That this power of a bishop,however,is due to the bishops alone,so that they either sign or give the Paraclete the Spirit...For to presbyters it is permitted to anoint the baptized with chrism whenever they baptize...but (with chrism) that has been consecrated by a bishop;nevertheless (it is) not (allowed) to sign the forehead with the same oil;that is due to the bishops alone when they bestow the Spirit,the Paraclete."
Pope Innocent[regn. A.D. 401-417],To Decentius,3(A.D. 416),in DEN,42-43
"The living water of holy Baptism is given to us as if in rain,and the Bread of Life as if in wheat,and the Blood as if in wine.In Addition to this there is also the use of oil,reckoned as perfecting those who have been justified in Christ through holy baptism."
Cyril of Alexandria,Commentary on the Minor Prophets,32(A.D. 429),in JUR,III:219
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