Confirmation is one of the sacraments of initiation into the Coptic Orthodox Church. It is administered immediately after Baptism and before partaking of the Eucharist. In the Coptic Church, it is performed by unction with the holy oil by a priest or a bishop (in the Catholic Church, it is the right of the bishop or his vicar). There are several references to this sacrament dating as far back as the apostolic fathers, such as in the works of Clement of Rome.

This rite is also mentioned by Clement of Alexandria (ca. 150-ca. 215) in the Pedagogue 1:6 and the Stromata. The Arabic canons of the Council of Nicaea highlighted the importance of this sacrament in Canons 31 and 69. Basil the Great (330-379) mentioned this rite in his treatise on the Holy Spirit. We owe also to the catechetical homilies of Cyril of Jerusalem many allusions to this sacrament. Pseudo Dionysius mentioned this sacrament in his book entitled The Ecclesiastical Hierarchy.

The Coptic priest makes the sign of the cross over the child 36 times (at different points of the body) using the oil of the chrism (Myron) prepared by the patriarch while imploring the Father to send the Holy Spirit on the baptized person. The priest then gives the mysteries (communion). The deacons sing “Worthy, Worthy, Worthy.”


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