Confirmation is an important ceremony in several denominations of Christianity. The meaning of it varies between each sect; in Catholicism it is seen as one of the Seven Sacraments, in Orthodoxy it is seen as one of the Mysteries, in traditional Protestant churches such as Lutheran or Presbyterian, it is seen as a coming of age ceremony. It, along with Baptism and Holy Orders, is one of the three sacraments that may only be taken once.
Uriel the Archangel is the patron saint of Confirmation.
Confirmation can be traced back to the time of the Apostles and is outlined in the Acts 8:14-17. John and Peter went down to Samaria and lay their hands upon those who were baptized in the name of Jesus only. It is again done in the Acts 19:3, where Paul confirms those who were baptized by John. They lay their hands on those who were baptized before in order that they may recieve the Holy Ghost.
In Roman Catholicism, only the Bishop may administer confirmation. Confirmation is usually done at age fourteen, but it is not unheard of for the ceremony to be performed when they were younger or older. Those confirmed are anointed, have the Bishops hands laid on him or her, and a prayer is said.
Old Catholics perform confirmation the same way as Roman Catholics do.
In Eastern Catholic Rite, confirmation is administered the same way, but it is performed right after the infant is christened and just before the infant is given Communion.
In Orthodoxy, confirmation is called Chrismation.
Eastern Orthodox churches confirm infants right after baptism by having the Bishop lay hands on the child and anoint it, and then having it recieve communion with only wine.
Oriental Orthodox churches perform christmation by gathering spices and anointed the infant.
The Church of the East perform christmation the same way as Eastern Orthodox churches do.
Most Protestants are asked to go through confirmation classes before being confirmed.
The thirty-nine articles of Anglicanism, which also encompasses Episcopolian beliefs and the Church of England, state that confirmation has been called by some a sacrament. This leads to small confusion as to whether or not it actually is a sacrament, since it merely says it has been called by some to be a sacrament, but not whether those people are wrong or not. The majority of Anglicans view it as one, but not a necessity for salvation, though some go against this view. In Anglicanism, only the Bishop may perform the confirmation, differing from just about all other forms of Christianity. Anglicans may be confirmed at any age, but those confirmed at a younger age may be asked to affirm these vows when they turn eighteen. During a confirmation service, the one being confirmed will go up to the front of the church and have the Bishop lay hands on him or her and a prayer is said. Communion is taken after the confirming.
Methodists view confirmation as a rite and not a sacrament like baptism and the eucharist. Methodism dictates that those who were christened as babies are to be confirmed once they grow older, usually during the pre-teen or early teen years. It is seen as a public affirmation of faith, much like how baptism is viewed in the Baptist church. The one being confirmed goes up to the front of the church and has the Pastor lay hands on his or her head, a prayer is said, and Communion is taken..
Presbyterians and Lutherans view confirmation in pretty much the same light as Methodists do.
Most Baptist churches, along with other denominations that practice Believer's Baptism, do not perform a confirmation ceremony.