In the early Church the three Sacraments of initiation Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist were celebrated in the same ceremony by adult catechumens at the Easter Vigil. The catechumens descended into a pool where they were baptized in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. When ascended, they were clothed with a white robe, and the Bishop laid hands on them and anointed them with oil.

They then proceeded to a place of honor among the community where they participated in the Eucharist for the first time. Eventually, the bishops of the West delegated Baptism to priests, but retained the function of performing the initial anointing and laying on of hands on the Bishop. Thus, in the West the celebration of the Sacrament of Confirmation was done at a later time than the celebration of the Sacrament of Baptism.