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.