HOME

TheInfoList




Ordination is the process by which individuals are
consecrated Consecration is the solemn dedication to a special purpose or service. The word ''consecration'' literally means "association with the sacred". Persons, places, or things can be consecrated, and the term is used in various ways by different group ...

consecrated
, that is, set apart and elevated from the
laity In religious organizations, the laity consists of all members who are not part of the clergy Clergy are formal leaders within established s. Their roles and functions vary in different religious traditions, but usually involve presiding over ...
class to the
clergy Clergy are formal leaders within established s. Their roles and functions vary in different religious traditions, but usually involve presiding over specific rituals and teaching their religion's s and practices. Some of the terms used for ind ...
, who are thus then
authorized Authorization is the function of specifying access rights/privileges to resources, which is related to general information security Information security, sometimes shortened to infosec, is the practice of protecting information by mitigating in ...
(usually by the
denominational A religious denomination is a subgroup within a religion that operates under a common name, tradition, and identity. The term refers to the various Christian denominations (for example, Eastern Orthodox Church, Eastern Orthodox, Catholic Church, ...
hierarchy A hierarchy (from the Greek: , from , 'president of sacred rites') is an arrangement of items (objects, names, values, categories, etc.) in which the items are represented as being "above", "below", or "at the same level as" one another. Hierarch ...

hierarchy
composed of other clergy) to perform various religious
rites and ceremonies
rites and ceremonies
. The process and ceremonies of ordination vary by
religion Religion is a social Social organisms, including humans, live collectively in interacting populations. This interaction is considered social whether they are aware of it or not, and whether the exchange is voluntary/involuntary. Etymology ...

religion
and
denomination Denomination may refer to: * Religious denomination, such as a: ** Christian denomination ** Jewish denomination ** Islamic denomination ** Hindu denominations ** Schools of Buddhism, Buddhist denomination * Denomination (currency) * Denomination ( ...
. One who is in preparation for, or who is undergoing the process of ordination is sometimes called an ordinand. The
liturgy Liturgy is the customary public worship performed by a religious group. As a religious phenomenon, liturgy represents a community, communal response to and participation in the sacred through activities reflecting praise, thanksgiving, remembrance ...
used at an ordination is sometimes referred to as an ordination.


Christianity


Roman Catholic, Orthodox, and Anglican churches

In Roman Catholicism and Orthodoxy, ordination is one of the seven
sacraments A sacrament is a Christian rite A rite is an established, Ceremony, ceremonial, usually religious, act. Rites in this sense fall into three major categories: * rites of passage, generally changing an individual's social status, such as marria ...
, variously called
holy orders In certain Christian churches Christian Church is a Protestant Protestantism is a form of Christianity that originated with the 16th-century Reformation, a movement against what its followers perceived to be Criticism of the Catholic Church ...
or '' cheirotonia'' ("
Laying on of Hands The laying on of hands is a religious practice. In Judaism Judaism ( he, יהדות, ''Yahadut''; originally from Hebrew , ''Yehudah'', "Kingdom of Judah, Judah", via Ancient Greek, Greek ''Ioudaismos''; the term itself is of Anglo-Latin ...

Laying on of Hands
").
Apostolic succession Apostolic succession is the method whereby the ministry of the Christian Church Christian Church is a Protestant Protestantism is a form of Christianity that originated with the 16th-century Reformation, a movement against what its followe ...
is considered an essential and necessary concept for ordination, in the belief that all ordained clergy are ordained by bishops who were ordained by other bishops tracing back to bishops ordained by the
Apostles upright=1.35, Jesus and his Twelve Apostles, Chi-Rho symbol ☧, Catacombs of Domitilla">Chi_Rho.html" ;"title="fresco with the Chi Rho">Chi-Rho symbol ☧, Catacombs of Domitilla, Rome In Christian theology and ecclesiology, apostles, parti ...

Apostles
who were ordained by
Christ Jesus, likely from he, יֵשׁוּעַ, translit=Yēšūaʿ, label=Hebrew/Aramaic ( AD 30 / 33), also referred to as Jesus of Nazareth or Jesus Christ, is the central figure of Christianity, the Major religious groups, world's largest ...

Christ
, the great High Priest (, ), who conferred his priesthood upon his Apostles (, , , and ). "The Orthodox Faith — The Sacrament of the Holy Priesthood", Retrieved 2011-08-03 There are three "degrees" of ordination (or holy orders):
deacon A deacon is a member of the diaconate, an office in Christianity, Christian churches that is generally associated with service of some kind, but which varies among theological and denominational traditions. Major Christian churches, such as the C ...

deacon
,
presbyter In the New Testament The New Testament grc, Ἡ Καινὴ Διαθήκη, Transliteration, transl. ; la, Novum Testamentum. (NT) is the second division of the Biblical canon#Christian canons, Christian biblical canon. It discusses the te ...
, and
bishop A bishop is an ordained, consecrated, or appointed member of the Clergy#Christianity, Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight. Within the Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Moravian Chu ...

bishop
. Both bishops and presbyters are
priest A priest is a religious leader Clergy are formal leaders within established religion Religion is a social Social organisms, including humans, live collectively in interacting populations. This interaction is considered social w ...
s and have authority to celebrate the Eucharist. In common use, however, the term ''priest'', when unqualified, refers to the rank of presbyter, whereas ''presbyter'' is mainly used in rites of ordination and other places where a technical and precise term is required. Ordination of a bishop is performed by several bishops; ordination of a priest or deacon is performed by a single bishop. The ordination of a new bishop is also called a
consecration Consecration is the solemn Solemn may refer to: *"Solemn", a song by Tribal Tech from the album ''Dr. Hee'' 1987 *"Solemn", a song by Arcane Roots from the album ''Melancholia Hymns'' 2017 See also * Solemnity, a feast day of the highest rank i ...

consecration
. Many ancient sources specify that at least three bishops are necessary to consecrate another, e.g., the 13th Canon of the Council of Carthage (AD 394) states, "A bishop should not be ordained except by many bishops, but if there should be necessity he may be ordained by three," and the first of "The Canons of the Holy and Altogether August Apostles" states, "Let a bishop be ordained by two or three bishops," while the second canon thereof states, "Let a presbyter, deacon, and the rest of the clergy, be ordained by one bishop"; the latter canons, whatever their origin, were imposed on the universal church by the Seventh
Ecumenical Council An ecumenical council (or oecumenical council; also general council) is a conference of ecclesiastical dignitaries and theological experts convened to discuss and settle matters of Church doctrine and practice in which those entitled to vote a ...
, the
Second Council of Nicaea The second (symbol: s, also abbreviated: sec) is the base unit of time Time is the continued sequence of existence and event (philosophy), events that occurs in an apparently irreversible process, irreversible succession from the past, th ...
, in its first canon. Only a person ordained to the priesthood may administer certain sacraments (most especially, hear
confession A confession is a statement – made by a person or by a group of persons – acknowledging some personal fact that the person (or the group) would ostensibly prefer to keep hidden. The term presumes that the speaker is providing information th ...
s, anointing the sick- unction, or celebrating any Mass- the Eucharist).


Details peculiar to the various denominations

The
Catholic Church The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptised Baptism (from the Greek language, Greek noun βάπτισμα ''báptisma'') is a Christians, Christian ...

Catholic Church
teaches that one bishop is sufficient to consecrate a new bishop validly (that is, for an episcopal ordination actually to take place). In most Christian denominations that retain the practice of ordination, only an already ordained (consecrated) bishop or the equivalent may ordain bishops, priests, and deacons. However, Canon Law requires that bishops always be consecrated with the mandate (approval) of the
Roman Pontiff Roman or Romans usually refers to: *Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metropolitan city of Capital Rome, region Lazio, ...

Roman Pontiff
, as the guarantor of the Church's unity. Moreover, at least three bishops are to perform the consecration, although the Apostolic See may dispense from this requirement in extraordinary circumstances (for example, in missionary settings or times of persecution). In the Roman Catholic Church, those deacons destined to be ordained priests are often termed ''transitional deacons''; those deacons who are married before being ordained, as well as any unmarried deacons who chose not to be ordained priests, are called ''permanent deacons''. Those married deacons who become widowers have the possibility of seeking ordination to the priesthood in exceptional cases. While some Eastern churches have in the past recognized
Anglican Anglicanism is a Western Christianity, Western Christian tradition that has developed from the practices, liturgy, and identity of the Church of England following the English Reformation. Adherents of Anglicanism are called ''Anglicans''; t ...
ordinations as valid, the current Anglican practice, in many provinces, of ordaining women to the priesthood—and, in some cases, to the episcopate—has caused the Orthodox generally to question earlier declarations of validity and hopes for union. The Roman Catholic Church has never recognized Anglican orders as valid. Anglicanism recognizes Roman Catholic and Orthodox ordinations; hence, clergy converting to Anglicanism are not "re-ordained". Some
Eastern Orthodox The Eastern Orthodox Church, also called the Orthodox Church, is the second-largest Christian church, with approximately 220 million baptised members. It operates as a communion Communion may refer to: Religion * The Eucharist (also cal ...
churches recognize Roman Catholic ordinations while others "re-ordain" Roman Catholic clergy (as well as Anglicans) who convert. However, both the Roman Catholic and Anglican churches recognize Orthodox ordinations. In the Roman Catholic and Anglican churches, ordinations have traditionally been held on
Ember Days Ember days are quarterly periods ( la, quatuor tempora) of prayer and fasting Fasting is the willful refrainment from eating and sometimes drinking (see Water fasting and Juice fasting). From a purely physiology, physiological context, "fastin ...
, though there is no limit to the number of clergy who may be ordained at the same service. In the Eastern Orthodox Church, ordinations may be performed any day of the year on which the
Divine Liturgy Icon of Ss. Basil the Great (left) and John Chrysostom, ascribed authors of the two most frequently used Eastern Orthodox Divine Liturgies, c. 1150 (mosaic in the Cappella Palatina, Palatine Chapel, Palermo). Divine Liturgy ( grc-gre, Θεία Λ ...
may be celebrated (and deacons may also be ordained at the Presanctified Liturgy), but only one person may be ordained to each rank at any given service, that is, at most one bishop, one presbyter, and one deacon may be ordained at the same liturgy.


Notes

* There have long existed orders of clergy below that of deacon. In the Eastern Orthodox and
Oriental Orthodox The Oriental Orthodox Churches are a group of Eastern Christian Eastern Christianity comprises Christian Christians () are people who follow or adhere to Christianity, a monotheistic Abrahamic religion based on the life and teachings ...
churches (and, until 1970, in the Roman Catholic Church), a person has to be
tonsure Tonsure () is the practice of cutting or shaving some or all of the hair Hair is a protein filament In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Bioch ...

tonsure
d a cleric and be ordained to sundry
minor order Minor orders are ranks of church ministry lower than major orders. In the Catholic Church The Catholic Church, often referred to as the Roman Catholic Church, is the List of Christian denominations by number of members, largest Christian ...
s prior to being ordained a deacon. Although a person may be said to be ordained to these orders, such ordinations are not reckoned as part of the sacrament of Holy Orders; in the Eastern Orthodox, the term '' Cheirothesia'' ("imposition of hands") is used for such ordinations in contrast to ''Cheirotonia'' ("laying on of hands") for ordinations of deacons, presbyters, and bishops. * The following are positions that are not acquired by ordination: ** Becoming a
monk A monk (, from el, μοναχός, ''monachos'', "single, solitary" via Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (f ...

monk
or
nun A nun is a woman who vows to dedicate her life to religious service, typically living under vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience The three evangelical counsels or counsels of perfection in Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic rel ...

nun
or, generally, a member of a
religious order A religious order is a lineage of communities A community is a social unit (a group of living things) with commonality such as norms, religion Religion is a social system, social-cultural system of designated religious behaviour, behavio ...
, which is open to men and women; men in religious orders may or may not be ordained. Anglican nuns may, like their male counterparts, be ordained as well. ** Offices and titles such as
pope The pope ( la, papa, from el, πάππας, translit=pappas, "father"), also known as the supreme pontiff () or the Roman pontiff (), is the bishop of Diocese of Rome, Rome, chief pastor of the worldwide Catholic Church, and head of state o ...

pope
,
patriarch The highest-ranking bishop A bishop is an ordained, consecrated, or appointed member of the Clergy#Christianity, Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight. Within the Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, ...

patriarch
,
archbishop In many Christian Denominations Christians () are people who follow or adhere to Christianity, a monotheistic Abrahamic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus in Christianity, Jesus Christ. The words ''Christ (title), Christ'' an ...
,
archpriest The ecclesiastical title of archpriest or archpresbyter belongs to certain priest A priest is a religious leader Clergy are formal leaders within established religion Religion is a social Social organisms, including humans, l ...
,
archimandrite The title archimandrite ( gr, ἀρχιμανδρίτης, archimandritēs), primarily used in the Eastern Orthodox The Eastern Orthodox Church, officially the Orthodox Catholic Church, is the List of Christian denominations by number of m ...

archimandrite
,
archdeacon An archdeacon is a senior clergy position in the Church of the East The Church of the East ( syc, , ''ʿĒḏtā d-Maḏenḥā''), also called the Persian Church, East Syrian Church, Babylonian Church, Seleucian Church, Edessan Church, Ch ...
, etc., which are given to ordained persons for sundry reasons, e.g., to rank them or honor them. **
Cardinal Cardinal or The Cardinal may refer to: Christianity * Cardinal (Catholic Church), a senior official of the Catholic Church * Cardinal (Church of England), two members of the College of Minor Canons of St. Paul's Cathedral Navigation * Cardina ...
s are simply a large collegiate body who are electors of and the senior-most counselors to the Pope, and are not a fourth order beyond bishop. At presently nearly all cardinals are bishops, although several are priests, having been granted a dispensation from being ordained a bishop by the Pope (most of these were elevated by the Pope for services to the Church, and are over 80, thus not having the right to elect a pope or have active voting memberships in Vatican departments). As recently as 1899 there was a cardinal who was a deacon when he died, having been a cardinal for 41 years (). There have even been noble lay men, or men who only possessed minor orders (now called ministries, and carried out by seminarians and laypeople) who at one time were made cardinals. Cardinals are considered princes in diplomatic protocol and by the Church, and even if they are not ordained bishops and cannot perform episcopal functions such as ordination, they have both real and ceremonial precedence over all non-cardinal patriarchs, archbishops, and bishops. Some have discussed the possibility in Catholicism of having women serve as cardinals or, more realistically in the short-term, as sub-deacons, since they cannot be ordained. *In the
Church of England The Church of England (C of E) is a Christian church Christian Church is a Protestant Protestantism is a form of Christianity that originated with the 16th-century Reformation, a movement against what its followers perceived to be Critic ...
, the priest of the diocese who oversees the process of discernment, selection and training of ordinands is usually called the "Diocesan Director of Ordinands", commonly shortened to "DDO". He or she may have a team of assistants, who may be called Assistant DDOs or Vocations Advisers.


Protestantism

In most
Protestant Protestantism is a form of that originated with the 16th-century , a movement against what its followers perceived to be in the . Protestants originating in the Reformation reject the Roman Catholic doctrine of , but disagree among themselves ...
churches, ordination to the pastoral office is the rite by which their various churches: * recognize and confirm that an individual has been called by God to ministry, * acknowledge that the individual has gone through a period of discernment and training related to this call, and * authorize that individual to take on the office of ministry. For the sake of authorization and church order, and not for reason of 'powers' or 'ability', individuals in most
mainline Mainline, ''Main line'', or ''Main Line'' may refer to: Transportation Railway * Main line (railway), the principal artery of a railway system * Main Line of Public Works, a railroad and canal system in Pennsylvania ** Main Line (Pennsylvania R ...
Protestant Protestantism is a form of that originated with the 16th-century , a movement against what its followers perceived to be in the . Protestants originating in the Reformation reject the Roman Catholic doctrine of , but disagree among themselves ...
churches must be ordained in order to preside at the sacraments (
Baptism Baptism (from the Greek language, Greek noun βάπτισμα ''báptisma'') is a Christians, Christian rite of initiation, admission and Adoption (theology), adoption, almost invariably with the use of water, into Christianity. It may be pe ...

Baptism
and
Holy Communion The Eucharist (; grc-gre, εὐχαριστία, eucharistía, thanksgiving) also known as Holy Communion and the Lord's Supper, among other names, is a Christian Christians () are people who follow or adhere to Christianity, a monothe ...

Holy Communion
), and to be installed as a called
pastor A pastor (abbreviated as "Pr" or "Ptr" , or "Ps" ) is the leader of a Christian Christians () are people who follow or adhere to Christianity, a monotheistic Abrahamic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus in Christianity, Jesus ...

pastor
of a congregation or parish. Some Protestant traditions have additional offices of ministry to which persons can be ordained. For instance: * most
Presbyterian Presbyterianism is a part of the Reformed tradition Calvinism (also called the Reformed tradition, Reformed Christianity, Reformed Protestantism, or the Reformed faith) is a major branch of Protestantism Protestantism is a form of ...
and
Reformed Calvinism (also called the Reformed tradition, Reformed Christianity, Reformed Protestantism, or the Reformed faith) is a major branch of Protestantism Protestantism is a form of Christianity that originated with the 16th-century Reformat ...
churches maintain a threefold order of ministry of
pastor A pastor (abbreviated as "Pr" or "Ptr" , or "Ps" ) is the leader of a Christian Christians () are people who follow or adhere to Christianity, a monotheistic Abrahamic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus in Christianity, Jesus ...

pastor
,
elder An elder is someone with a degree of seniority or authority. Elder or elders may refer to: Positions Administrative * Elder (administrative title), a position of authority Cultural * American Indian elder, a person who has and transmits cul ...
, and
deacon A deacon is a member of the diaconate, an office in Christianity, Christian churches that is generally associated with service of some kind, but which varies among theological and denominational traditions. Major Christian churches, such as the C ...

deacon
. The order of Pastor, the only one of the three orders considered "clergy", is comparable to most other denominations' pastoral office or ordained ministry. The order of
elder An elder is someone with a degree of seniority or authority. Elder or elders may refer to: Positions Administrative * Elder (administrative title), a position of authority Cultural * American Indian elder, a person who has and transmits cul ...
comprises lay persons ordained to the ministries of church order and spiritual care (for example, elders form the governing bodies of congregations and are responsible for a congregation's worship life). In many Presbyterian churches, the pastor or minister is seen as a "teaching elder" and is equal to the other elders in the session. The order of
deacon A deacon is a member of the diaconate, an office in Christianity, Christian churches that is generally associated with service of some kind, but which varies among theological and denominational traditions. Major Christian churches, such as the C ...

deacon
comprises lay persons ordained to ministries of service and pastoral care. Those who fill this position may be known as "ruling elders". * Deacons are also ordained in the
Lutheran Lutheranism is one of the largest branches of Protestantism that identifies with the teachings of Jesus Christ and was founded by Martin Luther, a 16th-century German monk and Protestant Reformers, reformer whose efforts to reform the theology ...
,
Methodist Methodism, also called the Methodist movement, is a group of historically related denominations Denomination may refer to: * Religious denomination, such as a: ** Christian denomination ** Jewish denomination ** Islamic denomination ** Hindu d ...

Methodist
and in most of the
Baptist Baptists form a major branch of Protestantism, Protestant Christianity distinguished by baptizing professing Christianity, Christian believers only (believer's baptism, as opposed to infant baptism), and doing so by complete Immersion baptism, ...

Baptist
traditions. For most Protestant denominations that have an office of
bishop A bishop is an ordained, consecrated, or appointed member of the Clergy#Christianity, Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight. Within the Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Moravian Chu ...

bishop
, such as Lutheranism and Methodism, this is not viewed as a separate ordination or order of ministry. Rather, bishops are
ordained minister upA Lutheran minister wearing a Geneva gown and Bands (neckwear)">bands. In many churches, ministers wear distinctive clothing, called vestments, when presiding over service of worship, services of worship. In Christianity Christianity is an ...
s of the same order as other pastors, simply having been "consecrated" or installed into the "office" (that is, the job) of bishop. However, some
Lutheran Lutheranism is one of the largest branches of Protestantism that identifies with the teachings of Jesus Christ and was founded by Martin Luther, a 16th-century German monk and Protestant Reformers, reformer whose efforts to reform the theology ...
churches also claim valid
apostolic succession Apostolic succession is the method whereby the ministry of the Christian Church Christian Church is a Protestant Protestantism is a form of Christianity that originated with the 16th-century Reformation, a movement against what its followe ...
. Some Protestant Churches – especially Pentecostal and Charismatic ones – have an informal tier of ministers. Those who graduate from a Bible College or take a year of prescribed courses are licensed ministers. Two more years of courses or graduation from a seminary or theological graduate school, as well as an exam by senior ministers, will result in one becoming an ordained minister. Licensed ministers are addressed as "Minister" and ordained ministers as "Reverend." They, and also
Evangelical Evangelicalism (), also called evangelical Christianity, or evangelical Protestantism, is a worldwide trans-denominational movement within Protestant Christianity Protestantism is a form of Christianity that originated with the 16th-century ...

Evangelical
pastors, are generally ordained at a ceremony called "pastoral consecration". A growing number of Protestant denominations also have an office of Commissioned Pastor, with the person not ordained as a minister, but providing all the sacraments and leading a church.


Non-denominational

In Christianity, the term non-denominational refers to those churches that have not formally aligned themselves with an established denomination, or remain otherwise officially autonomous. This, however, does not preclude an identifiable standard among such congregations. Non-denominational congregations may establish a functional denomination by means of mutual recognition of or accountability to other congregations and leaders with commonly held doctrine, policy and worship without formalizing external direction or oversight in such matters. Some non-denominational churches explicitly reject the idea of a formalized denominational structure as a matter of principle, holding that each congregation must be autonomous. Non-denominational is generally used to refer to one of two forms of independence: political or theological. That is, the independence may come about because of a religious disagreement or political disagreement. This causes some confusion in understanding. Some churches say they are non-denominational because they have no central headquarters (though they may have affiliations with other congregations.) Other churches say they are non-denominational because their belief structures are unique. Members of non-denominational churches often consider themselves simply "Christians". However, the acceptance of any particular stance on a doctrine or practice (for example, on baptism), about which there is not general unanimity among churches or professing Christians, may be said to establish a ''de facto'' credal identity. In essence, this would mean that each non-denominational church forms its own unofficial "denomination" with a specific set of tenets as defined by the beliefs and practices of its own congregation.


Jehovah's Witnesses

Jehovah's Witnesses consider an adherent's
baptism Baptism (from the Greek language, Greek noun βάπτισμα ''báptisma'') is a Christians, Christian rite of initiation, admission and Adoption (theology), adoption, almost invariably with the use of water, into Christianity. It may be pe ...
to constitute ordination as a
minister Minister may refer to: * Minister (Christianity)Image:LutheranClergy.JPG, upA Lutheran minister wearing a Geneva gown and Bands (neckwear), bands. In many churches, ministers wear distinctive clothing, called vestments, when presiding over service ...
. Governments have generally recognized that Jehovah's Witnesses' full-time appointees (such as their " regular pioneers") qualify as ministers regardless of sex or appointment as an
elder An elder is someone with a degree of seniority or authority. Elder or elders may refer to: Positions Administrative * Elder (administrative title), a position of authority Cultural * American Indian elder, a person who has and transmits cul ...
or deacon ("ministerial servant"). The religion asserts
ecclesiastical privilege In the canon law Canon law (from grc, κανών, , a 'straight measuring rod, ruler') is a set of ordinances and regulations made by ecclesiastical jurisdiction, ecclesiastical authority (Church leadership), for the government of a Christian orga ...
only for its appointed elders, but the religion permits any baptized adult male in good standing to officiate at a baptism, wedding, or funeral.


The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

In
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, often informally known as the LDS Church or Mormon Church, is a nontrinitarian Nontrinitarianism is a form of Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic Monotheism ...
, a rite of ordination is performed to bestow either the Aaronic or
Melchizedek priesthood The priesthood of Melchizedek is a role in Abrahamic religions, modelled on Melchizedek, combining the dual position of king and priest. Hebrew Bible Melchizedek is a king and priest appearing in the Book of Genesis. The name means "King of Rig ...
(Hebrews 5:4–6) upon a worthy male member. As in the Anglican, Roman Catholic and Orthodox traditions, great care is taken to assure that the candidate for priesthood is ordained by those with proper authority and ordained properly and validly; thorough records of priesthood ordination are kept by the church. Ordination is performed by the
laying on of hands The laying on of hands is a religious practice. In Judaism Judaism ( he, יהדות, ''Yahadut''; originally from Hebrew , ''Yehudah'', "Kingdom of Judah, Judah", via Ancient Greek, Greek ''Ioudaismos''; the term itself is of Anglo-Latin ...

laying on of hands
. Ordination to the office of
priest A priest is a religious leader Clergy are formal leaders within established religion Religion is a social Social organisms, including humans, live collectively in interacting populations. This interaction is considered social w ...
in the Aaronic priesthood gives the ordained person the authority to: * baptize converts and children over the age of 8 into the church * bless and administer the
sacrament A sacrament is a Christian Christians () are people who follow or adhere to Christianity, a monotheistic Abrahamic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus in Christianity, Jesus Christ. The words ''Christ (title), Christ'' and ...
(the Lord's Supper) * participate in, or perform, ordinations of others to the Aaronic Priesthood or its offices * collect fast offerings for the
Bishop A bishop is an ordained, consecrated, or appointed member of the Clergy#Christianity, Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight. Within the Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Moravian Chu ...
(usually ordained
Deacons A deacon is a member of the diaconate, an office in Christianity, Christian churches that is generally associated with service of some kind, but which varies among theological and denominational traditions. Major Christian churches, such as the C ...
and
Teachers A teacher (also called a schoolteacher or formally, an educator) is a person who helps students A student is primarily a person enrolled in a school A school is an educational institution designed to provide learning spaces and l ...
perform this) Ordination to the Melchizedek priesthood includes the authority to perform all the duties of the Aaronic priesthood, as well as ordain others to the Melchizedek or Aaronic priesthood, perform confirmations, bless and anoint the sick with oil, bless and dedicate graves, and other such rites. There are five offices within the Melchizedek Priesthood to which one could potentially be ordained: *
Elder An elder is someone with a degree of seniority or authority. Elder or elders may refer to: Positions Administrative * Elder (administrative title), a position of authority Cultural * American Indian elder, a person who has and transmits cul ...
*
High Priest The term “high priest” usually refers either to an individual who holds the office of ruler A ruler, sometimes called a rule or line gauge, is a device used in geometry and technical drawing, as well as the engineering and construction ...
*
Patriarch The highest-ranking bishop A bishop is an ordained, consecrated, or appointed member of the Clergy#Christianity, Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight. Within the Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, ...
* Seventy *
Apostle An apostle (), in its most literal sense, is an emissary, from Greek ἀπόστολος (''apóstolos''), literally "one who is sent off", from the verb A verb, from the Latin ''wikt:verbum#Latin, verbum'' meaning ''word'', is a word (part o ...
"Ordination to an office in the Aaronic Priesthood is done by or under the direction of the bishop or branch president. Ordination to an office in the Melchizedek Priesthood is done by or under the direction of the stake or mission president. To perform a priesthood ordination, one or more authorized priesthood holders place their hands lightly on the person’s head." Latter-day Saints believe in a line of priesthood authority that traces back to Jesus Christ and his
apostles upright=1.35, Jesus and his Twelve Apostles, Chi-Rho symbol ☧, Catacombs of Domitilla">Chi_Rho.html" ;"title="fresco with the Chi Rho">Chi-Rho symbol ☧, Catacombs of Domitilla, Rome In Christian theology and ecclesiology, apostles, parti ...

apostles
. LDS adherents believe the church's founder,
Joseph Smith Joseph Smith Jr. (December 23, 1805June 27, 1844) was an American religious leader and founder of Mormonism Mormonism is the religious tradition and theology of the Latter Day Saint movement of Restorationism, Restorationist Christian ...
, was ordained under the hands of apostles
Peter Peter may refer to: People * List of people named Peter, a list of people and fictional characters with the given name * Peter (given name) ** Saint Peter (died 60s), apostle of Jesus, leader of the early Christian Church * Peter (surname), a sur ...

Peter
,
James James is a common English language surname and given name: * James (name), the typically masculine first name James * James (surname), various people with the last name James James or James City may also refer to: People * King James (disambiguati ...
, and
John John is a common English name and surname: * John (given name) John is a common English name and surname: * John (given name) * John (surname), including a list of people who have the name John John may also refer to: New Testament Works ...
, who appeared to Smith as angelic messengers in 1829.


Islam

Muslims do not formally ordain religious leaders. Ordination is viewed as a distinct aspect of other religions and is rejected. Islam does not have a formal and separated clergy. Religious leaders are usually called
Imam Imam (; ar, إمام '; plural: ') is an Islamic leadership position. For Sunni Islam, Sunni Muslims, Imam is most commonly used as the title of a worship leader of a mosque. In this context, imams may lead Salah, Islamic worship services, ...
s or
Sheikh Sheikh ( , ; ar, شيخ ' , mostly pronounced , plural The plural (sometimes abbreviated An abbreviation (from Latin ''brevis'', meaning ''short'') is a shortened form of a word or phrase, by any method. It may consist of a group of le ...

Sheikh
s or Maulana. The title Imam (when used outside the historic Shi'ite context) refers to someone who leads in prayer and can also be used in a linguistic sense for anyone who leads other Muslims in congregational prayers. Sheikh is an Arabic word meaning "old man" and is used as an honorable title for a learned man; Shaikhah refers to a woman learned in Islamic issues. This title is usually more prevalent in the Arabic countries. The word Maulana is a title bestowed upon students who have graduated from a
Madrasa Madrasa (, also , ; Arabic Arabic (, ' or , ' or ) is a Semitic language The Semitic languages are a branch of the Afroasiatic language family originating in the Middle East The Middle East is a list of transcontinental cou ...

Madrasa
(Islamic theological school) throughout the Indian subcontinent region. Although different Muslim schools, universities or madrasas might follow different graduation ceremonies upon a student's completion of a 4-year B.A. of Islamic Studies or a 7–8 Alim Course, these ceremonies do not in any way symbolize ordination.


Judaism

The ordination of a
rabbi A rabbi () is a spiritual leader or religious teacher in Judaism Judaism is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic, monotheism, monotheistic, and ethnic religion comprising the collective religious, cultural, and legal tradition and civili ...

rabbi
within
Judaism Judaism is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic, monotheism, monotheistic, and ethnic religion comprising the collective religious, cultural, and legal tradition and civilization of the Jewish people. It has its roots as an organized religion ...
is referred to as ''
Semikhah ' (or or ; he, סמיכה) traditionally refers to the ordination Ordination is the process by which individuals are , that is, set apart and elevated from the class to the , who are thus then (usually by the composed of other clergy) t ...
'' ( he, סמיכה, "leaning f the hands, also ''semichut'', he, סמיכות, "ordination", or ''semicha lerabanim'' he, סמיכה לרבנות, "rabbinical ordination"). The term is derived from a Hebrew word which means to "rely on", in the sense of "lean on", and hence "to be authorized". While the Hebrew word ''semikhah'' is rendered as "ordination" in English, a rabbi is not a priest ''per se'', but primarily functions as a
legal scholar Law is a system of rules created and law enforcement, enforced through social or governmental institutions to regulate behavior,Robertson, ''Crimes against humanity'', 90. with its precise definition a matter of longstanding debate. It has bee ...
and teacher of
Torah The Torah (; he, תּוֹרָה, "Instruction", "Teaching" or "Law") includes the first five books of the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew: , or ), is the Biblical canon, canonical collection of Hebrew language, Heb ...

Torah
; and in fact, for many religious purposes the presence of a rabbi is not necessary. (For example, at prayer, a
minyan In Judaism Judaism is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic, monotheism, monotheistic, and ethnic religion comprising the collective religious, cultural, and legal tradition and civilization of the Jewish people. It has its roots as an org ...
(quorum) of ten lay-people is both necessary and sufficient; thus the saying "nine rabbis do not constitute a minyan, but ten cobblers can".) Recently, in some
denominations Denomination may refer to: * Religious denomination, such as a: ** Christian denomination ** Jewish denomination ** Islamic denomination ** Hindu denominations ** Schools of Buddhism, Buddhist denomination * Denomination (currency) * Denomination ( ...
, ''Semikhah'', or ''semicha lehazzanut'', may refer to the ordination of a
hazzan A ''hazzan'' (; ) or ''chazzan'' ( he, חַזָּן , plural ; Yiddish language, Yiddish ''khazn''; Ladino language, Ladino ''Hazan'') is a Jewish musician or precentor trained in the vocal arts who helps lead the congregation in songful Jewis ...
(cantor); while others use the term "investiture" to describe the conferral of cantorial authority.


Buddhism

The tradition of the ordained
monastic Monasticism (from Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally referred to by speakers simply as Greek (, ...
community (''
sangha Sangha is a Sanskrit word used in many Indian languages, including Pali (saṅgha) meaning "association", "assembly", "company" or "community". It was historically used in a political context to denote a governing assembly in a republic or ...
'') began with the
Buddha Gautama Buddha, popularly known as the Buddha (also known as Siddhattha Gotama or Siddhārtha Gautama or Buddha Shakyamuni), was an ascetic Asceticism (; from the el, ἄσκησις ''áskesis'', "exercise, training") is a lifestyle ...

Buddha
, who established orders of
monk A monk (, from el, μοναχός, ''monachos'', "single, solitary" via Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (f ...

monk
s and later of
nun A nun is a woman who vows to dedicate her life to religious service, typically living under vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience The three evangelical counsels or counsels of perfection in Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic rel ...

nun
s. The procedure of ordination in
Buddhism Buddhism (, ) is the world's fourth-largest religion Religion is a social Social organisms, including humans, live collectively in interacting populations. This interaction is considered social whether they are aware of it or not, and ...

Buddhism
is laid down in the
Vinaya The Vinaya (Pali Pali () is a Middle Indo-Aryan liturgical language native to the Indian subcontinent. It is widely studied because it is the language of the ''Pāli Canon The Pāli Canon is the standard collection of scripture ...

Vinaya
and Patimokkha or Pratimoksha scriptures. There exist three intact ordination lineages nowadays in which one can receive an ordination according to the Buddha's teachings: *
Dharmaguptaka The Dharmaguptaka (Sanskrit Sanskrit (; attributively , ; , , ) is a of that belongs to the branch of the . It arose in South Asia after its predecessor languages had there from the northwest in the late . Sanskrit is the of , the la ...
Lineage * Mulasarvastivadin Lineage *
Theravada Theravāda (; Pāli Pali () is a Middle Indo-AryanIndo-Aryan refers to: * Indo-Aryan languages ** Indo-Aryan superstrate in Mitanni or Mitanni-Aryan * Indo-Aryan peoples, the various peoples speaking these languages See also *Aryan inva ...
Lineage


Mahayana

repeatedly requested that the Japanese government allow the construction of a Mahayana ordination platform. Permission was granted in 822 CE, seven days after Saicho died. The platform was finished in 827 CE at
Enryaku-ji temple is a Tendai monastery located on Mount Hiei in Ōtsu, Shiga, Ōtsu, overlooking Kyoto. It was founded in 788 during the early Heian period (794–1185). The temple complex was established by Saichō (767–822), also known as Dengyō Daishi, ...
on
Mount Hiei is a mountain to the northeast of Kyoto Kyoto (; : , ''Kyōto'' ), officially , is the capital city of in . Located in the on the island of , Kyoto forms a part of the along with and . As of 2021, the city has a population of 1.45 mill ...
, and was the first in Japan. Prior to this, those wishing to become monks/nuns were ordained using the
Hinayana "Hīnayāna" () is a Sanskrit Sanskrit (, attributively , ''saṃskṛta-'', nominalization, nominally , ''saṃskṛtam'') is a classical language of South Asia belonging to the Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European lan ...
precepts, whereas after the Mahayana ordination platform, people were ordained with the
Bodhisattva In Buddhism Buddhism (, ) is the world's fourth-largest religion Religion is a social Social organisms, including humans, live collectively in interacting populations. This interaction is considered social whether they are aware o ...

Bodhisattva
precepts as listed in the
Brahma Net Sutra Brahma ( sa, ब्रह्मा, Brahmā) is one of the principal deities of Hinduism, though his importance has declined in recent centuries. He is also referred to as Svayambhu () and is associated with creation, knowledge and '' Vedas''. ...
.


Theravada

''Pabbajja'' is an ordination procedure for novice Buddhist monks in the
Theravada Theravāda (; Pāli Pali () is a Middle Indo-AryanIndo-Aryan refers to: * Indo-Aryan languages ** Indo-Aryan superstrate in Mitanni or Mitanni-Aryan * Indo-Aryan peoples, the various peoples speaking these languages See also *Aryan inva ...
tradition.


Fully ordained nuns

The legitimacy of fully ordained nuns (''bhikkhuni/bhiksuni'') has become a significant topic of discussion in recent years. Texts passed down in every Buddhist tradition record that Gautama Buddha created an order of fully ordained nuns, but the tradition has died out in some Buddhist traditions such as Theravada Buddhism, while remaining strong in others such as
Chinese Buddhism Chinese Buddhism or Han Buddhism has shaped Chinese culture in a wide variety of areas including art, politics, literature Literature broadly is any collection of Writing, written work, but it is also used more narrowly for writings speci ...

Chinese Buddhism
(
Dharmaguptaka The Dharmaguptaka (Sanskrit Sanskrit (; attributively , ; , , ) is a of that belongs to the branch of the . It arose in South Asia after its predecessor languages had there from the northwest in the late . Sanskrit is the of , the la ...
lineage). In the Tibetan lineage, which follows the Mulasarvastivadin lineage, the lineage of fully ordained nuns was not brought to
Tibet Tibet (; ; ) is a region in East Asia covering much of the Tibetan Plateau spanning about . It is the traditional homeland of the Tibetan people as well as some other ethnic groups such as Monpa people, Monpa, Tamang people, Tamang, Qia ...

Tibet
by the Indian
Vinaya The Vinaya (Pali Pali () is a Middle Indo-Aryan liturgical language native to the Indian subcontinent. It is widely studied because it is the language of the ''Pāli Canon The Pāli Canon is the standard collection of scripture ...

Vinaya
masters, hence there is no rite for the ordination of full nuns. However th 14th Dalai Lama has endeavored for many years to improve this situation. In 2005, he asked fully ordained nuns in the Dharmaguptaka lineage, especially Jampa Tsedroen, to form a committee to work for the acceptance of the ''bhiksuni'' lineage within the Tibetan tradition, and donated €50,000 for further research. The "1st International Congress on Buddhist Women’s Role in the Sangha: Bhikshuni Vinaya and Ordination Lineages" was held at the University of Hamburg from July 18–20, 2007, in cooperation with the University's Asia-Africa Institute. Although the general tenor was that full ordination was overdue, the Dalai Lama presented a pre-drafted statement saying that more time was required to reach a decision, thus nullifying the intentions of the congress.


Posthumous ordination

In Medieval Sōtō Zen, a tradition of posthumous ordination was developed to give the laity access to Japanese funeral, Zen funeral rites. Chinese Ch’an monastic codes, from which Japanese Sōtō practices were derived, contain only monastic funeral rites; there were no provisions made for funerals for lay believers. To solve this problem, the Sōtō school developed the practice of ordaining laypeople after death, thus allowing monastic funeral rites to be used for them as well.


New Kadampa Tradition

The Buddhist ordination tradition of the New Kadampa Tradition-International Kadampa Buddhist Union (NKT-IKBU) is not the traditional Buddhist ordination, but rather one newly created by Kelsang Gyatso. Although those ordained within this organisation are called 'monks' and 'nuns' within the organisation, and wear the robes of traditional Tibetan monks and nuns, in terms of traditional Buddhism they are neither fully ordained monks and nuns (Skt.: Bhikkhu, bhikshu, Bhikkhuni, bhikshuni; Tib.: gelong, gelongma) nor are they novice monks and nuns (Skt.: sramanera, srameneri; Tib.: gestul, getsulma). Unlike most other Buddhist traditions, including all Tibetan Buddhist schools, which follow the Vinaya, the NKT-IKBU ordination consists of the Five Precepts of a lay person, plus five more precepts created by Kelsang Gyatso. He is said to view them as a “practical condensation” of the 253 Vinaya vows of fully ordained monks. There are also no formal instructions and guidelines for the behaviour of monks and nuns within the NKT. Because the behaviour of monks and nuns is not clearly defined “each Resident Teacher developed his or her own way of ‘disciplining’ monks and nuns at their centres ...”. Kelsang Gyatso's ordination has been publicly criticised by Geshe Tashi Tsering (Jamyang Buddhist Centre), Tashi Tsering as going against the core teachings of Buddhism and against the teachings of Tsongkhapa, the founder of the Gelugpa school from which Kelsang Gyatso was expelled


Unitarian Universalism

As Unitarian Universalism features very few doctrinal thresholds for prospective congregation members, ordinations of UU ministers are considerably less focused upon doctrinal adherence than upon factors such as possessing a Masters of Divinity degree from an accredited higher institution of education and an ability to articulate an understanding of ethics, spirituality and humanity. In the Unitarian Universalist Association, candidates for "ministerial fellowship" with the denomination (usually third-year divinity school students) are reviewed, interviewed, and approved (or rejected) by the UUA Ministerial Fellowship Committee (MFC). However, given the fundamental principle of congregational polity, individual UU congregations make their own determination on ordination of ministers, and congregations may sometimes even hire or ordain persons who have not received UUA ministerial fellowship, and may or may not serve the congregation as its principle minister/pastor.


Wicca

In the Neo-Pagan religion of Wicca, a person's initiation is regarded as an induction and ordination as a wikt:priestess, priestess or priest. The rites which a person undergoes to become a priestess or priest, and the education and years of study required differ according to denomination.


Ordination of women

The ordination of women is often a controversial issue in religions where either the office of ordination, or the role that an ordained person fulfills, is traditionally restricted to men, for various theological reasons.


In Christianity

The Christian priesthood has traditionally been reserved to men. Some claim that women were ordained deacons in the first millennium of Christianity, but their claims are disputed. After the Protestant Reformation and the loosening of authority structures within many denominations, most Protestant groups re-envisioned the role of the ordained priesthood. Many did away with it altogether. Others altered it in fundamental ways, often favoring a rabbinical-type married minister of teaching (word) and discarding any notion of a sacrificial priesthood. A common epithet used by Protestants (especially Anglicans) against Catholics was that Catholics were a 'priest-ridden' people. Hatred for priests was a common element of anti-Catholicism and pogroms against Catholics focused on expelling, killing, or forcefully 'laicizing' priests. Beginning in the twentieth century, many Protestant denominations began re-evaluating the roles of women in their churches. Many now ordain women. According to the biblical book of Judges, a wise and brave woman named Deborah was the fourth judge of the ancient Israelites. She was instrumental in implementing a strategic military strategy that delivered the Israelites from the oppressive Canaanite king Jabin. Likewise, Jael was courageous and primary in the Israelite victory. Her prudent actions killed the commander Sisera after he fled on foot following the battle. Within the Book of Judges, there is a repetitive cycle of sin and deliverance. There is also a proposition regarding the cyclical offenses: "In those days Israel had no king; all the people did whatever seemed right in their own eyes" (Jdg. 21:25). Based partially upon the leadership of the prophetess, Deborah, some Protestant and non-denominational organizations grant ordination to women. Other denominations refute the claim of a precedent based on Deborah's example because she is not specifically described as ruling over Israel, rather giving judgments on contentious issues in private, not teaching publicly, neither did she lead the military. Her message to her fellow judge Barak in fact affirmed the male leadership of Israel. The United Church of Canada has ordained women since 1932. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America ordains women as pastors, and women are eligible for election as bishops. The Episcopal Church in the United States of America ordains women as deacons, priests and bishops. The Lutheran Evangelical Protestant Church ordains women at all levels including deacon, priest and bishop. Other denominations leave the decision to ordain women to the regional governing body, or even to the congregation itself; these include the Christian Reformed Church in North America and the Evangelical Presbyterian Church (United States), Evangelical Presbyterian Church. The ordination of women in the latter half of the 20th century was an important issue between Anglicans and Catholics since the Catholic Church viewed the ordination of women as a huge obstacle to possible rapprochement between the two churches. The Catholic Church has not changed its view or practice on the ordination or women, and neither have any of the Orthodox churches; these churches represent approximately 65% of all Christians worldwide. In response to the growing call for the ordination of women, Pope John Paul II issued the statement ''Ordinatio sacerdotalis'' in 1995. In it, he gave reasons why women cannot be ordained, and defined that the Holy Spirit had not conferred the power to ordain women upon the Church. In the wake of this definitive statement, many theologians considered the issue settled, but many continue to push for the ordination of women in the Catholic Church. Some have even begun protest churches.


In Judaism

Policy regarding the ordination of women differs among the different denominations of Judaism. Most Orthodox congregations do not allow female rabbis, while more liberal congregations began allowing female rabbis by the middle of the twentieth century.


Ordination of LGBT persons

Most Abrahamic religions condemn the practice of homosexuality and the Bible is has been interpreted that in Romans 1 that homosexuals are "worthy of death". Interpretation of this passage, as with others potentially condemning homosexuality varies greatly between and within different denominations. Beginning in the late 20th century, and moreso in the early 21st century, several mainline denominational sects of Christianity and Judaism in the US and Europe endorsed the ordination of openly LGBT persons. See LGBT clergy in Christianity. The United Church of Christ ordained openly gay Bill Johnson in 1972, and lesbian Anne Holmes in 1977. While Buddhist ordinations of openly LGBT monks have occurred, more notable ordinations of openly LGBT novitiates have taken place in Western Buddhism.


See also

* Ordination exams * Ordination (statistics)


References


External links


J. Frederick, 2001 "What Presbyterians Believe about ordination", Presbyterians Today, May 2001

Lutheran Evangelical Protestant Church (LEPC)
* {{Authority control Buddhist monasticism Christian ordination, Religious terminology Ecclesiology Religious rituals Rites of passage