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Ordination is a sacrament (or one of the holy mysteries) of holy orders. The Greek word used for ordination is "cheirotonia", which means "the laying on of hands". Members of a major orderbishop, priest, and deacon and a subdeacon, which is of the minor order—are ordained during a Divine Liturgy by a bishop, who is usually assisted by several priests. According to Orthodox teaching, the process of ordination begins with the local congregation; but the bishop alone, who acts in the name of the universal Church, can complete the action.


Subdeacons are ordained during the Divine Liturgy immediately before "Blessed is the Kingdom", once the Great Censing has been completed. According to the canons, no one should marry after becoming a subdeacon because they're ordained, but that's done often, anyway.




  • Hierodeacon
  • Protodeacon


  • Deacon
  • Archdeacon


During the service of ordination to the priesthood, a priest leads the candidate, then kneels and rests his head on the altar. The bishop puts his stole and right hand over the candidate's head as the candidate receives the Holy Spirit. The entire congregation witnesses the ordination and proclaims its consent by shouting in unison "Axios!" (Greek word meaning 'worthy'). The bishop bestows sacred vestments on the new priest, who receives communion and recites a special prayer. Through ordination, men who have been chosen from within the Church are set apart by the Church for special service to the Church. Much of the time, a candidate for ordination will pursue preparatory studies at a seminary.



  • Hieromonk
  • Igumen (abbot)
  • Archimandrite


  • Presbyter
  • Archpriest
  • Protopresbyter


Candidates for the episcopacy are consecrated by three bishops (or at the very least two) to be bishops. A bishop's non-liturgical vestments include the kamilavka and epanokameloukion (veil) (which are joined together as the klobuk in the Russian tradition), along with the mantiya, all of which are monastic garments.

See also

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