The custom has its origins in the early church, when the clergy were elected by the entire church community, including the laity. This was based upon the precedent set in the [[Acts of the Apostles]] (Acts 1:
15-26; 6: 2-61). It must be noted that election and [[ordination]] (Greek: ''cheirotonia'', literally, "laying-on of hands") are two separate actions. The election was accomplished by all, the laying-on of hands by the bishops only ([[I Timothy|1 Timothy]] 4:14). Because of the danger of politicizing the process, and electoral corruption, the clergy began to be appointed by the episcopate alone (a priest or deacon is appointed by the ruling bishop; a bishop is elected by a [[synod]]). However, the biblical participation of the laity is still fulfilled; when the newly-ordained is being vested and presented to the people by the bishop, they will exclaim, "Axios! Axios! Axios!" to show their approval.
There has been some discussion as to whether or not the withholding of "Axios" by the laity would somehow invalidate the ordination. However, the role of the laity in ordination has never been a sacramental one, and the teaching of the Church regarding the validity of the [[Holy Mysteries]] is that they are not dependent upon the worthiness of the minister (see [[Donatism]]). In any event, by the time "Axios" is appointed to be said, the ''cheirotonia'' has already taken place.