Ordination is the process by which individuals are consecrated, that is, set apart as clergy to perform various religious rites and ceremonies. The process and ceremonies of ordination vary by religion and denomination. One who is in preparation for, or who is undergoing the process of ordination is sometimes called an ordinand. The liturgy used at an ordination is sometimes referred to as an ordination.


Novitiate Buddhist ordination
Novitiate Buddhist ordination

The tradition of the ordained monastic community (sangha) began with the Buddha, who established orders of monks and later of nuns. The procedure of ordination in Buddhism is laid down in the 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:


Saicho 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 on Mount Hiei, and was the first in Japan. Prior to this, those wishing to become monks/nuns were ordained using the Hinayana precepts, whereas after the Mahayana ordination platform, people were ordained with the Bodhisattva precepts as listed in the Brahma Net Sutra.[1]


Pabbajja is an ordination procedure for novice Buddhist monks in the Theravada 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 (Dharmaguptaka lineage). In the Tibetan lineage, which follows the Mulasarvastivadin lineage, the lineage of fully ordained nuns was not brought to Tibet by the Indian 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.[2] 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,[2] 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[3] 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 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.[4]

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.: bhikshu, bhikshuni; Tib.: gelong, gelongma) nor are they novice monks and nuns (Skt.: sramanera, srameneri; Tib.: gestul, getsulma).[5][6][7][8][9][10][11]

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.[5]

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 …”.[12]

Kelsang Gyatso's ordination has been publicly criticised by Geshe 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[6][13][14][15][16]


Roman Catholic, Orthodox, and Anglican churches

Priestly ordination
Ordination of a Catholic priest (pre-1968 form of the Roman Rite).

Ordination is one of the seven sacraments, variously called holy orders or cheirotonia ("Laying on of Hands").

Apostolic succession 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 who were ordained by Christ, the great High Priest (Hebrews 7:26, Hebrews 8:2), who conferred his priesthood upon his Apostles (John 20:21–23, Matthew 28:19–20, Mark 16:15–18, and Acts 2:33).[17]

There are three "degrees" of ordination (or holy orders): deacon, presbyter, and bishop. Both bishops and presbyters are priests 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. 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,"[18] 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";[19] the latter canons, whatever their origin, were imposed on the universal church by the Seventh Ecumenical Council, the Second Council of Nicaea, in its first canon.[20]

Only a person ordained to the priesthood may administer certain sacraments (most especially, hear confessions, anointing the sick- unction, or celebrating any Mass- the Eucharist).

Cheirotonia Presbyter 3.jpeg
Ordination of an Orthodox priest. The deacon being ordained is kneeling with the bishop's omophorion over his head and is being blessed by the bishop straightway before the Cheirotonia.
Eastern Orthodox subdeacon being ordained to the diaconate. The bishop has placed his omophorion and right hand on the head of the candidate and is reading the Prayer of Cheirotonia.

Details peculiar to the various denominations

The 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.[21] However, Canon Law requires that bishops always be consecrated with the mandate (approval) of the Roman Pontiff, as the guarantor of the Church's unity.[22] 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).[23]

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.[24]

While some Eastern churches have in the past recognized Anglican ordinations as valid,[25] 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.[26] The Roman Catholic Church has never recognized Anglican orders as valid.[27] Anglicanism recognizes Roman Catholic and Orthodox ordinations; hence, clergy converting to Anglicanism are not "re-ordained".

Some Eastern Orthodox 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, 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 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.[28]


  • There have long existed orders of clergy below that of deacon. In the Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox churches (and, until 1970, in the Roman Catholic Church), a person has to be tonsured a cleric and be ordained to sundry minor orders 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")[28] 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 or nun or, generally, a member of a religious order, 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, patriarch, archbishop, archpriest, archimandrite, archdeacon, etc., which are given to ordained persons for sundry reasons, e.g., to rank them or honor them.
    • Cardinals 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 (Teodolfo Mertel). 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 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".


Presbyterian licentiate making his vows
A Presbyterian ordinand making his ordination vows.

In most Protestant 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,
  • acknowledges that the individual has gone through a period of discernment and training related to this call, and
  • authorizes 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 Protestant churches must be ordained in order to preside at the sacraments (Baptism, Holy Absolution and Holy Communion), and to be installed as a called pastor of a congregation or parish.

Some Protestant traditions have additional offices of ministry to which persons can be ordained. For instance:

  • most Presbyterian and Reformed churches maintain a threefold order of ministry of pastor, elder, and 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 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). The order of deacon comprises lay persons ordained to ministries of service and pastoral care.
  • Deacons are also ordained in the Methodist[29] and in most of the Baptist traditions[30].

For most Protestant denominations that have an office of bishop, such as Lutheranism and Methodism, this is not viewed as a separate ordination or order of ministry. Rather, bishops are ordained ministers 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 churches also claim valid apostolic succession.[31]

Some Protestant Churches – especially Pentecostal and Charismatic ones – also 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."


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 to constitute ordination as a minister.[32] Governments have generally recognized that Jehovah's Witnesses' full-time appointees (such as their "regular pioneers") qualify as ministers[33] regardless of sex or appointment as an elder or deacon ("ministerial servant"). The religion asserts ecclesiastical privilege only for its appointed elders,[34][35] but the religion permits any baptized adult male in good standing to officiate at a baptism, wedding, or funeral.[36]

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a rite of ordination is performed to bestow either the Aaronic or Melchizedek priesthood (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. Ordination to the office of priest 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 (the Lord's Supper)
  • participate in, or perform, ordinations of others to the Aaronic Priesthood or its offices
  • collect fast offerings for the Bishop (usually ordained Deacons and Teachers 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:

"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."[37]

Latter-day Saints believe in a line of priesthood authority that traces back to Jesus Christ and his apostles. LDS adherents believe the church's founder, Joseph Smith, was ordained under the hands of apostles Peter, James, and John, who appeared to Smith as angelic messengers in 1829.[38]


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 Imams or Sheikhs 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 (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.


Semikhah (Hebrew: סמיכה‎, "leaning [of the hands]"), also semichut (Hebrew: סמיכות‎, "ordination"), or semicha lerabanim (Hebrew: סמיכה לרבנות‎, "rabbinical ordination") is derived from a Hebrew word which means to "rely on" or "to be authorized". It generally refers to the ordination of a rabbi or hazzan within Judaism. While the Hebrew word semikhah is rendered as "ordination" in English, a rabbi is a teacher of Torah, not a priest. For example, for many religious purposes such as prayer a minyan (quorum) of ten people (men or adults in different streams of Judaism) is both necessary and sufficient; it is said that "nine rabbis do not constitute a minyan, but ten cobblers can"[39]—the presence of a rabbi is not necessary.

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" are approved by Ministerial Fellowship Committee (MFC). However, individual congregations of the UUA possess final voting rights on ordination of ministers, and congregations may sometimes even hire or ordain ministers who have not received ministerial fellowship.


In the Neo-Pagan religion of Wicca, a person's initiation is regarded as an induction and ordination as a 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. A woman named Deborah was a judge of the ancient Israelites according to the biblical book of Judges. Based partially upon this precedent, other 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,[40] neither did she lead the military.[40][41] Her message to her fellow judge Barak in fact affirmed the male leadership of Israel.[40][41] 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. 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 homosexual, bisexual and transgender people

Most Abrahamic religions condemn homosexuality; only recently have a minority of denominational or non-denominational sects of Christianity and Judaism endorsed the ordination of openly LGBT people.

The United Church of Christ ordained openly gay Bill Johnson in 1972, and lesbian Anne Holmes in 1977.[42]

While Buddhist ordinations of openly LGBT monks have occurred, more notable ordinations of openly LGBT novitiates have taken place in Western Buddhism.

See also


  1. ^ Mahayana Ordination Platform "Soka Gakkai Dictionary of Buddhism."
  2. ^ a b "Press". www.congress-on-buddhist-women.org. Archived from the original on 15 November 2017. Retrieved 9 May 2018.
  3. ^ "Statement of H.H.-the Dalai Lama". www.congress-on-buddhist-women.org. Archived from the original on 2 October 2017. Retrieved 9 May 2018.
  4. ^ William M. Bodiford, Soto Zen in Medieval Japan (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1993), 195–96.
  5. ^ a b "New Kadampa Tradition – Kadampa Buddhism (NKT-IKBU) - Kadampa Meditation Center". info-buddhism.com. Archived from the original on 5 July 2017. Retrieved 9 May 2018.
  6. ^ a b "Search Results for "ordination" – Tibetan Buddhism – Struggling With Diffi·Cult Issues". buddhism-controversy-blog.com. Archived from the original on 26 February 2016. Retrieved 9 May 2018.
  7. ^ "Vinaya Pitaka: The Basket of the Discipline". www.accesstoinsight.org. Archived from the original on 9 May 2018. Retrieved 9 May 2018.
  8. ^ BuddhaSasana. "What Buddhists Believe - What is Vinaya?". www.budsas.org. Archived from the original on 27 August 2017. Retrieved 9 May 2018.
  9. ^ "Fully ordained monk - Rigpa Wiki". www.rigpawiki.org. Archived from the original on 25 July 2017. Retrieved 9 May 2018.
  10. ^ "Pratimoksha vows - Rigpa Wiki". www.rigpawiki.org. Archived from the original on 26 August 2017. Retrieved 9 May 2018.
  11. ^ "Fully ordained monk - Rigpa Wiki". www.rigpawiki.org. Archived from the original on 2 July 2017. Retrieved 9 May 2018.
  12. ^ Realising the Guru’s Intention: Hungry Humans and Awkward Animals in a New Kadampa Tradition community by Carol McQuire, in Spiritual and Visionary Communities – Out to Save the World, Ashgate Publishing, 2013, pp. 72–73
  13. ^ Expulsion letter: "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 2016-03-06. Retrieved 2016-02-23.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  14. ^ "Did Geshe Kelsang Gyatso lie when he claimed that he didn't receive teachings from H.H. the 14th Dalai Lama?". buddhism-controversy-blog.com. 2 January 2016. Archived from the original on 25 February 2016. Retrieved 9 May 2018.
  15. ^ Londonnay ལོན་ཏོན་ནས། (29 October 2015). "(part 1) Geshe Tashi explains Buddhist ordination rite". Archived from the original on 22 September 2016. Retrieved 9 May 2018 – via YouTube.
  16. ^ Londonnay ལོན་ཏོན་ནས། (2 November 2015). "(part 2) Geshe Tashi challenges NKT Buddhist ordination rite". Archived from the original on 9 May 2018. Retrieved 9 May 2018 – via YouTube.
  17. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2005-12-17. Retrieved 2011-08-03.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link) "The Orthodox Faith — The Sacrament of the Holy Priesthood", Retrieved 2011-08-03
  18. ^ [1] Archived 2012-03-14 at the Wayback Machine, "Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers — The Seven Ecumenical Councils, p641", Retrieved 2011-08-03
  19. ^ [2] Archived 2012-03-14 at the Wayback Machine, "Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers — The Seven Ecumenical Councils, p839", Retrieved 2011-08-03
  20. ^ [3] Archived 2011-09-05 at the Wayback Machine, "Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers — The Seven Ecumenical Councils, P790", Retrieved 2011-08-03
  21. ^ Pius XII. "Episcopali consecrationis". Archived from the original on 2 March 2013. Retrieved 20 September 2013. Episcopalis Consecrationis Ministrum esse Episcopum et ad huius Consecrationis validitatem unum solum sufficere Episcopum, qui cum debita mentis intentione essentiales ritus perficiat, extra omne dubium est diuturnaque praxi comprobatum. [That the minister of episcopal consecration is a bishop, and that only one bishop–who performs the act with the necessary intention of the mind performs the essential rites—is necessary for the validity of that consecration, is proved beyond all doubt and by long practice.]
  22. ^ "Code of Canon Law – IntraText". Code of Canon Law. Canon 1014. Archived from the original on 2007-04-02. No bishop is permitted to consecrate anyone a bishop unless it is first evident that there is a pontifical mandate.
  23. ^ "Code of Canon Law – IntraText". Code of Canon Law. Canon 1014. Archived from the original on 2007-04-02. Unless the Apostolic See has granted a dispensation, the principal bishop consecrator in an episcopal consecration is to be joined by at least two consecrating bishops; it is especially appropriate, however, that all the bishops present consecrate the elect together with the bishops mentioned.
  24. ^ National Directory for the Formation, Ministry, and Life of Permanent Deacons in the United States (PDF). Chapter 2, No. 77: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. p. 37. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-07-11.
  25. ^ "Orthodox Statements on Anglican Orders" Archived 2011-07-23 at the Wayback Machine
  26. ^ [4] Archived 2011-01-31 at the Wayback Machine"Unity Faith and Order – Dialogues – Anglican Orthodox," Introduction, par. 2 ("From Moscow to Lambeth (1976–8)
  27. ^ Leo XII. "Apostolicae Curae". Archived from the original on 21 September 2013. Retrieved 20 September 2013.
  28. ^ a b Sokolof, Archpriest Dimitrii (1899), Manual of the Orthodox Church's Divine Services, Jordanville, New York: Holy Trinity Monastery (published 2001), pp. 132–136, ISBN 0-88465-067-7, archived from the original on 2017-07-02
  29. ^ Order of Service: Ordination of a Deacon and Ordination of a Minister of the Word Archived 2008-06-26 at the Wayback Machine, Uniting Church in Australia
  30. ^ http://sanjacintobaptist.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/Deacon-Ordination.pdf
  31. ^ Tjørhom, Ola. "The Church and its Apostolicity: The Porvoo Common Statement as a Challenge to Lutheran Ecclesiology and the Nordic Lutheran Churches." The Ecumenical Review 52.2 (2000): 195-203.
  32. ^ "Beliefs—Membership and Organization", Authorized Site of the Office of Public Information of Jehovah's Witnesses, As Retrieved 2009-09-01 Archived 2012-08-26 at the Wayback Machine, "Jehovah's Witnesses have no clergy-laity division. All baptized members are ordained ministers"
  33. ^ For example, the U.S. Supreme Court case Dickinson v. United States found that Dickinson should have been considered a minister by his draft board because of his ordination by baptism as a Jehovah's Witness and his continued service as a Jehovah's Witness "pioneer". Online Archived 2001-05-28 at the Wayback Machine
  34. ^ "Russian Federation Federal Law", Chapter 1, Article 3, Paragraph 7, as cited by Authorized Site of the Office of Public Information of Jehovah's Witnesses, As Retrieved 2009-09-01 Archived 2009-01-07 at the Wayback Machine, "Ecclesiastical privilege is protected by the law. A clergyman may not be prosecuted for refusal to testify on circumstances that became known to him during confession."
  35. ^ "Who Are Jehovah's Witnesses?", Authorized Site of the Office of Public Information of Jehovah's Witnesses, As Retrieved 2009-09-01 Archived 2009-02-28 at the Wayback Machine, "Who Are Jehovah's Witnesses?...The worldwide organization is directed by an unpaid, ecclesiastical governing body serving at the international offices in Brooklyn, New York."
  36. ^ "Question Box", Our Kingdom Ministry, November 1973, page 8, "Weddings and funerals may be conducted by any dedicated, baptized brother as permitted by law."
  37. ^ Duties and Blessings of the Priesthood Part B Lesson 5>
  38. ^ "Melchizedek Priesthood", Bible Dictionary, KJV (LDS), LDS Church, 1979, archived from the original on August 28, 2013
  39. ^ "Temple Israel Chrnicle, January 2009, p3" (PDF). templewb.org. Archived (PDF) from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 9 May 2018.
  40. ^ a b c "Bible Gateway passage: Judges 4 - English Standard Version". Bible Gateway. Archived from the original on 21 May 2016. Retrieved 9 May 2018.
  41. ^ a b Grudem, Wayne (2004). Evangelical Feminism and Biblical Truth: An Analysis of more than 100 Disputed Questions. Sisters, Oregon: Multnomah Publishers, Inc. p. 864. ISBN 1-57673-840-X. Archived from the original on 2007-07-03.
  42. ^ "UCC 'Firsts'". www.ucc.org. Archived from the original on 15 November 2017. Retrieved 9 May 2018.

External links


In Buddhism, an anagārika (Pali, 'homeless one', [əˈnəɡɑːrɪkə]; f. anagārikā [əˈnəɡɑːrɪkɑː]) is a person who has given up most or all of their worldly possessions and responsibilities to commit full-time to Buddhist practice. It is a midway status between a bhikkhu or bhikkhuni (fully ordained monastics) and laypersons. An anagārika takes the Eight Precepts, and might remain in this state for life.

Anagārikas usually wear white clothes or robes, depending on the tradition they follow. Some traditions have special ordination ceremonies for anagārikas, while others simply take the eight precepts with a special intention.

Given the lack of full ordination for women in modern Theravada Buddhism, women who wish to renounce live as anagārikās under names such as maechi in Thailand, thilashin in Myanmar, and dasa sil mata in Sri Lanka. They make take the Eight or Ten Precepts. In Vajrayana Buddhism, many nuns are technically anagārikās or śrāmaṇerikās (novitiates).


A bhikkhu (Pali; Sanskrit: bhikṣu) is an ordained male monastic ("monk") in Buddhism. Male and female monastics ("nun", bhikkhuni, Sanskrit bhikṣuṇī) are members of the Buddhist community.The lives of all Buddhist monastics are governed by a set of rules called the prātimokṣa or pātimokkha. Their lifestyles are shaped to support their spiritual practice: to live a simple and meditative life and attain nirvana.A person under the age of 20 cannot be ordained as a bhikkhu or bhikkhuni but can be ordained as a śrāmaṇera or śrāmaṇērī.


A bhikkhunī (Pali) or bhikṣuṇī (Sanskrit) is a fully ordained female monastic in Buddhism. Male monastics are called bhikkhus. Both bhikkhunis and bhikkhus live by the Vinaya, a set of rules. Until recently, the lineages of female monastics only remained in Mahayana Buddhism and thus are prevalent in countries such as China, Korea, Taiwan and Vietnam but a few women have taken the full monastic vows in the Theravada and Vajrayana schools over the last decade. From conservative perspectives, none of the contemporary bhikkuni ordinations are valid.In Buddhism, women are as capable of reaching nirvana as men. According to Buddhist scriptures, the order of bhikkhunis was first created by the Buddha at the specific request of his aunt and foster-mother Mahapajapati Gotami, who became the first ordained bhikkhuni. A famous work of the early Buddhist schools is the Therigatha, a collection of poems by elder nuns about enlightenment that was preserved in the Pāli Canon.

Bhikkhunis are required to take extra vows, the Eight Garudhammas, and are subordinate to and reliant upon the bhikkhu order. In places where the bhikkhuni lineage was historically missing or has died out, due to hardship, alternative forms of renunciation have developed. In Tibetan Buddhism, women officially take the vows of śrāmaṇerīs (novitiates); Theravadin women may choose to take an informal and limited set of vows similar to the historical vows of the sāmaṇerī, like the maechi of Thailand and thilashin of Myanmar.


A bishop (English derivation from the New Testament of the Christian Bible Greek ἐπίσκοπος, epískopos, "overseer", "guardian") is an ordained, consecrated, or appointed member of the Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight.

Within the Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Moravian, Anglican, Old Catholic and Independent Catholic churches and in the Assyrian Church of the East, bishops claim apostolic succession, a direct historical lineage dating back to the original Twelve Apostles. Within these churches, bishops are seen as those who possess the full priesthood and can ordain clergy – including another bishop. Some Protestant churches including the Lutheran and Methodist churches have bishops serving similar functions as well, though not always understood to be within apostolic succession in the same way. One who has been ordained deacon, priest, and then bishop is understood to hold the fullness of the (ministerial) priesthood, given responsibility by Christ to govern, teach and sanctify the Body of Christ, members of the Faithful. Priests, deacons and lay ministers cooperate and assist their bishops in shepherding a flock.


Consecration is the solemn dedication to a special purpose or service, usually religious. 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 groups. The origin of the word comes from the Latin word consecrat, which means dedicated, devoted, and sacred. A synonym for to consecrate is to sanctify; a distinct antonym is to desecrate.

Developmental coordination disorder

Developmental coordination disorder (DCD), also known as developmental motor coordination disorder, developmental dyspraxia, or simply dyspraxia, is a chronic neurological disorder beginning in childhood. It is also known to affect planning of movements and co-ordination as a result of brain messages not being accurately transmitted to the body. Impairments in skilled motor movements per a child's chronological age interfere with activities of daily living. A diagnosis of DCD is then reached only in the absence of other neurological impairments like cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, or Parkinson's disease. According to CanChild in Canada, this disorder affects 5 to 6 percent of school-aged children. However, this disorder does progress towards adulthood, therefore making it a lifelong condition.


Gleichschaltung (German pronunciation: [ˈɡlaɪçʃaltʊŋ]), or in English co-ordination, was in Nazi terminology the process of Nazification by which Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party successively established a system of totalitarian control and coordination over all aspects of German society, "from the economy and trade associations to the media, culture and education".The apex of the Nazification of Germany was in the resolutions approved during the Nuremberg Rally of 1935, when the symbols of the Nazi Party and the State were fused (see Flag of Germany) and German Jews were deprived of their citizenship (see Nuremberg Laws).

Holy orders

In the Christian churches, holy orders are ordained ministries such as bishop, priest, or deacon, and the sacrament or rite by which candidates are ordained to those orders. Churches recognizing these orders include the Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox (ιερωσύνη [hierōsynē], ιεράτευμα [hierateuma], Священство [Svyashchenstvo]), Oriental Orthodox, Anglican, Assyrian, Old Catholic, Independent Catholic and some Lutheran churches. Except for Lutherans and some Anglicans, these churches regard ordination as a sacrament (the sacramentum ordinis). The Anglo-Catholic tradition within Anglicanism identifies more with the Roman Catholic position about the sacramental nature of ordination.

Denominations have varied conceptions of holy orders. In the Anglican churches and some Lutheran churches the traditional orders of bishop, priest and deacon are bestowed using ordination rites. The extent to which ordination is considered sacramental in these traditions has, however, been a matter of some internal dispute. Baptists are among the denominations that do not consider ministry as being sacramental in nature and would not think of it in terms of "holy orders" as such. Historically, the word "order" (Latin ordo) designated an established civil body or corporation with a hierarchy, and ordinatio meant legal incorporation into an ordo. The word "holy" refers to the Church. In context, therefore, a holy order is set apart for ministry in the Church. Other positions, such as pope, patriarch, cardinal, monsignor, archbishop, archimandrite, archpriest, protopresbyter, hieromonk, protodeacon and archdeacon, are not sacramental orders but specialized ministries.

Holy orders in the Catholic Church

The sacrament of holy orders in the Catholic Church includes three orders: bishop, priest, and deacon. In the phrase "holy orders", the word "holy" simply means "set apart for some purpose." The word "order" designates an established civil body or corporation with a hierarchy, and ordination means legal incorporation into an order. In context, therefore, a group with a hierarchical structure that is set apart for ministry in the Church.

For Catholics, the church views typically that in the last year of seminary training a man will be ordained to the "transitional diaconate." This

distinguishes men bound for priesthood from those who have entered the "permanent diaconate" and do not intend to seek ordination as a priest. Deacons, whether transitional or permanent, receive faculties to preach, to perform baptisms, and to witness marriages. They may assist at the Eucharist or the Mass, but are not the ministers of the Eucharist. After six months or more as a transitional deacon, a man will be ordained to the priesthood. Priests are able to preach, perform baptisms, witness marriages, hear confessions and give absolutions, anoint the sick, and celebrate the Eucharist or the Mass. Some priests are later chosen to be bishops; bishops may ordain priests, deacons, and bishops.

International Paralympic Committee

The International Paralympic Committee (IPC; German: Internationales Paralympisches Komitee) is an international non-profit organisation and the global governing body for the Paralympic Movement. The IPC organizes the Paralympic Games and functions as the international federation for nine sports. Founded on 22 September 1989 in Düsseldorf, Germany, its mission is to "enable Paralympic athletes to achieve sporting excellence and inspire and excite the world". Furthermore, the IPC wants to promote the Paralympic values and to create sport opportunities for all persons with a disability, from beginner to elite level.

The IPC has a democratic constitution and structure and is composed of representatives from 176 National Paralympic Committees (NPCs), four international organizations of sport for the disabled (IOSDs) and five regional organizations. The IPC's headquarters is located in Bonn, Germany.

Master of Divinity

In the academic study of theology, the Master of Divinity (MDiv, magister divinitatis in Latin) is the first professional degree of the pastoral profession in North America. It is the most common academic degree in seminaries and divinity schools (e.g. in 2014 nearly 44% of all US students in schools accredited by the Association of Theological Schools were enrolled in an MDiv program). In many Christian denominations and in some other religions the degree is the standard prerequisite for ordination to the priesthood or pastorship or other appointment, ordination or licensing to professional ministry. At accredited seminaries in the United States this degree requires between 72 and 106 credit hours of study (72 being the minimum determined by academic accrediting agencies and 106 being on the upper end of certain schools that wish to ensure a broader study of the related disciplines).

Christian MDiv programs generally include studies in Christian ministry and theology. In 1996 the Association of Theological Schools established the standard that all accredited MDiv programs should include the following four content areas: Religious Heritage, Cultural Context, Personal and Spiritual Formation, and Capacity for Ministerial and Public Leadership. Coursework usually includes studies in New Testament Greek, theology, philosophy, church history, pastoral theology, Hebrew Bible (Old Testament), and New Testament studies. Many programs also contain courses in church growth, ecclesiology, evangelism, systematic theology, Christian education, liturgical studies, Latin, Hebrew, canon law, and patristics. The degree may or may not include a thesis.

Ordination (statistics)

Ordination or gradient analysis, in multivariate analysis, is a method complementary to data clustering, and used mainly in exploratory data analysis (rather than in hypothesis testing). Ordination orders objects that are characterized by values on multiple variables (multivariate objects) so that similar objects are near each other and dissimilar objects are farther from each other. Such relationships between the objects, on each of several axes (one for each variable), are then characterized numerically and/or graphically. Many ordination techniques exist, including principal components analysis (PCA), non-metric multidimensional scaling (NMDS), correspondence analysis (CA) and its derivatives (detrended CA (DCA), canonical CA (CCA)), Bray–Curtis ordination, and redundancy analysis (RDA), among others.

Ordination of women

The ordination of women to ministerial or priestly office is an increasingly common practice among some major religious groups of the present time, as it was of several pagan religions of antiquity and, some scholars argue, in early Christian practice.It remains a controversial issue in certain Christian denominations where "ordination" (the process by which a person is understood to be consecrated and set apart by God for the administration of various religious rites) has for almost 2,000 years been limited only to men.

In some cases women have been permitted to be ordained, but not to hold higher positions, such as (until July 2014) that of bishop in the Church of England. Where laws prohibit sex discrimination in employment, exceptions are often made for clergy (for example, in the United States).

Pass laws

In South Africa, pass laws were a form of internal passport system designed to segregate the population, manage urbanisation, and allocate migrant labour. Also known as the natives law, pass laws severely limited the movements of not only black African citizens, but other people as well by requiring them to carry pass books when outside their homelands or designated areas. Before the 1950s, this legislation largely applied to African men, and attempts to apply it to women in the 1910s and 1950s were met with significant protests. Pass laws would be one of the dominant features of the country's apartheid system, until it was effectively ended in 1986.


A postulant (from Latin: postulare, to ask) was originally one who makes a request or demand; hence, a candidate. The use of the term is now generally restricted to those asking for admission into a monastery or a religious institute, both before actual admission and for the period of time preceding their admission into the novitiate. Currently, however, common usage terms the person who has not yet been accepted by the institution as an "inquirer" or "observer".

The term is most commonly used in the Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion (which includes the Episcopal Church, which uses the term to designate those who are seeking ordination to the diaconate or priesthood. Postulancy is generally considered the first formal step leading to candidacy and ordination). The Eastern Orthodox Churches uses this term less frequently.

Priesthood in the Catholic Church

The priesthood is one of the three holy orders of the Catholic Church, comprising the ordained priests or presbyters. The other two orders are the bishops and the deacons. Only men are allowed to receive holy orders, and the church does not allow any transgender people to do so. Church doctrine also sometimes refers to all baptised Catholics as the "common priesthood".The church has different rules for priests in the Latin Church – the largest Catholic particular church – and in the 23 Eastern Catholic Churches. Notably, priests in the Latin Church must take a vow of celibacy, whereas most Eastern Catholic Churches permit married men to be ordained.

Deacons are male and usually belong to the diocesan clergy, but, unlike almost all Latin-rite (Western Catholic) priests and all bishops from Eastern or Western Catholicism, they may marry as laymen before their ordination as clergy. The Catholic Church teaches that when a man participates in priesthood after the Sacrament of Holy Orders, he acts in persona Christi Capitis, representing the person of Christ.Unlike usage in English, "the Latin words sacerdos and sacerdotium are used to refer in general to the ministerial priesthood shared by bishops and presbyters. The words presbyter, presbyterium and presbyteratus refer to priests in the English use of the word or presbyters." According to the Annuario Pontificio 2016, as of December 31, 2014, there were 415,792 Catholic priests worldwide, including both diocesan priests and priests in the religious orders. A priest of the regular clergy is commonly addressed with the title "Father" (abbreviated Fr., in the Catholic and some other Christian churches).Catholics living a consecrated life or monasticism include both the ordained and unordained. Institutes of consecrated life, or monks, can be deacons, priests, bishops, or non-ordained members of a religious order. The non-ordained in these orders are not to be considered laypersons in a strict sense—they take certain vows and are not free to marry once they have made solemn profession of vows. All female religious are non-ordained; they may be sisters living to some degree of activity in a communal state, or nuns living in cloister or some other type of isolation. The male members of religious orders, whether living in monastic communities or cloistered in isolation, and who are ordained priests or deacons constitute what is called the religious or regular clergy, distinct from the diocesan or secular clergy. Those ordained priests or deacons who are not members of some sort of religious order (secular priests) most often serve as clergy to a specific church or in an office of a specific diocese or in Rome.


In Judaism, a rabbi is a teacher of Torah. The basic form of the rabbi developed in the Pharisaic and Talmudic era, when learned teachers assembled to codify Judaism's written and oral laws. The first sage for whom the Mishnah uses the title of rabbi was Yohanan ben Zakkai, active in the early-to-mid first century CE. In more recent centuries, the duties of a rabbi became increasingly influenced by the duties of the Protestant Christian minister, hence the title "pulpit rabbis", and in 19th-century Germany and the United States rabbinic activities including sermons, pastoral counseling, and representing the community to the outside, all increased in importance.

Within the various Jewish denominations there are different requirements for rabbinic ordination, and differences in opinion regarding who is to be recognized as a rabbi. For example, Orthodox Judaism does not ordain women as rabbis. Non-Orthodox movements have chosen to do so for what they view as halakhic reasons (Conservative Judaism) as well as ethical reasons (Reform and Reconstructionist Judaism).


A sāmaṇera (Pali); Sanskrit śrāmaṇera, is a novice male monastic in a Buddhist context. A female novice is a śrāmaṇerī or śrāmaṇerikā (Sanskrit; Pāli: sāmaṇerī).


Semikhah (Hebrew: סמיכה, "leaning [of the hands]") or Smicha or Smicha, also smichut (סמיכות, "ordination"), smicha lerabbanut (סמיכה לרבנות, "rabbinical ordination"), or smicha lehazzanut (סמיכה לחזנות, "cantorial ordination"), is derived from a Hebrew word which means to "rely on" or "to be authorized".

Prevailing smicha generally refers to the ordination of a rabbi or cantor within post-talmudic Rabbinic Judaism, and within all modern Jewish religious movements from Reform to Orthodox. Smicha lerabbanut signifies the transmission of rabbinic authority to give advice or judgment in Jewish law. Smicha lehazzanut signifies the transmission of authoritative knowledge about Jewish musical and liturgical traditions. Although presently most functioning synagogue rabbis hold smicha lerabbanut by some rabbinical institution or academy, this was until quite recently not always required, and in fact many Haredi rabbis may not be required to hold a "formal" smicha lerabbanut even though they may occupy important rabbinical and leadership positions. Some cantorial institutions in the US currently grant smicha lehazzanut to their students, while others use the term "investiture" to describe the conferral of cantorial authority onto their graduates.Classical semikhah refers to a specific type of ordination that, according to traditional Jewish teaching, traces a line of authority back to Moshe ben Amram, The Men of the Great Assembly, and the Great Sanhedrin. The line of classical semikhah died out in the 4th or 5th century A.D. but it is widely held that a line of Torah conferment remains unbroken. Some believe evidence existed that classical semikhah was existent during the 12th century when semuchim from Lebanon and Syria were traveling to Israel in order to pass on Torah conferment to their students. Others, such as Rav Yisroel of Shklov (1770–1839), believed semikhah may not have been broken at all but that it continued outside of the land of Israel. Today many believe in the existence of an unbroken chain of rabbinical tradition dating back to the time of Moshe ben Amram ("Moses") and Yehoshua ben Nun ("Joshua") (See "The Unbroken Chain of Torah" below).

A third and distinct meaning of semikhah ("leaning") is the laying of hands upon an offering of a korban ("sacrifice") in the times of the Temple in Jerusalem, see Semikhah in sacrifices.

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