Holy Orders

“You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.”


The Sacrament of Holy Orders establishes Christians as ministers of the Church. It it used to ordain bishops, priests and deacons.

Ordination of a Bishop

The consecrating bishop says the following prayer with his hands extended over the bishop-elect:

God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Father of mercies and God of all consolation, you dwell in heaven, yet look with compassion on all that is humble.  You know all things before they came to be; by your gracious word you have established the plan of your Church.

From the beginning you chose the descendants of Abraham to be your holy nation.  You established rulers and priests, and did not leave your sanctuary without ministers to serve you.  From the creation of the world you have been pleased to be glorified by those whom you have chosen.

All other bishops present then pray the following:

So now pour out upon this chosen one the power that is from you, the governing Spirit whom you gave to your beloved Son, Jesus Christ, the Spirit given by him to his holy apostles, who founded the Church in every place to be your temple for the unceasing glory and praise of your name.

The principal consecrator then continues alone:

Father, you know all hearts.  You have chosen your servant for the office of bishop.  May he be a shepherd to your holy flock, and a high priest blameless in your sight, ministering to you night and day; may he always gain the blessing of your favor and offer the gifts of your holy Church.  Through the Spirit who gives the grace of high priesthood grant him the power to forgive sins as you have commanded, to assign ministries as you have decreed, and to loose every bond by the authority which you gave to your apostles.  May he be pleasing to you by his gentleness and purity of heart, presenting a fragrant offering to you, through Jesus Christ, your Son, through whom glory and power and honor are yours with the Holy Spirit in your holy Church, now and for ever.  R.  Amen.

Ordination of a priest

With the candidate kneeling before him, the bishop says the following prayer:

Come to our help, Lord, holy Father, almighty and eternal God; you are the source of every honor and dignity, of all progress and stability.  You watch over the growing family of man by your gift of wisdom and your pattern of order.  When you had appointed high priests to rule your people, you chose other men next to them in rank and dignity to be with them and to help them in their task; and so there grew up the ranks of priests and the offices of levites, established by sacred rites.
In the desert you extended the spirit of Moses to seventy wise men who helped him to rule the great company of his people.  You shared among the sons of Aaron the fullness of their father’s power, to provide worthy priests in sufficient number for the increasing rites of sacrifice and worship.  With the same loving care you gave companions to your Son’s apostles to help in teaching the faith: they preached the gospel to the whole world.
Lord, grant also to us such fellow workers, for we are weak and our need is greater.
Almighty Father, grant to this servant of yours the dignity of the priesthood.  Renew within him the Spirit of holiness.  As a co-worker with the order of bishops may he be faithful to the ministry that he receives from you, Lord God, and be to others a model of right conduct.  May he be faithful in working with the order of bishops, so that the words of the Gospel may reach the ends of the earth, and the family of nations, made one in Christ, may become God’s one, holy people.  We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.   R.  Amen.

Ordination of a deacon

With the candidate kneeling before him, the bishop says the following prayer:

Almighty God, be present with us by your power.  You are the source of all honor, you assign to each his rank, you give to each his ministry.  You remain unchanged, but you watch over all creation and make it new through your Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord: he is your Word, you power, and your wisdom.  You foresee all things in your eternal providence and make due provision for every age.  You make the Church, Christ’s body, grow to its full stature as a new and greater temple.  You enrich it with every kind of grace and perfect it with a diversity of members to serve the whole body in a wonderful pattern of unity.
You established a threefold ministry of worship and service for the glory of your name.  As ministers of your tabernacle you chose the sons of Levi and gave your blessing as their everlasting inheritance.  In the first days of your Church under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit the apostles of your Son appointed seven men of good repute to assist them in the daily ministry, so that they themselves might be more free for prayer and preaching.  By prayer and the laying on of hands the apostles entrusted to those chosen men the ministry of serving at tables.
Lord, look with favor on this servant of yours, whom we now dedicate to the office of deacon, to minister at your holy altar.
Lord, send forth upon him the Holy Spirit, that he may be strengthened by the gift of your sevenfold grace to carry out faithfully the work of the ministry.  May he excel in every virtue: in love that is sincere, in concern for the sick and the poor, in unassuming authority, in self-discipline, and in holiness of life.  May his conduct exemplify your commandments and lead your people to imitate his purity of life.  May he remain strong and steadfast in Christ, giving to the world the witness of a pure conscience?  May he in this life imitate your Son, who came, not to be served by to serve, and one day reign with him in heaven.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  R.  Amen.


While all Christians are priests like Christ, certain individuals receive specific powers to lead and administer the Church. These authorities are tied to offices, and do not bestow grace or holiness on the recipient. Instead, they are established so that the bishops, priests and deacons can be instruments for others to become holy.

Ordination, which is related to word “order” endows the soul of the individual with an indelible mark that makes him an official within the Church. Like Baptism and Confirmation, it is done by God that cannot be removed the individual or anyone else.

Office of Bishop

Bishops are successors of the Apostles, drawing their authority from a chain that began with the Twelve Apostles. They run dioceses and discharge other administrative duties within the Church. Bishops can perform all seven sacraments. The word “bishop” derives from the Greek word “episkopos,” meaning “overseer.”

Office of Priest

Priests act under the authority of their bishops. When traveling, they must receive permission from the local bishop before celebrating Mass. Priests can perform the sacraments of Baptism, Eucharist, Penance, Anointing of the Sick and Matrimony. The word “priest” is a Germancized version of the Greek word “presbyter,” meaning “elder.”

Office of Deacon

Deacons also act under the authority of their bishops. They serve as helpers for priests and bishops, assisting in the Mass and proclaiming the Gospel. Deacons can perform the sacraments of Baptism and Matrimony. The word “deacon” comes from the Greek word “diakonos,” meaning “servant.”


Like all the sacraments, Holy Orders existed before the birth of Christ.

Judaism at the time of Jesus had a priesthood based on the line of Aaron. Because he was from the tribe of Levi, this was known as the Levitical priesthood. God had originally intended for all the sons of Israel to be priests, free to offer sacrifice:

You shall be to my a kingdom of priests, a holy nation. Ex 19:6

All of that changes in Exodus 32 with the Golden Calf. The sons of Aaron kill 3,000 calf worshipers, and are therefore given the exclusive right to the priesthood. Those Levites would keep the Ark of the Covenant and later run the Temple over the next 1,000 years. The process for their ordination is described in the Book of Leviticus.

Their ordination was And the Lord spoke unto Moses, saying, take Aaron and his sons with him, and the garments, and the anointing oil, and a bull for the sin offering, and two rams, and a basket of unleavened bread. Gather all the acongregation together unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. And Moses did as the Lord commanded him; and the assembly was gathered together unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.  And Moses said unto the congregation, this is the thing which the Lord commanded to be done. And Moses brought Aaron and his sons, and washed them with water. And he put upon him the coat, and girded him with the girdle, and clothed him with the robe, and put the ephod upon him, and he girded him with the curious girdle of the ephod, and bound it to him. And he put the breastplate upon him: also he put in the breastplate the Urim and the Thummim. And he put the miter on his head; also upon the mitre, even upon his forefront, he put the golden plate, the holy crown as the Lord had commanded. And Moses took the anointing oil, and anointed the tabernacle and all that was therein, and sanctified them. And he sprinkled the altar seven times, and anointed the altar and all his vessels, both the laver and his foot, to sanctify them. And he poured of the anointing oil on Aaron’s head, and anointed him, to sanctify him. And Moses brought Aaron’s sons, put coats on them, girded them with sashes and put turbans upon them; as the Lord commanded Moses. Lev 8:1-13

The Christian offices of priest, bishop and deacon are found in the New Testament. Jesus chose the Twelve Apostles, who then become bishops and in turn ordain priests and deacons. These offices were clearly established by about the year 50 AD:

I left you in Crete so that you might set right what remains to be done and appoint presbyters in every town, as I directed you, on condition that they be blameless, married only once, with believing children who are not accused of licentiousness or rebelliousness.

For a bishop as God’s steward must be blameless, not arrogant, not irresponsible, not a drunkard, not aggressive, not greedy for sordid gain, but hospitable, a lover of goodness, temperate, just, holy, and self-controlled, holding fast to the true message as taught so that he will be able both to exhort with sound doctrine and refute opponents. Paul’s Letter to Titus 1:5-9

The duty of the Apostles to chose successors is also rooted in Scripture because the Apostles selected Matthias as a replacement for Judas Iscariot. This occurred immediately after Jesus ascended into heaven, and before the Holy Spirit came at Pentecost, indicating that God ratified their decision and authority. (See Acts 1:15-2:13.)

The record of deacons goes back even earlier, predating Paul’s conversion. Their initial job was in helping to do charitable works so the Apostles could focus on evangelization:

At that time, as the number of disciples continued to grow, the Hellenists complained against the Hebrews because widows were being neglected in the daily distribution. “Brothers, select from among yourselves seven reputable men, filled with the Spirit and wisdom, whom we shall appoint to this task, whereas we shall devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” The proposal was acceptable to the whole community, so they chose Stephen, a man filled with faith and the Holy Spirit, also Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicholas of Antioch, a convert to Judaism. Acts 6:3-5.

Stephen the Deacon, described as being “filled with the Spirit and wisdom,” would become the first martyr at the hands of Saul’s associates. (See Acts 7.)



imp of ordained preisthood.. after northern kingdom splits .. fest of thanksgiving moved to 15th day of 8th month and levites abolished. anyone can become a preist and idolotry reutrns .. see Jeroboam .. falses priests, false altars, false Gods.

in salvn history when jews break the cov God doesnt abandon them




http://ewtn.edgeboss.net/download/ewtn/audiolibrary/catholicpriesthood03.mp3 – instruction and ministerial… st paul

in ex before Yahweh comes in cloud, jews abstain from sex

preisthood makes perm what before was important but not permanent.. like celibacy.. also in maccabees

letter to timothg

St paul on Melchizedek

st paul on stewardship.. acting on behalf of God


these are 3 things X does

1) worship of new cov.. baptise and communion preist

2) teaching role / evangelization  he who hears u hears me prophet

3) governance  king

on celibacy:  1 Cor 7:32-35

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