Holy Orders

ORDERS, QUALIFICATIONS FOR. Although the preface to the Ordinal and Canon 39 lay down generally what is necessary from Candidates for Holy Orders, yet any one intending to be ordained had better write to the Secretary of the Bishop into whose diocese he thinks of going for further particulars as to the subjects for examination, &c. The papers generally necessary for Deacon's orders are the following—(1) Certificate of Baptism, or a declaration by some competent witness that the candidate has completed his 23rd year and has been baptized. (2) Graduates of Cambridge must have passed either the Special Theological, or the Preliminary Examination for Holy Orders; Graduates of Oxford must produce Certificates that they have attended two courses of Lectures by Divinity Professors. Durham men must be either B.A. or L.Th. Dublin men must be B.A., and hold also the Divinity Testimonial. (3) College Testimonials. (4) The "Si quis," a notice read in the Church of the place where the candidate resides, to give opportunity for raising objections, something like the asking of Banns. (5) Letters Testimonial for three years, or for the time elapsed since the Candidate left College. This Testimonial must be subscribed by three beneficed clergymen. (6) A Title, or nomination to a Curacy. For Priest's Orders, the Candidate requires 4, 5, and 6, as above. When a Candidate is accepted by the Bishop, he has then to pass an Examination, which slightly differs in the various dioceses, but generally comprehends the following subjects, viz.—The Bible; the New Testament in Greek, and a minute acquaintance with some specified portion of it; The Prayer-Book; The 39 Articles; Church History; Latin; some theological authors, such as Pearson, Hooker, Butler, Paley, &c.; a Hebrew Paper is set for those who care to take up Hebrew.

ORDERS, HOLY. Three Orders  have always been recognised in the Church of Christ—Bishops, Priests, and Deacons. The preface to the Ordinal in our Prayer Book affirms this very strongly. To these were added, but on a distinctly different footing, what are called the Minor Orders —Sub-Deacon, Acolyte, Exorcist, Singer, Reader, Door-keeper; these are of merely ecclesiastical institution, and are not generally retained in the Church of England, although the office of Reader may be said to be in part revived, and the revival of Sub-Deacon is recommended. The Church of Rome has seven Orders. Articles xxiii., xxxvi. and xxxvii., as well as the preface referred to above, should be carefully read on this matter. (See also Apostolical Succession  and Ordinal.)

Bishop. From a Greek word (episcopos ) meaning an "Overseer." It is the title now given to the highest Order in the Christian Ministry, to which appertains the function of ordination. Of this Order were Titus and Timothy, the one being Bishop of Crete, the other Bishop of Ephesus. In the English Church a Bishop must not be less than 30 years old, a Priest 24, and a Deacon 23, unless dispensed by a faculty from the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Priest. The second Order in the Christian Ministry. The word is a corruption of Presbyter  (which see). In common with Bishops, Priests have the power to absolve, to consecrate, and to bless, but not to ordain. The difference between a Priest and a Deacon is far greater than that between a Deacon and a layman.

Deacon. The lowest Order in the English Church. The word is derived from the Greek, and means a minister. He is the assistant of the Priest, and may only perform certain spiritual duties—e. g., the rubrics of our Prayer Book direct certain parts of the Service to be taken by the "Priest," while the rest is left to the "Minister," Priest or Deacon as he may happen to be, unless from the nature of the office, we know that the term "Minister" refers only to "Priest." (See Minister.)