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The Holy Sacrament of Ordination to the Priesthood

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  • During the Divine Liturgy, after the completion of the Cherubic Hymn following the Great Entrance, two priests exit, and bring the deacon before the bishop.  They stand on the solea, facing the bishop who stands in the Royal Doors.

    1st Priest: Command.

    2nd Priest: All Command.

    1st Priest: Command, holy Master, the one who is now being presented to you.

    Bishop: In the name of the Father, the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.  (3)

    The deacon addresses the bishop, then the bishop counsels the bishop. Afterwards, the deacon is brought into the sanctuary, and led by the priests, circles the altar three times while the clergy sing:

    Clergy: Hear us, you martyred Saints who have fought the good fight and received crowns, entreat the Lord, to have mercy on our souls.

    Glory to you, Christ our God, the Apostles' boast and pride, the
    Martyrs' fervent joy whose preaching is the consubstantial Trinity.

    O Isaiah dance with joy, for the Virgin is indeed with child and
    brought forth a son, Emmanuel.  Who came both as God and man, Day-at-the-Dawn is his name, and by magnifying him, we call the Virgin blessed.

    They bring the candidate to the bishop, who makes the sign of the cross three times over his head.  The deacon kneels before the altar placing his hands on the altar and his head upon his hands.  After the 1st deacon proclaims, "Let us be attentive!" the bishop places his hand on the head of the deacon and recites the prayer, "The Divine grace ..."

    Deacon: Let us be attentive.

    Bishop: The divine grace, which always heals that which is infirm and completes that which is lacking, ordains the most devout Deacon (name) to the office of Priest.  Let us, therefore, pray for him, that the grace of the All-Holy Spirit may come upon him.

    The clergy in the Holy of Holies say:

    Clergy: Lord have mercy.  Lord have mercy.  Lord have mercy.

    Deacon: Let us pray to the Lord.

    Bishop: O God without beginning or end, Who are before every created thing, and Who honors with the title of Presbyter those whom You deem worthy to serve the word of Your truth in the divine ministry of this order: You, the same sovereign Master, preserve in purity of life and in unswerving faith this man whom You have been pleased to ordain through me by the laying on of hands, graciously imparting to him the great grace of Your Holy Spirit, making him wholly Your servant, well-pleasing to You in all things, and worthily exercising this great honor of the Priesthood which You conferred upon him by the power of Your wisdom.

    For Yours is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, of the Father, the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, now and always, and to the ages of ages.

    Chanters: Amen.

    The senior priest recites the following petitions in a low voice while the clergy in the Holy of Holies slowly respond "Lord, have mercy."

    1st Priest: In peace let us pray to the Lord.

    For the peace from above and the salvation of our souls, let us pray to the Lord.


    For peace in the whole world, for the stability of the holy churches of God, and for the union of all, let us pray to the Lord.

    For our Archbishop (Name), and our Bishop (Name) for his priesthood, sustenance, sojourn, peace, health, salvation, and for the works of his hands, let us pray to the Lord.

    For the servant of God (Name of the new presbyter), who has now been ordained a presbyter, and for his salvation, let us pray to the Lord.


    That God who loves mankind will grant to him a pure and blameless priesthood, let us pray to the Lord.

    For this parish and this city, for every city and country, and for the faithful who live in them, let us pray to the Lord.

    For our deliverance from all tribulation, wrath, danger, and necessity, let us pray to the Lord.

    Help us, save us, have mercy on us, and protect us, O God, by Your grace.

    Commemorating our all-holy, pure, most-blessed, and glorious Lady, the Theotokos and ever-Virgin Mary, with all the saints, let us commit ourselves and one another and all our life to Christ our God.

    Chanters: To You, O Lord.

    Bishop: For to You belong all glory, honor, and worship, to the Father and to the Son and the Holy Spirit, now and always, and to the ages of ages.

    Chanters: Amen.

    While the Senior Priest intones the petitions, the Hierarch reads the following prayer with his hand still on the new presbyter’s head:

    Bishop: O God, great in might and inscrutable in wisdom, marvelous in counsel above the sons of men: You the same Lord, fill with the gift of Your Holy Spirit this man whom it has pleased You to advance to the degree of Priest; that he may become worthy to stand in innocence before Your altar, to proclaim the Gospel of Your kingdom, to minister the word of Your truth, to offer to You spiritual gifts and sacrifices; to renew Your people through the font of regeneration, that when he shall go to meet You, at the second coming of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, Your only-begotten Son, he may receive the reward of good stewardship in the order given to him, through the plenitude of Your goodness.

    For blessed and glorified is Your all-holy and majestic name, of the Father and the Son and of the Holy Spirit, now, and ever and to the ages of ages.

    Chanters: Amen.

    Everyone stands.  The bishop proclaims the newly-ordained priest "Axios!" ("worthy") to which the congregation responds "Axios!"

    The bishop will hold up each item of the Priest's vestments and again proclaim "Axios!" each time to which the congregation also responds "Axios!" and vests the new priest.

    After the consecration of the Eucharist, the bishop places the body of Christ into the new priest's hands with the following admonition:

    Bishop: Receive this Divine Trust, and guard it until the Second Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, at which time He will demand It from you.