Ordination

ORDINATION

 

Objectives:

  1. Students should know the “orders” of the church and the function of each.
  2. Students should be able to name the vestments of a deacon, priest, and bishop.

 

Possible Lesson Plan:

  1. Open with prayer.

 

2.   Scriptural basis: John 15:16, Acts 1:26, Acts 6:1-6, Acts 14:23, Titus 1:5-9, I Timothy 3:1-13, I Timothy 5: 17-22, Revelation 3:7-13, I Peter 2:25

 

3.   The ordination service itself (for priests and deacons):

                 Action

                     Meaning

1. The person enters the sanctuary, bows to the bishop, and is led around the altar table 3 times, kissing each of the 4 corners of the altar table.

While this occurs, the songs from the marriage service are sung: “O holy Martyrs”, “Glory to Thee”, and “Rejoice, O Isaiah”. So the priest is married to the Church forever, giving himself wholly to the Lord in martyrdom.

2. He kneels and the bishop lays his hands on his head and ordains him.

Peter and Paul in the book of Acts also ordained in this same way.

3. Prayers: asks God to fill this man with His Holy Spirit and empower him to (list of duties).

Deacon’s prayer remembers St. Stephen, a deacon and the first martyr.

4. Bishop presents him with his vestments and all shout, “Axios!”

“Axios!” means “He is worthy!” for his new role, as evidence by his new clothes.

5. New deacon or priest takes his place in the Sanctuary and begins to serve.

He begins a lifetime of service to God, in the role to which he was called.

 

            In the service of ordination for a bishop, the bishops elect the bishop-to-be, he confesses his faith and promises to care for God’s flock, the gospel is placed on his head, hands are laid on him and prayers are said that he may “be an imitator of Thee, the true Shepherd”, he is given his vestments, and finally he is given his pastoral staff with the prayer, “Receive thou the pastoral staff, that thou may feed the flock of Christ given to thy care…”

 

  1. Roles of the various clergy (Make three columns on the board, and brainstorm for these before just reading them aloud.):

          Deacon 

            Priest

            Bishop

Priest’s helper when he

    celebrates church

    services

Servant of the Church

Assist the bishop

Father of local church

Divine Liturgy

Administer sacraments

    (except ordination)

Teach and counsel

Voice of the bishop

Teaching (rightly define)

Government (diocese)

Administer sacraments

Ordination

 

  1. Vestments:

Deacon: Sticharion (robe or cassock with wide sleeves), Orarion (long band of cloth hanging over the shoulder and held aloft when he prays out loud in church

Priest: Sticharion (robe or cassock with narrow sleeves), stole or epitrachil (long like the orarion but joined down the front), zone or pojas (belt symbolic of the gift of strength given by God for His service), chasuble (robe without sleeves, short in front and long in back, worn over other vestments), cuffs, and biretta (hat)

Bishop: Everything worn by a priest, except that instead of a chasuble a dalmatic (wide-sleeved robe symbolic of Christ’s robe without a seam), stole is called a pall or omophorion (very wide and hanging down in front and behind, for carrying wandering sheep), hat called mitre (looks like a crown and serves as an emblem of the power bestowed on the bishop by the Church), pectoral image (of Jesus and the Theotokos, to keep them close to his heart), mantle (free-flowing robe typifying the wings of an angel), and pastoral staff  (like a shepherd)

Colors of vestments? They do vary throughout the year. General Sundays are Gold -- along with the Meeting of the Lord and Ascension. Blue is for feasts to the Theotokos -- which 4 are they? Purple is for Great Lent and Holy Week and the Elevation of the Cross. White for Theophany, Transfiguration, and Pascha. Green for Palm Sunday and Pentecost. Red for Nativity.

 

  1. Songs of the service: Especially important is the Trisagion Hymn, sung in harmony by all the bishops present.  Sing it now.

 

  1. Discussion questions:

What was the role of the original deacons? How were new churches born in the New Testament days? How many churches were there in a city at first? The head of the city’s church was who? How did the need for more than one priest in a city develop?

Who is the head of the bishop? (Christ Himself) What is the primary function of the bishop? (to perpetuate the church) What does a bishop oversee? (diocese) Who has the ultimate authority within a diocese? (the bishop) Who can ordain and through whose authority? Why can’t just anyone ordain a man if everyone can see he has the “gift”? Can a bishop be married at the present time in the Orthodox Church? (no) Is that the teaching of Scripture? (No, Paul in his letter to Timothy talked about married bishops.) What is the name of our bishop? Who is the chief bishop? (no one) What is a Patriarch? Which cities were the original 5 Patriarchates? (Rome, Constantinople, Antioch, Jerusalem, Alexandria) Why? What happened to Rome? Does one bishop have all authority over all other bishops on a world-wide level? (no) What is the title of the Patriarch of Constantinople? (first among equals) Is he infallible? What does “episkopos” mean? (overseer)

What is the relationship between bishop, priest, and deacon? What sacraments does a bishop share with a priest and a deacon? How has the role of deacon changed through the centuries? What does the word “presbyter” mean? (representative) What does the word diakonos mean? (server or assistant)

How does one decide to become a priest or deacon? Can a priest or deacon be married? (yes, but he must remain in that state in which he was ordained) Can a woman be a priest? Why not? What gifts or talents would make one a good priest?  Do any of you feel “called” to the priesthood?

 

8. Close with prayer.