An ostiarius, a Latin word sometimes anglicized as ostiary but often literally translated as porter or doorman , originally was a servant or guard posted at the entrance of a building. See also gatekeeper.
In the Roman Catholic Church, this "porter" became the lowest of the four minor orders prescribed by the Council of Trent. This was the first order a seminarian was admitted to after receiving the tonsure. The porter had in ancient times the duty of opening and closing the church-door and of guarding the church; especially of ensuring no unbaptised persons would enter during the Eucharist. Later on, the porter would also guard, open and close the doors of the Sacristy, Baptistry and elsewhere in the church.
The porter was not a part of Holy Orders administering sacraments but simply a preparatory job on the way to the major orders: subdiaconate (until its suppression, after the Second Vatican Council by Pope Paul VI), diaconate and the priesthood. Like the other minor orders and the subdiaconate, it is retained in societies such as the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter.
Porter denoted among the Romans the slave whose duty it was to guard the entrance of the house.In the Roman period all houses of the upper classes had an ostiarius, or ostiary, whose duties were considered very inferior. A basilica originally served as a Roman court of law, and it was the duty of the ostiarius to regulate the approach of litigants to the judge.
When, from the end of the second century, the Christian communities began to own houses for holding church services and for purposes of administration, church ostiaries are soon mentioned, at least for the larger cities. They are first referred to in the letter of Pope Cornelius to Bishop Fabius of Antioch written in 251,where it is said that there were then at Rome 46 priests, 7 deacons, 7 subdeacons, 42 acolytes, and 52 exorcists, lectors, and ostiaries, or doorkeepers. According to the statement of the Liber Pontificalis , an ostiary named Romanus suffered martyrdom in 258 at the same time as St. Lawrence.
In Western Europe the office of the ostiary was the lowest grade of the minor clergy. In a law of 377 of the Codex Theodosianusintended for the Vicariate of Italy, the ostiaries are also mentioned among the clergy who have a right to personal immunity. In his letter of 11 March 494, to the bishops of southern Italy and Sicily, Pope Gelasius says that for admission into the clergy it was necessary that the candidate could read (must, therefore, have a certain amount of education), for without this prerequisite an applicant could, at the most, only fill the office of an ostiary.
In Rome itself this office attained to no particular development, as a large part of these duties, namely the physical work necessary in the church building, what is now probably the duty of the sexton, was at Rome performed by the mansionarii. The clergy of the three lower grades (minor orders) were united at Rome into the Schola cantorum (choir) and as such took part in the church ceremonies. There are no special prayers or ceremonies for the ordination of the lower clergy in the oldest liturgical books of the Roman Church.
For the Gallican Rite, short statements concerning the ordination of the lower orders, among them that of the ostiaries, are found in the "Statuta ecclesiæ antiqua" a collection of canons which appeared at Arles about the beginning of the sixth century.The "Sacramentarium Gelasianum" and the "Missale Francorum" contain the same rite with the prayers used on this occasion.
According to these the ostiaries are first instructed in their duties by the archdeacon; after this he brings them before the bishop who takes the keys of the church from the altar and hands them to the candidate for ordination with the words: "Fulfil thine office to show that thou knowest that thou wilt give account to God concerning the things that are locked away under these keys." Then follows a prayer for the candidate and a prayer for the occasion that the bishop pronounces over him. This ceremony was also at a later date adopted by the Roman Church in its liturgy.
In Latin Western Europe, outside of Rome, in the late Roman era and the one following, the ostiaries were still actually employed as guardians of the church buildings and of their contents. This is shown by the epitaph of one Ursatius, an ostiary of Trier.An ostiary of the church of Salona is also mentioned in an epitaph. Later, however, in the Latin Church the office of ostiary universally remained only one of the degrees of ordination and the actual work of the ostiary was transferred to the laity (sacristans, sextons, etc.).
In the ordination of ostiaries their duties are thus enumerated in the Pontifical: "Percutere cymbalum et campanam, aperire ecclesiam et sacrarium, et librum ei aperire qui prædicat" (to ring the bell, to open the church and sacristy, to open the book for the preacher). The forms of prayer for the ordination are similar to those in the old Gallican Rite.
In the East there were also doorkeepers in the service of the Church. They are enumerated as ecclesiastical persons by the Council of Laodicea (c. 343-81).Like the acolytes and exorcists, they were only appointed to serve the church, but received no actual ordination and were not regarded as belonging to the ecclesiastical hierarchy. According to the "Apostolic Constitutions" belonging to the end of the fourth century the guarding of the door of the church during the service was the duty of the deacons and subdeacons. Thus the doorkeepers exercised their office only when service was not being held.
The minor order no longer exists officially in the Eastern Catholic Churches and was abolished in the Roman Catholic Church by Pope Paul VI in his apostolic letter, Ministeria quaedam of August 15, 1972.
In certain Christian churches, holy orders are the ordained ministries of bishop, priest (presbyter), and 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, 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 Anglo-Catholic tradition within Anglicanism identifies more with the Roman Catholic position about the sacramental nature of ordination.
Clergy are formal leaders within established religions. Their roles and functions vary in different religious traditions, but usually involve presiding over specific rituals and teaching their religion's doctrines and practices. Some of the terms used for individual clergy are clergyman, clergywoman, and churchman. Less common terms are cleric, churchwoman, and clergyperson, while clerk in holy orders has a long history but is rarely used.
A deacon is a member of the diaconate, an office in Christian churches that is generally associated with service of some kind, but which varies among theological and denominational traditions. Major Christian churches, such as the Catholic Church, the Oriental Orthodox Churches, the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Anglican church, view the diaconate as part of the clerical state.
Tonsure is the practice of cutting or shaving some or all of the hair on the scalp as a sign of religious devotion or humility. The term originates from the Latin word tonsura and referred to a specific practice in medieval Catholicism, abandoned by papal order in 1972. Tonsure can also refer to the secular practice of shaving all or part of the scalp to show support or sympathy, or to designate mourning. Current usage more generally refers to cutting or shaving for monks, devotees, or mystics of any religion as a symbol of their renunciation of worldly fashion and esteem.
Subdeacon is a minor order or ministry for men in various branches of Christianity. The subdeacon has a specific liturgical role and is placed between the acolyte and the deacon in the order of precedence.
An acolyte is an assistant or follower assisting the celebrant in a religious service or procession. In many Christian denominations, an acolyte is anyone performing ceremonial duties such as lighting altar candles. In others, the term is used for one who has been inducted into a particular liturgical ministry, even when not performing those duties.
Clerical celibacy is the requirement in certain religions that some or all members of the clergy be unmarried. These religions consider that, outside of marriage, deliberately indulging in sexual thoughts and behavior is sinful; clerical celibacy also requires abstention from these.
Vestments are liturgical garments and articles associated primarily with the Christian religion, especially among the Eastern Orthodox, Catholics, Anglicans, and Lutherans. Many other groups also make use of liturgical garments; this was a point of controversy in the Protestant Reformation and sometimes since, in particular during the Ritualist controversies in England in the 19th century.
In the context of the Tridentine Mass of the Catholic Church, a Pontifical High Mass, also called Solemn Pontifical Mass, is a Solemn or High Mass celebrated by a bishop using certain prescribed ceremonies. The term is also used among Anglo-Catholic Anglicans. Although in modern English the word "pontifical" is almost exclusively associated with the Pope, any bishop may be properly called a pontiff. Thus, the celebrant of a Pontifical High Mass may be any bishop, and not just a pope.
In some religions, an exorcist is a person who is believed to be able to cast out the devil or performs the ridding of demons or other supernatural beings who are alleged to have possessed a person, or (sometimes) a building or even an object. An exorcist can be a specially prepared or instructed person including: priest, a nun, a monk, a witch doctor (healer), a shaman, a psychic or a geomancer.
Minor orders are ranks of church ministry lower than major orders.
Clerical marriage is a term used to describe the practice of allowing Christian clergy to marry. This practice is distinct from allowing married persons to become clergy. Clerical marriage is admitted among Protestants, including both Anglicans and Lutherans.
The term major orders or greater orders was for some centuries applied in the Roman Catholic Church to distinguish what the Council of Trent also called holy orders from what at that time were termed "minor orders" or "lesser orders". The Catechism of the Council of Trent spoke of the "several distinct orders of ministers, intended by their office to serve the priesthood, and so disposed, as that, beginning with the clerical tonsure, they may ascend gradually through the lesser to the greater orders", and stated:
In some Christian churches, a reader is responsible for reading aloud excerpts of scripture at a liturgy. In early Christian times the reader was of particular value due to the rarity of literacy.
Pre-Tridentine Mass refers to the variants of the liturgical rite of Mass in Rome before 1570, when, with his bull Quo primum, Pope Pius V made the Roman Missal, as revised by him, obligatory throughout the Latin-Rite or Western Church, except for those places and congregations whose distinct rites could demonstrate an antiquity of two hundred years or more.
Latin liturgical rites, or Western liturgical rites, are Catholic rites of public worship employed by the Latin Church, the largest particular church sui iuris of the Catholic Church, that originated in Europe where the Latin language once dominated. Its language is now known as Ecclesiastical Latin. The most used rite is the Roman Rite.
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.
In the liturgical traditions the Catholic Church the term ordination refers to the means by which a person is included in one of the orders of bishops, priests or deacons. The teaching of the Catholic Church on ordination, as expressed in the Code of Canon Law, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and the apostolic letter Ordinatio sacerdotalis, is that only a Catholic male validly receives ordination, and "that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church's faithful." In other words, the male priesthood is not a policy of the Church but an unalterable requirement of God. As with priests and bishops, the church ordains only men as deacons. The church cannot ordain anyone who has undergone sex reassignment surgery, and may sanction or require therapy for priests who are transsexual, acknowledging these to be an indicator of mental instability.
In the Catholic Church the term minister enjoys a variety of usages. It most commonly refers to the person, whether lay or ordained, who is commissioned to perform some act on behalf of the Church. It is not a particular office or rank of clergy, as is the case in some other churches, but minister may be used as a collective term for vocational or professional pastoral leaders including clergy and non-clergy. It is also used in reference to the canonical and liturgical administration of sacraments, as part of some offices, and with reference to the exercise of the lay apostolate.
The expression minor exorcism can be used in a technical sense or a general sense. The general sense indicates any exorcism which is not a solemn exorcism of a person believed to be possessed, including various forms of deliverance ministry. This article deals only with the technical sense which specifically refers to certain prayers used with persons preparing to become baptised members of the Christian Church. These prayers request God's assistance so that the person to be baptised will be kept safe from the power of Satan or protected in a more general way from temptation.
No one of the priesthood, from presbyters to deacons, and so on in the ecclesiastical order to subdeacons, readers, singers, exorcists, door-keepers, or any of the class of the Ascetics, ought to enter a tavern.
This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain : Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Porter, doorkeeper". Catholic Encyclopedia . New York: Robert Appleton Company.