A priest is a religious leader authorized to perform the sacred rituals of a religion, especially as a mediatory agent between humans and one or more deities. They also have the authority or power to administer religious rites; in particular, rites of sacrifice to, and propitiation of, a deity or deities. Their office or position is the 'priesthood', a term which also may apply to such persons collectively. A priest may have the duty to hear confessions periodically, give marriage counseling, provide prenuptial counseling, give spiritual direction, teach catechism, or visit those confined indoors, such as the sick in hospitals and nursing homes.
According to the trifunctional hypothesis of prehistoric Proto-Indo-European society, priests have existed since the earliest of times and in the simplest societies, most likely as a result of agricultural surplus and consequent social stratification.[ citation needed ] The necessity to read sacred texts and keep temple or church records helped foster literacy in many early societies. Priests exist in many religions today, such as all or some branches of Judaism, Christianity, Buddhism, Shinto and Hinduism. They are generally regarded as having privileged contact with the deity or deities of the religion to which they subscribe, often interpreting the meaning of events and performing the rituals of the religion. There is no common definition of the duties of priesthood between faiths; but generally it includes mediating the relationship between one's congregation, worshippers, and other members of the religious body, and its deity or deities, and administering religious rituals and rites. These often include blessing worshipers with prayers of joy at marriages, after a birth, and at consecrations, teaching the wisdom and dogma of the faith at any regular worship service, and mediating and easing the experience of grief and death at funerals – maintaining a spiritual connection to the afterlife in faiths where such a concept exists. Administering religious building grounds and office affairs and papers, including any religious library or collection of sacred texts, is also commonly a responsibility – for example, the modern term for clerical duties in a secular office refers originally to the duties of a cleric. The question of which religions have a "priest" depends on how the titles of leaders are used or translated into English. In some cases, leaders are more like those that other believers will often turn to for advice on spiritual matters, and less of a "person authorized to perform the sacred rituals." For example, clergy in Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy are priests, as with certain synods of Lutheranism and Anglicanism, though other branches of Protestant Christianity, such as Methodists and Baptists, use minister and pastor. The terms priest and priestess are sufficiently generic that they may be used in an anthropological sense to describe the religious mediators of an unknown or otherwise unspecified religion.
In many religions, being a priest or priestess is a full-time position, ruling out any other career. Many Christian priests and pastors choose or are mandated to dedicate themselves to their churches and receive their living directly from their churches. In other cases, it is a part-time role. For example, in the early history of Iceland the chieftains were titled goði , a word meaning "priest". As seen in the saga of Hrafnkell Freysgoði, however, being a priest consisted merely of offering periodic sacrifices to the Norse gods and goddesses; it was not a full-time role, nor did it involve ordination.
In some religions, being a priest or priestess is by human election or human choice. In Judaism, the priesthood is inherited in familial lines. In a theocracy, a society is governed by its priesthood.
The word "priest", is ultimately derived from Latin via Greek presbyter , πρεσβύτεροςpresbúteros, the regular Latin word for "priest" being sacerdos , corresponding to ἱερεύςhiereús.the term for "elder", especially elders of Jewish or Christian communities in late antiquity. The Latin presbyter ultimately represents Greek
It is possible that the Latin word was loaned into Old English, and only from Old English reached other Germanic languages via the Anglo-Saxon mission to the continent, giving Old Icelandic prestr, Old Swedish präster, Old High German priast. Old High German also has the disyllabic priester, priestar, apparently derived from Latin independently via Old French presbtre.
Αn alternative theory makes priest cognate with Old High German priast, prest, from Vulgar Latin *prevost "one put over others", from Latin praepositus "person placed in charge".
That English should have only the single term priest to translate presbyter and sacerdos came to be seen as a problem in English Bible translations. The presbyter is the minister who both presides and instructs a Christian congregation, while the sacerdos, offerer of sacrifices, or in a Christian context the eucharist, performs "mediatorial offices between God and man".
The feminine English noun, priestess, was coined in the 17th century, to refer to female priests of the pre-Christian religions of classical antiquity. In the 20th century, the word was used in controversies surrounding the women ordained in the Anglican communion, who are referred to as "priests", irrespective of gender, and the term priestess is generally considered archaic in Christianity.
Webster's 1829 Dictionary stated "PRIEST, noun [Latin proestes, a chief, one that presides; proe, before, and sto, to stand, or sisto.]" https://webstersdictionary1828.com/Dictionary/priest
In historical polytheism, a priest administers the sacrifice to a deity, often in highly elaborate ritual. In the Ancient Near East, the priesthood also acted on behalf of the deities in managing their property.
Priestesses in antiquity often performed sacred prostitution, and in Ancient Greece, some priestesses such as Pythia, priestess at Delphi, acted as oracles.
In ancient Egyptian religion, the right and obligation to interact with the gods belonged to the pharaoh. He delegated this duty to priests, who were effectively bureaucrats authorized to act on his behalf. Priests staffed temples throughout Egypt, giving offerings to the cult images in which the gods were believed to take up residence and performing other rituals for their benefit.Little is known about what training may have been required of priests, and the selection of personnel for positions was affected by a tangled set of traditions, although the pharaoh had the final say. In the New Kingdom of Egypt, when temples owned great estates, the high priests of the most important cult—that of Amun at Karnak—were important political figures.
High-ranking priestly roles were usually held by men. Women were generally relegated to lower positions in the temple hierarchy, although some held specialized and influential positions, especially that of the God's Wife of Amun, whose religious importance overshadowed the High Priests of Amun in the Late Period.
In ancient Rome and throughout Italy, the ancient sanctuaries of Ceres and Proserpina were invariably led by female sacerdotes, drawn from women of local and Roman elites. It was the only public priesthood attainable by Roman matrons and was held in great honor.
A Roman matron was any mature woman of the upper class, married or unmarried. Females could serve public cult as Vestal Virgins but few were chosen, and then only from young maidens of the upper class.
In ancient Israel, the priests were required by the Law of Moses to be of direct patrilineal descent from Aaron, Moses' elder brother. In Exodus 30:22–25 God instructs Moses to make a holy anointing oil to consecrate the priests "for all of eternity." During the times of the two Jewish Temples in Jerusalem, the Aaronic priests were responsible for the daily and special Jewish holiday offerings and sacrifices within the temples, these offerings are known as the korbanot .
In Hebrew, the word "priest" is kohen (singular כהן kohen, plural כּהנִים kohanim), hence the family names Cohen, Cahn, Kahn, Kohn, Kogan, etc. These families are from the tribe of Levi (Levites) and in twenty-four instances are called by scripture as such (Jerusalem Talmud to Mishnaic tractate Maaser Sheini p. 31a). In Hebrew, the word for "priesthood" is kehunnah.
The word comes from the root KWN/KON כ-ו-ן 'to stand, to be ready, established'in the sense of someone who stands ready before God, and is common with other Semitic languages, e.g. Phoenician KHN 𐤊𐤄𐤍 'priest' or Arabic kahin كاهن “priest”.
Since the destruction of the Second Temple, and (therefore) the cessation of the daily and seasonal temple ceremonies and sacrifices, kohanim have become much less prominent. In traditional Judaism (Orthodox Judaism and to some extent, Conservative Judaism) a few priestly and Levitical functions, such as the pidyon haben (redemption of a first-born son) ceremony and the Priestly Blessing, have been retained. Especially in Orthodox Judaism, kohanim remain subject to a number of restrictions concerning matters related to marriage and ritual purity.
Orthodox Judaism regard the kohanim as being held in reserve for a future restored Temple. Kohanim do not perform roles of propitiation, sacrifice, or sacrament in any branch of Rabbinical Judaism or in Karaite Judaism. The principal religious function of any kohanim is to perform the Priestly Blessing, although an individual kohen may also become a rabbi or other professional religious leader.
The traditional Beta Israel community in Israel had little direct contact with other Jewish groups after the destruction of the temple and developed separately for almost two thousand years. While some Beta Israel now follow Rabbinical Jewish practices, the Ethiopian Jewish religious tradition (Haymanot) uses the word Kahen to refer to a type non-hereditary cleric.
Aaronic Kohanim also officiated at the Samaritan temple on Mount Gerizim. The Samaritan kohanim have retained their role as religious leaders.
With the spread of Christianity and the formation of parishes, the Greek word ἱερεύς (hiereus), and Latin sacerdos, which Christians had since the 3rd century applied to bishops and only in a secondary sense to presbyters, began in the 6th century to be used of presbyters,and is today commonly used of presbyters, distinguishing them from bishops.
Today, the term "priest" is used in the Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodoxy, Anglicanism, Oriental Orthodoxy, the Church of the East, and some branches of Lutheranism to refer to those who have been ordained to a ministerial position through receiving the sacrament of Holy Orders, although "presbyter" is also used.Since the Protestant Reformation, non-sacramental denominations are more likely to use the term "elder" to refer to their pastors. The Christian term "priest" does not have an entry in the Anchor Bible Dictionary, but the dictionary does deal with the above-mentioned terms under the entry for "Sheep, Shepherd.".
The most significant liturgical acts reserved to priests in these traditions are the administration of the Sacraments, including the celebration of the Holy Mass or Divine Liturgy (the terms for the celebration of the Eucharist in the Latin and Byzantine traditions, respectively), and the Sacrament of Reconciliation, also called Confession. The sacraments of Anointing of the Sick (Extreme Unction) and Confirmation are also administered by priests, though in the Western tradition Confirmation is ordinarily celebrated by a bishop. In the East, Chrismation is performed by the priest (using oil specially consecrated by a bishop) immediately after Baptism, and Unction is normally performed by several priests (ideally seven), but may be performed by one if necessary. In the West, Holy Baptism may be celebrated by anyone. The Vatican catechism states that "According to Latin tradition, the spouses as ministers of Christ's grace mutually confer upon each other the sacrament of Matrimony".Thus marriage is a sacrament administered by the couple to themselves, but may be witnessed and blessed by a deacon, or priest (who usually administers the ceremony). In the East, Holy Baptism and Marriage (which is called "Crowning") may be performed only by a priest. If a person is baptized in extremis (i.e., when in fear of immediate death), only the actual threefold immersion together with the scriptural words may be performed by a layperson or deacon. The remainder of the rite, and Chrismation, must still be performed by a priest, if the person survives. The only sacrament which may be celebrated only by a bishop is that of Ordination (cheirotonia, "Laying-on of Hands"), or Holy Orders.
In these traditions, only men who meet certain requirements may become priests. In Catholicism, the canonical minimum age is twenty-five. Bishops may dispense with this rule and ordain men up to one year younger. Dispensations of more than a year are reserved to the Holy See (Can. 1031 §§1, 4.) A Catholic priest must be incardinated by his bishop or his major religious superior in order to engage in public ministry. Secular priests are incardinated into a diocese, whereas religious priests live the consecrated life and can work anywhere in the world that their specific community operates.
In Orthodoxy, the normal minimum age is thirty (Can. 9 of Neocaesarea) but a bishop may dispense with this if needed. In neither tradition may priests marry after ordination. In the Roman Catholic Church, priests in the Latin Rite, which covers the vast majority of Roman Catholicism, must be celibate except under special rules for married clergy converting from certain other Christian confessions.Married men may become priests in Eastern Orthodoxy and the Eastern Catholic Churches, but in neither case may they marry after ordination, even if they become widowed. Candidates for bishop are chosen only from among the celibate. Orthodox priests will either wear a clerical collar similar to the above-mentioned, or simply a very loose black robe that does not have a collar.
The role of a priest in the Anglican Communion and the Free Church of England is largely the same as within the Roman Catholic Church and Eastern Christianity, except that canon law in almost every Anglican province restricts the administration of confirmation to the bishop, just as with ordination. Whilst Anglican priests who are members of religious orders must remain celibate (although there are exceptions, such as priests in the Anglican Order of Cistercians), the secular clergy —bishops, priests, and deacons who are not members of religious orders—are permitted to marry before or after ordination (although in most provinces they are not permitted to marry a person of the same sex). The Anglican churches, unlike the Roman Catholic or Eastern Christian traditions, have allowed the ordination of women as priests (referred to as "priests" not "priestesses") in some provinces since 1971. This practice remains controversial, however; a minority of provinces (10 out of the 38 worldwide) retain an all-male priesthood. Most Continuing Anglican churches do not ordain women to the priesthood.
As Anglicanism represents a broad range of theological opinion, its presbyterate includes priests who consider themselves no different in any respect from those of the Roman Catholic Church, and a minority who prefer to use the title presbyter in order to distance themselves from the more sacrificial theological implications which they associate with the word priest. While priest is the official title of a member of the presbyterate in every Anglican province worldwide (retained by the Elizabethan Settlement), the ordination rite of certain provinces (including the Church of England) recognizes the breadth of opinion by adopting the title The Ordination of Priests (also called Presbyters). Even though both words mean 'elders' historically the term priest has been more associated with the "High Church" or Anglo-Catholic wing, whereas the term "minister" has been more commonly used in "Low Church" or Evangelical circles.
The general priesthood or the priesthood of all believers, is a Christian doctrine derived from several passages of the New Testament. It is a foundational concept of Protestantism.It is this doctrine that Martin Luther adduces in his 1520 To the Christian Nobility of the German Nation in order to dismiss the medieval Christian belief that Christians were to be divided into two classes: "spiritual" and "temporal" or non-spiritual. Conservative Lutheran reforms are reflected in the theological and practical view of the ministry of the Church. Much of European Lutheranism follows the traditional Catholic governance of deacon, presbyter, and bishop. The Lutheran archbishops of Finland, Sweden, etc. and Baltic countries are the historic national primates and some ancient cathedrals and parishes in the Lutheran church were constructed many centuries before the Reformation. Indeed, ecumenical work within the Anglican Communion and among Scandinavian Lutherans mutually recognize the historic apostolic legitimacy and full communion. Likewise in America, Lutherans have embraced the apostolic succession of bishops in the full communion with Episcopalians and most Lutheran ordinations are performed by a bishop.
The Church of Sweden has a threefold ministry of bishop, priest, and deacon and those ordained to the presbyterate are referred to as priests. [ citation needed ]In the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland, ordained presbyters are referred to by various publications, including Finnish ones, as pastors, or priests. In the United States, denominations like the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod use the terms "reverend" and "pastor" interchangeably for ordained members of the clergy.
Methodist clergy often have the title of pastor, minister, reverend, etc.
In the Latter Day Saint movement, the priesthood is the power and authority of God given to man, including the authority to perform ordinances and to act as a leader in the church. A body of priesthood holders is referred to as a quorum. Priesthood denotes elements of both power and authority. The priesthood includes the power Jesus gave his apostles to perform miracles such as the casting out of devils and the healing of sick (Luke 9:1). Latter Day Saints believe that the Biblical miracles performed by prophets and apostles were performed by the power of the priesthood, including the miracles of Jesus, who holds all of the keys of the priesthood. The priesthood is formally known as the "Priesthood after the Order of the Son of God", but to avoid the too frequent use of the name of deity, the priesthood is referred to as the Melchizedek priesthood (Melchizedek being the high priest to whom Abraham paid tithes). As an authority, the priesthood is the authority by which a bearer may perform ecclesiastical acts of service in the name of God. Latter Day Saints believe that acts (and in particular, ordinances) performed by one with priesthood authority are recognized by God and are binding in heaven, on earth, and in the afterlife.
There is some variation among the Latter Day Saint denominations regarding who can be ordained to the priesthood. In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), all worthy males above the age of 12 can be ordained to the priesthood. However, prior to a policy change in 1978, the LDS Church did not ordain men or boys who were of black African descent. The LDS Church does not ordain women to any of its priesthood offices. The Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (now the Community of Christ), the second largest denomination of the movement, began ordaining women to all of its priesthood offices in 1984. This decision was one of the reasons that led to a schism in the church, which prompted the formation of the independent Restoration Branches movement from which other denominations have sprung, including the Remnant Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
Islam has no sacerdotal priesthood. There are, however, a variety of academic and administrative offices which have evolved to assist Muslims with this task, such as the imāms and the mullāhs; a full discussion can be found at Clergy#Islam.
A Mandaean priest refers to an ordained religious leader in Mandaeism. In Mandaean scriptures, priests are referred to as Naṣuraiia (Naṣoraeans).All priests must undergo lengthy ordination ceremonies, beginning with tarmida initiation. Mandaean religious leaders and copyists of religious texts hold the title Rabbi or in Arabic 'Sheikh'.
All Mandaean communities traditionally require the presence of a priest, since priests are required to officiate over all important religious rituals, including masbuta, masiqta, birth and wedding ceremonies. Priests also serve as teachers, scribes, and community leaders.
There are three types of priests in Mandaeism:
Priests have lineages based on the succession of ganzibria priests who had initiated them. Priestly lineages, which are distinct from birth lineages, are typically recorded in the colophons of many Mandaean texts. The position is not hereditary, and any Mandaean male who is highly knowledgeable about religious matters is eligible to become a priest.
Hindu priests historically were members of the Brahmin caste. Priests are ordained and trained as well. There are two types of Hindu priests, pujaris ( swamis , yogis , and gurus ) and purohits ( pundits ). A pujari performs rituals in a temple. These rituals include bathing the murtis (the statues of the gods/goddesses), performing puja , a ritualistic offering of various items to the Gods, the waving of a ghee or oil lamp also called an offering in light, known in Hinduism as aarti , before the murtis. Pujaris are often married.
A purohit, on the other hand, performs rituals and saṃskāras (sacraments) outside of the temple. There are special purohits who perform only funeral rites.
In many cases, a purohit also functions as a pujari. Both women and men are ordained as purohits and pujaris.
A Zoroastrian priest are called a Mobad and they officiate the Yasna , pouring libations into the sacred fire to the accompaniment of ritual chants. The Mobad also prepare drinks for the haoma ritual.
In Indian Zoroastrianism, the priesthood is reserved for men and is a mostly hereditary position,but women have been ordained in Iran and North America as a mobedyar, meaning an assistant mobed.
The Taoist priests (道士 "master of the Dao" p. 488) act as interpreters of the principles of Yin-Yang 5 elements (fire, water, soil, wood, and metal p. 53) school of ancient Chinese philosophy, as they relate to marriage, death, festival cycles, and so on. The Taoist priest seeks to share the benefits of meditation with his or her community through public ritual and liturgy (p. 326). In the ancient priesthood before the Tang, the priest was called Jijiu ("libationer" p. 550), with both male and female practitioners selected by merit. The system gradually changed into a male only hereditary Taoist priesthood until more recent times (p. 550,551).
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The Shinto priest is called a kannushi (神主, lit. "Master of the kami"), originally pronounced kamunushi, sometimes referred to as a shinshoku (神職). A kannushi is the person responsible for the maintenance of a Shinto shrine, or jinja , purificatory rites, and for leading worship and veneration of a certain kami. Additionally, priests are aided by miko (巫女, "shrine maidens") for many rites as a kind of shaman or medium. The maidens may either be family members in training, apprentices, or local volunteers.
Saiin were female relatives of the Japanese emperor (termed saiō) who served as High Priestesses in Kamo Shrine. Saiō also served at Ise Shrine. Saiin priestesses usually were elected from royalty. In principle, Saiin remained unmarried, but there were exceptions. Some Saiin became consorts of the emperor, called Nyōgo in Japanese. The Saiin order of priestesses existed throughout the Heian and Kamakura periods.
The Yoruba people of western Nigeria practice an indigenous religion with a chiefly hierarchy of priests and priestesses that dates to AD 800–1000. [ citation needed ] Ifá priests and priestesses bear the titles Babalawo for men and Iyanifa for women. Priests and priestesses of the varied Orisha are titled Babalorisa for men and Iyalorisa for women. Initiates are also given an Orisa or Ifá name that signifies under which deity they are initiated. For example, a Priestess of Osun may be named Osunyemi, and a Priest of Ifá may be named Ifáyemi. This traditional culture continues to this day as initiates from all around the world return to Nigeria for initiation into the priesthood, and varied derivative sects in the New World (such as Cuban Santería and Brazilian Umbanda) use the same titles to refer to their officers as well.
In Brazil, the priests in the Umbanda, Candomblé and Quimbanda religions are called pai-de-santo (literally "Father of saint" in English), or "babalorixá" (a word borrowed from Yoruba bàbálórìsà, meaning Father of the Orisha ); its female equivalent is the mãe-de-santo ("Mother of saint"), also referred to as "ialorixá" (Yoruba: iyálórìsà).
In the Cuban Santería, a priest is called Santero, or Santera in its feminine equivalent.
According to traditional Wiccan beliefs, every member of the religion is considered a priestess or priest, as it is believed that no person can stand between another and the Divine. However, in response to the growing number of Wiccan temples and churches, several denominations of the religion have begun to develop a core group of ordained priestesses and priests serving a larger laity. This trend is far from widespread, but is gaining acceptance due to increased interest in the religion.
The dress of religious workers in ancient times may be demonstrated in frescoes and artifacts from the cultures. The dress is presumed to be related to the customary clothing of the culture, with some symbol of the deity worn on the head or held by the person. Sometimes special colors, materials, or patterns distinguish celebrants, as the white wool veil draped on the head of the Vestal Virgins.
Occasionally, the celebrants at religious ceremonies shed all clothes in a symbolic gesture of purity. This was often the case in ancient times. An example of this is shown to the left on a Kylix dating from c. 500 BC where a priestess is featured. Modern religious groups tend to avoid such symbolism and some may be quite uncomfortable with the concept.
The retention of long skirts and vestments among many ranks of contemporary priests when they officiate may be interpreted to express the ancient traditions of the cultures from which their religious practices arose.
In most Christian traditions, priests wear clerical clothing, a distinctive form of street dress. Even within individual traditions it varies considerably in form, depending on the specific occasion. In Western Christianity, the stiff white clerical collar has become the nearly universal feature of priestly clerical clothing, worn either with a cassock or a clergy shirt. The collar may be either a full collar or a vestigial tab displayed through a square cutout in the shirt collar.
Eastern Christian priests mostly retain the traditional dress of two layers of differently cut cassock: the rasson (Greek) or podriasnik (Russian) beneath the outer exorasson (Greek) or riasa (Russian). If a pectoral cross has been awarded it is usually worn with street clothes in the Russian tradition, but not so often in the Greek tradition.
Distinctive clerical clothing is less often worn in modern times than formerly, and in many cases it is rare for a priest to wear it when not acting in a pastoral capacity, especially in countries that view themselves as largely secular in nature. There are frequent exceptions to this however, and many priests rarely if ever go out in public without it, especially in countries where their religion makes up a clear majority of the population. Pope John Paul II often instructed Catholic priests and religious to always wear their distinctive (clerical) clothing, unless wearing it would result in persecution or grave verbal attacks.
Christian traditions that retain the title of priest also retain the tradition of special liturgical vestments worn only during services. Vestments vary widely among the different Christian traditions.
In modern Pagan religions, such as Wicca, there is no one specific form of dress designated for the clergy. If there is, it is a particular of the denomination in question, and not a universal practice. However, there is a traditional form of dress, (usually a floor-length tunic and a knotted cord cincture, known as the cingulum), which is often worn by worshipers during religious rites. Among those traditions of Wicca that do dictate a specific form of dress for its clergy, they usually wear the traditional tunic in addition to other articles of clothing (such as an open-fronted robe or a cloak) as a distinctive form of religious dress, similar to a habit.
In many religions, there are one or more layers of assistant priests.
In the Ancient Near East, hierodules served in temples as assistants to the priestess.
In ancient Judaism, the Priests (Kohanim) had a whole class of Levites as their assistants in making the sacrifices, in singing psalms and in maintaining the Temple. The Priests and the Levites were in turn served by servants called Nethinim. These lowest level of servants were not priests.
An assistant priest is a priest in the Anglican and Episcopal churches who is not the senior member of clergy of the parish to which they are appointed, but is nonetheless in priests' orders; there is no difference in function or theology, merely in 'grade' or 'rank'. Some assistant priests have a "sector ministry", that is to say that they specialize in a certain area of ministry within the local church, for example youth work, hospital work, or ministry to local light industry. They may also hold some diocesan appointment part-time. In most (though not all) cases, an assistant priest has the legal status of assistant curate, although not all assistant curates are priests, as this legal status also applies to many deacons working as assistants in a parochial setting.
The corresponding term in the Catholic Church is "parochial vicar" – an ordained priest assigned to assist the pastor (Latin: parochus) of a parish in the pastoral care of parishioners. Normally, all pastors are also ordained priests; occasionally an auxiliary bishop will be assigned that role.
In Wicca, the leader of a coven or temple (either a high priestess or high priest) often appoints an assistant. This assistant is often called a 'deputy', but the more traditional terms 'maiden' (when female and assisting a high priestess) and 'summoner' (when male and assisting a high priest) are still used in many denominations.
Apostolic succession is the method whereby the ministry of the Christian Church is held to be derived from the apostles by a continuous succession, which has usually been associated with a claim that the succession is through a series of bishops. Christians of the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Old Catholic, Moravian, Hussite, Anglican, Church of the East, and Scandinavian Lutheran traditions maintain that "a bishop cannot have regular or valid orders unless he has been consecrated in this apostolic succession". These traditions do not always consider the episcopal consecrations of all of the other traditions as valid.
A bishop is an ordained clergy member who is entrusted with a position of authority and oversight in a religious institution.
In certain Christian denominations, 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, clergyperson, churchman, and cleric, 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, the Scandinavian Lutheran Churches, the Methodist Churches, the Anglican Communion, and the Free Church of England, view the diaconate as an order of ministry.
The Reverend is an honorific style most often placed before the names of Christian clergy and ministers. There are sometimes differences in the way the style is used in different countries and church traditions. The Reverend is correctly called a style but is often and in some dictionaries called a title, form of address, or title of respect. The style is also sometimes used by leaders in non-Christian religions such as Judaism and Buddhism.
The priesthood of all believers or universal priesthood is a biblical principle in most branches of Christianity which is distinct from the institution of the ministerial priesthood found in some other branches, including the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox. Derived from the Bible and elaborated in the theology of Martin Luther and John Calvin, the principle became prominent as a tenet of Protestant Christian doctrine, though the exact meaning of the belief and its implications vary widely among denominations; in general, Protestants reject the existence of a ministerial priesthood.
Ordination is the process by which individuals are consecrated, that is, set apart and elevated from the laity class to the clergy, who are thus then authorized to perform various religious rites and ceremonies. The process and ceremonies of ordination vary by religion and denomination. One who is in preparation for, or who is undergoing the process of ordination is sometimes called an ordinand. The liturgy used at an ordination is sometimes referred to as an ordination.
Clerical celibacy is the requirement in certain religions that some or all members of the clergy be unmarried. Clerical celibacy also requires abstention from deliberately indulging in sexual thoughts and behavior outside of marriage, because these impulses are regarded as sinful.
In religion, a blessing is the infusion of something with holiness, spiritual redemption, or divine will.
The ordination of women to ministerial or priestly office is an increasingly common practice among some contemporary major religious groups. It remains a controversial issue in certain Christian traditions and denominations in which "ordination" was often a traditionally male dominated profession.
The stole is a liturgical vestment of various Christian denominations, which symbolizes priestly authority; in Protestant denominations which do not have priests but use stoles as a liturgical vestment, however, it symbolizes being a member of the ordained. It consists of a band of colored cloth, usually of silk, about seven and a half to nine feet long and three to four inches wide, whose ends may be straight or may broaden out in the shape of a spade or bell. The center of the stole is worn around the back of the neck and the two ends hang down parallel to each other in front, either attached to each other or hanging loose. The stole is almost always decorated in some way, usually with two crosses, or sometimes another significant religious design. It is often decorated with contrasting galloons and fringe is usually applied to the ends of the stole following Numbers 15:38–39. A piece of white linen or lace may be stitched onto the back of the collar as a sweat guard, which can be replaced more cheaply than the stole itself.
In Christianity, a minister is a person authorised by a church or other religious organization to perform functions such as teaching of beliefs; leading services such as weddings, baptisms or funerals; or otherwise providing spiritual guidance to the community. The term is taken from Latin minister. In some church traditions the term is usually used for people who have ordained, but in other traditions it can also be used for non-ordained people who have a pastoral or liturgical ministry.
Chrism, also called myrrh, myron, holy anointing oil, and consecrated oil, is a consecrated oil used in the Anglican, Assyrian, Catholic, Nordic Lutheran, Old Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, and Latter Day Saint churches in the administration of certain sacraments and ecclesiastical functions.
The Chrism Mass is a religious service held in Roman Catholicism, Lutheranism, and Anglicanism.
Apostolicae curae is the title of a papal bull, issued in 1896 by Pope Leo XIII, declaring all Anglican ordinations to be "absolutely null and utterly void". The Anglican Church made no official reply, but the archbishops of Canterbury and York of the Church of England published a response known by its Latin title Saepius officio in 1897.
The sacrament of holy orders in the Catholic Church includes three orders: bishops, priests, and deacons, in decreasing order of rank, collectively comprising the clergy. In the phrase "holy orders", the word "holy" means "set apart for a sacred 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 Christianity, concelebration is the presiding of a number of presbyters at the celebration of the Eucharist with either a presbyter or bishop as the principal celebrant and the other presbyters and bishops present in the chancel assisting in the consecration of the Eucharist. The concelebrants assist the principal celebrant by reciting the Words of Consecration together with him, thus effecting the change of the eucharistic elements. They may also recite portions of the Eucharistic Prayer. Concelebration is often practiced by ministers of Churches that are in full communion with one another, e.g. the Anglican Communion and the Old Catholic Church.
The priesthood is the office of the ministers of religion, who have been commissioned ("ordained") with the Holy orders of the Catholic Church. Technically, bishops are a priestly order as well; however, in layman's terms priest refers only to presbyters and pastors. The church's doctrine also sometimes refers to all baptised (lay) members as the "common priesthood", which can be confused with the ministerial priesthood of the consecrated clergy.
Presbyter is, in the Bible, a synonym for bishop (episkopos), referring to a leader in local church congregations. In modern Eastern Orthodox usage, it is distinct from bishop and synonymous with priest. Its literal meaning in Greek (presbyteros) is "elder".
About 100 Episcopal priests, many of them married, have become Roman Catholic priests since a "pastoral provision" was created by Pope John Paul II in 1980, said [Doug] Grandon, director of catechetics for the diocese. [...] His family life will remain the same, he said. Contrary to popular misunderstandings, he won't have to be celibate.
Leppänen also became the first woman from the Conservative Laestadian movement (a revival movement within the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland) to be ordained as a priest in 2012. The first female priests were ordained in Finland 32 years ago.
In Finland, a priest of the Lutheran church is forbidden to reveal a secret received in confession and in the course of pastoral counselling; a similar rule applies to Orthodox priests.