The Holy Mystery of Ordination

They made them stand before the apostles, and they laid hands on them in prayer.
Acts 6, 6

YouTube

By loading the video, you accept YouTube's privacy policy.
Learn more

load video

YouTube

By loading the video, you accept YouTube's privacy policy.
Learn more

load video

YouTube

By loading the video, you accept YouTube's privacy policy.
Learn more

load video

The ordination of the clergy

When speaking of ordination or the mystery of consecration, one should fundamentally distinguish between consecration as a dpir (lector, cantor, acolyte) and kisasarkavag (hypodeacon, subdeacon) on the one hand, and consecration through the laying on of hands as a sarkavag (deacon), qahana (priest) and Episkopos (bishop) on the other hand. While in the first case the consecrator is qualified as a cleric but not removed from the laity, the laying on of hands leads to participation in the threefold office of Christ, which is transmitted through the apostolic succession and the apostolic tradition. In the Armenian Church the mystery of consecration has two basic parts: the laying on of hands and the anointing. Through the ordination, the candidate receives the priestly anointing and is called to ministry.

The foundations of the sacrament of Holy Orders are found in the Old Testament. God commanded Moses to consecrate Joshua as his successor by the laying on of hands, to lead the people of Israel, filled with the Spirit of wisdom (cf Numbers 27:18-23; Deut 34, 9). In the New Testament, Jesus also gave his disciples authority to preach, to heal, to cast out unclean spirits (Matthew 10:1-8), to forgive sins, to bind and loose on earth (Matthew 16, 19; 17, 18; John 20:21-23), to celebrate Holy Communion (Luke 22:19-20), to teach the gospel and to baptize (Matthew 28:19-20).

After Christ's ascension, the Lord's disciples preached the truth of the gospel everywhere and ordained deacons, priests, and bishops in the churches they founded to lead the newly organized churches and congregations. In the beginning, the Christian Church had three hierarchical offices: the diaconate, the priesthood, and the episcopate. Even today these three offices are considered the main offices of the Church, but over the centuries as the Church expanded and the number of believers increased, a further division of offices became necessary.

The Armenian Church recognizes married and celibate priesthoods. Married priests must marry before ordination. The Armenian Church recognizes the ordination of women to the diaconate, but no ordination of women to the priestly ministry. She shares the view with other Orthodox Churches that the ordination of women is contrary to Scripture and Church tradition and must be understood within a theological and ecclesiological context, rather than as an issue of human rights and equality between men and women to become.

The ordination of the clergy

When speaking of ordination or the mystery of consecration, one should fundamentally distinguish between consecration as a dpir (lector, cantor, acolyte) and kisasarkavag (hypodeacon, subdeacon) on the one hand, and consecration through the laying on of hands as a sarkavag (deacon), qahana (priest) and Episkopos (bishop) on the other hand. While in the first case the consecrator is qualified as a cleric but not removed from the laity, the laying on of hands leads to participation in the threefold office of Christ, which is transmitted through the apostolic succession and the apostolic tradition. In the Armenian Church the mystery of consecration has two basic parts: the laying on of hands and the anointing. Through the ordination, the candidate receives the priestly anointing and is called to ministry.

The foundations of the sacrament of Holy Orders are found in the Old Testament. God commanded Moses to consecrate Joshua as his successor by the laying on of hands, to lead the people of Israel, filled with the Spirit of wisdom (cf Numbers 27:18-23; Deut 34, 9). In the New Testament, Jesus also gave his disciples authority to preach, to heal, to cast out unclean spirits (Matthew 10:1-8), to forgive sins, to bind and loose on earth (Matthew 16, 19; 17, 18; John 20:21-23), to celebrate Holy Communion (Luke 22:19-20), to teach the gospel and to baptize (Matthew 28:19-20).

After Christ's ascension, the Lord's disciples preached the truth of the gospel everywhere and ordained deacons, priests, and bishops in the churches they founded to lead the newly organized churches and congregations. In the beginning, the Christian Church had three hierarchical offices: the diaconate, the priesthood, and the episcopate. Even today these three offices are considered to be the main offices of the church, but over the centuries as the church spread and the number of believers increased, a further distribution of offices became necessary.

The Armenian Church recognizes married and celibate priesthoods. Married priests must marry before ordination. The Armenian Church recognizes the ordination of women to the diaconate, but no ordination of women to the priestly ministry. She shares the view with other Orthodox Churches that the ordination of women, contrary to Scripture and Church tradition, must be understood within a theological and ecclesiological context, rather than being treated as a matter of human rights and equality between men and women become.

APOSTOLIC SUCCESSION

Apostolic succession is the uninterrupted transmission of the episcopate through episcopal consecration, beginning with the apostles through many bishops from apostolic times to the present day. This passing on of authority and gifts was attested in the New Testament at the transition to the second Christian generation (Acts 14:23, Acts 20, 28; 2Tim. 1.6). Today's bishops, ordained in the unbroken tradition of the laying on of hands, can trace their predecessors of consecration back to one of the 12 apostles and thus to Jesus Christ.

YouTube

By loading the video, you accept YouTube's privacy policy.
Learn more

load video

Important things about the ordination

  • The ordination of deacons, priests and bishops takes place in the church during Surb Patarag. The church is where the praying community of Christians gathers to glorify God.

  • Ordination takes place in a specific order: from the diaconate to the priesthood and only then to the episcopate.

  • The ordained deacon, priest or bishop is to be ordained for a specific place where he will minister.

  • Ordination, like baptism, must not be repeated. Canon 68 expressly forbids such repetition.

  • No bishop may be ordained for a diocese or locality where there is an incumbent bishop.

  • Bishops alone have the power to lay on hands and anoint priests as successors to the holy apostles.

  • In the sacrament of Holy Orders, the Holy Spirit descends on the elect through the laying on of hands and anointing of a hierarch and enables the consecrated person to serve in the Church accordingly.

  • The laying of the hands of a bishop on the head of the person to be consecrated, the anointing and the prayer to invoke the Holy Spirit belong to the outer, visible side of the sacrament of Holy Orders.

  • The inner, invisible work of the laying on of hands is the mediation of the special grace of the sacrament of Holy Orders. It elevates the elect above other believers and gives them spiritual strength and power for their destined ministry.

  • There are both married and celibate priests in the Armenian Apostolic Church. The office of bishop is reserved solely for the celibate clergy.

The Spiritual Hierarchy

When one speaks of the hierarchy in the Church, one distinguishes between the hierarchy or hierarchy of angels, clergy, and laity. Saint Dyonisios Areopagita played a special role in categorizing these hierarchies. In his writings, he described the hierarchy of angels in three triads: Supreme Triad (seraphs, cherubim, thrones), Middle Triad (dominions, powers, authorities), and Lowest Triad (principalities, archangels, angels). The goal of this God-given hierarchy of angels is ascension to divinity through purification, enlightenment, and perfection. The higher ranks are bearers of divine light and life for the lower ranks.

Along with the sentient, disembodied angelic beings, human beings, renewed and sanctified by the Church of Christ, have their place in this spiritual and enlightening hierarchy. The church of Christ, like the ranks of angels, is based on the priestly principles of God. Here we have the triad: Bishop (Catholicos, Patriarch, Archbishop, Bishop), Priest (Tsayraguyn Wardapet, Wardapet and Abegha/Qahana) and Deacon (Avag Sarkavag, Sarkavag). Ministers of the Church, but not of the rank of clergy, include the subdeacons and the four degrees of dpir (Դռնապան/doorman, Ընթերցող/reader, Երդմնեցուցիչ/exorcist, Ջահընկալ/acolyte).

The diaconate is the sixth rank in the hierarchical order of the Church of Armenia. A deacon is ordained to the office by the appropriate bishop. He is given the right to serve at God's Holy Altar by assisting the celebrant (priest or bishop) in all rites and at Patarag.

In the Armenian Church, the deacon is not permitted to administer mysteries or to bestow blessings. He may read the Gospel during the Patarag and perform the Great Entry with the Holy Gifts. He reads the intercessions during the service and is active in the social service of the church.

At the ordination to the deacon, the candidate decides whether he wants to become a monk priest or marry. In the Armenian Church there is the deacon (Սարկավագ / Sarkawag) and the protodeacon (Ավագ Սարկավագ / Avag Sarkavag).

Married and celibate (celibate) priests serve in the Armenian Church. The priests will Qahana (Kohanim ([kohaˈnɪm], Hebrew כהנים) called. The celibate priests are called abegha (Asyrian: 틱티티틠틐,ʾăḇīlā, unmarried, monk-priests) and wear a black hooded headgear, called veghar (Lat. velarum, veil), symbolizing the dominion of the church in relation to them.

The worthy monk-priests can, after a written and mature defense of a corresponding theological work, the rank "Wardapet" or. "Archwardapet" (German: teacher or supreme teacher) awarded with a special service. This work is comparable to the doctoral thesis and habilitation.

The priest is authorized to administer all mysteries except priestly ordination. The pastoral work in the communities is mainly carried out by the married priests.

The Bishop is a successor of the Holy Apostles. He is authorized to donate all seven mysteries of the Church. The word itself comes from ancient Greek ἐπίσκοπος (episkopos) and means "Overseer", "Guardian", "Protector". The bishop is elected by the laity and clergy of each diocese. He is the official commissioner of the church and oversees and directs the activities of the churches in a given region and their relationship with the congregations that belong to them.

He is commissioned to lead the people and, if necessary, to censure them. He is authorized to consecrate acolytes, deacons and priests, as well as to consecrate or bless church buildings or church objects (pictures, etc.).

The Catholicos is elected by the National Ecclesiastical Council. The Catholicos is the Supreme Patriarch of the Armenian Church. The following powers are also reserved for him: to consecrate bishops, to found new dioceses and to elect them through St. Announcing encyclicals confirming the election of primates and their entry into office, bishops honor the title "Archbishop" and priests the title "archpriest" and to consecrate the Myron anointing oil, to name but a few.

The Holy Mysteries of the Church

MYSTERIES

MYSTERIES

MYSTERIES

MYSTERIES

MYSTERIES

MYSTERIES

MYSTERIES

MYSTERIES

Become a member!

Support the Armenian Apostolic Church and its congregation with your membership fee. Get active now!

APPLY FOR MEMBERSHIP NOW