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SECT. I.-The Early Days of the Ministry.

Previous chapter
IT is plain from the New Testament that our Lord Himself instituted a Ministry for His Church, and that those Apostles and others who first held a place in it derived their authority immediately from Him.1 It is also clear that provision was made for the continuance of this ministry through the handing on of ministerial powers by those, who had the authority of the Church to do so, to others who were appointed to receive them in their turn.2 The ministers of the Church had thus a double commission: they were from the earliest times selected or at least approved by the body of Church members,3 and at the same time, besides the human authorization from below, they received a divine commission, through this transmission to them in their turn of the divine gifts of ministerial power, with which our Lord had endowed the Church.4

Early History.

In the New Testament.

It is equally clear that our Lord did not leave a definite form by which this function of ordination was to be carried out, as He had done in the case of Holy Baptism: nor was there any action of His own in the matter, so conspicuously impressed upon the mind of the Church, that it was an obvious model which the Church was bound to follow, — as was the case with the Holy Eucharist. But, in spite of this absence both of direct charge and of precedent, the Church was able at once to lay down a definite method of ordination, of which the essential features were (i) imposition of hands, and (ii) appropriate prayer. This comes out in the appointment of the deacons,5 and the same points are pointed to by S. Paul in writing to S. Timothy as the prominent features of his ministerial commission, which he will do well to bear in mind.6

The essentials.




In the first age of the Church the three orders of the Ministry, now familiar, do not stand out with the clearness which afterwards was the case. This does not imply that men were free to take ministerial functions upon themselves, nor yet does it imply that there was, no gradation in the ministry: some had powers that others had not:7 there was a definite commission and it involved ‘differences of administration.’ It was not any absence of method, but the richness of the Pentecostal gift, which was the cause of the variety of ministerial functions, and of the number of grades of ministry, which are seen to have been prominent in apostolic times. In later times, just as the gifts of the Spirit in general became confined to more normal forms, and the extraordinary gifts disappeared, so there disappeared also the extraordinary ministries (e .g. that of the prophet8), and the normal type of ministry for the organized Christian Church became the three-fold form, with which Church history is familiar, comprising the episcopate, the priesthood and the diaconate.

In apostolic times.

Great variety and richness

settle into the normal triple ministry.


The earliest forms of ordination, which are extant, correspond with what would be expected from the New Testament and from the history of the early days of the Church. The first are those of the Hippolytean Canons,9 which are mainly remarkable because the same prayer is assigned for the consecration of a bishop and the ordination of a priest, with only a change of word, where mention is made of the grade which is being conferred.10 Other forms are to be found in The Testament of our Lord, the Apostolic Constitutions and the Sacramentary of Serapion. These show that, while the forms of prayer varied, the two features which were evident in apostolic times are still the two chief features of the service, viz. the imposition of hands and the appropriate prayer. They show also the existence in the Church of Minor Orders.11 that is of ministerial grades inferior to the diaconate, which have not come down from apostolic times, but have developed since then, and in different methods and degrees, to meet varying needs of the Church.12

Forms of Ordination.

Appearance of the Minor Orders.



SECT. II.— The Mediæval Latin Services.

We do not get upon the direct line of ancestry of the actual formulas of the English Ordinal till the Latin Sacramentaries and Ordines13 are reached in the VI th, VIIth and VIIIth centuries. The purely Roman documents (that is to say the Leonine and Gregorian Sacramentaries and the Ordines) present a certain contrast with the Gallican canons about ordination in the Statuta Ecciesiæ Antiqua and with Roman Service-books which have been modified under Gallican influence. It is the latter composite books which are here most in question, since the English services derived from the mixed use. The orders recognized in the Church are now seen to comprise five minor orders besides the three chief grades, viz (4) subdeacons (5) acolytes (6) exorcists (7) readers (8) porters: these had been so recognized at Rome ever since the middle of the IIIrd century;14 and they therefore represent the orders current in the English Church from the earliest times down to the Reformation.

The Mediæval Services.

Early Latin Service-books.

The Roman and Gallican Rites.

The Minor Orders.



A broad distinction existed at first between the appointment to the minor orders and the ordination to the sacred orders; while the latter was effected by the imposition of hands with prayer, in the case of the former there was in the West no imposition of hands,15 and no solemn prayer, but merely a symbolical ceremony — the handing to the candidate of some instrument representative of his function, as an authorization to him to exercise that function.16 At Rome for example during the Mass17 at the time of communion the acolyte was given a linen bag, the receptacle then in use for the Holy Eucharist, and the subdeacon was given a chalice: the “tradition of the instrument “ appropriate to the office constituted the whole ceremony.18

The Roman and




In the Gallican rite the minor orders had meanwhile been dignified with a much greater service. To each candidate, as he received his instrument, a solemn charge was given, and this was followed by a bidding of prayer and a solemn benediction: in the case of each order all the three formulas employed were specially connected with the office and grade which was being conferred. At a later date these were adopted into the Roman series of ordination services; they ousted the simple old Roman rite and thus came to form the service for the minor orders in all the later mediæval Pontificals in England as well as elsewhere.19

This type of service also, as will be shown later, had an influence on the development of the ordination services for the three sacred orders (as the Prayer Book reckons them) of Bishops,20 Priests and Deacons.

the Gallican services.
When the Gallican rite was confronted with the Roman, the question of minor orders offered no difficulty, since the very slender Roman rite readily disappeared in favour of the Gallican rites: but in the case of the holy orders it was different, since there was a substantial Roman rite in possession of the field: the result was that here the two rites coalesced: and thus the ordination services of the latter middle ages were in the case of the minor orders wholly Gallican, and in the case of the sacred orders were the result of a fusion of Roman and Gallican rites.

The Gallican supersedes the Roman,


or coalesces.

The Roman rite for the ordination to each of the holy orders was made up of a series of four items inserted into the Mass:— (1) a bidding to prayer, (2) the litany, (3) the collect, which corresponded to the bidding and summed up the petitions of the Litany21 (4) the eucharistic prayer of consecration said by the Bishop. The candidates had previously been presented by the Archdeacon to the Bishop and a final opportunity had been given for any one to raise objections to their ordination. During the actual ceremonies after the Litany they knelt before the Bishop for the imposition of hands: when the consecratory prayer was ended, they saluted the Bishop and other clergy, and took their places with the other clergy of their order, each vested in the vestment appropriate to his new order.

The Holy Orders.
The Roman Rite.

The Gallican rite was similar in construction: (1) The bishop invited the people’s approval of the candidates, and, when they had expressed it by the reply Dignus est, “He is worthy, “ the Bishop said (2) a bidding prayer and (3) the eucharistic or consecratory prayer with hand outstretched over the candidate’s head; but the formulas were entirely different from the Roman formuls.22 Further there were incorporated into the service as rubric the provisions of the Gallican lawbook called the Statuta ecciesiæ antiqua23 which laid down the ceremonial of ordination: and at the end of the ordination of priests (and later of deacons as well) there was added a prayer for the consecration of their hands with holy oil and chrism.24
The Gallican Rite.
The fusion of the Gallican and Roman rites is already found in the Gelasian Sacramentary, which is otherwise almost entirely Roman, and in the Missale Francorum which is mainly Gallican: it must have taken place as early as the VIIth century, and by the end of the IXth century it had become general. The method of fusion was simple and in one respect was important: the Gallican bidding and consecratory prayer, was added after the Roman consecratory prayer, and the Gallican quotations from the Statuta were prefixed to the service as rubric. In the case of the Deacon, Priest and Bishop these prescribed the imposition of hands and in the case of the Bishop a further ceremony as well, viz. the holding over his head of the gospel-book. The result of the incorporation of these provisions was, that at a later date the imposition of hands was transferred to this point of the service, and thus took place in silence and not in connexion with either of the consecratory prayers.
The fusion of the two.
In course of time further developments took place. (1) Formulas were inserted in connexion with the vesting of the candidates in the vestment appropriate to their new order.25 (2) The symbolical ceremony of “the tradition of the instruments, “ which had hitherto been the distinctive feature of admission to minor orders, was grafted on to the ordination services for sacred orders, probably in the XIth century: thus the gospel-book was handed to the deacon, with a charge to take it and read the Gospel: the paten and chalice, with hosts and wine prepared ready for use, were given to the priest, and he was charged to take authority to offer the Holy Sacrifice: similarly to the bishop at his consecration there was given the ring and pastoral staff, and he was charged to maintain discipline and to be sound in the faith. (3) The ceremonial unction and consecration of hands was amplified and there was added to it an anointing of the head also, drawn no doubt from the consecration of Aaron: but this did not survive into the later Pontificals except in the case of the Bishop.26 (4) Later still there was added an instruction in the duties of each order.
Later developments.

These represent the main features in the growth of the ordination services in mediæval times: they are common to all the English Pontificals,27 but in other respects the books varied slightly from one another even down to the time of the Reformation: there was no printed edition of the Pontifical, and no uniformity, for each Bishop had his own book in MS. and followed such traditions as seemed best to him: but the ordination services were substantially the same, though differing in arrangement.28


The English Pontificals.

SECT. III.— The Ordering of Deacons and Priests.

The following table gives an outline of the Latin service in its latest pre-Reformation shape: the old Roman and old Gallican elements are distinguished by different type from the later accretions. These latter are not inserted always in the same places in the various books: the order given here is that of the Sarum Pontifical as printed by Maskell and reproduced above;29 Parallel with the outline of the Latin service is an outline of the present Prayer Book services for Deacons and Priests, combined as is commonly done in actual practice. When the Ordinal was first put out in 1550 the two services were not parallel in structure: the presentation of candidates for the priesthood with the Litany following was deferred till after the Gospel, instead of preceding the Communion Service, as in the case of deacons. The Veni Creator then preceded the Presentation. In 1661 the Presentation and Litany were in each case appointed to precede the Communion Service: further the Veni Creator was deferred till after the examination of the candidates, so that it preceded the solemn prayer. Another slight change was also made which affected both services: the special prayer for the candidates, which in 1550 was appended to the Litany, was in 1661 transferred from that position to become the Collect in the Holy Communion Service. These are the only structural alterations whereby the book of 1550 differs from that of 1661. Other variations in the successive books will be dealt with later.

The Ordering of Deacons and Priests.

The revision in the Prayer Book.


1. [Eucharist begins.]
2. Presentation and Final Enquiry, Orders jointly.

  Presentation and Final Enquiry, Orders separately.

3. Admission to Minor Orders.
4. Litany and Special Clauses.

  Litany and Special Clauses.

[Eucharist begins.]
Special Collect for each Order.

5. Instruction of Deacons in their duties.
  Examination and Instruction.

6. Imposition of hands in silence.
7. Bidding and Collect.
8. Consecratory Prayer.
9. Vesting with Stole.

  Imposition of hands and charge.

10. Tradition of Gospel Book.
11. Bidding.
12. Consecration.
13. Vesting in Dalmatic.

  Tradition of Book.
14. [The Gospel follows.]
  [The Gospel follows.]
15. Instruction of Priests.

Instruction of Priests and Examination.
Bidding, Veni Creator and Solemn Prayer.

16. Imposition of hands by Bishop and Priests in silence.
17. Bidding and Collect.
18. Consecratory Prayer.
19. Vesting with Stole and Chasuble.
20. Bidding.
21. Consecration.
22. Veni Creator.
23. Blessing and Consecration of hands.

  Imposition of hands and charge, Accipe Spiritum Sanctum (See 26.)
24. Tradition of Instruments.
  Tradition of Bible.
25. [Offertory to the Communion].
  [Offertory to last Collect.]

26. Imposition of hands and charge, Accipe Spiritum Sanctum.
27. Kiss and Pax.
28. Special Blessing
29. Exhortation.
30. [Postcommunion, &c.]

  Solemn Prayers.
The general character of the reform in the Ordinal can easily be understood from the comparative table. Neither in 1550 nor in 1661 had the revisers the advantage of knowing the history of ordination in the way in which it is now known. In 1550 they could merely look at the Pontifical, as it lay before them, in the light of the current theories of the nature of Holy Order and in the light of Holy Scripture. Their main object was clearly set forth in the preface of the English Ordinal, viz. to ‘continue’ in valid succession the three orders of the ministry as they had been received ‘from the apostles’ times’ by episcopal consecration: their method was to ensure the essentials of ordination as they are discernible in the New Testament, viz. ‘public prayer with imposition of hands’ by the Bishop. Having secured this, they had secured all that is essential. But in other respects the reform kept close to the old customs. The ordination was still to form part of the Holy Communion Service: the Litany with special clauses and the Veni Creator were retained, as well as a form of tradition of instruments. The last was a measure of some importance, for according to mediæval theory this ceremony was held to be the essential feature of ordination: it had been so defined by Eugenius IV. in 1439,30 and the theory to a considerable extent held the field in Roman theology until the XVIIth century, when the ceremony was proved to be only an innovation made in the Xth century, and the theory was seen to be untenable.31 The Revisers of 1549 therefore while securing the real essentials, viz. prayer and imposition of hands, were careful also to retain the tradition of instruments and not go against the current scholastic theories.

The Principles of the revision,


The object


and method;


How far conservative.

Tradition of instruments.

Another point of special interest is their treatment the imposition of hands: it has been already shown how in mediæval times this had been transferred from its proper place and was no longer done in connexion with the great central prayers, but was done in silence at an earlier point in the service. In the ordination of priests there had been added to the Latin service at a late period a second imposition of hands accompanied by the charge ‘Receive the Holy Ghost’ (Accipe Spiritum Sanctum &c.) based on S. John xx, 22. The revisers restored the imposition of hands to its central position and accompanied it with the solemn words of a charge to the candidates authorizing them in their new order. In the ordination to the priesthood they brought together the two impositions of hands from the beginning and the end of the service into one central place, and took, as the words of the solemn charge accompanying it, the biblical formula already in use, ‘Receive the Holy Ghost &c.’ This action was very significant: it had the effect of bringing out the essentials of ordination, and concentrating into one brief moment the true significance of the whole service,32 which was much less clear in the complex Latin rite, with its clumsy fusion of two original uses, overlaid with subsequent accretions.
Imposition of hands.
At the same time those who are familiar with the old services will regret that the revisers abandoned the great consecratory prayer prefaced by the solemn bidding, the salutation and the Sursum Corda. The prayers themselves were fine, and there was nothing in them to which exception could be taken: and further it is now seen that the use of such a type of prayer as the central point of the service is a characteristic deep-rooted in the ancient services; such a prayer is in fact the central feature not only of the Liturgy proper, where it has been retained by us, but of other services such as Baptism, Ordination, where it has been lost, not to mention other ancient services, such as The Consecration of a Church, Churchyard or Altar, The Profession of Nuns, The Blessing of Abbat or Abbess, &c., — services not known to the Prayer Book, but of which again this type of eucharistic prayer is the central feature. Such prayers were abandoned, no doubt, because of the wish to shorten, simplify and compress the ordination, coupled with the belief, generally held at the time, that it was the imperative formulas rather than the prayers, which were the crucial parts of the service.33

How far radical.

Such results as these, which the comparative study of Service-books in modern days has brought out, were not present to the mind of the Revisers: on the other hand, there were present the results of other inquiries and questionings current at the time, and these have left their mark upon the Ordinal.
Influence of the affairs of the time.
First there was a great desire to recover a wider and truer view of the functions of the ministry, to include the pastoral and prophetical side of the office as well as the specially sacerdotal side. Again it was felt very necessary, especially in such times of change, that candidates should be’ first called, tried, examined, and known to have such qualities as were requisite.34 It was for such reasons as these, that there were introduced into the services the instructions and the examinations. Neither of them were new features, for of late the Pontificals had included a brief description of the functions of each order: and an examination of the ordinand in the course of the service had long been regular feature in the consecration of a bishop35 and an occasional feature in the ordination of priests:36 but both of these features assumed quite new proportions.

Already in Germany these desires had found practical expression in Lutheran schemes and services.37 and Revisers had before them a draft of Ordination Services drawn up by Martin Bucer probably for their special benefit. While they rejected Bucer’s doctrinal standpoint, they accepted much of his plan, and drew largely upon him for the exhortations and examinations.




The instructions and examinations.

After this general description of the objects of the Revisers, which shows that they were in the main conservative, though not unwilling to give a fuller expression than had been customary to the needs and wishes of their time, it will be well to turn to the present service, and note in order the detailed points which call for notice, either (i) because they exemplify these general principles, or (ii) because they underwent revision in the successive changes from 1550 to 1661.
The present service.
The Preface defines the purpose of the whole Ordinal: it went through some modification of language in 1661; (i) to make more abundantly clear the difference between the Ministry of the Church and the Ministries of the various sects, which had usurped its place under the Commonwealth: (ii) to raise the age for the diaconate from twenty-one to twenty-three:38 (iii) to prescribe that ordinations should. normally take place at the Ember Seasons in accordance with Canon xxxi.39


The opening rubrics of the Ordering of Deacons have been altered as regards the dress of candidates: in 1550 it was ordered that they should be in albs, this order was omitted in 1552, and when the rubrical directions were made more ample in 1661 it was provided that they should be ‘decently habited.’ Similar changes were made elsewhere in 1552 to agree with the lower standard then prescribed for the ornaments of the minister. The Sermon, Presentation, and Litany follow the line of the Latin service, but the final ‘Si quis ‘ inquiry, in the case of the priests, follows closely the service drafted by Bucer in 1549 for Ordination:40 the transference of the prayer after the Litany to form the Collect at the Eucharist has been already noticed, but the change of the word ‘congregation’ into ‘church’ may also be noted as it falls into line with similar changes made elsewhere in the book. The Oath of Supremacy has taken various shapes:41 it now is taken before the service42 in a very simple form. The Epistles and Gospels in each of the services are proper to the occasion. Some of them were suggested by Bucer’s draft, as were also the psalms appointed in 1550 for the Introit in the Ordering of priests.43 Still more noticeable is the influence of that form upon the Examinations of the three orders in the Ordinal. Bucer made practically no distinction in the service for the three nominal grades of ministry which he recognised,44 so that his draft is only a single service: but the influence of it may be traced in each of the three examinations in the English Ordinal.45

Influence of Bucer’s Draft.




It is also conspicuous in the Bishop’s exhortation preliminary to the examination of the candidates for priesthood,46 and in the prayer which follows upon it.47 But here the similarity ends, and when the more crucial parts of the service are reached there is no sign of Bucer’s influence.

In the Ordering of priests the Veni Creator follows the examination and precedes the prayer, and thus is placed in between two Bucerian sections, having been moved there from the beginning of the service in 1661. At the same time an alternative translation of the hymn was given, drawn from the collection of Private Devotions made by Bishop Cosin, which has already been noticed as influencing that revision:48 and the older version was retouched.

The two formulas in the Ordering of Deacons for the imposition of hands and tradition of the New Testament call for no further comment: but with regard to the two corresponding formulas in the ordination of priests, it is to be noted that a change of some interest has been made in the wording of the charge based upon S. John xx. 22. In 1550 it was taken in its simple scriptural shape direct from the Latin rite, thus: ‘Receive the Holy Ghost: whose sins, &c.,’ i.e., the passage descriptive of the priesthood: only there was added to the original clause, the second clause now in use, ‘Be thou a faithful dispenser, &c.’49 A similar formula was at the same time adopted in the consecration of bishops, ‘Take the Holy Ghost: and remember that thou stir up, &c.,’ i. e., the passage from 2 S. Tim. i. 6, 7, which is descriptive of the work of a bishop. These very similar formulas were fastened on by the Puritans as an argument that no distinction was drawn by the Church between the episcopate and the priesthood. The plea was most insecure, as in reality the scriptural texts sufficiently made clear that in one case the reference was to the episcopate, and in the other to the priesthood. But to make the differentiation more abundantly clear these formulas were expanded in 1661, and there was introduced a definite mention of the particular ‘office and work’, now committed by imposition of hands.’50
The imperative formulas.
The tradition of instruments in the case of the deacon followed closely the Latin rite: in the case of the priest there was a change: instead of the chalice and paten prepared for use, he was given in 1550 the Bible in one hand and the chalice in the other: in 1552 the latter was omitted. The formula expressed his authorisation to do the work of a priest ‘by administering the Holy Sacraments,’ i. e., in less narrow terms than the Latin formula, which only authorised him to say Mass.51


The porrection of instruments.

The other ceremonies of the Latin rite disappeared, such as the anointing of hands and the vesting, and in their place there were provided solemn prayers for each order, to be said immediately before the close of the Communion Service,52 where formerly there had been lately added to the Pontifical the second imposition of hands with a Benediction and a final charge.
Ceremonies abolished.

The rubrical direction that the newly ordained priests. ‘shall remain in the same place where hands were laid upon them until such time as they have received the Communion ‘ continues the custom of the Latin rite, but the actual wording seems to be drawn from Bucer’s draft.53 The custom has its roots far back in the history, and represents a survival of the old custom of the priests joining with the Bishop as concelebrants.54


The relic of Concelebra-tion.

SECT. IV.— The Consecration of Bishops.

The general features of the history of this service are the same as those of the previous services, and have been described with them: there was the same fusion of Gallican and Roman rites, the same transference of the imposition of hands to the silent Gallican ceremony prescribed by the Statuta Antiqua: and further in this case the laying of the gospel-book on the head of the elect at his benediction: the same addition of further ceremonies, in this case the tradition of Pastoral Staff, Ring, and, at a later date, of Mitre and Gospel Book, and the putting on of the Gloves; the same enlargement of the ceremonies of unction including the anointing of the head as well as of the hands. But it is noticeable that the fusion of the two rites was less systematic: in many Pontificals the silence at the Gallican imposition of hands and of the gospel-book was broken at a late date by the addition of the words ‘Receive the Holy Ghost’ (Accipe Spiritum Sanctum) or by the singing of the Veni Creator at this point. It is noticeable also that there was great variety of use in the English Pontificals with regard to the additional and later ceremonies, their order and contents.55

Consecra-tion of Bishops.

Similarity and contrast to the preceding.

But there is one special feature which distinguished the service of the consecration of a bishop from the other services, viz., the long and minute examination: with which the service opened. The importance of the episcopal office made it necessary that additional precautions should be taken, both to ascertain and to assure the people of his worthiness to be consecrated. Thus, while the testing of candidates for other orders came to be less and less connected with the ordination, the testing of the bishop elect became more and more formally a part of the service. His election and the public confirmation of his election represent the legal and constitutional side of his appointment, while the testing in the service represents the theological and spiritual side.56 The form which is found in the later pontificals seems to’ have taken shape as early as the IXth century,57 but it was freely adapted in different ways in different books.
The examination.

The following table gives an outline of the service in its most fully developed English form, and parallel with it an outline of the service of the Prayer Book. The bracketed items are those which are least common. The fusion of rites is, as before, expressed by differences of type.58

The revision.


Eucharist up to Creed.  

1. Examination.
  Presentation and Oaths.

2. Eucharist up to Collect.
[3. Instruction.]
4. Bidding.
5. Litany.

  Litany and Prayer.

6. Imposition of hands and Gospel Book.
[7. Veni Creator.]

  Veni Creator.

8. Collect.
9. First Consecratory Prayer.
10. Unction of head.
11. Second Consecratory Prayer.


12. Third Consecratory Prayer with outstretched hands.]
[13. Sevenfold Blessing.]
14. Unction of head and hands
    (a) (b) (c) (d)
[15. Putting on of the Gloves.]
16. Tradition of Pastoral Staff  (a) (b)
17. Tradition of Ring   (a) (b)
[18. Of Mitre.  (a) (b).]

  Imposition of hands and charge.
[19. Of gospel-book.]
  Tradition of Bible and Charge.
20. Eucharist to the end.

Eucharist to last Collect.

It is at once obvious that there is a great deal of reduplication in the service. Besides 9, the old Roman consecratory prayer, there are two other prayers in the same solemn form, viz. 11, which is in the ancient style, but does not occur in the older English Pontificals, and 12, which is very possibly the old Gallican consecration prayer, surviving in English pontificals,59 though not in the Gallican-Roman services such as those of the Gelasian Sacramentary and the Missale Francorum, Again, the ceremonies of unction (10 and 14) are repeated several times over in the Salisbury Pontifical, from which this service is taken, though other Pontificals have generally only one or two of the alternatives.

The old redundancies


In face of this reduplication and this multiplication of ceremonies it is natural to find that the revision made in the Prayer Book aimed at greater simplicity. The principles were those stated above. The examination was already there in the service, and did not need to be added: the solemn prayer, imperative formula60 and imposition of hands were again made the central feature of the service, followed by a tradition of instruments. In the First Prayer Book this ceremony took a double shape: first, The Archbishop shall lay the Bible upon his neck, saying ‘Give heed unto reading,’ &c.; secondly, There shall the Archbishop put into his hand the pastoral staff, saying ‘Be to the flock of Christ a shepherd,’ &c. These were combined, substantially in their present form, in 1552. At the same time the rule as to the vestments prescribed in 1550 was omitted:61 so when mention of the surplices and copes with pastoral staves as the ornaments of the bishops and the elect was gone, there was no rule given as to the dress of any of the persons until the present directions were inserted in 1661. Beyond the addition of another question to the examination and the alteration, already described, of the formula ‘Take the Holy Ghost’, the other changes then made were not of great magnitude.






Changes in the later books.

1 S. John xx, 21, 22.

2 Acts XIV. 23; 1 Tim, v. 22.

3 Acts vi. 1-6. Cp. 1 Tim. iii. 7 and ff.

4 See Gore, The Church and the Ministry: ch. IV. especially, and ch. V. as to the Biblical question : ch. II. as to the meaning of Apostolic Succession.


Return to text

5 Acts vi. 6. The laying of hands on SS. Barnabas and Paul at Antioch (Acts xiii, 3) is probably not to be regarded as an ordination service, but as a valedictory service.

6 1 Tim. iv. 14; cp. i. 18; and 2 Tim. i. 6.

7 The position of the deacons exemplifies this, and especially the restriction, which prevented S. Philip the Deacon from confirming those whom he had baptized, and rendered necessary the intervention of the Apostles. Acts viii. 12 and ff.

8 This comes next to the apostolate in S. Paul’s list in 1 Cor. xii, 28.

Return to text

9 Can. Hipp. 7-42. For only the three sacred orders is a formula provided, and imposition of hands prescribed: but mention also is made of Reader, Subdeacon, and Virgin.

10 This is less remarkable if, as has been suggested, the Hippolytean Canons were really Alexandrine in their origin (see above, p. 313): for Alexandria was exceptional in this respect.

11 The Sacramentary of Serapion gives forms of ordination only for the three sacred orders, which it reckons in accordance with the N. T., as being of divine institution. But it mentions three minor orders. (Journ. Theol. Stud. i. 253 .and ff.) The Testament gives also formulas for Widow, Subdeacon and Reader (chapters xli, xliv, xlv.): ,the Apostolic Const. for Deaconess, Subdeacon and Reader (viii. 19, 21, 22), and mentions Confessors, Virgins, Widows. and Exorcists as not ordained (ibid. 23-25) with imposition of hands.

12 For their history see Morin, De Sacra Ord. III. i. 2,26. Gore, p. 171.

13 Leonine Sacr. pp. 421 and ff. Gelasian Sacr. pp. 512 and ff.; 619 and ff. Gregorian Sacr. pp. 357 and ff. Missale Franc. pp. 661 and ff. Ordines, viii. and ix, Later services are given in the Appendix to the Gregorian Sacramentary, pp. 405 and ff. The Statuta Ecclesiæ Antiqua, a collection of Gallican canons, dating from the beginning of the Vlth century, gives the only pure testimony extant as to the Gallican Rites. See Bruns, Canones, i. 140, where it is (as often) wrongly ascribed to the fourth Council of Carthage. For the whole of this part of the subject see Duchesne, Origines, ch. x.

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14 See letter of Pope Cornelius in Eusebius, H. E. vi. 43.

15 Compare the statement above, p. 650, note 4. [note 11]

16 This followed the analogy of civil life. Gore, 170.

17 Minor orders were conferred at any time of the year: but the holy orders were restricted to solemn times of ordination, and eventually to the Ember Days. See above for them, p. 332.

18 For the ‘clerk’ or acolyte the Bishop ‘porrigit in ulnas eius sacculum super planetam et prosternit se in terram cum ipso sacculo : et dat ei orationem sic:— Intercedente beata et gloriosa semperque virgine Maria et beato apostolo Petro, salvet et custodiat et protegat te Dominus. Amen.’ In the case of the Subdeacon, ‘porriget ei archidiaconus vel episcopus calicem sanctum in ulnas foras planetam : et se in terra prosternet et, dat ei orationem ut supra diximus.’ The prayer thus is common to all the minor orders: probably it is a later addition to the ceremony. Ordo Romanus viii. 1 and 2. Migne. P. L. LXXVIII. 1000. It is not given in the Roman services as prescribed in the Leonine and Gregorian Sacramentaries. Duchesne, Origines, 339.

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19 See p. 295, where a specimen is given of the services for admission to minor orders.

20 In mediæval times the episcopate and priesthood were popularly : reckoned as one order: and latterly the subdiaconate was reckoned with them among holy orders, thus making four minor orders and three holy orders; but all the Church’s rites and best traditions are in favour of making the episcopate a separate order: and of reckoning the subdiaconate among minor orders. See Morin, De Sacra Ord. III. i. 2. 26 : Gore, p. 105, for the first point.

21 The Litany here occupied the interval (or most of it) which it was customary to leave for private prayer between the bidding and the collect. See above, p. 523. It included special clauses of intercession for the ordinands.

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22 Except the consecratory prayer for the episcopate, where the same prayer (in two forms) occurs in both uses: one original formula, either the Gallican or the Roman, has disappeared. Origines, 361. Possibly it is preserved in the prayer Pater sancte, omnipotens, deus, qui per DNJC. See below, p. 672.

23 See above, p. 651, note 1.[Note 13]

24 This is given in the Gelasian Sacr. at the end of the Gallican appendix, containing the formulas for the minor orders (p. 622), and not with the rest of the prayers for the priesthood (p. 514): but elsewhere it is in its right place, e.g. Missale Franc. 669 (two formulas) for the priesthood: Egbert Pontifical (Surtees Soc. Vol. 27), 21 for the diaconate. This MS. is not itself that of Archbishop Egbert (766), but is a later copy with additions dating from the Xth century.
    For the whole of the services, see above, pp. 296 and ff.

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25 The ninth Roman Ordo shows that the stoles in Rome were placed upon the ‘confession’ i .e., the tomb of S. Peter to hallow them, as is still done with the pallium. In later times a prayer of hallowing was said (see e. g. Egbert Pontifical, p. 16 Leofric Missal, p. 215), but these prayers did not survive into the later Pontificals. The formulas which did survive were words to be said at the investiture. See pp. 297, 299, 304. For the history of these additions, see Braun, Die priesterlichen Gewänder, pp. 79, go, 110, 148; and Die pontificalen Gewänder, pp. 55, 85.

26 See Maskell ad loc. and Egbert, pp. 3, 24: Brit. Mus. Cotton MS., Claudius A. III. and the Pontificals of S. Dunstan and Robert of Jumieges, Abps. of Canterbury, in Martene, Lib. I. Cap. VIII. Ordo III. The ceremonies of unction were probably British in their origin: they are first mentioned in the VIth century by Gildas (Epist. 106), with regard to the hands. It was only subsequently to the IXth century that they were adopted at Rome, as Nicholas I. witnesses with regard to the hands, (Ep. 63, ad Rodulfum Bit., in Migne, P. L. CXIX. 884=Gratian, 1. XXIII. (2), and Amalarius with regard to the head (De Offic. ii. 14).

27 The Surtees Society has printed two, those of Abp. Egbert and of Abp. Bainbridge: the latter volume contains a list and description of all the known MSS. The Exeter Pontifical of Bp. Lacy was printed in 1847 by R. Barnes; the Salisbury Pontifical was reproduced in large measure in Maskell’s Monumenta with a collation of other books. A Scottish Pontifical of Bp. de Bernham was reprinted in 1885 by Chr. Wordsworth.

28 E. g. the position of the Litany varied: sometimes it was said before the admission to minor orders, but more commonly, according to Roman custom, before the ordination of deacons. Similarly different traditions were current as to the presentation of candidates: in some cases the candidates for the diaconate and priesthood were presented separately from the rest.

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29 See p. 294 where the same distinction of type is made, and the sections are numbered to correspond with this table. See also a table giving in full the development of the service for the ordination of a priest in C. H. S. Tract XLI. Priesthood in the English Church.
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30 In his decree addressed to the Armenians at the Council of Florence. ‘Sextum sacramentum est ordinis, cuius materia est illud per cuius traditionem confertur ordo : sicut presbyteratus traditur per calicis cum vino et patenæ cum pane porrectionem. Diaconatus vero per libri evangeliorum dationem.’ Harduin. IX. 440. The ‘matter’ having been thus defined, he continues: ‘Forma sacerdotii talis est “Accipe potestatem offerendi sacrificium in ecclesia pro vivis et mortuis: in nomine, &c.”’ ibid. This definition was promulgated by Pole in the Marian times (1556) as the current doctrine. See Wilkins, Conc. IV. 121. The language is borrowed from Aquinas, Expositio in articulos fidei.
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31 Morin begins his third book by disproving this theory, See Gore 61,62, n.

32 See the Responsio of the English Archbishops (Sapius Officio), p. 32.

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33 Responsio, p. 32.

34 Preface to Ordinal.

35 See below, p. 670.

36 See note on p. 664. [note 46]

37 See e.g. Hermann’s Consultation, Of the appointing and instituting of pastors,’ fol. CCXXIII. and ff: where similar wishes are expressed.

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38 The age for orders has varied greatly at different times and places. See Blunt ad loc. Martene, 1. viii. 3.

39 For the ancient rules see Martene, 1. viii. 4.

40 See above, p. 62. This was first printed in 1577, among his Scripta Anglicana, pp. 238-259, under the title, De ordinatione legitima ministrorum ecclesiæ revocanda.
    The form there used is as follows: ‘Finita evangelica lectione . . . . mox primarius ordinator advocatis ordinandis ad mensam domine vel in alium locum . . . dicit populo: En hi sunt quos ad sacrum ecclesiæ ministerium proposuimus, adjuvante Domino, ordinare.: Nam facta eorum canonica examinatione, deprehendimus eos . . . esse ad hunc functionem legitime et vocatos et probatos. Si autem adhuc quisque vestrum sciat eos aliquo teneri vel vitio vel crimine, propter quod ad hoc sanctum munus ordinare eos non conveniat, eum in Domino hortamur, si charam habeat gloriam Christi et ecclesiæ Christi salutem et honorem, ut id modo indicet vel uni ex nostris vel palam prout ei videatur, ne alienis et se et nos peccatis involvat.’ Ibid. p. 256.

41 For Hooper’s trouble about the form prescribed in 1549 see above, p. 61.

42 By the Clerical Subscription Act of 1865.

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43 Ibid. p. 255.

44 ‘Cum autem tres ordines sunt presbyterorum et curatorum ecclesiæ . . . . ita ordinatio quoque attemperatur ut, cum ordinetur aliquis, superintendens, id est episcopus, omnia aliquanto plenius et gravius gerantur et perficiantur quam cum ordinatur presbyter secundi ordinis vel tercii. Ita etiam fit nonnullum discrimen inter ordinationem presbyterorum secundi et tercii ordinis.’ Ibid. p. 259 and cp. p. 238.

45 The eight questions in ‘The Ordering of Priests’ lie closest to Bucer’s questions: the phraseology is modified, but the general scheme and method is followed; the ninth and last of Bucer’s questions, exacting a promise from the ordinand that he will not desert his church except in response to a legitimate call, has no equivalent in the English service.

46 After the ‘Si quis’ follows this exhortation:
    Audistis fratres et in canonicii vestri examinatione et nunc in condone atque in recitatis sacris lectionibus apostolicis et evangelicis, quantae sit dignitatis et molis munus hoc ad quod estis accessiti et nunc in nomine Domini nostri Jesu Christi solemniter instituendi. Hortamur ergo in Domino vos et obtestamur per Dominum nostrum Jesum CHRISTUM, memores sitis in quantam vos ipse Filius Dei dignitatem evehat, ut illud ipsum munus administretis ad quod ipse m hunc mundum venit, et mortem acerbissimam obiit, cuique regni dignitatem posposuit. Vocavit emim vos et nunc instituet vos uti oves ejus et dispersos in hoc perdito mundo filios Dei quæratis ipsique in æternum salvandos adducatis. Cogitate item continenter quantus sit thesaurus qui vobis committitur. Oves enim Christi sunt quas ille pretio animæ suæ sibi comparavit. Sponsa ejus et corpus est ecclesia cui debetis ministrare et ad vitam æternam [?adducere), quæ si aliqua vestra culpa accipiat injuriam aut damnum, agnoscitis quanto vos scelere obligaturi sitis et quam horrendum vobis supplicium ipsi adducturi. Postremo volvite semper animis vestris et quis finis sit ac terminus hujus vestri ministerii erga hos fidei vestræ commendatos filios Dei, sponsam et corpus Christi. Nam antea de nullâ vobis est cogitandum remissione solicitudinis, curæ et operæ vestræ, quam omnes eos, qui vestræ curæ sunt commendati, adduxeritis administratione doctrinæ et disciplinæ Christi, vitæque vestræ exemplis, ad eam fidei et agnitionis Filii Dei unitatem et perfectionem, ad eamque mensuram plenæ adultæ aetatis Christi, ut nullus omnino vel errori in religione, vel vitio in vita, locus apud quemquam detur.
    Cum itaque sit munus vestrum tantæ simul et excellentiæ et dignitatis et molis atque difficultatis, videtis quanta oporteat vos et curâ et solicitudine in illud incumbere ut et gratos vos ei Domino praestetis, qui tanto vos honore afficit tantamque vobis confert dignitatem, et nullum vobis ipsis et ecclesiæ ejus damnum detis. Jam autem nihil potestis hujus ex vobis cogitare, omnis hæc facultas a solo Deo datur; quantopere ergo pro bono Spiritu ejus orare vos sit necesse cernitis. Cumque nulla alia re tantum humanæ salutis opus, quod vobis imponitur, possitis perficere, quam doctrina et exhortatione ex divinis Scripturis deprompta et vita huic doctrinæ respondente, agnoscitis quanto etiam studio incumbere vos oporteat legendis et perdiscendis D. scripturis meditandis quoque et formandis moribus cum vestris tum vestrorum ad earundem scripturarum regulam. Et hac ipsa de causa quam procul etiam a vobis omnia mundi negocia et studia submovenda perspicitis.
    Haec vero omnia confidimus vos diu multumque et religiose ante cogitasse considerasse probeque ponderasse, atque ita vocationi Domini ad hoc munus obsequi, ejus confisos ope, sic decrevisse, ut velitis hoc unum totis viribus agere, cunctasque huc curas et cogitationes vestras conferre, ut et Spiritum Sanctum facultatem cælestem munus vestrum sancte et salubriter obeundi a Patre Domini nostri Jesu CHRISTI per hunc unum mediatorem et propitiatorem nostrum indesinenter oretis et jugi vos ac religiosa D. scripturarum lectione et excussione ad hoc ipsum ministerium vestrum indies amplius instruatis et corroboretis: et vitam quoque vestram atque vestrorum sic laboretis quotidie sanctificare et ad CHRISTI doctrinam conformare, ut salutaria gregis Domini exemplaria vos et vestros præstetis. Et quo in ista omnia possitis et liberioribus animis atque fælicius etiam incumbere omnes hujus sæculi curas et negocia longe a vobis rejiciatis, sicut haec omnia in examinatione vestra freti Dei auxilio promisistis. Ut vera et præsens CHRISTI ecclesia de his mentem et voluntatem vestram quoque intelligat, et vos hoc vestra promissio etiam ecclesiæ facta magis ad officium sollicitet, respondebitis clara voce ad ea quæ de his ipsis officiis vestris vos ecclesiæ nomine interrogabimus.’ Ibid. 256.

47 Post hæc jubetur etiam ecclesia eadem orare (pro) ordinandis in silentio, hisque precibus datur justum spacium, quo finito subjicit primarius ordinator.
    Dominus vobiscum.
    Oremus. Deus omnipotens, Pater Domini notri Jesu CHRISTI, gratias agimus Tuae divinae majestati et immensae in nos charitati et benignitati per hunc ipsum Filium Tuum Dominum et Redemptorem nostrum quod eum donasti nobis et Redemptorem et ductorem ad vitam beatam et sempiternam, Et voluisti ut postquam nostram morte suâ redemptionem perfecisset et ad dexteram tuam in cœlis consedisset instaurator omnium quæ sunt in cœlo et in terra daret nobis miseris et perditis hominibus, mitteretque, sicut tu eum misisti, Apostolos Prophetas Evangelistas Doctores et Pastores, quorum ministerio dispersos in mundo filios tuos ipse ad te colligeret, eosque te eis, in semetipso manifestato, tibi ad perpetuam laudum nominis sancti tui regigneret et renovaret. Inter quos placuit misericordiæ tuæ et nos tibi per eundem filium tuum et eodem sancto eius ministerio adduci et regenerari, hancque ex nobis, ut nunc adest coram te in tuo sancto conspectu, constitui ecclesiam. Pro his itaque tantis tam ineffabilibus æternæ bonitatis tuæ beneficiis tum etiam pro eo quod præsentes famulos tuos ad idem salutis humanæ ministerium vocare et nobis ad id ordinandos offerre es dignatus, quantas possumus agimus gratias teque laudamus et adoramus. Atque per eundem filium tuum supplices te rogamus et precamur ut Sanctum Spiritum tuum in nomine Filii tui opulente in hos ipsos tuos ministros effundas, eoque semper eos doceas et gubernes, quo tuo populo gregi boni pastoris nostri filii tui ministerium suum et fideliter et utiliter præstent: ac eo quam plurimos gloriæ tuæ quotidie adducant : eosque quos adduxerint ad omnem tuam sanctam voluntatem in dies perfectius instituant et conforment. Da quoque illis omnibus, quorum saluti vis istos ministrare, animos verbi tui capaces. Atque nobis omnibus hic et ubique nomen tuum invocantibus gratos nostros tibi semper præstare pro his et omnibus aliis beneficiis ejus: sicque quotidie in cognitione et fide tui et filii tui proficere per Spiritum Sanctum tuum, ut per hos ministros tuos et eos, quibus nos dare ministros voluisti, nosque omnes, nomen sanctum tuum semper amplius glorificetur et beatum regnum filii tui latius propagetur, potentiusque quocumque pervenerit obtineat. Per eundem filium tuum Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum, Qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitate ejusdem Spiritus Sancti per omnia sæcula sæculorum. Amen.’ Ibid. p. 258.

48 Above, pp. 337, 343.

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49 The reference here to Acts vi. 4 still more clearly defines the meaning of the formula as intended for the priesthood in contradistinction to the diaconate, while the idea of stewardship accords with S. Luke xii. 42, and 1 Cor. iv. 1.
    In the American book an alternative is provided. ‘Take thou authority to execute the ‘office of priest. . . . hands. And be thou a faithful,’ &c.
    ‘Post hanc precem primarius ordinator cum presbyteris praesentibus imponit iis, qui ordinantur. in genua sua procumbentibus, manus et dicit.
    ‘Manus Dei omnipotentis Patris Filii et Spiritus Sancti sit super vos, protegat et gubernet vos, ut eatis et fructum vestro ministerio quamplurimum afferatis, isque maneat in vitam æternam, Amen.’

50 Objections have also been raised to these two formulas from the Romanist side, on the ground that it is essential that in the form of ordination the order conferred should be clearly determined: and it is no doubt true that some such determination is needed, so as to make clear what is being done: but it is not necessary that this should be done simultaneously with the imposition of hands: it is not so in the Roman rite, and the old ordination prayers are not all explicit on the point. There are plenty of passages all through the English Service which determine the order which is being conferred, and no possible room is left for doubt on the point. See Priesthood in Engl. Ch: pp. 40, 41. Responsio, p. 23.

51 Another Roman objection has been raised here on the ground that it is necessary that the formula, if it fails to mention priesthood, must allude to it as being the power of offering sacrifice. But it is clear that this is not necessary; for the oldest ordination prayers, such as those of the Hippolytean Canons and of Serapion, have no such explicit mention of offering sacrifice: and it may be further replied (i) that such mention was not originally part of the Roman rite: and (ii) that such powers are included as a matter of fact in the general phrase of the English formula. See Priesthood in the English Church, pp. 42 and ff. Responsio, p. 19.

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52 ‘After the last collect and immediately before the Benediction.’ The phrase is important, because it implies, what is not elsewhere stated, that one or more post- communion collects are said normally at the Eucharist after the Gloria in Excelsis and before the Blessing. Cp. the similar rubric prescribing two prayers ‘for the last collect’ in the Consecration of Bishops. See above, p. 498.

53 Contrast the form in Bucer’s draft. ‘His finitis, canit ecclesia Symbolum fidei et proceditur ad communionem quam ordinati una sumant: qui etiam, dum communionem sumpserint, in eo loco manent ubi impositæ eis manus sunt,’ Bucer, p. 259.

54 In describing the position of the newly ordained, after the ceremony of ordination is completed, the most ancient Roman Ordines show that they stood with the rest of the priests and took their part in the service: this meant at that date, that they held each one his paten with two hosts and joined with the Bishop, consecrating as he consecrated. The tradition that they should share in the consecration was kept up in the later middle ages, even after the practice. had been given up of the priests joining habitually in the consecration with the Bishop: the question was much discussed as to whether there could be several consecrators with only one host as had come to be the case: (see e. g. S. Thomas, Summa III. 82. 2.) but it was decided in the affirmative and the custom was accepted and universally used (as it is to this day in the Roman Pontifical), though it was not explicitly required in the English Pontificals. Thus the position of the newly ordained in standing before the altar throughout the consecration is a relic of the former custom of the priests participating in the Eucharistic consecration effected by the bishop as principal celebrant. See Morin, III. viii. on the question of concelebration and its survival at the ordination of priests and bishops. Also Georgi, De Liturgia Rom. Pont. iii. 1.

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55 A comparative study of a number of the later English Pontificals shows that the service practically fell into two divisions: the first comprising the fused Gallican and Roman Rites as found in the earlier English books: in this division the amount of variation is small: the second comprising the ceremonies of unction and tradition of instruments of which only some small beginnings are to be seen in the earlier English books: in this the variation is extremely large.
    Clifford’s Pontifical at Corpus Christi Coll. Cambridge (MS. 79) gives two services one called Roman and the other called Anglican, agreeing in the main but differing in detail.

56 Regulations for the whole are found in the early Roman Ordo, VIII. ii, (Migne, P. L. LXXVIII. 1001).

57 The form of examination beginning Antiqua sanctorum Patrum is in the Gregorian Sacramentary of the Vatican Library published by Rocca in 1605 and reprinted in S. Gregory’s Works (see also Morin, pt. II. Ordo, 5.) and in Radbod’s Pontifical (Martene, I. viii. Ordo, vi.) both of the IXth century.

58 Cp. the service as printed above, p. 301.

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59 It is in the Dunstan, Jumieges, Leofric and later Pontificals. Possibly vice versa, 9 is Gallican and 12 Roman: see p. 654, note 1 [note 22]

60 See above, pp. 660, 661.

61 But the transference of the prayer after the Litany, to be the Collect at the Eucharist, effected in the other two services, was not effected here.

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