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Making, ordaining, and consecrating

by
19 July 2013

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When I was confirmed, nearly 50 years ago, I learnt of the consecration of bishops, the ordination of priests, and the making of deacons. Although it seems still to be customary to consecrate bishops, I frequently read of the priesting of priests and the ordination of deacons. Has the terminology changed, or is this an informal usage that the layman can ignore?

Because some were trying to score points concerning the "making of deaconesses" and the "making of deacons", I once looked into this. The wording on the title page ofthe 1662 Ordinal, "Making, Ordaining and Consecrating of Bishops, Priests, and Deacons", dates from the Ordinal ofc.1600. Note the order in the title, which is different from that used in each section, so that in their section deacons are "made".

Some medieval ordinals used "make" for all three orders; some used "ordain" for all three; yet others used "consecrate" for all three. This probably indicates that these words were understood to be equivalent.

Common Worship: Ordination Services uses "ordination" for all three orders, except in the case of bishops it is called "Ordination and Consecration", and the text reads: "we present him to be ordained and consecrated to the office of bishop in the Church of God." No explanation is given in the notes. (I do not have a copy of the "Study Edition".)

(The Revd Sister) Teresa CSA
Notting Hill
London W11

The CW Study Edition notes that the text for the consecration of bishops included the phrase "ordained and consecrated" in both 1662 and 1980 (Alternative Service Book).

The change from "Ordaining or Consecrating" (1662 title) and "Ordination or Consecration"(1980 title) is said to be because "Today, . . . the phrase 'ordination or consecration' might be heard as implying alternative understandings of the same event, rather than merely alternative names for it." (Debate about this matter in the General Synod in February 2005 related to whether bishops were understood as a separate order from presbyters.)

The title page of a printed edition of the 1550 Ordinal refers to the "Making and Consecrating of Archbishops, Bishops, Priests and Deacons"; and a 1559 Ordinal title page retains the same formula "Making and Consecrating" (see images at justus.anglican.org/resources).

Editor

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T. A.

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