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Time and Place of Ordination
 Holy Orders 

Time and Place of Ordination

During the first centuries ordination took place whenever demanded by the needs of the Church. The Roman pontiffs generally ordained in December (Amalarius, “De offic.”, II, i). Pope Gelasius (494) decreed that the ordination of priests and deacons should be held at fixed times and days, viz., on the fasts of the fourth, seventh, and tenth months, also on the fasts of the beginning and midweek (Passion Sunday) of Lent and on (holy) Saturday about sunset (Epist. ad ep. Luc., xi). This but confirmed what Leo the Great laid down, for he seems to speak of ordination on Ember Saturdays as an Apostolic tradition (Serm. 2, de jejun. Pentec.) The ordination may take place either after sunset on the Saturday or early on Sunday morning. The ordination to major orders took place before the Gospel.

Minor orders might be given at any day or hour. They were generally given after holy communion. At present minor orders may be given on Sundays and days of obligation (suppressed included) in the morning. For the sacred orders, a privilege to ordain on other days than those appointed by the canons, provided the ordination takes place on Sunday or day of obligation (suppressed days included), is very commonly given. Though it was always the rule that ordinations should take place in public, in time of persecution they were sometimes held in private buildings. The place of ordinations is the church. Minor orders may be conferred in any place, but it is understood that they are given in the church. The Pontifical directs that ordinations to sacred orders must be held publicly in the cathedral church in presence of the cathedral chapter, or if they be held in some other place, the clergy should be present and the principle church, as far as possible, must be made use of (cf. Conc. Trid., Sess. XXIII, c. vii).

Written by Hubert Ahaus. Transcribed by Robert B. Olson. Offered to Almighty God for the priests and brothers of the Legionaries of Christ and all the men ordained into the Priesthood of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume XI. Published 1911. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Nihil Obstat, February 1, 1911. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York


The subject of ORDER is treated in its various aspects in the general works on Dogmatic Theology (Church and Sacraments). BILLOT; PESCH, De Sacr., pars II (Freiburg, 1909); TANQUEREY; HURTER; WILHELM AND SCANNELL, A Manual of Catholic Theology, II (London, 1908), 494-509; EINIG; TEPL; TOURNELY; SASSE; PALMIERI, De Romano Pontifice; PETAVIUS, De Ecclesia; HIBRARCH in Dogm., III; DE AUGUSTINIS, HALTZCLAU in Wirceburgenses. In Moral Theology and Canon Law, LEHMKUHL; NOLDIN, De Sacr. (Innsbruck, 1906); AERTNYS; GENICOT; BALLERINI-PALMIERI; LAURENTIUS; DEVOTI; CRAISSON; LOMBARDI; EINIG in Kirchenlex., s.v. Ordo; FUNK in KRAUS, Real-Encyklopädie, s.v. Ordo; HATCH in Dictionary of Christian antiquities, s.v. Orders, Holy. Special: HALLIER, De Sacris Electionibus et Ordinationibus (Paris, 1636), and in MIGNE, Theol. Cursus, XXIV; MORIN, Comment. historico-dogmaticus de sacris ecclesioe ordinationibus (Paris, 1655); MARTENE, De Antiquis Ecclesioe Ritibus (Venice, 1733); BENEDICT XIV, De Synod. Diocoesana (Louvain, 1763); WITASSE, De Sacramento Ordinis (Paris, 1717); DENZINGER, Ritus Orientalium (Würzburg, 1863); GASPARRI, Tractatus Canonicus de Sacra Ordinatione (Paris, 1894); BRUDERS, Die Verfassung der Kirche (Mainz, 1904), 365; WORDSWORTH, The Ministry of Grace (London, 1901); IDEM, Ordination Problems (London, 1909); WHITHAM, Holy Orders in Oxford Library of Practical Theology (London, 1903); MOBERLEY, Ministerial Priesthood (London, 1897); SANDAY, Conception of Priesthood (London, 1898); IDEM, Priesthood and Sacrifice, a Report (London, 1900); HARNACK, tr. OWEN, Sources of the Apostolic Canons (London, 1895); SEMERIA, Dogma, Gerarchia e Culto (Rome, 1902); DUCHESNE, Christian Worship (London, 1903); SALTET, Les Réordinations (Paris, 1907); MERTENS, Hierarchie in de eerste seuwen des Christendoms (Amsterdam, 1908); GORE, Orders and Unity (London, 1909). For St. Jerome’s opinions see SANDERS, Etudes sur St. Jérome (Brussels, 1903), and the bibliography on Hierarchy, ibid., pp. 335-44).

 Holy Orders 
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