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THE SACRAMENT OF HOLY ORDERS
This Holy Sacrament was established on the Day of the Pentecost when the Disciples received the Holy Spirit at the upper room.
As the Acts of the Apostles inform us by laying their hands they ordained priests and later, priests and bishops and gave them the power of the Holy Spirit that they received on the Pentecost Day. This act is called ordination. When the Holy Church was growing more elected servants of God were needed and more ordinations took place. More Churches, dioceses and later Archdioceses and Patriarchates were established.
A person who wants to serve as a clergy has to show an inclination and special love to the Holy mission of God on earth. His life, his conduct should be according to the Gospel teachings. He has to have a spiritual father who will guide him.
When he feels that he is ready and still he wants to serve as a clergy, he express his wish to his spiritual father. If his spiritual father finds his character and his faith suitable to this great mission, he reports to the Bishop and gives a letter of recommendation. The Bishop after his investigation decides or rejects the petition of the priest. If he accepts, he speaks to the candidate and after that they decide for a date of ordination to the Holy Diaconate.
The Order of Holy Diaconate is the first step to the Clergyhood. The second is the priesthood and the third is Episcopacy. The ordinations to Holy Diaconate and to One Bishop can perform the Holy priesthood. The third order, which is to Episcopacy, needs at least three Bishops to be performed. All Ordinations take place in different parts of the Divine Liturgy. The Ordination is very important for the performance of the sacraments and the salvation of the people of God.
The priests with the power of the Holy Spirit that they receive during their ordination they bless people, they have the right to forgive or retain sins, to bless the sacraments and ask the descent of the Holy Spirit on the Holy Communion and on different situations for sanctification purposes.
The priest also has the great responsibility for themselves to keep themselves holy and suitable according to the teachings of the Gospel. They have to serve this great ministry with dignity and teach the Gospel to the faithful and explain all the Holy traditions that derive from the holy Bible. Because of these reasons the lay people respect their clergy, who dedicated their life to the mission of Christ and to the salvation of the souls of their faithful.
The lay people always venerate the right hand of the clergy because they are filled with the power of the Holy Spirit from the day of their ordination. They do not shake his hand. Those who do not venerate the hand of an orthodox clergy, express that they do not believe that they carry the power of the Holy Spirit through their ordination. This is called the Apostolic Succession, which is like a chain that never broke from the day of the Pentecost. The Orthodox Church accepts only that the Roman Catholic Church has the Apostolic Succession unbroken.
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