Ordination

Ordination

Overview
In general religious use, ordination is the process by which individuals are consecrated
Consecration
Consecration is the solemn dedication to a special purpose or service, usually religious. The word "consecration" literally means "to associate with the sacred". Persons, places, or things can be consecrated, and the term is used in various ways by different groups...

, that is, set apart as clergy
Clergy
Clergy is the generic term used to describe the formal religious leadership within a given religion. A clergyman, churchman or cleric is a member of the clergy, especially one who is a priest, preacher, pastor, or other religious professional....

 to perform various religious rites and ceremonies. The process and ceremonies of ordination itself varies by religion
Religion
Religion is a collection of cultural systems, belief systems, and worldviews that establishes symbols that relate humanity to spirituality and, sometimes, to moral values. Many religions have narratives, symbols, traditions and sacred histories that are intended to give meaning to life or to...

 and denomination
Religious denomination
A religious denomination is a subgroup within a religion that operates under a common name, tradition, and identity.The term describes various Christian denominations...

. One who is in preparation for, or who is undergoing the process of, ordination is sometimes called an ordinand. The liturgy
Liturgy
Liturgy is either the customary public worship done by a specific religious group, according to its particular traditions or a more precise term that distinguishes between those religious groups who believe their ritual requires the "people" to do the "work" of responding to the priest, and those...

 used at an ordination is sometimes referred to as an ordinal.

Ordination is one of the seven Sacraments, variously called Holy Orders
Holy Orders
The term Holy Orders is used by many Christian churches to refer to ordination or to those individuals ordained for a special role or ministry....

 or Cheirotonia ("Laying on of Hands
Laying on of hands
The laying on of hands is a religious ritual that accompanies certain religious practices, which are found throughout the world in varying forms....

").

Apostolic Succession
Apostolic Succession
Apostolic succession is a doctrine, held by some Christian denominations, which asserts that the chosen successors of the Twelve Apostles, from the first century to the present day, have inherited the spiritual, ecclesiastical and sacramental authority, power, and responsibility that were...

is an essential and necessary concept for ordination, consisting in the belief that all ordained clergy are ordained by bishops who were ordained by other bishops, and so on, tracing back to bishops ordained by the Apostles who were ordained by Christ
Christ
Christ is the English term for the Greek meaning "the anointed one". It is a translation of the Hebrew , usually transliterated into English as Messiah or Mashiach...

, the great High Priest () who conferred His priesthood upon His Apostles.
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Unanswered Questions
Encyclopedia
In general religious use, ordination is the process by which individuals are consecrated
Consecration
Consecration is the solemn dedication to a special purpose or service, usually religious. The word "consecration" literally means "to associate with the sacred". Persons, places, or things can be consecrated, and the term is used in various ways by different groups...

, that is, set apart as clergy
Clergy
Clergy is the generic term used to describe the formal religious leadership within a given religion. A clergyman, churchman or cleric is a member of the clergy, especially one who is a priest, preacher, pastor, or other religious professional....

 to perform various religious rites and ceremonies. The process and ceremonies of ordination itself varies by religion
Religion
Religion is a collection of cultural systems, belief systems, and worldviews that establishes symbols that relate humanity to spirituality and, sometimes, to moral values. Many religions have narratives, symbols, traditions and sacred histories that are intended to give meaning to life or to...

 and denomination
Religious denomination
A religious denomination is a subgroup within a religion that operates under a common name, tradition, and identity.The term describes various Christian denominations...

. One who is in preparation for, or who is undergoing the process of, ordination is sometimes called an ordinand. The liturgy
Liturgy
Liturgy is either the customary public worship done by a specific religious group, according to its particular traditions or a more precise term that distinguishes between those religious groups who believe their ritual requires the "people" to do the "work" of responding to the priest, and those...

 used at an ordination is sometimes referred to as an ordinal.

Roman Catholic, Orthodox, and Anglican Churches


Ordination is one of the seven Sacraments, variously called Holy Orders
Holy Orders
The term Holy Orders is used by many Christian churches to refer to ordination or to those individuals ordained for a special role or ministry....

 or Cheirotonia ("Laying on of Hands
Laying on of hands
The laying on of hands is a religious ritual that accompanies certain religious practices, which are found throughout the world in varying forms....

").

Apostolic Succession
Apostolic Succession
Apostolic succession is a doctrine, held by some Christian denominations, which asserts that the chosen successors of the Twelve Apostles, from the first century to the present day, have inherited the spiritual, ecclesiastical and sacramental authority, power, and responsibility that were...

is an essential and necessary concept for ordination, consisting in the belief that all ordained clergy are ordained by bishops who were ordained by other bishops, and so on, tracing back to bishops ordained by the Apostles who were ordained by Christ
Christ
Christ is the English term for the Greek meaning "the anointed one". It is a translation of the Hebrew , usually transliterated into English as Messiah or Mashiach...

, the great High Priest () who conferred His priesthood upon His Apostles. (, , , and )

There are three 'degrees' of ordination (or Holy Orders
Holy Orders
The term Holy Orders is used by many Christian churches to refer to ordination or to those individuals ordained for a special role or ministry....

): deacon
Deacon
Deacon is a ministry in the Christian Church that is generally associated with service of some kind, but which varies among theological and denominational traditions...

, presbyter
Presbyter
Presbyter in the New Testament refers to a leader in local Christian congregations, then a synonym of episkopos...

, and bishop
Bishop
A bishop is an ordained or consecrated member of the Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight. Within the Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox Churches, in the Assyrian Church of the East, in the Independent Catholic Churches, and in the...

. Note that both bishops and presbyters are priests and that in common speech the latter term is used, "presbyter" being used only in rites of ordination and other places where a technical and precise term is required.

Ordination of a bishop is performed by several bishops; ordination of priest or deacon is performed by a single bishop. The ordination of a new bishop is also called a consecration
Consecration
Consecration is the solemn dedication to a special purpose or service, usually religious. The word "consecration" literally means "to associate with the sacred". Persons, places, or things can be consecrated, and the term is used in various ways by different groups...

. Many ancient sources specify that at least three bishops are necessary to consecrate another, e.g., the 13th Canon of the Council of Carthage (AD 394) states "a bishop should not be ordained except by many bishops, but if there should be necessity he may be ordained by three." and the first of "The Canons of the Holy and Altogether August Apostles" states "Let a bishop be ordained by two or three bishops" while the second canon thereof states "Let a presbyter, deacon, and the rest of the clergy, be ordained by one bishop"; the latter canons, whatever their origin, were imposed on the universal church by the Seventh Ecumenical Council
Ecumenical council
An ecumenical council is a conference of ecclesiastical dignitaries and theological experts convened to discuss and settle matters of Church doctrine and practice....

, the Second Council of Nicaea
Second Council of Nicaea
The Second Council of Nicaea is regarded as the Seventh Ecumenical Council by Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, Eastern Catholic Churches and various other Western Christian groups...

, in its first canon.

Only a person ordained to the priesthood may administer most sacraments, e.g., hear confessions or validly celebrate the Eucharist
Eucharist
The Eucharist , also called Holy Communion, the Sacrament of the Altar, the Blessed Sacrament, the Lord's Supper, and other names, is a Christian sacrament or ordinance...

.


Details peculiar to the various denominations


The Roman Catholic Church
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

 requires that bishops be consecrated with the blessings of the Pope, as the guarantor of unity within the Church. Also, with the blessing of the Pope, a single bishop may consecrate another bishop, this dispensation being occasionally granted in extraordinary circumstances, e.g., in missionary settings or times of persecution.

In the Roman Catholic Church
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

 the majority of clergy are initially 'transitional deacons' before ordination as priest; 'permanent deacons' do not go on to priesthood: this allows married men to be ordained within the Roman Catholic Church.

While some Eastern churches have in the past recognized Anglican
Anglicanism
Anglicanism is a tradition within Christianity comprising churches with historical connections to the Church of England or similar beliefs, worship and church structures. The word Anglican originates in ecclesia anglicana, a medieval Latin phrase dating to at least 1246 that means the English...

 ordinations as valid, the current Anglican practice of ordaining women to the priesthood (and, in some cases, to the episcopate) has caused the Orthodox generally to rescind earlier declarations of validity and hopes for union. The Roman Catholic Church has never recognized Anglican orders as valid. Anglicanism recognizes Roman Catholic and Orthodox ordinations; hence, clergy converting to Anglicanism are not "re-ordained."

Some Eastern Orthodox Churches recognize Roman Catholic ordinations while others "re-ordain" Roman Catholic clergy (as well as Anglican Roman Catholic) who convert. However, both the Roman Catholic and Anglican Churches recognize Orthodox ordinations.

In the Roman Catholic and Anglican churches, ordinations have traditionally been held on Ember Days
Ember days
In the liturgical calendar of the Western Christian churches, Ember days are four separate sets of three days within the same week — specifically, the Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday — roughly equidistant in the circuit of the year, that were formerly set aside for fasting and prayer...

, though there is no limit to the number of clergymen who may be ordained at the same service. In the Eastern Orthodox Church, ordinations may be performed any day of the year on which the Divine Liturgy
Divine Liturgy
Divine Liturgy is the common term for the Eucharistic service of the Byzantine tradition of Christian liturgy. As such, it is used in the Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Catholic Churches. Armenian Christians, both of the Armenian Apostolic Church and of the Armenian Catholic Church, use the same term...

 may be celebrated (and deacons may also be ordained at the Presanctified Liturgy), but only one person may be ordained to each rank at any given service, that is, at most one bishop, one presbyter, and one deacon may be ordained at the same liturgy.

Protestantism


In most Protestant
Protestantism
Protestantism is one of the three major groupings within Christianity. It is a movement that began in Germany in the early 16th century as a reaction against medieval Roman Catholic doctrines and practices, especially in regards to salvation, justification, and ecclesiology.The doctrines of the...

 churches, ordination to the pastoral office is the rite by which their various churches:
  • recognize and confirm that an individual has been called by God to ministry,
  • acknowledges that the individual has gone through a period of discernment and training related to this call, and
  • authorizes that individual to take on the office of ministry
    Minister of religion
    In Christian churches, a minister is someone who is authorized by a church or religious organization to perform functions such as teaching of beliefs; leading services such as weddings, baptisms or funerals; or otherwise providing spiritual guidance to the community...

    .

For the sake of authorization and church order, and not for reason of 'powers' or 'ability', individuals in most mainline Protestant
Protestantism
Protestantism is one of the three major groupings within Christianity. It is a movement that began in Germany in the early 16th century as a reaction against medieval Roman Catholic doctrines and practices, especially in regards to salvation, justification, and ecclesiology.The doctrines of the...

 churches must be ordained in order to preside at the sacraments (Baptism and Holy Communion), and to be installed as a called pastor
Pastor
The word pastor usually refers to an ordained leader of a Christian congregation. When used as an ecclesiastical styling or title, this role may be abbreviated to "Pr." or often "Ps"....

 of a congregation or parish.

Some Protestant traditions have additional offices of ministry to which persons can be ordained. For instance:
  • most Presbyterian and Reformed churches maintain a threefold order of ministry of pastor
    Pastor
    The word pastor usually refers to an ordained leader of a Christian congregation. When used as an ecclesiastical styling or title, this role may be abbreviated to "Pr." or often "Ps"....

    , elder, and deacon
    Deacon
    Deacon is a ministry in the Christian Church that is generally associated with service of some kind, but which varies among theological and denominational traditions...

    . The order of Pastor, the only one of the three orders considered "clergy", is comparable to most other denominations' pastoral office or ordained ministry. The order of elder comprises lay persons ordained to the ministries of church order and spiritual care (for example, elders form the governing bodies of congregations and are responsible for a congregation's worship life). The order of deacon
    Deacon
    Deacon is a ministry in the Christian Church that is generally associated with service of some kind, but which varies among theological and denominational traditions...

     comprises lay persons ordained to ministries of service and pastoral care.
  • in the Methodist tradition, deacon
    Deacon
    Deacon is a ministry in the Christian Church that is generally associated with service of some kind, but which varies among theological and denominational traditions...

    s are also ordained.

For most Protestant denominations that have an office of bishop
Bishop
A bishop is an ordained or consecrated member of the Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight. Within the Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox Churches, in the Assyrian Church of the East, in the Independent Catholic Churches, and in the...

, such as Lutheranism and Methodism, this is not viewed as a separate ordination or order of ministry. Rather, bishops are ordained ministers of the same order as other pastors, simply having been "consecrated" or installed into the "office" (that is, the job) of bishop. However, some Lutheran churches also have valid apostolic succession
Apostolic Succession
Apostolic succession is a doctrine, held by some Christian denominations, which asserts that the chosen successors of the Twelve Apostles, from the first century to the present day, have inherited the spiritual, ecclesiastical and sacramental authority, power, and responsibility that were...

.

Some Protestant Churches – especially Pentecostal and Charismatic ones – also have an informal tier of ministers. Those who graduate from a Bible College or take a year of prescribed courses are Licensed Ministers. Two more years of courses or graduation from a seminary or theological graduate school, as well as an exam by senior ministers, will result in one becoming an Ordained Minister. Licensed ministers are addressed as "Minister" and ordained ministers as "Reverend."

Non-denominational


In Christianity, the term non-denominational refers to those churches that have not formally aligned themselves with an established denomination, or remain otherwise officially autonomous. This, however, does not preclude an identifiable standard among such congregations. Non-denominational congregations may establish a functional denomination by means of mutual recognition of or accountability to other congregations and leaders with commonly held doctrine, policy and worship without formalizing external direction or oversight in such matters. Some non-denominational churches explicitly reject the idea of a formalized denominational structure as a matter of principle, holding that each congregation must be autonomous.

Non-denominational is generally used to refer to one of two forms of independence: political or theological. That is, the independence may come about because of a religious disagreement or political disagreement. This causes some confusion in understanding. Some churches say they are non-denominational because they have no central headquarters (though they may have affiliations with other congregations.) Other churches say they are non-denominational because their belief structures are unique.

Members of non-denominational churches often consider themselves simply "Christians". However, the acceptance of any particular stance on a doctrine or practice (for example, on baptism), about which there is not general unanimity among churches or professing Christians, may be said to establish a de facto credal identity. In essence, this would mean that each non-denominational church forms its own unofficial "denomination" with a specific set of tenets as defined by the beliefs and practices of its own congregation.

Jehovah's Witnesses


Jehovah's Witnesses do not have a separate clergy class, but consider an adherent's qualified baptism to constitute his ordination as a lay minister. Governments have generally recognized that Jehovah's Witnesses' full-time appointees (such as their "regular pioneers") qualify as ministers regardless of sex or appointment as an elder or deacon ("ministerial servant"). The religion itself asserts what is sometimes termed "ecclesiastical privilege" only for its appointed elders, but the religion permits any baptized adult male in good standing to perform a baptism, wedding, or funeral. There also is a Governing Body
Governing Body of Jehovah's Witnesses
The Governing Body of Jehovah's Witnesses is the ruling council of Jehovah's Witnesses based in Brooklyn, New York. The body assumes responsibility for formulating policy and doctrines, producing material for publications and conventions, and administering its worldwide branch office staff...

.

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints


In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a rite of ordination is performed to bestow either the Aaronic or Melchizedek priesthood upon a worthy male member. As in the Anglican, Roman Catholic and Orthodox traditions, great care is taken to assure that the candidate for priesthood is ordained by those with proper authority and ordained properly and validly; thorough records of priesthood ordination are kept by the church. Ordination is performed by the laying on of hands
Laying on of hands
The laying on of hands is a religious ritual that accompanies certain religious practices, which are found throughout the world in varying forms....

. Ordination to the office of priest in the Aaronic priesthood gives the ordained person the authority to:
  • baptize converts and children over the age of 8 into the church
  • bless and administer the sacrament (the Lord's Supper)
  • participate in ordinations of others to the Aaronic Priesthood
  • collect fast offerings for the Bishop (ordained Deacons and Teachers can also perform this)
  • ordain other priests, teachers, and deacons


Ordination to the Melchizedek priesthood includes the authority to perform all the duties of the Aaronic priesthood, as well as ordain others to the Melchizedek or Aaronic priesthood, perform confirmations, bless and anoint the sick with oil, bless and dedicate graves, and other such rites. There are five offices within the Melchizedek Priesthood to which one could potentially be ordained:
  • Elder
  • High Priest
  • Patriarch
  • Seventy
  • Apostle

"Ordination to an office in the Aaronic Priesthood is done by or under the direction of the bishop or branch president. Ordination to an office in the Melchizedek Priesthood is done by or under the direction of the stake or mission president. To perform a priesthood ordination, one or more authorized priesthood holders place their hands lightly on the person’s head."

Latter-day Saints believe in a line of priesthood authority that traces back to Jesus Christ and his apostles. The Church's founder, Joseph Smith
Joseph Smith
Joseph Smith was founder of what later became known as the Latter Day Saint movement or Mormons.Joseph Smith may also refer to:-Latter Day Saints:* Joseph Smith, Sr. , father of Joseph Smith...

, was ordained under the hands of apostles Peter, James, and John
John the Apostle
John the Apostle, John the Apostle, John the Apostle, (Aramaic Yoħanna, (c. 6 - c. 100) was one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus. He was the son of Zebedee and Salome, and brother of James, another of the Twelve Apostles...

, who appeared to Smith as angelic messengers in 1829.

Judaism


Semicha , also semichut , or semicha lerabanim is derived from a Hebrew word which means to "rely on" or "to be authorized". It generally refers to the ordination of a rabbi
Rabbi
In Judaism, a rabbi is a teacher of Torah. This title derives from the Hebrew word רבי , meaning "My Master" , which is the way a student would address a master of Torah...

 within Judaism
Judaism
Judaism ) is the "religion, philosophy, and way of life" of the Jewish people...

.

Islam


Muslims do not formally ordain religious leaders. Ordination is viewed as a distinct aspect of other religions and is rejected. Islam does not have a formal and separated clergy.

Religious leaders are usually called Imams or Sheikhs or Maulana. The title Imam refers to someone who leads in prayer and can also be used in a linguistic sense for anyone who leads other Muslims in congregational prayers. Sheikh is an Arabic word meaning "old man" and is used as an honorable title for a learned man; Shaikhah refers to a woman learned in Islamic issues. This title is usually more prevalent in the Arabic countries. The word Maulana is a title bestowed upon students who have graduated from a Madrasah (Islamic theological school) throughout the Indian subcontinent region. Although different Muslim schools, universities or madrasas might follow different graduation ceremonies upon a student's complete of a 4 year B.A. of Islamic Studies or a 7-8 Alim Course, these ceremonies do not in any way symbolize ordination.

Buddhism



The tradition of the ordained monastic community (Sangha
Sangha
Sangha is a word in Pali or Sanskrit that can be translated roughly as "association" or "assembly," "company" or "community" with common goal, vision or purpose...

) began with the Buddha
Gautama Buddha
Siddhārtha Gautama was a spiritual teacher from the Indian subcontinent, on whose teachings Buddhism was founded. In most Buddhist traditions, he is regarded as the Supreme Buddha Siddhārtha Gautama (Sanskrit: सिद्धार्थ गौतम; Pali: Siddhattha Gotama) was a spiritual teacher from the Indian...

, who established orders of monks and later of nuns.

The procedure of ordination in Buddhism
Buddhism
Buddhism is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha . The Buddha lived and taught in the northeastern Indian subcontinent some time between the 6th and 4th...

 is laid down in the Vinaya
Vinaya
The Vinaya is the regulatory framework for the Buddhist monastic community, or sangha, based in the canonical texts called Vinaya Pitaka. The teachings of the Buddha, or Buddhadharma can be divided into two broad categories: 'Dharma' or doctrine, and 'Vinaya', or discipline...

 and Patimokkha
Patimokkha
In Buddhism, the Patimokkha is the basic Theravada code of monastic discipline, consisting of 227 rules for fully ordained monks and 311 for nuns . It is contained in the Suttavibhanga, a division of the Vinaya Pitaka.- Parajika :...

 or Pratimoksha
Pratimoksha
The Pratimoksha is a Buddhist moral discipline. A loose translation of the term is "personal liberation", and thus the discipline is concerned with the Buddhist's quest for personal liberation, and originated with the Pratimoksha Vows given by the Buddha to his followers. "Prati" means 'towards' or...

 scriptures. There exist three intact ordination lineages nowadays in which one can receive an ordination according to the Buddha's teachings:
  • Dharmaguptaka
    Dharmaguptaka
    The Dharmaguptaka are one of the eighteen or twenty early Buddhist schools, depending on one's source. They are said to have originated from another sect, the Mahīśāsakas...

     Lineage
  • Mulasarvastivadin
    Pratimoksha
    The Pratimoksha is a Buddhist moral discipline. A loose translation of the term is "personal liberation", and thus the discipline is concerned with the Buddhist's quest for personal liberation, and originated with the Pratimoksha Vows given by the Buddha to his followers. "Prati" means 'towards' or...

     Lineage
  • Theravada
    Patimokkha
    In Buddhism, the Patimokkha is the basic Theravada code of monastic discipline, consisting of 227 rules for fully ordained monks and 311 for nuns . It is contained in the Suttavibhanga, a division of the Vinaya Pitaka.- Parajika :...

     Lineage

Mahayana


Saicho
Saicho
was a Japanese Buddhist monk credited with founding the Tendai school in Japan, based around the Chinese Tiantai tradition he was exposed to during his trip to China beginning in 804. He founded the temple and headquarters of Tendai at Enryaku-ji on Mt. Hiei near Kyoto. He is also said to have...

 repeatedly requested that the government allow for the construction of a Mahayana Ordination Platform. Permission was granted in 822 CE, seven days after Saicho
Saicho
was a Japanese Buddhist monk credited with founding the Tendai school in Japan, based around the Chinese Tiantai tradition he was exposed to during his trip to China beginning in 804. He founded the temple and headquarters of Tendai at Enryaku-ji on Mt. Hiei near Kyoto. He is also said to have...

 passed away. The platform was finished in 827 CE at Enryaku-ji temple on Mount Hiei, and was the first in Japan. Prior to this, those wishing to become monks/nuns were ordained using the Hinayana precepts, whereas after the Mahayana Ordination Platform, people were ordained with the Bodhisattva
Bodhisattva
In Buddhism, a bodhisattva is either an enlightened existence or an enlightenment-being or, given the variant Sanskrit spelling satva rather than sattva, "heroic-minded one for enlightenment ." The Pali term has sometimes been translated as "wisdom-being," although in modern publications, and...

 Precepts as listed in the Brahma Net Sutra.

Theravada


Pabbajja is an ordination procedure for novice Buddhist monks in the Theravada
Theravada
Theravada ; literally, "the Teaching of the Elders" or "the Ancient Teaching", is the oldest surviving Buddhist school. It was founded in India...

 tradition.

Posthumous ordination


In Medieval Sōtō
Soto
Sōtō Zen , or is, with Rinzai and Ōbaku, one of the three most populous sects of Zen in Japanese Buddhism.The Sōtō sect was first established as the Caodong sect during the Tang Dynasty in China by Dongshan Liangjie in the 9th century, which Dōgen Zenji then brought to Japan in the 13th century...

 Zen
Zen
Zen is a school of Mahāyāna Buddhism founded by the Buddhist monk Bodhidharma. The word Zen is from the Japanese pronunciation of the Chinese word Chán , which in turn is derived from the Sanskrit word dhyāna, which can be approximately translated as "meditation" or "meditative state."Zen...

, a tradition of posthumous ordination was developed to give the laity access to Zen funeral rites
Japanese funeral
A Japanese funeral A Japanese funeral A Japanese funeral (葬儀 sōgi or 葬式 sōshiki)includes a wake, the cremation of the deceased, a burial in a family grave, and a periodic memorial service. According to 2007 statistics, 99.81% of deceased Japanese are cremated...

. Chinese Ch’an monastic codes, from which Japanese Sōtō
Soto
Sōtō Zen , or is, with Rinzai and Ōbaku, one of the three most populous sects of Zen in Japanese Buddhism.The Sōtō sect was first established as the Caodong sect during the Tang Dynasty in China by Dongshan Liangjie in the 9th century, which Dōgen Zenji then brought to Japan in the 13th century...

 practices were derived, contain only monastic funeral rites; there were no provisions made for funerals for lay believers. To solve this problem, the Sōtō
Soto
Sōtō Zen , or is, with Rinzai and Ōbaku, one of the three most populous sects of Zen in Japanese Buddhism.The Sōtō sect was first established as the Caodong sect during the Tang Dynasty in China by Dongshan Liangjie in the 9th century, which Dōgen Zenji then brought to Japan in the 13th century...

 school developed the practice of ordaining laypeople after death, thus allowing monastic funeral rites to be used for them as well.

Fully ordained nuns


The legitimacy of fully ordained nuns (bhikkhuni/bhiksuni) has become a significant topic of discussion in recent years. Texts passed down in every Buddhist tradition record that Buddha
Gautama Buddha
Siddhārtha Gautama was a spiritual teacher from the Indian subcontinent, on whose teachings Buddhism was founded. In most Buddhist traditions, he is regarded as the Supreme Buddha Siddhārtha Gautama (Sanskrit: सिद्धार्थ गौतम; Pali: Siddhattha Gotama) was a spiritual teacher from the Indian...

 created an order of fully ordained nuns, but the tradition has died out in some Buddhist traditions such as Theravada Buddhism, while remaining strong in others such as Chinese Buddhism (Dharmaguptaka Lineage). In the Tibetan lineage, which follows the Mulasarvastivadin lineage, the lineage of fully ordained nuns was not brought to Tibet
Tibet
Tibet is a plateau region in Asia, north-east of the Himalayas. It is the traditional homeland of the Tibetan people as well as some other ethnic groups such as Monpas, Qiang, and Lhobas, and is now also inhabited by considerable numbers of Han and Hui people...

 by the Indian Vinaya
Vinaya
The Vinaya is the regulatory framework for the Buddhist monastic community, or sangha, based in the canonical texts called Vinaya Pitaka. The teachings of the Buddha, or Buddhadharma can be divided into two broad categories: 'Dharma' or doctrine, and 'Vinaya', or discipline...

 masters, hence there is no rite for the ordination of full nuns. However HH the XIV. Dalai Lama has endeavored for many years to improve this situation. In 2005 he asked fully ordained nuns in the Dharmaguptaka
Dharmaguptaka
The Dharmaguptaka are one of the eighteen or twenty early Buddhist schools, depending on one's source. They are said to have originated from another sect, the Mahīśāsakas...

 Lineage, especially Jampa Tsedroen, to form a committee to work for the acceptance of the bhiksuni lineage within the Tibetan tradition, and donated 50.000€ for further research. The "1st International Congress on Buddhist Women’s Role in the Sangha: Bhikshuni Vinaya and Ordination Lineages" was held at the University of Hamburg from July 18–20, 2007, in cooperation with the University’s Asia-Africa Institute. Although the general tenor was that full ordination was overdue, the Dalai Lama presented a pre-drafted statement saying that more time was required to reach a decision, thus nullifying the intentions of the congress.

New Kadampa Tradition


The Buddhist ordination tradition of the New Kadampa Tradition
New Kadampa Tradition
The New Kadampa Tradition ~ International Kadampa Buddhist Union is a global Buddhist organisation founded by Geshe Kelsang Gyatso in England in 1991. In 2003 the words "International Kadampa Buddhist Union" were added to the original name "New Kadampa Tradition"...

-International Kadampa Buddhist Union (NKT-IKBU) was developed by Geshe Kelsang Gyatso
Kelsang Gyatso
Kelsang Gyatso is a Buddhist monk, "meditation master, scholar, and author" of 22 books based on the teachings of the Gelug school of Tibetan Buddhism...

 in accordance with the changing needs of modern society. Unlike most other Buddhist traditions, including Mahayana
Mahayana
Mahāyāna is one of the two main existing branches of Buddhism and a term for classification of Buddhist philosophies and practice...

 schools such as Tibetan Buddhism
Tibetan Buddhism
Tibetan Buddhism is the body of Buddhist religious doctrine and institutions characteristic of Tibet and certain regions of the Himalayas, including northern Nepal, Bhutan, and India . It is the state religion of Bhutan...

, which follow the Hinayana
Hinayana
Hīnayāna is a Sanskrit and Pāli term literally meaning: the "Inferior Vehicle", "Deficient Vehicle", the "Abandoned Vehicle", or the "Defective Vehicle". The term appeared around the 1st or 2nd century....

 ordination tradition as laid down in the Vinaya
Vinaya
The Vinaya is the regulatory framework for the Buddhist monastic community, or sangha, based in the canonical texts called Vinaya Pitaka. The teachings of the Buddha, or Buddhadharma can be divided into two broad categories: 'Dharma' or doctrine, and 'Vinaya', or discipline...

 and Pratimoksha
Pratimoksha
The Pratimoksha is a Buddhist moral discipline. A loose translation of the term is "personal liberation", and thus the discipline is concerned with the Buddhist's quest for personal liberation, and originated with the Pratimoksha Vows given by the Buddha to his followers. "Prati" means 'towards' or...

 Sutras, the NKT-IKBU ordination is said to be 'based on' the Mahayana
Mahayana
Mahāyāna is one of the two main existing branches of Buddhism and a term for classification of Buddhist philosophies and practice...

 Perfection of Wisdom Sutras.

Ordination of women


The ordination of women is often a controversial issue in religions where either the office of ordination, or the role that an ordained person fulfills, is traditionally restricted to men, for various theological reasons.

In Christianity


The Christian priesthood has traditionally been reserved to men. Some claim that women were ordained deacons in the first millennium of Christianity, but their claims are disputed. After the Protestant Reformation and the loosening of authority structures within many denominations, most Protestant groups re-envisioned the role of the ordained priesthood. Many did away with it altogether. Others altered it in fundamental ways, often favoring a rabbinical-type married minister of teaching (word) and discarding any notion of a sacrificial priesthood. A common epithet used by Protestants (especially Anglicans) against Catholics was that Catholics were a 'priest-ridden' people. Hatred for priests was a common element of anti-Catholicism
Anti-Catholicism
Anti-Catholicism is a generic term for discrimination, hostility or prejudice directed against Catholicism, and especially against the Catholic Church, its clergy or its adherents...

 and pogroms against Catholics focused on expelling, killing, or forcefully 'laicizing' priests.

Beginning in the twentieth century, many Protestant denominations began re-evaluating the roles of women in their churches. Many now ordain women. A woman named Deborah was a judge of the ancient Israelites according to the biblical book of Judges
Book of Judges
The Book of Judges is the seventh book of the Hebrew bible and the Christian Old Testament. Its title describes its contents: it contains the history of Biblical judges, divinely inspired prophets whose direct knowledge of Yahweh allows them to act as decision-makers for the Israelites, as...

. Based partially upon this precedence, other Protestant and non-denominational organizations, grant ordination to women. Other denominations refute the claim of a precedent based on Deborah's example because she is not specifically described as ruling over Israel, rather giving judgments on contentious issues in private, not teaching publicly, neither did she lead the military. Her message to her fellow judge Barak in fact affirmed the male leadership of Israel. The United Church of Canada
United Church of Canada
The United Church of Canada is a Protestant Christian denomination in Canada. It is the largest Protestant church and, after the Roman Catholic Church, the second-largest Christian church in Canada...

 has ordained women since 1932. The Evangelical Lutheran Church of America ordains women as pastors, and women are eligible for election as bishops. The Episcopal Church in the United States of America ordains women as deacons, priests and bishops. The Lutheran Evangelical Protestant Church
The Lutheran Evangelical Protestant Church
The Lutheran Evangelical Protestant Church is a mainline Protestant denomination also known by its non profit corporation name the Evangelical Protestant Church .The earliest Lutherans in America came from Dutch, Swedish and German stock...

 ordains women at all levels including deacon, priest and bishop. Other denominations leave the decision to ordain women to the regional governing body, or even to the congregation itself; these include the Christian Reformed Church in North America
Christian Reformed Church in North America
The Christian Reformed Church in North America is a Protestant Christian denomination in the United States and Canada. Having roots in the Dutch Reformed churches of the Netherlands, the Christian Reformed Church was founded by Gijsbert Haan and Dutch immigrants who left the Reformed Church in...

 and the Evangelical Presbyterian Church. The ordination of women in the latter half of the 20th century was an important issue between Anglicans and Catholics since the Catholic Church viewed the ordination of women as a huge obstacle to possible rapprochement between the two churches.

The Catholic Church has not changed its view or practice on the ordination or women, and neither have any of the Orthodox churches; these Churches represent approximately 65% of all Christians worldwide. In response to the growing call for the ordination of women, Pope John Paul II issued the statement Ordinatio Sacerdotalis
Ordinatio Sacerdotalis
Ordinatio Sacerdotalis is an Apostolic Letter issued from the Vatican by Pope John Paul II on 22 May 1994, whereby the Pope expounds the teaching of the Catholic Church's position requiring "the reservation of priestly ordination to men alone." In its clear proclamation that "the Church has no...

 in 1995. In it, he gave reasons why women cannot be ordained, and defined that the Holy Spirit had not conferred the power to ordain women upon the Church. In the wake of this definitive statement, many theologians considered the issue settled, but many continue to push for the ordination of women in the Catholic Church. Some have even begun protest churches.

In Judaism


The ordination of women rabbis in Judaism closely parallels that of women ministers in Protestantism. Historically all-male, female rabbis began being allowed by more liberal congregations in the middle of the twentieth century. Most Orthodox congregations do not allow women rabbis.
Policy regarding the ordination of women differs among the different denominations of Judaism.

External links