The Book of Common Prayer Table of
The Form and Manner of
Ordering of Priests
When the day appointed by the Bishop is come;
after Morning Prayer is ended, there shall be a Sermon or
Exhortation, declaring the duty and office of such as come to be
admitted Priests; how necessary that Order is in the Church of
Christ; and also how the people ought to esteem them in their
First, the Archdeacon, or, in his absence, one
appointed in his stead, or such other person as by ancient custom
have the right so to do, shall present unto the Bishop (sitting in
his chair near to the holy Table) all them that shall receive the
Order of Priesthood that day (each of them being decently habited)
Reverend Father in
God, I present unto you these persons present, to be admitted
to the Order of Priesthood.
Take heed that the
persons, whom ye present unto us, be apt and meet, for their
learning and godly conversation, to exercise their ministry duly,
to the honour of God, and the edifying of his Church.
The Archdeacon shall answer,
I Have enquired of
them, and also examined them; and think them so to be.
Then the Bishop shall say unto the people:
Good people, these
are they whom we purpose, God willing, to receive this day unto the
holy office of Priesthood: For after due examination we find not to
the contrary, but that they be lawfully called to their function
and ministry, and that they be persons meet for the same. But yet
if there be any of you, who knoweth any impediment or notable crime
in any of them, for the which he ought not to be received into this
holy ministry; Let him come forth in the Name of God, and shew what
the crime or impediment is.
And if any great crime or impediment be
objected, the Bishop shall surcease from ordering that person,
until such time as the party accused shall be found clear of that
Then the Bishop (commending such as shall be
found meet to be ordered to the prayers of the Congregation) shall,
with the Clergy and people present, sing or say the Litany, with
the Prayers, as is before appointed in the Form of Ordering
Deacons; save only, that, in the proper Suffrage there added, the
word [Deacons] shall be omitted, and the word [Priests] inserted
instead of it.
Then shall be sung or said the Service for the
Communion, with the Collect, Epistle, and Gospel, as followeth.
Almighty God, giver
of all good things, who by thy Holy Spirit hast appointed
divers Orders of Ministers in thy Church: Mercifully behold these
thy servants now called to the office of Priesthood; and replenish
them so with the truth of thy doctrine, and adorn them with
innocency of life, that, both by word and good example, they may
faithfully serve thee in this office, to the glory of thy Name, and
the edification of thy Church; through the merits of our Saviour
Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost,
world without end. Amen.
Unto every one of
us is given grace, accord- ing to the measure of the gift of
Christ. Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led
captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. (Now that he ascended,
what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of
the earth? He that descended is the same also that ascended up far
above all heavens, that he might fill all things.) And he gave some
Apostles, and some Prophets, and some Evangelists, and some Pastors
and Teachers; for the perfecting of the saints for the work of the
ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ; till we all come,
in the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God,
unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness
After this shall be read for the Gospel part of
the ninth chapter of Saint Matthew, as followeth.
St. Matthew 9.36
When Jesus saw the
multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they
fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.
Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous,
but the labourers are few; pray ye therefore the Lord of the
harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.
Or else this that followeth, out of the tenth
chapter of Saint John.
St. John 10.1
Verily, verily I
say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheep-fold,
but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.
But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep.
To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he
calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. And when he
putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep
follow him: for they know his voice. And a stranger will they not
follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of
strangers. This parable spake Jesus unto them, but they understood
not what things they were which he spake unto them. Then said Jesus
unto them again, Verily, verily I say unto you, I am the door of
the sheep. All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers:
but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door: by me if any man
enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find
pasture. The thief cometh not but for to steal, and to kill, and to
destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might
have it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd
giveth his life for the sheep. But he that is an hireling, and not
the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming,
and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and
scattereth the sheep. The hireling fleeth, because he is an
hireling, and careth not for the sheep. I am the good shepherd, and
know my sheep, and am known of mine. As the Father knoweth me, even
so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. And
other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must
bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold,
and one shepherd.
Then the Bishop, sitting
in his Chair, shall say unto them as hereafter
You have heard,
brethren, as well in your private examination, as in the
exhortation which was now made to you, and in the holy Lessons
taken out of the Gospel and the writings of the Apostles, of what
dignity and of how great importance this office is, whereunto ye
are called. And now again we exhort you, in the Name of our Lord
Jesus Christ, that you have in remembrance, into how high a
dignity, and to how weighty an office and charge ye are called:
that is to say, to be messengers, watchmen, and stewards of the
Lord; to teach and to premonish, to feed and provide for the Lord's
family; to seek for Christ's sheep that are dispersed abroad, and
for his children who are in the midst of this naughty world, that
they may be saved through Christ for ever.
Have always therefore printed in your remembrance, how great a
treasure is committed to your charge. For they are the sheep of
Christ, which he bought with his death, and for whom he shed his
blood. The Church and Congregation whom you must serve, is his
spouse and his body. And if it shall happen the same Church, or any
member thereof, to take any hurt or hindrance by reason of your
negligence, ye know the greatness of the fault, and also the
horrible punishment that will ensue. Wherefore consider with
yourselves the end of your ministry towards the children of God,
towards the spouse and body of Christ; and see that you never cease
your labour, your care and diligence, until you have done all that
lieth in you, according to your bounden duty, to bring all such as
are or shall be committed to your charge, unto that agreement in
the faith and knowledge of God, and to that ripeness and
perfectness of age in Christ, that there be no place left among
you, either for error in religion, or for viciousness in
Forasmuch then as your office is both of so great excellency and of
so great difficulty, ye see with how great care and study ye ought
to apply yourselves, as well that ye may shew yourselves dutiful
and thankful unto that Lord, who hath placed you in so high a
dignity; as also to beware that neither you yourselves offend, nor
be occasion that others offend. Howbeit, ye cannot have a mind and
will thereto of yourselves; for that will and ability is given of
God alone. Therefore ye ought, and have need, to pray earnestly for
his Holy Spirit. And seeing that you cannot by any other means
compass the doing of so weighty a work, pertaining to the salvation
of man, but with doctrine and exhortation taken out of the holy
Scriptures, and with a life agreeable to the same; consider how
studious ye ought to be in reading and learning the Scriptures, and
in framing the manners both of yourselves, and of them that
specially pertain unto you, according to the rule of the same
Scriptures: and for this self-same cause, how ye ought to forsake
and set aside (as much as you may) all worldly cares and
We have good hope that you have well weighed and pondered these
things with yourselves long before this time; and that you have
clearly determined, by God's grace, to give yourselves wholly to
this office, whereunto it hath pleased God to call you: so that, as
much as lieth in you, you will apply yourselves wholly to this one
thing, and draw all your cares and studies this way; and that you
will continually pray to God the Father, by the mediation of our
only Saviour Jesus Christ, for the heavenly assistance of the Holy
Ghost; that, by daily reading and weighing of the Scriptures, ye
may wax riper and stronger in your ministry; and that ye may so
endeavour yourselves from time to time to sanctify the lives of you
and yours, and to fashion them after the rule and doctrine of
Christ, that ye may be wholesome and godly examples and patterns
for the people to follow.
And now, that this present Congregation of Christ here assembled
may also understand your minds and wills in these things, and that
this your promise may the more move you to do your duties, ye shall
answer plainly to these things, which we, in the Name of God, and
of his Church, shall demand of you touching the same.
Do you think in
your heart that you be truly called, according to the will of our
Lord Jesus Christ, and the order of this Church of England, to the Order and Ministry of
Bishop.Are you persuaded that
the holy Scriptures contain sufficiently all doctrine
required of necessity for eternal salvation through faith in Jesus
Christ? And are you determined out of the said Scriptures to
instruct the people committed to your charge, and to teach nothing
(as required of necessity to eternal salvation) but that which you
shall be persuaded may be concluded and proved by the
so persuaded, and have so determined by God's
Bishop.Will you then give your
faithful diligence always so to minister the doctrine and
sacraments, and the discipline of Christ, as the Lord hath
commanded, and as this Church and Realm hath received the same,
according to the commandments of God; so that you may teach the
people committed to your cure and charge with all diligence to keep
and observe the same?
will so do, by the help of the Lord.
Bishop.Will you be ready, with
all faithful diligence, to banish and drive away all erroneous and
strange doctrines contrary to God's Word; and to use both publick
and private monitions and exhortations, as well to the sick as to
the whole, within your cures, as need shall require, and occasion
shall be given?
will, the Lord being my helper.
Bishop.Will you be diligent in
prayers, and in reading of the holy Scriptures, and in such studies
as help to the knowledge of the same, laying aside the study of the
world and the flesh?
will endeavour myself so to do, the Lord being my helper.
Bishop.Will you be diligent to
frame and fashion your own selves, and your families, according to
the doctrine of Christ; and to make both yourselves and them, as
much as in you lieth, wholesome examples and patterns to the flock
will apply myself thereto, the Lord being my helper.
Bishop.Will you maintain and set
forwards, as much as lieth in you, quietness, peace, and love,
among all Christian people, and specially among them that are or
shall be committed to your charge?
will so do, the Lord being my helper.
Bishop.Will you reverently obey
your Ordinary, and other chief Ministers, unto whom is committed
the charge and government over you; following with a glad mind and
will their godly admonitions, and submitting yourselves to their
will so do, the Lord being my helper.
Then shall the Bishop, standing up, say,
Almighty God, who
hath given you this will to do all these things; Grant also
unto you strength and power to perform the same; that he may
accomplish his work which he hath begun in you; through Jesus
Christ our Lord. Amen.
After this, the Congregation shall be desired,
secretly in their prayers, to make their humble supplications to
God for all these things: for the which prayers there shall be
silence kept for a space.
After which shall be sung or said by the Bishop
(the persons to be ordained Priests all kneeling) Veni, Creator
Spiritus; the Bishop beginning, and the Priests, and others that
are present, answering by verses, as followeth.
Ghost, our souls inspire,
And lighten with celestial fire.
Thou the anointing Spirit art,
Who dost thy seven-fold gifts
Thy blessed Unction from above
Is comfort, life, and fire of love.
Enable with perpetual light
The dulness of our blinded sight.
Anoint and cheer our soiled face
With the abundance of thy grace.
Keep far our foes, give peace at home:
Where thou art guide, no ill can
Teach us to know the Father, Son,
And thee, of both, to be but One.
That, through the ages all along,
This may be our endless song:
Praise to thy eternal merit,
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Ghost, eternal God, proceeding from above,
Both from the Father and the Son, the
God of peace and love;
Visit our minds, into our hearts thy
heavenly grace inspire;
That truth and godliness we may pursue
with full desire.
Thou art the very Comforter in grief and
The heav'nly gift of God most high, no
tongue can it express;
The fountain and the living spring of joy
The fire so bright, the love so sweet,
the Unction spiritual.
Thou in thy gifts art manifold, by them
Christ's Church doth stand:
In faithful hearts thou writ'st thy
law, the finger of God's hand.
According to thy promise, Lord, thou
givest speech with grace;
That through thy help God's praises may
resound in every place.
O Holy Ghost, into our minds send down thy
Kindle our hearts with fervent zeal to
serve God day and night.
Our weakness strengthen and confirm, (for,
Lord, thou know'st us frail;)
That neither devil, world, nor flesh,
against us may prevail.
Put back our enemy far from us, and help
us to obtain
Peace in our hearts with God and man,
(the best, the truest gain;)
And grant that thou being, O Lord, our
leader and our guide,
We may escape the snares of sin, and
never from thee slide.
Such measures of thy powerful grace grant,
Lord, to us, we pray;
That thou may'st be our Comforter at
the last dreadful day.
Of strife and of dissension dissolve, O
Lord, the bands,
And knit the knots of peace and love
throughout all Christian lands.
Grant us the grace that we may know the
Father of all might,
That we of his beloved Son may gain the
And that we may with perfect faith ever
The Spirit of Father, and of Son, One
God in Persons Three.
To God the Father laud and praise, and to
his blessed Son,
And to the Holy Spirit of grace,
co-equal Three in One.
And pray we, that our only Lord would
please his Spirit to send
On all that shall profess his Name,
from hence to the world's end. Amen.
That done, the Bishop shall pray in this wise,
Let us pray.
Almighty God and
heavenly Father, who of thine infinite love and goodness
towards us hast given to us thy only and most dearly beloved Son
Jesus Christ, to be our Redeemer and the Author of everlasting
life; who, after he had made perfect our redemption by his death,
and was ascended into heaven, sent abroad into the world his
Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Doctors, and Pastors, by whose
labour and ministry he gathered together a great flock in all the
parts of the world, to set forth the eternal praise of thy holy
Name: For these so great benefits of thy eternal goodness, and for
that thou hast vouchsafed to call these thy servants here present
to the same office and ministry, appointed for the salvation of
mankind; we render unto thee most hearty thanks, we praise and
worship thee, and we humbly beseech thee, by the same thy blessed
Son, to grant unto all, which either here or elsewhere call upon
thy holy Name, that we may continue to shew ourselves thankful unto
thee for these and all other thy benefits; and that we may daily
increase and go forwards in the knowledge and faith of thee and thy
Son, by the Holy Spirit. So that as well by these thy Ministers, as
by them over whom they shall be appointed thy Ministers, thy holy
Name may be for ever glorified, and thy blessed kingdom enlarged;
through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and
reigneth with thee in the unity of the same Holy Spirit, world
without end. Amen.
When this prayer is done, the Bishop with the
Priests present shall lay their hands severally upon the head of
every one that receiveth the Order of Priesthood; the receivers
humbly kneeling upon their knees, and the Bishop saying,
Receive the Holy
Ghost for the office and work of a Priest in the Church of
God, now committed unto thee by the imposition of our hands. Whose
sins thou dost forgive, they are forgiven; and whose sins thou dost
retain, they are retained. And be thou a faithful dispenser of the
Word of God, and of his holy Sacraments; In the Name of the Father,
and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.
Then the Bishop shall deliver to every one of
them kneeling the Bible into his hand, saying,
Take thou authority
to preach the Word of God, and to minister the holy Sacraments in
the Congregation, where thou shalt be lawfully appointed
When this is done, the Nicene Creed shall be
sung or said; and the Bishop shall after that go on in the Service
of the Communion, which all they that receive Orders shall take
together, and remain in the same place where hands were laid upon
them, until such time as they have received the Communion.
The Communion being done, after the last
Collect, and immediately before the Benediction, shall be said
Father, we beseech thee to send upon these thy servants thy
heavenly blessing, that they may be clothed with righteousness, and
that thy Word spoken by their mouths may have such success, that it
may never be spoken in vain. Grant also that we may have grace to
hear and receive what they shall deliver out of thy most holy Word,
or agreeable to the same, as the means of our salvation; that in
all our words and deeds we may seek thy glory, and the increase of
thy kingdom; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Prevent us, O Lord,
in all our doings with thy most gracious favour, and further us
with thy continual help; that in all our works, begun, continued,
and ended in thee, we may glorify thy holy Name, and finally by thy
mercy obtain everlasting life; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
The peace of God,
which passeth all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in the
knowledge and love of God, and of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord:
and the blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy
Ghost, be amongst you and remain with you always. Amen.
And if on the same day the Order of Deacons be
given to some, and the Order of Priesthood to others; the Deacons
shall be first presented, and then the Priests: and it shall
suffice that the Litany be once said for both. The Collects shall
both be used; first that for Deacons, then that for Priests. The
Epistle shall be Ephesians 4.7-13, as before in this Office.
Immediately after which they that are to be made Deacons shall be
examined and ordained, as is above prescribed. Then one of them
having read the Gospel (which shall be either out of St.
Matthew 9.36-38, as before in this Office; or else St. Luke
12.35-38, as before in the Form for the Ordering of Deacons,) they
that are to be made Priests shall likewise be examined and
ordained, as is in this Office before appointed.
Text from The Book of Common Prayer, the
rights in which are vested in the Crown,
is reproduced by permission of the Crown's Patentee, Cambridge