The Celebration of the Christian Mystery
presenting a fragrant offering to you,
through Jesus Christ, your Son. . . .
The spiritual gift conferred by presbyteral ordination is
expressed by this prayer of the Byzantine Rite. The bishop, while
laying on his hand, says among other things:
Lord, fill with the gift of the Holy Spirit
him whom you have deigned to raise to the rank of the
that he may be worthy to stand without reproach before your
to proclaim the Gospel of your kingdom,
to fulfill the ministry of your word of truth,
to offer you spiritual gifts and sacrifices,
to renew your people by the bath of rebirth;
so that he may go out to meet
our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, your only Son,
on the day of his second coming,
and may receive from your vast goodness
the recompense for a faithful administration of his order.
With regard to deacons, “strengthened by sacramental
grace they are dedicated to the People of God, in conjunction with
the bishop and his body of priests, in the service (
) of the
liturgy, of the Gospel, and of works of charity.”
Before the grandeur of the priestly grace and office, the
holy doctors felt an urgent call to conversion in order to conform
their whole lives to him whose sacrament had made them minis-
ters. Thus St. Gregory of Nazianzus, as a very young priest, ex-
We must begin by purifying ourselves before purifying
others; we must be instructed to be able to instruct, become
light to illuminate, draw close to God to bring him close to
others, be sanctified to sanctify, lead by the hand and counsel
prudently. I know whose ministers we are, where we find
ourselves and to where we strive. I know God’s greatness
and man’s weakness, but also his potential. [Who then is the
priest? He is] the defender of truth, who stands with angels,
gives glory with archangels, causes sacrifices to rise to the
altar on high, shares Christ’s priesthood, refashions creation,
restores it in God’s image, recreates it for the world on high
and, even greater, is divinized and divinizes.
Ordination of Bishops 26, Prayer of Consecration; cf. St.
3: SCh 11, 44-46.
80 Byzantine Liturgy,
82 St. Gregory of Nazianzus,
2, 71, 74, 73: PG 35, 480-481.