Definition of holy orders in English:

Share this entry

holy orders

plural noun

The sacrament or rite of ordination as a member of the Christian clergy, especially in the grades of bishop, priest, or deacon.
Example sentences
  • Much more can and needs to be said about ‘living the covenant’ and about the consequent understandings of ministry and of holy orders.
  • The discussion concerns postulants and candidates for holy orders, more particularly those who aspire to ordained ministry as vocational or permanent deacons.
  • As I explored all this, I realized that it really was a call to the holy orders, a very clear call.



in holy orders

Having the status of an ordained member of the clergy.
Example sentences
  • The Church in England has already relaxed its celibacy rules by allowing married Anglican priests to convert and remain in holy orders.
  • But the laity should understand that doctrinal teaching, pastoral governance, and liturgical leadership are tasks ordinarily reserved to persons in holy orders, especially the pope and bishops.
  • For the first six centuries of its existence, Cambridge, like Oxford, was a seminary, and until 1871 fellows were required to be celibates in holy orders.

take holy orders

Become an ordained member of the clergy.
Example sentences
  • Then he took holy orders, and in no time was a bishop in Wales.
  • He was educated in Yorkshire and at Cambridge, before taking holy orders: his grandfather was Archbishop of York.
  • While at university, I considered taking holy orders and joining a convent

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: ho·ly or·ders

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.