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'''Ordination''' is the [[Holy Mysteries|sacrament]] (or one of the [[holy mysteries]]) of [[holy orders]]. The Greek word used for ordination is ''cheirotonia'', which means "the laying on of hands." Members of the [[major orders]] of the [[clergy]]—[[bishop]], [[priest]], and [[deacon]]—are ordained during the [[Divine Liturgy]] by the bishop, who is usually assisted by several priests. According to Orthodox teaching, the process of ordination begins with the local [[congregation]]; but the bishop alone, who acts in the name of the universal Church, can complete the action.
Those who are placed into the [[minor orders]] ([[subdeacon]], [[reader]], and in some traditions, [[cantor]]) are done so by ''cheirothesia'', which also means "laying on of hands," but has come to be a technically distinct term from ''cheirotonia'', which is used only for the major orders. According to the ''DEC'', ''cheirothesia'' is not regarded as part of the [[Holy Mystery]] of ordination (p. 117).
''Cheirotonia'' and ''cheirothesia'' formerly were used almost interchangeably, but came to acquire distinct meanings. Bishops are also referred to as being "consecrated" rather than "ordained," but such a distinction was not present in the early Church (''ODCC'', p. 1189)