1536 holy orders is the sacrament through which the mission entrusted by christ to his apostles continues to be exercised in the church until the end of time: thus it is the sacrament of apostolic ministry.  it includes three degrees: episcopate, presbyterate and diaconate.




Ordination means being incorporated into one of the ranks of Holy Orders.

Episcopate refers to bishops.

Presbyterate refers to priests.

Diaconate refers to deacons.


The Church recognizes the episcopacy and presbyterate as the two degrees of ministerial participation representing Christ and the diaconate as a ministry of service designed to assist the other two.  All three degrees are marked by ordination.