Definition of holy orders in English:

holy orders

plural noun

  • The sacrament or rite of ordination as a member of the clergy, especially in the grades of bishop, priest, or deacon.

    • ‘Much more can and needs to be said about ‘living the covenant’ and about the consequent understandings of ministry and of holy orders.’
    • ‘As I explored all this, I realized that it really was a call to the holy orders, a very clear call.’
    • ‘Irish monks did much to preserve European Christian heritage before and during the Middle Ages, and they ranged throughout the continent in their efforts to establish their holy orders and serve their God and church.’
    • ‘Nursed back to health by a Dominican nun, he realised he would never be able to return to the rigours of work as a missionary, and asked to be released from holy orders.’
    • ‘He wanted all free men to be literate in English, and Latin teaching to be available to those intended for holy orders.’
    • ‘On being found guilty, the cleric can be admonished, removed from office or, in extreme cases, deposed from holy orders, a punishment popularly known as ‘defrocking’.’
    • ‘The discussion concerns postulants and candidates for holy orders, more particularly those who aspire to ordained ministry as vocational or permanent deacons.’
    • ‘Armed with holy orders, he served three cathedrals: Notre Dame, Strasbourg and Meaux where he was maître de chapelle.’
    • ‘He was born in west London in 1907 and after Westminster City School he went to King's College, London, to prepare for holy orders, completing his training at Bishop's College, Cheshunt.’
    • ‘He was still a practising Anglican in 1921, perhaps contemplating holy orders.’
    • ‘In 1752 he became a monk at the monastery of the Escorial, and a year later was admitted to holy orders.’
    • ‘Only those entering holy orders were allowed to study theology and delve into Holy Writ.’
    • ‘He was admitted to holy orders in 1498 and became rector of Diss in Norfolk.’


  • in holy orders

    • Having the status of an ordained member of the clergy.

      ‘his friend in holy orders’
      • ‘The trouble was that despite being in holy orders they were easily tempted by the sins of the flesh.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘In the world of the Catholic brother or sister in holy orders, both marriage and sexual fulfillment have been renounced in favor of a higher good.’
      • ‘Men like these probably did not belong in a convent, or arguably in holy orders at all.’
      • ‘They don't have the luxury of a monk's vocation, the glorious lack of responsibility that a life in holy orders gives you.’
      • ‘The Church in England has already relaxed its celibacy rules by allowing married Anglican priests to convert and remain in holy orders.’
  • take holy orders

    • Become an ordained member of the clergy.

      ‘his first ambition was to take holy orders’
      • ‘In contrast to Defoe, he was able to graduate and take holy orders as soon as he was legally entitled so to do.’
      • ‘Bruno took holy orders in 1572 but then left the order in 1576 after travelling to Rome.’
      • ‘He took holy orders and spent his whole career in St Paul's Church in Lyon where he was appointed in 1646.’
      • ‘He eventually took holy orders, was appointed a bishop, and spent the remainder of his life in peripatetic poverty.’
      • ‘He was educated in Yorkshire and at Cambridge, before taking holy orders: his grandfather was Archbishop of York.’
      • ‘Then he took holy orders, and in no time was a bishop in Wales.’
      • ‘Rather, Patrick escaped after five year's servitude, made his way to Gaul, took holy orders, and returned to Ireland to undertake his missionary work.’
      • ‘He has now taken holy orders in the Church of Ireland.’
      • ‘While at university, I considered taking holy orders and joining a convent’
      • ‘Although his father wanted him to take holy orders, he devoted himself to poetry, scholarship and ‘the approaching reformation’ of England and the world.’


holy orders