One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
The formal grades of Catholic or Orthodox clergy below the rank of deacon (most now discontinued)‘a clerk in minor orders’
- ‘In 1765, when he was 16, he took minor orders, and some eight years later was ordained as a priest.’
- ‘Church wealth in the Gaelic lordships was dominated by the system of coarbs and erenaghs, hereditary holders of rights in church lands, who might be in minor orders, but might equally be laypeople.’
- ‘Immediately after his wife's death he took minor orders as a step towards entering the priesthood, and was awarded a benefice.’
- ‘The six clergy in the foreground - two bishops, two priests, and two clerks in minor orders, are outnumbered by 15 lay people, men, women and children, who cluster round them and enjoy an unhindered view of the saint's ‘uncorrupted flesh’.’
- ‘The Church has tried to cope by naming lay deacons, exclusively male, who take minor orders and help the priest.’
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