Definition of minor orders in English:

minor orders

plural noun

historical
  • The formal grades of Catholic or Orthodox clergy below the rank of deacon (most now discontinued)

    ‘a clerk in minor orders’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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’.’
    • ‘In 1765, when he was 16, he took minor orders, and some eight years later was ordained as a priest.’
    • ‘The Church has tried to cope by naming lay deacons, exclusively male, who take minor orders and help the priest.’
    • ‘Immediately after his wife's death he took minor orders as a step towards entering the priesthood, and was awarded a benefice.’