The Ordination of a Bishop

Concerning the
Ordination of a Bishop

In accordance with ancient custom, it is desirable, if possible, that
bishops be ordained on Sundays and other feasts of our Lord or on the
feasts of apostles or evangelists.

When a bishop is to be ordained, the Presiding Bishop of this Church, or a
bishop appointed by the Presiding Bishop, presides and serves as chief
consecrator. At least two other bishops are co-consecrators.
Representatives of the presbyterate, diaconate, and laity of the diocese
for which the new bishop is to be consecrated, are assigned appropriate
duties in the service.

From the beginning of the service until the Offertory, the chief
consecrator presides from a chair placed close to the people, so that all
may see and hear what is done. The other bishops, or a convenient
number of them, sit to the right and left of the chief consecrator.

The bishop-elect is vested in a rochet or alb, without stole, tippet, or
other vesture distinctive of ecclesiastical or academic rank or order.

When the bishop-elect is presented, his full name (designated by the
symbol N.N.) is used. Thereafter, it is appropriate to refer to him only by
the Christian name by which he wishes to be known.

At the Offertory, it is appropriate that the bread and wine be brought to
the Altar by the family or friends of the newly ordained.

The family of the newly ordained may receive Communion before other
members of the congregation. Opportunity is always given to the people
to communicate.

Additional Directions are on page 552.

Ordination:  Bishop    511

The Ordination of a Bishop

Hymns, psalms, and anthems may be sung during the entrance of the
bishops and other ministers.

The people standing, the Bishop appointed says


 Blessed be God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
PeopleAnd blessed be his kingdom, now and for ever.

In place of the above, from Easter Day through the Day of Pentecost

BishopAlleluia. Christ is risen.
PeopleThe Lord is risen indeed. Alleluia.

In Lent and on other penitential occasions

BishopBless the Lord who forgives all our sins.
PeopleHis mercy endures for ever.

The Bishop then says

Almighty God, to you all hearts are open, all desires known,
and from you no secrets are hid: Cleanse the thoughts of our
hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we may
perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy Name;
through Christ our Lord. Amen.

512    Ordination:  Bishop

The Presentation

The bishops and people sit. Representatives of the diocese, both Priests
and Lay Persons, standing before the Presiding Bishop, present the
bishop-elect, saying

, Bishop in the Church of God, the clergy and people of
the Diocese of N., trusting in the guidance of the Holy Spirit,
have chosen N.N. to be a bishop and chief pastor. We therefore
ask you to lay your hands upon him and in the power of the
Holy Spirit to consecrate him a bishop in the one, holy,
catholic, and apostolic Church.

The Presiding Bishop then directs that the testimonials of the election be

When the reading of the testimonials is ended, the Presiding Bishop
requires the following promise from the Bishop-elect

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy
Spirit, I, N.N., chosen Bishop of the Church in N., solemnly
declare that I do believe the Holy Scriptures of the Old and
New Testaments to be the Word of God, and to contain all
things necessary to salvation; and I do solemnly engage to
conform to the doctrine, discipline, and worship of the
Episcopal Church.

The Bishop-elect then signs the above Declaration in the sight of all
present. The witnesses add their signatures.

All stand.

The Presiding Bishop then says the following, or similar words, and asks
the response of the people

Ordination:  Bishop     513

Brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus, you have heard testimony
given that N.N. has been duly and lawfully elected to be a
bishop of the Church of God to serve in the Diocese of N.
You have been assured of his suitability and that the Church
has approved him for this sacred responsibility. Nevertheless,
if any of you know any reason why we should not proceed,
let it now be made known.

If no objection is made, the Presiding Bishop continues
Is it your will that we ordain N. a bishop?

The People respond in these or other words
That is our will.

Presiding Bishop
Will you uphold N. as bishop?

The People respond in these or other words
We will.

The Presiding Bishop then says

The Scriptures tell us that our Savior Christ spent the whole
night in prayer before he chose and sent forth his twelve
apostles. Likewise, the apostles prayed before they appointed
Matthias to be one of their number. Let us, therefore, follow
their examples, and offer our prayers to Almighty God before
we ordain N. for the work to which we trust the Holy Spirit
has called him.

514    Ordination:  Bishop

All kneel, and the Person appointed leads the Litany for Ordinations, or
some other approved litany. At the end of the litany, after the Kyries, the
Presiding Bishop stands and reads the Collect for the Day, or the
following Collect, or both, first saying

 The Lord be with you
PeopleAnd also with you.

Let us pray.

O God of unchangeable power and eternal light: Look
favorably on your whole Church, that wonderful and sacred
mystery; by the effectual working of your providence, carry
out in tranquillity the plan of salvation; let the whole world
see and know that things which were cast down are being
raised up, and things which had grown old are being made
new, and that all things are being brought to their perfection
by him through whom all things were made, your Son Jesus
Christ our Lord; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity
of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

The Ministry of the Word

Three Lessons are read. Lay persons read the Old Testament Lesson and
the Epistle.

The Readings are ordinarily selected from the following list and may be
lengthened if desired. On a Major Feast or on a Sunday, the Presiding
Bishop may select Readings from the Proper of the Day.

Old Testament     Isaiah 61:1-8,     or Isaiah 42:1-9
Psalm    99,     or 40:1-14,     or 100
Epistle     Hebrews 5:1-10,     or 1 Timothy 3:1-7,     or 2 Corinthians 3:4-9

Ordination:  Bishop     515

The Reader first says

A Reading (Lesson) from _____________.

A citation giving chapter and verse may be added.

After each Reading, the Reader may say

 The Word of the Lord
PeopleThanks be to God.

or the Reader may say     Here ends the Reading (Epistle).

Silence may follow.

A Psalm, canticle, or hymn follows each Reading.

Then, all standing, a Deacon or a Priest reads the Gospel, first saying

 The Holy Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ
according to _____________.
PeopleGlory to you, Lord Christ.
 John 20:19-23,    or John 17:1-9,18-12,    or Luke 24:44-49a

After the Gospel, the Reader says

 The Gospel of the Lord
PeoplePraise to you, Lord Christ.

The Sermon

After the Sermon, the Congregation sings a hymn.

516    Ordination:  Bishop

The Examination

All now sit, except the bishop-elect, who stands facing the bishops. The
Presiding Bishop addresses the bishop-elect

My brother, the people have chosen you and have affirmed
their trust in you by acclaiming your election. A bishop in
God’s holy Church is called to be one with the apostles in
proclaiming Christ’s resurrection and interpreting the Gospel,
and to testify to Christ’s sovereignty as Lord of lords and
King of kings.

You are called to guard the faith, unity, and discipline of the
Church; to celebrate and to provide for the administration of
the sacraments of the New Covenant; to ordain priests and
deacons and to join in ordaining bishops; and to be in all
things a faithful pastor and wholesome example for the
entire flock of Christ.

With your fellow bishops you will share in the leadership of
the Church throughout the world. Your heritage is the faith
of patriarchs, prophets, apostles, and martyrs, and those of
every generation who have looked to God in hope. Your joy
will be to follow him who came, not to be served, but to
serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.

Are you persuaded that God has called you to the office of

AnswerI am so persuaded.

The following questions are then addressed to the bishop-elect by one or
more of the other bishops

Ordination:  Bishop     517

BishopWill you accept this call and fulfill this trust in
obedience to Christ?
AnswerI will obey Christ, and will serve in his name.
BishopWill you be faithful in prayer, and in the study of
Holy Scripture, that you may have the mind of
AnswerI will, for he is my help.
BishopWill you boldly proclaim and interpret the Gospel of
Christ, enlightening the minds and stirring up the
conscience of your people?
AnswerI will, in the power of the Spirit.
BishopAs a chief priest and pastor, will you encourage and
support all baptized people in their gifts and
ministries, nourish them from the riches of God’s
grace, pray for them without ceasing, and celebrate
with them the sacraments of our redemption?
AnswerI will, in the name of Christ, the Shepherd and
Bishop of our souls.
BishopWill you guard the faith, unity, and discipline of the
AnswerI will, for the love of God.
BishopWill you share with your fellow bishops in the
government of the whole Church; will you sustain
your fellow presbyters and take counsel with them;
will you guide and strengthen the deacons and all
others who minister in the Church?
AnswerI will, by the grace given me.
BishopWill you be merciful to all, show compassion to the
poor and strangers, and defend those who have no
AnswerI will, for the sake of Christ Jesus.

518    Ordination:  Bishop

All stand. The Presiding Bishop then says

, through these promises you have committed yourself to
God, to serve his Church in the office of bishop. We therefore
call upon you, chosen to be a guardian of the Church’s faith,
to lead us in confessing that faith.

We believe in one God.

Then all sing or say together
We believe in one God,
    the Father, the Almighty,
    maker of heaven and earth,
    of all that is, seen and unseen.

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
    the only Son of God,
    eternally begotten of the Father,
    God from God, Light from Light,
    true God from true God,
    begotten, not made,
    of one Being with the Father.
    Through him all things were made.
    For us and for our salvation
        he came down from heaven:
    by the power of the Holy Spirit
        he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary,
        and was made man.
    For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
        he suffered death and was buried.
        On the third day he rose again
            in accordance with the Scriptures;
        he ascended into heaven
            and is seated at the right hand of the Father.

Ordination:  Bishop     519

    He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,
        and his kingdom will have no end.

We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,
    who proceeds from the Father and the Son.
    With the Father and the Son he is worshipped and glorified.
    He has spoken through the Prophets.
    We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.
    We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
    We look for the resurrection of the dead,
        and the life of the world to come. Amen.

The Consecration of the Bishop

All continue to stand, except the bishop-elect, who kneels before the
Presiding Bishop. The other bishops stand to the right and left of the
Presiding Bishop.

The hymn, Veni Creator Spiritus, or the hymn, Veni Sancte Spiritus, is

A period of silent prayer follows, the people still standing.

The Presiding Bishop then begins this Prayer of Consecration

God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Father of mercies
and God of all comfort, dwelling on high but having regard
for the lowly, knowing all things before they come to pass:
We give you thanks that from the beginning you have
gathered and prepared a people to be heirs of the covenant of
Abraham, and have raised up prophets, kings, and priests,
never leaving your temple untended. We praise you also that
from the creation you have graciously accepted the ministry
of those whom you have chosen.

520    Ordination:  Bishop

The Presiding Bishop and other Bishops now lay their hands upon the
head of the bishop-elect, and say together

Therefore, Father, make N. a bishop in your Church. Pour
out upon him the power of your princely Spirit, whom you
bestowed upon your beloved Son Jesus Christ, with whom he
endowed the apostles, and by whom your Church is built up in
every place, to the glory and unceasing praise of your Name.

The Presiding Bishop continues

To you, O Father, all hearts are open; fill, we pray, the heart
of this your servant whom you have chosen to be a bishop in
your Church, with such love of you and of all the people, that
he may feed and tend the flock of Christ, and exercise
without reproach the high priesthood to which you have
called him, serving before you day and night in the ministry
of reconciliation, declaring pardon in your Name, offering the
holy gifts, and wisely overseeing the life and work of the
Church. In all things may he present before you the acceptable
offering of a pure, and gentle, and holy life; through Jesus
Christ your Son, to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit, be
honor and power and glory in the Church, now and for ever.

The People in a loud voice respond

The new bishop is now vested according to the order of bishops.

A Bible is presented with these words

Receive the Holy Scriptures. Feed the flock of Christ
committed to your charge, guard and defend them in his
truth, and be a faithful steward of his holy Word and

After this other symbols of office may be given.

Ordination:  Bishop     521

The Presiding Bishop presents to the people their new bishop.

The Clergy and People offer their acclamation and applause.

The Peace

The new Bishop then says

 The peace of the Lord be always with you.
PeopleAnd also with you.

The Presiding Bishop and other Bishops greet the new bishop.

The People greet one another.

The new Bishop also greets members of the clergy, family
members, and the congregation.

The new Bishop, if the Bishop of the Diocese, may now be escorted
to the episcopal chair.

At the Celebration of the Eucharist

The liturgy continues with the Offertory.

Deacons prepare the Table.

Then the new Bishop goes to the Lord’s Table as chief Celebrant and,
joined by other bishops and presbyters, proceeds with the celebration of
the Eucharist.

After Communion

In place of the usual postcommunion prayer, one of the bishops leads the
people in the following

522    Ordination:  Bishop

Almighty Father, we thank you for feeding us with the holy
food of the Body and Blood of your Son, and for uniting us
through him in the fellowship of your Holy Spirit. We thank
you for raising up among us faithful servants for the ministry
of your Word and Sacraments. We pray that N. may be to us
an effective example in word and action, in love and patience,
and in holiness of life. Grant that we, with him, may serve
you now, and always rejoice in your glory; through Jesus
Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and
the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

The new Bishop blesses the people, first saying

 Our help is in the Name of the Lord;
PeopleThe maker of heaven and earth.
New BishopBlessed be the Name of the Lord;
PeopleFrom this time forth for evermore.
New BishopThe blessing, mercy, and grace of God Almighty,
the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be upon
you, and remain with you for ever. Amen.

A Deacon dismisses the people

 Let us go forth into the world, rejoicing in the
power of the Spirit.
PeopleThanks be to God.

From Easter Day through the Day of Pentecost, “Alleluia, alleluia,” may
be added to the dismissal and to the response.

Ordination:  Bishop     523

Never Miss Out


The mission of MyEpsicopal is to engage and support God’s people where they are. Providing prayers, lessons, and access to scripture and liturgy fully online.

© MyEpiscopal | Site maintained by Church.Agency