Consecration
Overview
 
Consecration is the solemn
Ritual
A ritual is a set of actions, performed mainly for their symbolic value. It may be prescribed by a religion or by the traditions of a community. The term usually excludes actions which are arbitrarily chosen by the performers....

 dedication to a special purpose or service, usually religious. The word "consecration" literally means "to associate with the sacred
Sacred
Holiness, or sanctity, is in general the state of being holy or sacred...

". Persons, places, or things can be consecrated, and the term is used in various ways by different groups. A synonym
Synonym
Synonyms are different words with almost identical or similar meanings. Words that are synonyms are said to be synonymous, and the state of being a synonym is called synonymy. The word comes from Ancient Greek syn and onoma . The words car and automobile are synonyms...

 for to consecrate is to sanctify; an antonym
Antonym
In lexical semantics, opposites are words that lie in an inherently incompatible binary relationship as in the opposite pairs male : female, long : short, up : down, and precede : follow. The notion of incompatibility here refers to the fact that one word in an opposite pair entails that it is not...

 is to desecrate.
"Consecration" is used in the Catholic Church as the setting apart for the service of God of both persons and objects.
The ordination
Holy Orders
The term Holy Orders is used by many Christian churches to refer to ordination or to those individuals ordained for a special role or ministry....

 of a new bishop
Bishop (Catholic Church)
In the Catholic Church, a bishop is an ordained minister who holds the fullness of the sacrament of Holy Orders and is responsible for teaching the Catholic faith and ruling the Church....

 is also called a consecration.
Encyclopedia
Consecration is the solemn
Ritual
A ritual is a set of actions, performed mainly for their symbolic value. It may be prescribed by a religion or by the traditions of a community. The term usually excludes actions which are arbitrarily chosen by the performers....

 dedication to a special purpose or service, usually religious. The word "consecration" literally means "to associate with the sacred
Sacred
Holiness, or sanctity, is in general the state of being holy or sacred...

". Persons, places, or things can be consecrated, and the term is used in various ways by different groups. A synonym
Synonym
Synonyms are different words with almost identical or similar meanings. Words that are synonyms are said to be synonymous, and the state of being a synonym is called synonymy. The word comes from Ancient Greek syn and onoma . The words car and automobile are synonyms...

 for to consecrate is to sanctify; an antonym
Antonym
In lexical semantics, opposites are words that lie in an inherently incompatible binary relationship as in the opposite pairs male : female, long : short, up : down, and precede : follow. The notion of incompatibility here refers to the fact that one word in an opposite pair entails that it is not...

 is to desecrate.

Roman Catholic Church

"Consecration" is used in the Catholic Church as the setting apart for the service of God of both persons and objects.

Ordination of bishops

The ordination
Holy Orders
The term Holy Orders is used by many Christian churches to refer to ordination or to those individuals ordained for a special role or ministry....

 of a new bishop
Bishop (Catholic Church)
In the Catholic Church, a bishop is an ordained minister who holds the fullness of the sacrament of Holy Orders and is responsible for teaching the Catholic faith and ruling the Church....

 is also called a consecration. While the term "episcopal ordination" is now more common, "consecration" was the preferred term in the centuries immediately preceding the Second Vatican Council
Second Vatican Council
The Second Vatican Council addressed relations between the Roman Catholic Church and the modern world. It was the twenty-first Ecumenical Council of the Catholic Church and the second to be held at St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican. It opened under Pope John XXIII on 11 October 1962 and closed...

 (11 October 1962—8 December 1965).

The Vatican II document Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy
Sacrosanctum Concilium
Sacrosanctum Concilium, the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, is one of the constitutions of the Second Vatican Council. It was approved by the assembled bishops by a vote of 2,147 to 4 and promulgated by Pope Paul VI on December 4, 1963...

 n. 76 states,
"Both the ceremonies and texts of the ordination rites are to be revised. The address given by the bishop at the beginning of each ordination or consecration may be in the mother tongue.
"When a bishop is consecrated, the laying of hands may be done by all the bishops present."


The English text of Catechism of the Catholic Church
Catechism of the Catholic Church
The Catechism of the Catholic Church is the official text of the teachings of the Catholic Church. A provisional, "reference text" was issued by Pope John Paul II on October 11, 1992 — "the thirtieth anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council" — with his apostolic...

, Second Edition, 1997, under the heading "Episcopal ordination—fullness of the sacrament of Holy Orders", uses "episcopal consecration" as a synonymous term, using "episcopal ordination" and "episcopal consecration" interchangeably. (CCC nn. 1556-1558)

The Code of Canon Law Latin-English Edition, (1983), under "Title VI—Orders" uses the term sacrae ordinationis minister "minister of sacred ordination" and the term consecratione episcopali "episcopal consecration". (CCL cc. 1012, 1014)

Religious orders and similar institutions

The life of those who enter religious orders and similar institutes is also described as Consecrated Life
Consecrated life (Catholic Church)
In the Roman Catholic Church, the term "consecrated life" denotes a stable form of Christian living by those faithful who feel called to follow Jesus Christ in a more exacting way recognized by the Church...

.

A rite of consecration of virgins
Consecrated virgin
In the Catholic Church a consecrated virgin is a woman who has been conscrated by the church to a life of perpetual virginity in the service of God. Consecrated virgins are to spend their time in works of penance and mercy, in apostolic activity and in prayer, according to their state of life and...

 can be traced back at least to the fourth century. By the time of the Second Vatican Council, use of this rite was limited to cloistered nuns. The Council directed that the then existing rite should be revised. Two similar versions were prepared, one for women living in monastic orders, another for consecrated virgins living in the world. An English translation of the rite for those living in the world is available on the web site of the United States Association of Consecrated Virgins.

Churches, altars, and other ritual objects

Chrism
Chrism
Chrism , also called "Myrrh" , Holy anointing oil, or "Consecrated Oil", is a consecrated oil used in the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Eastern Rite Catholic, Oriental Orthodox, in the Assyrian Church of the East, and in Old-Catholic churches, as well as Anglican churches in the administration...

, used as anointing oil, is (usually scented) olive oil consecrated by a bishop.

Objects such as paten
Paten
A paten, or diskos, is a small plate, usually made of silver or gold, used to hold Eucharistic bread which is to be consecrated. It is generally used during the service itself, while the reserved hosts are stored in the Tabernacle in a ciborium....

s and chalices
Chalice (cup)
A chalice is a goblet or footed cup intended to hold a drink. In general religious terms, it is intended for drinking during a ceremony.-Christian:...

, used for the Sacrament of the Eucharist, also used to be consecrated by a bishop, using chrism
Chrism
Chrism , also called "Myrrh" , Holy anointing oil, or "Consecrated Oil", is a consecrated oil used in the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Eastern Rite Catholic, Oriental Orthodox, in the Assyrian Church of the East, and in Old-Catholic churches, as well as Anglican churches in the administration...

.

A more solemn rite exists for the consecration of an altar, either of the altar alone or as the central part of the rite of consecration of a church. Since it would be contradictory to consecrate to the service of God a mortgage-burdened building, the rite of consecration or dedication
Dedication
Dedication is the act of consecrating an altar, temple, church or other sacred building. It also refers to the inscription of books or other artifacts when these are specifically addressed or presented to a particular person. This practice, which once was used to gain the patronage and support of...

 of a church is carried out only if the building is debt-free. Otherwise, it is only blessed.

Eucharist

A very special act of consecration is that of the bread and wine used in the Eucharist
Eucharist (Catholic Church)
"At the Last Supper, on the night he was betrayed, our Savior instituted the Eucharistic sacrifice of his Body and Blood."...

, which according to Catholic belief involves their change into the Body
Body of Christ
In Christian theology, the term Body of Christ has two separate connotations: it may refer to Jesus's statement about the Eucharist at the Last Supper that "This is my body" in , or the explicit usage of the term by the Apostle Paul in to refer to the Christian Church.Although in general usage the...

 and Blood
Blood of Christ
The Blood of Christ in Christian theology refers to the physical blood actually shed by Jesus Christ on the Cross, and the salvation which Christianity teaches was accomplished thereby; and the sacramental blood present in the Eucharist, which is considered by Catholic, Orthodox, Anglican, and...

 of Christ, a change referred to as transubstantiation
Transubstantiation
In Roman Catholic theology, transubstantiation means the change, in the Eucharist, of the substance of wheat bread and grape wine into the substance of the Body and Blood, respectively, of Jesus, while all that is accessible to the senses remains as before.The Eastern Orthodox...

. To consecrate the bread and wine, the priest speaks the Words of Institution
Words of Institution
The Words of Institution are words echoing those of Jesus himself at his Last Supper that, when consecrating bread and wine, Christian Eucharistic liturgies include in a narrative of that event...

.

Eastern churches

In the Eastern Orthodox Church
Eastern Orthodox Church
The Orthodox Church, officially called the Orthodox Catholic Church and commonly referred to as the Eastern Orthodox Church, is the second largest Christian denomination in the world, with an estimated 300 million adherents mainly in the countries of Belarus, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Georgia, Greece,...

es and the Eastern Catholic Churches, the term "consecration" can refer to either the Sacred Mystery (Sacrament) of Cheirotonea (Ordination through laying on of hands) of a Bishop, or the sanctification and solemn dedication of a church building. It can also (more rarely) be used to describe the change of the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ at the Divine Liturgy
Divine Liturgy
Divine Liturgy is the common term for the Eucharistic service of the Byzantine tradition of Christian liturgy. As such, it is used in the Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Catholic Churches. Armenian Christians, both of the Armenian Apostolic Church and of the Armenian Catholic Church, use the same term...

. The Chrism used at Chrismation
Chrismation
Chrismation is the name given in Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox and Eastern Catholic churches, as well as in the Assyrian Church of the East, Anglican, and in Lutheran initiation rites, to the Sacrament or Sacred Mystery more commonly known in the West as confirmation, although Italian...

 and the Antimension
Antimension
The Antimins, , is one of the most important furnishings of the altar in many Eastern Christian liturgical traditions. It is a rectangular piece of cloth, either linen or silk, typically decorated with representations of the Descent of Christ from the Cross, the four Evangelists, and inscriptions...

 placed on the Holy Table
Altar
An altar is any structure upon which offerings such as sacrifices are made for religious purposes. Altars are usually found at shrines, and they can be located in temples, churches and other places of worship...

 are also said to be consecrated.

Various Christian churches

Church building
Church Building
The Church Building is located at the corner of Main and Market Streets in downtown Poughkeepsie, New York, United States, just across Market Street from the Dutchess County Court House, and north of the Bardavon Theater...

s, chapel
Chapel
A chapel is a building used by Christians as a place of fellowship and worship. It may be part of a larger structure or complex, such as a church, college, hospital, palace, prison or funeral home, located on board a military or commercial ship, or it may be an entirely free-standing building,...

s and altar
Altar
An altar is any structure upon which offerings such as sacrifices are made for religious purposes. Altars are usually found at shrines, and they can be located in temples, churches and other places of worship...

s are consecrated to the purpose of religious worship
Worship
Worship is an act of religious devotion usually directed towards a deity. The word is derived from the Old English worthscipe, meaning worthiness or worth-ship — to give, at its simplest, worth to something, for example, Christian worship.Evelyn Underhill defines worship thus: "The absolute...

, baptismal fonts and vessels are consecrated for the purpose of containing the Eucharist
Eucharist
The Eucharist , also called Holy Communion, the Sacrament of the Altar, the Blessed Sacrament, the Lord's Supper, and other names, is a Christian sacrament or ordinance...

ic elements, the bread and wine/the body and blood of Christ.

A person may be consecrated for a specific role within a religious hierarchy, or a person may consecrate his or her life in an act of devotion
Worship
Worship is an act of religious devotion usually directed towards a deity. The word is derived from the Old English worthscipe, meaning worthiness or worth-ship — to give, at its simplest, worth to something, for example, Christian worship.Evelyn Underhill defines worship thus: "The absolute...

. In particular, the ordination
Holy Orders
The term Holy Orders is used by many Christian churches to refer to ordination or to those individuals ordained for a special role or ministry....

 of a bishop
Bishop
A bishop is an ordained or consecrated member of the Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight. Within the Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox Churches, in the Assyrian Church of the East, in the Independent Catholic Churches, and in the...

 is often called a consecration. In churches that follow the doctrine of Apostolic Succession
Apostolic Succession
Apostolic succession is a doctrine, held by some Christian denominations, which asserts that the chosen successors of the Twelve Apostles, from the first century to the present day, have inherited the spiritual, ecclesiastical and sacramental authority, power, and responsibility that were...

 (the historical episcopate
Historical episcopate
The episcopate is the collective body of all bishops of a church. In the Roman Catholic, Anglican, Eastern Orthodox, Eastern Rite Catholic, Oriental Orthodox, Old-Catholic, Moravian Church, and Independent Catholic churches as well as in the Assyrian Church of the East, it is held that only a...

), the bishops who consecrate a new bishop are known as the consecrators and form an unbroken line of succession back to the Apostles. Those who take the vows of religious life
Religious order
A religious order is a lineage of communities and organizations of people who live in some way set apart from society in accordance with their specific religious devotion, usually characterized by the principles of its founder's religious practice. The order is composed of initiates and, in some...

 are said to be living a consecrated life.

Among some religious groups there is a service of "deconsecration
Deconsecration
Deconsecration is the act of removing a religious blessing from something that had been previously consecrated by a minister or priest of that religion. The same act when performed by a member of a differing religion may be considered a curse by some religions and not a complete removal of the...

", to return a formerly consecrated place to secular purpose (for instance, if the building is to be sold or demolished). In the Church of England
Church of England
The Church of England is the officially established Christian church in England and the Mother Church of the worldwide Anglican Communion. The church considers itself within the tradition of Western Christianity and dates its formal establishment principally to the mission to England by St...

, an order closing a church may remove the legal effects of consecration.

Latter Day Saints

In the nineteenth-century Latter Day Saint tradition, consecration involved the giving of member's worldly possessions to the church. While it might be considered a type of voluntary religious communism
Religious communism
Religious communism is a form of communism centered on religious principles. The term usually refers to a number of egalitarian and utopian religious societies practicing the voluntary dissolution of private property, so that society's benefits are distributed according to a person's needs, and...

, Latter Day Saint consecration does not involve the abolition of private property. It was practiced off and on during the 19th century, but is now extremely rare among Latter Day Saint denominations.
The priesthood of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints also perform a consecration of oil, for use of blessing the sick. The term 'consecration', as it applies to the Lord's Supper in other Christian churches, is simply called a 'blessing' by the Latter-day Saint priesthood.

External links

  • Consecration article in Catholic Encyclopedia
    Catholic Encyclopedia
    The Catholic Encyclopedia, also referred to as the Old Catholic Encyclopedia and the Original Catholic Encyclopedia, is an English-language encyclopedia published in the United States. The first volume appeared in March 1907 and the last three volumes appeared in 1912, followed by a master index...

  • Consecration of an Orthodox Church 6 pages of photos, Serbian Orthodox Church
    Serbian Orthodox Church
    The Serbian Orthodox Church is one of the autocephalous Orthodox Christian churches, ranking sixth in order of seniority after Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, Jerusalem, and Russia...

  • Photos of Consecration of Altar and Antimens in the Russian Orthodox Church
    Russian Orthodox Church
    The Russian Orthodox Church or, alternatively, the Moscow Patriarchate The ROC is often said to be the largest of the Eastern Orthodox churches in the world; including all the autocephalous churches under its umbrella, its adherents number over 150 million worldwide—about half of the 300 million...

  • The Sanctification of Holy Chrism by the Ecumenical Patriarchate
  • Virginity article in Catholic Encyclopedia discussing Consecration of a Virgin
The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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