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early 15c., "the act of conferring holy orders," from Old French ordinacion (12c.) or directly from Latin ordinationem (nominative ordinatio) "a setting in order, ordinance," noun of action from past participle stem of ordinare "arrange" (see ordain).
in Christian churches, a rite for the dedication and commissioning of ministers. The essential ceremony consists of the laying of hands of the ordaining minister upon the head of the one being ordained, with prayer for the gifts of the Holy Spirit and of grace required for the carrying out of the ministry. The service also usually includes a public examination of the candidate and a sermon or charge concerning the responsibilities of the ministry