Letter to the Bishops and Prefects of the Patriarchal Curia
regarding the Tonsure and the Minor Orders
administration of the tonsure is the formal ceremony of admission to
the clerical state. Under this See and all its suffragan Sees, the
tonsure is administered according to the rites for commissioning
(ordaining) to the Minor Holy Orders as given in the Pontificale
Anglicanum 3rd Edition, according further to the instructions given
in this letter. The Minor Orders are Holy Orders of the clerical
state, but are of ecclesiastical institution, unlike the Major
Orders, which are of Divine Institution.
1. If the
tonsure of the beard of a young cleric is to be given at the time of
the first tonsure, then it is given according to the form provided in
tonsure, if given in the context of the Holy Mass, is given
immediately following the Kyrie. If the Gloria in Excelsis
is omitted, however, then the tonsure is given immediately following
the Introit. The tonsure and the Minor Orders may be administered on
any day and may also be administered outside the mass. If outside the
mass, the Bishop wears the cope and mitre.
3. For the
giving of the tonsure, the rite is exactly the same as for the
conferring of the Minor Orders, except that the word
"Cleric" is used rather than the name of the other Orders,
and instead of the laying on of hands, the tonsure is given, followed
by the imposition of the surplice. The rite for the tonsure is
carried out in all cases separately and distinctly, even if other
Minor Orders are to be conferred at the same time. All candidates for
tonsure are presented before the Bishop, standing. They then kneel
before the Bishop for the interrogation.
candidate to receive the first tonsure is dressed in clerical
cassock, with the brother collar, or if admitted as a seminarian, the
full collar. If he is in a religious order and is receiving the first
tonsure, he wears the habit of the order. Over his left arm he
carries his folded surplice and a lighted candle in the right hand.
At the giving of the tonsure, the following Antiphon and Psalm are
sung by the choir:
Antiphon: Tu es, Domine, qui restitues haereditatem meam mihi.
Conserva me, Domine, quoniam speravi in te: * dixi Domino: Deus meus
es tu, quoniam bonorum meorum non eges.
Sanctis, qui sunt in terra ejus: * mirificavit omnes voluntates meas
Multiplicatae sunt infirmitates eorum: * postea acceleraverunt.
Non congregabo conventicula eorum de sanguinibus: * nec memor ero
nominum eorum per labia mea.
(The Gloria Patri is not sung.)
Repeat the antiphon: Tu es, Domine, qui restitues haereditatem
is Thou, O Lord, that wilt restore my inheritance to me.
me, O Lord, for I have put my trust in Thee: * I have said to the
Lord: Thou art my God, for Thou hast no need of my goods.
saints who are in His land: * He hath made wonderful all my desires
infirmities were multiplied: * afterward thy made haste.
I will not
gather together their meetings for blood offerings: * nor will I be
mindful of their names by my lips.
be is not sung.)
the antiphon: It
is Thou, O Lord, that wilt restore my inheritance to me.
tonsure is given by the Bishop, who sits at the faldstool before the
altar wearing the mitre. It is given by cutting small pieces of the
hair in five locations so as to form a cross. These locations are, in
order, the front, the top-back, the new cleric's top-right, the
top-left, and the center of the crown. After the tonsure, the
surplice is placed on the new cleric by the Bishop, who is still
seated with the mitre, with these words:
Lord clothe thee with the new man, who is created according to God in
justice and true holiness.
the investiture with the surplice, the Bishop concludes the entirety
of the rite as given in the Pontificale for the new clerics before
proceeding with the mass or, if the rites are being conducted outside
the mass, the commissioning to the several Minor Orders.
7. If a
new cleric is to receive the first tonsure and one or more of the
Minor Orders on the same day, he participates in the entirety of the
rite for the tonsure and admission to the clerical state and then
participates in the rites for commissioning (ordaining) to the Minor Orders.
rite for commissioning (ordaining) to the Minor Orders is done once,
incorporating all the appropriate elements for the Minor Orders to be
conveyed. All candidates for Minor Orders are presented before the
Bishop, standing. Those who are to take the higher orders sit while
those who are to receive the first order to be given kneel before the
Bishop for the interrogation. Those who are to receive the Order of
Porter receive the laying on of hands first, then the Order of
Lector, then Exorcist, and then Acolyte. The administration of each
order begins with the interrogation, with the candidates for that
Order kneeling before the Bishop. Then follows the interrogation,
Litany of the Saints and the laying on of hands and other rites for
Sub-Deacons. Then the concluding rites through the benediction are
said at the end of the rite for each individual Order, but all that
which follows the benediction is said once for all candidates to the
Minor Orders after all commissionings have been done.
9. If one
cleric is to receive multiple Minor Orders in a single rite, then he
receives them in order with a separate and distinct interrogation and
laying on of hands for each order. If he is to receive one or more of
the orders of Porter through Acolyte inclusive, and then the
Sub-Diaconate, then he retires to the sacristy after receiving the
order of Acolyte to vest in amice, alb, and cincture prior to the
interrogation for the Sub-Diaconate and the Litany of the Saints.
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