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Minor Orders

In the medieval Catholic church the orders of the church's ministry were divided into Major Orders (sub-deacon, deacon and priest, bishop) and Minor Orders (porters, lectors [readers], exor cists, accolytes). Those in Minor Orders performed largely liturgical functions and they were not ordained as those in Major Orders were. The bishop blessed the candidate and handed him the instruments he required for his offce. The Minor Orders and the Subdiaconate disappeared as orders at the Reformation but there is evidence that the lectorship continued to be used and was effectively turned into an apprenticeship for those seeking holy orders.