Essential Reading on Holy Orders

Rosalind Brown, Being a Deacon Today: Exploring a Distinctive Ministry in the Church and in the World (Morehouse, 2005)

Michael Ramsey, The Christian Priest Today (SPCK, 2009; first published 1972)

George Sumner, Being Salt: A Theology of an Ordered Church (Wipf & Stock, 2007)

The Prayer Book Tradition

TEC BCP 1979: Look under “Episcopal Services” in the directory.


Church of England BCP 1662:,-ordaining-and-consecrating-of-bishops,-priests-and-deacons.aspx

Further Reading

The Diaconate in Anglicanism:

James Barnett, The Diaconate: A Full and Equal Order, rev ed. (Trinity, 1995)

John Booty, The Servant Church: Diaconal Ministry and the Episcopal Church (Morehouse, 1982)

John Collins, Deacons and the Church: Making Connections Between Old and New (Morehouse, 2002)

Ormonde Plater, Deacons in the Liturgy, 2nd ed. (Church Publishing, 2009)

Ormonde Plater, Many Servants: An Introduction to Deacons (Cowley, 2004)

The Priesthood in Anglicanism:

Rosalind Brown and Christopher Cocksworth, On Being a Priest Today (Cowley, 2004)

Leander Harding, To Persevere in Love: Meditations on the Ministerial Priesthood from an Anglican Perspective (Wipf & Stock, 2013)

John Webster, “Ministry and Priesthood,” in The Study of Anglicanism, Sykes et al, eds. 2nd ed. (SPCK, 1998): 321-333 

The Church Fathers on the Priesthood and Ministry:

St. Gregory of Nazianzus, Or 2, In Defense of His Flight to Pontus

St. Ambrose of Milan, On the Duties of the Clergy (De officiis)

St. John Chrysostom, On the Priesthood (6 treatises)

St. Augustine, On Catechizing the Uninstructed (De catechizandis rudibus)

St. Gregory the Great, The Pastoral Rule 

Books on Discernment:

Gordon T. Smith, Consider Your Calling: Six Questions for Discerning Your Vocation (IVP, 2016)

Gordon T. Smith, The Voice of Jesus: Discernment, Prayer and the Witness of the Spirit (IVP, 2003)

JI Packer, Finding God’s Will (Intervarsity, 1985)

Andrew Louth, Discerning the Mystery: An Essay on the Nature of Theology (Oxford, 1990)

Mark A. McIntosh, Discernment and Truth: The Spirituality and Theology of Knowledge (Crossroad, 2004)

Useful Historical Studies:

Matthew Levering, On the Priesthood: Classic and Contemporary Texts (Sheed & Ward, 2003)

William Harmless, Augustine and the Catechumenate, rev. ed. (Pueblo, 2014)

Andrew Purvis, Pastoral Theology in the Classical Tradition (Westminster John Knox, 2001)

Craig Satterlee, Ambrose of Milan’s Method of Mystagogical Preaching (Pueblo, 2002) 

Other Catholic Christian Traditions

The Priesthood in Roman Catholicism:

Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC) Agreed Statement, “Ministry and Ordination”,

Timothy Cardinal Dolan, Priests for the Third Millennium (Our Sunday Visitor, 2009)

Avery Cardinal Dulles, The Priestly Office: A Theological Reflection (Paulist Press, 1997)

Mark O'Keefe, In Persona Christi: Reflections on Priestly Identity and Holiness (St. Meinrad, 2008)

Aidan Nichols, Holy Order: Apostolic Priesthood from the New Testament to the Second Vatican Council (Wipf & Stock, 2011)

Karl Rahner, Servants of the Lord (Herder & Herder, 1968)

The Priesthood in Eastern Orthodoxy:

Joseph Allen, Vested in Grace: Marriage and Priesthood in the Christian East (Holy Cross, 2001)

Joseph Allen, The Ministry of the Church (St. Vladimir’s, 1986)

Aleksandr Elchaninov, Diary of a Russian Priest (St. Vladimir’s, 1997)

St. John of Kronstadt, Counsels on the Christian Priesthood (St. Vladimir’s, 1967)

John Peck, Discerning Your Vocation to the Priesthood: A Guide to Discerning Vocation to Holy Orders in the Orthodox Church (Preacher’s Institute, 2016)

Alexander Schmemann, Journals of Fr. Alexander Schmemann (St. Vladimir’s, 2000)


John Shahovsky, The Orthodox Pastor: A Guide to Pastoral Theology, 2nd ed. (St. Vladimir’s, 2008)