Sacrament of Holy
The Order of Porter
The Ostiariate -- the 1st of the Minor Orders
|according to the
Traditional Catholic Rite of Holy Orders
by A. Biskupek, S.V.D
Mission Press, 1954
May 4, 1942 Charles Michel, S.V.D. Provincial
May 4, 1942 + Samuel A. Stritch, D.D.
Archbishop of Chicago
In the Old Testament Levites were appointed to keep
the gates of the tabernacle and later of the temple; they also had charge
of the sacred vessels (1 Paral. 9, 26). The sacredness of the house of
God in the New Testament and of the vessels used for the celebration of
the divine mysteries calls for at least the same care and safekeeping.
The ostiarii were the doorkeepers or porters of the church. The word is
derived from the Latin ostium, the door.
The office was of special importance during the times of persecution.
Reliable men were needed to inform the faithful of the time and place of
the divine services, to open and lock the doors, to keep out undesirables.
In later times the ringing of bells sufficed for the purpose of informing
the faithful of the time of the divine services, since there was no further
need of informing them of the place.
Opening of the book for the preacher, mentioned as one of the duties
of the porter, must also be understood in the light of earlier times. Those
ancient rolls were not as handy as a modern book, but often heavy and of
considerable size, and the place for reading could not be found as readily.
The porter, therefore, would carry the book to the ambo and open it for
the preacher. In the course of time the care of the sacred vessels was
also entrusted to porters, which gave the order added importance.
It seems probable that up to the fourth century porters were not ordained,
but simply appointed. In our days the duties of porters are usually performed
by sacristans, ushers, and janitors.
If the ostiariate is conferred during Mass, this is done:
Saturday before Passion Sunday: after the Kyrie.
Holy Saturday: after the Gloria.
On other days, if the Mass has Gloria: after the Gloria; if the Mass
has no Gloria: after the Kyrie.
The Call. The bishop, with his miter on, sits
on the faldstool before the middle of the altar. The archdeacon bids the
candidates come forward; the notary reads their names:
Let those come forward who are to be ordained
to the order of porter: N. N. etc.
Each one answers, adsum, goes before the altar and kneels, holding
the burning candle in his right hand.
The Instruction. When all are assembled,
the bishop address them as follows:
Dearly beloved sons, you are about to receive
the order of porter. Behold what you must do in the house of God. The duty
of the porter is to ring the bells, to open the church and sacristy, and
to open the book for the preacher. Take good care, therefore, lest anything
in the church perish through your negligence. Open the house of God to
the faithful at the appointed hours, and always shut it to unbelievers.
Here the candles are laid aside.
As you open and shut with material keys the
visible church, let it also be your endeavor by your word and example to
shut to the devil and open to God the invisible house of God, namely,
the hearts of the faithful, that they may keep in mind the word of God
which they have heard and carry it out in deed. May the Lord in His
mercy accomplish this in you.
The Bestowal of the Office. The bishop presents
to each one the keys of the church. They touch them with the right hand,
while the bishop says:
So act, even as about to give an account to God
of the things which are kept under these keys.
The archdeacon, or the one who takes his place, now conducts the candidates
to the door of the church, which they lock and unlock; then to the tower,
where the bell rope is handed them, and each rings the bell with one stroke.
Should thee be no tower, or should the tower be too far away or too difficult
of ascent, the sacristy bell, or a small bell, placed at the church door,
may be used. The candidates are then conducted back to the altar.
Prayer. The porters kneel, while the bishop,
with miter on, turned to the ordained, prays:
Dearly beloved brethren, let us fervently beseech
God, the Father Almighty, to + bless these
His servants, whom He has deigned to elect to the office of porter; may
they with utmost care attend to the house of God, by day and night and
announce the hours appointed for divine services, through the help of our
Lord Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with Him in the unity of the Holy
Spirit, God, forever and ever. R. Amen.
The bishop, with his miter off, turns to the altar and says:
Let Us Pray
Turning again to the candidates kneeling before him, the bishop prays:
Let us bend our knees. R. Arise.
Holy Lord, almighty Father, eternal God, bless
+ these Thy servants for the office of porter,
that among the keepers of the Church they may be devoted to Thy service
and together with Thine elect have a share in Thy reward. Through our Lord
Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who lives and reigns with Thee in the unity of the
Holy Spirit, God, forever and ever. R. Amen.
Procedure after an ordination.
Holy Orders Home Page |
Sacrament of Holy Orders | Tonsure
Minor Orders | Porter
| Reader | Exorcist
Major Orders | Subdeacon
| Deacon | Priest
Litany of the Saints
| Veni Creator | Encyclical
of Pope Pius XI