When speaking of ordination or the mystery of consecration, one should fundamentally distinguish between consecration as a dpir (lector, cantor, acolyte) and kisasarkavag (hypodeacon, subdeacon) on the one hand, and consecration through the laying on of hands as a sarkavag (deacon), qahana (priest) and Episkopos (bishop) on the other hand. While in the first case the consecrator is qualified as a cleric but not removed from the laity, the laying on of hands leads to participation in the threefold office of Christ, which is transmitted through the apostolic succession and the apostolic tradition. In the Armenian Church the mystery of consecration has two basic parts: the laying on of hands and the anointing. Through the ordination, the candidate receives the priestly anointing and is called to ministry.
The foundations of the sacrament of Holy Orders are found in the Old Testament. God commanded Moses to consecrate Joshua as his successor by the laying on of hands, to lead the people of Israel, filled with the Spirit of wisdom (cf Numbers 27:18-23; Deut 34, 9). In the New Testament, Jesus also gave his disciples authority to preach, to heal, to cast out unclean spirits (Matthew 10:1-8), to forgive sins, to bind and loose on earth (Matthew 16, 19; 17, 18; John 20:21-23), to celebrate Holy Communion (Luke 22:19-20), to teach the gospel and to baptize (Matthew 28:19-20).
After Christ's ascension, the Lord's disciples preached the truth of the gospel everywhere and ordained deacons, priests, and bishops in the churches they founded to lead the newly organized churches and congregations. In the beginning, the Christian Church had three hierarchical offices: the diaconate, the priesthood, and the episcopate. Even today these three offices are considered to be the main offices of the church, but over the centuries as the church spread and the number of believers increased, a further distribution of offices became necessary.
The Armenian Church recognizes married and celibate priesthoods. Married priests must marry before ordination. The Armenian Church recognizes the ordination of women to the diaconate, but no ordination of women to the priestly ministry. She shares the view with other Orthodox Churches that the ordination of women, contrary to Scripture and Church tradition, must be understood within a theological and ecclesiological context, rather than being treated as a matter of human rights and equality between men and women become.