An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church


One who is to make a sacramental commitment. Those who are to be baptized and those who are to be confirmed, received, or reaffirmed are referred to as candidates in the BCP (pp. 301, 415). The term also indicates one who is in the final stage of the canonical process leading to ordination as a deacon or priest. After an applicant (aspirant) for holy orders has been admitted as a postulant for six months, the postulant may apply to the bishop for admission as a candidate for holy orders. Candidacy follows postulancy and precedes ordination. The time of candidacy is to be at least one year, although this may be shortened to not less than six months. During this time the candidate is to complete or satisfy the canonical requirements for ordination, including requirements concerning age, education, academic examination, practical training or experience in ministry, and medical and psychological examinations. Also during this time a certificate of the candidate's fitness for ordination is sent from the rector and vestry of the candidate's parish to the standing committee of the diocese. A similar certificate is then sent by the standing committee to the bishop. A report from the diocesan commission on ministry is also sent to the bishop. In the case of one who is to be ordained deacon and later ordained priest, a certificate concerning the candidate's scholastic record and an evaluation concerning the candidate's personal qualifications for holy orders is sent to the bishop by the candidate's theological school or those who have directed the candidate's studies. The candidate must also apply for ordination in writing. See Aspirant; see Postulant (Holy Orders, Monastic).

Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from “An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians,” Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.