In the Orthodox Church there are three major orders of ministry: deacons, priests and bishops. Orthodox deacons and priests may marry, but only prior to their ordination; bishops are ordained monks. The bishop is the head of the Church council or diocesan council over which he presides.

The priest serves as the representative (“vicar”) of the bishop in a parish, and holds primary responsibility for all matters of parish life. Deacons were historically involved in the pastoral ministries of the parish. More recently, the role of the deacon has been largely focussed on worship, although there is now a reemergence of the ministry of the diaconate in the wider life of the parish (pastoral care, teaching, ministry).

 Laity also are involved in the life of the Church through liturgical, administrative, teaching and humanitarian ministries. The Orthodox Church stresses the interdependence of her ordained and lay members; neither can function fully without the presence, support and participation of the other.

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