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An archbishop was consecrated by one of his suffragans, the senior being usually selected. The consecrator is seated on a faldstool placed on the predella of the altar, facing the bishop-elect, who sits between the assistant bishops, upon a seat placed on the sanctuary floor.
A suffragan, however, is obliged to select the metropolitan of his province, if the latter be in Rome (ibidem). Besides the consecrator, the ancient canons and the general practice of the Church require two assistant bishops. 49), and hence in cases of necessity, when it is impossible to procure three bishops, the places of the two assistant bishops may, by Apostolic favour, be filled by priests, who should be dignitaries (Cong. Then follows the examination, in which seventeen questions concerning the canons of the Church and articles of faith are proposed, to which the elect answers, "I will", and "I do believe ", respectively, each time rising slightly and uncovering his head.
Here we have the act of consecration consisting of purifying, investing, and anointing ( Leviticus 8 ) as a preparation for their offering public sacrifice.
The placing of the meat in their hands ( Exodus 29 ) was considered an essential part of the ceremony of consecration, whence the expression filling the hand has been considered identical with consecrating.
Consecration, in general, is an act by which a thing is separated from a common and profane to a sacred use, or by which a person or thing is dedicated to the service and worship of God by prayers, rites, and ceremonies.
The custom of consecrating persons to the Divine service and things to serve in the worship of God may be traced to the remotest times.