The inferior ranks of the ministry, below the Major Orders (q.v.). In the RC Church before 1972 there were four minor orders, namely doorkeepers, lectors, exorcists, and acolytes. In 1972 the minor orders, now called ‘ministeria’, were reduced to two, lectors and acolytes alone surviving. The rite by which minor orders are conferred consists chiefly of a commission to exercise their office and the handing over of the instruments. The minor orders surviving in the E. Church are those of lector, cantor, and subdeacon.