Consecration is a special ceremony, usually religious, in which a person, or an object or a building is dedicated to a special purpose. When a new church is built there will be a special opening ceremony, called a "consecration". In many religions ordination is the process by which individuals are consecrated (ordained) as a minister.
- A synonym (another word) for consecration is sanctification (verb: to sanctify).
- An antonym (the opposite) is desecration (verb: to desecrate) (for example when people smash holy things in a church).
- A related word is deconsecration, also called secularization. it is the act of reversing the consecration from something that had been previously consecrated. A church building which is no longer to be used as a church is sometimes deconsecrated, thus making it suitable for secular use.
The word "consecration" is used in the Catholic Church as the setting apart for the service of God of both persons and objects. The ordination of a new bishop is also called a consecration. The life of those who enter religious orders (for example: monks and nuns) is also described as "Consecrated Life".
In Catholic and Orthodox churches, only men are chosen to be priests. But in many Protestant denominations, including the Church of England, women are allowed take leadership roles. (See Liberal Christianity) Some major Protestant denominations however, like the Southern Baptist Convention take a more conservative and traditional view of women. Various religious groups have different terminology for the recognition of persons who take special roles in the religion. The word "consecration" is sometimes used to recognize persons who would not be accepted for "ordination".