A priest is otherwise called a "priest". The name itself suggests that we are talking not just about a profession, about work, but about service. Any Christian serves God, but the peculiarity of the ministry of a priest is that he is an intermediary between God and other Christians.
The path to the activity of a priest, as to any profession, begins with a special education. To become a priest, you must graduate from a theological seminary. A man aged 18-35 years old, with a complete secondary education, single or in a first marriage (divorced or married a second time, the way to the seminary is closed) can be enrolled there. In addition to the usual documents, which are presented in all educational institutions, the applicant must submit a recommendation from an Orthodox priest, a written blessing from a bishop, a certificate of baptism, and if the applicant is married, a wedding.
Submission of all required documents does not guarantee admission to the entrance exams. The applicant must go through an interview in which his beliefs and motives for admission to the seminary are tested.
The main entrance exam is the Law of God. Here you need to demonstrate knowledge of Orthodox teaching, sacred history and liturgical regulations. Other exams are church history and church singing. The future seminarians also pass the exam in the Russian language in the form of an essay, but the range of topics is special - church history. In addition, the applicant must know by heart many prayers and read freely in Church Slavonic.
They have been studying at the seminary for 5 years. Future priests study not only theology, liturgical disciplines and church singing, but also philosophy, logic, rhetoric, literature and other humanitarian subjects. A seminary graduate must decide whether he will be a monk or a parish priest. In the second case, he is obliged to marry.
But receiving a special education does not mean that a person has become a priest, because the priesthood is one of the sacraments.
A person becomes a priest in the sacrament of ordination - ordination. At the same time, the Holy Spirit descends on him, and thanks to this, the priest becomes not just a spiritual guide for the laity, but also a bearer of Grace. Consecration can only be performed by a bishop; this happens in the altar during the liturgy.
Consecration must be preceded by ordination - ordination to subdeacon. This is not a clergyman, but a clergyman. At the time of ordination, it is not necessary to be married, but if you have not married before ordination, you can no longer marry later.
A subdeacon can be ordained a deacon - this is the first step of the church hierarchy. The deacon participates in the administration of the ordinances, but does not perform them on his own - with the exception of Baptism.
The next step is ordination to the priesthood. A priest, unlike a deacon, has the right to perform ordinances, with the exception of ordination.
If we are not talking about a monk, the ordained person is required to be absolutely monogamous. Not only the divorce and remarriage of the initiate himself (even in the event of the death of the first wife) is not allowed - he should not be married to a widow or a divorced woman. A person should not be subject to ecclesiastical or secular courts or be bound by public duties that would interfere with the priestly ministry. And, of course, special moral and spiritual qualities are required from the future priest. This is revealed in a special confession of a henchman.
The third level of the hierarchy is the bishop. Such an ordination is performed by a council of bishops. Not every priest can become a bishop; this is available only to hieromonks - priests-monks. The bishop has the right to perform all the sacraments, including ordination, and consecrate churches in full order.