Let the canon of our holy God-bearing Fathers be confirmed in this particular also; that a presbyter be not ordained before he is thirty years of age, even if he be a very worthy man, but let him be kept back. For our Lord Jesus Christ was baptized and began to teach when he was thirty. In like manner let no deacon be ordained before he is twenty-five, nor a deaconess before she is forty.
Ancient Epitome of Canon XIV.
A presbyter thirty years of age, a deacon twenty-five, and a deaconess forty.
Compare Canon XI. of Neocæsarea.
It may be interesting to note here that by the law of the Roman Communion the canonical ages are as follows:
A subdeacon must have completed his twenty-first year, a deacon his twenty-second, a priest his twenty-fourth, and a bishop his thirtieth. None of the inferior clergy can hold a simple benefice before he has begun his fourteenth year. Ecclesiastical dignities, such as Cathedral canonries, cannot be conferred on any who have not finished the twenty-second year. A benefice to which is attached a cure of souls can be given only to one who is over twenty-four, and a diocese only to one who has completed his thirtieth year. (Vide Ferraris, Bibliotheca Prompta.)
In the Anglican Communion the ages are, in England, for a bishop “fully thirty years of age,” for a priest twenty-four, and for a deacon twenty-three: 361 and in the United States, for a bishop thirty years of age, for a priest twenty-four, and for a deacon twenty-one.
A faculty is allowed for earlier ordination, but since 1804 only to be granted by the Archbishop of Canterbury. This limitation is, however, only of Parliamentary sanction (44 Geo. III., ch. 43).