Ordination is a sacramental act whereby certain members of the Church are set aside for special service, and thus enter into a unique and specific relationship with the Church as a whole. Ordination may be divided into two categories: minor orders (cheirothesiai) and major orders (cheirotoniai). Minor orders include tonsuring for service as a Reader or an Acolyte. Major orders are ordination to the rank of Deacon, Priest, or Bishop. Only a canonical bishop of the Orthodox Church is permitted to perform ordinations. 

In the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese, a person who wishes to become a priest must complete a Masters of Divinity degree or its equivalent at an accredited Orthodox school of theology (in some limited cases, a person may be ordained as a "permanent deacon" with a lay vocation even if he has not completed such a degree). Candidates for ordination must also undergo examination and evaluation by the bishop before being ordained, and must meet certain specific criteria required by the Church with regard to age, gender, marital status, etc.

Women Deacons in the Orthodox Church

In the ancient Church, women were eligible for ordination to the first rank of the major orders, that of deacon, though the order of women deacons eventually fell into disuse in the Church. In October of 2004, the Holy Synod of the Church of Greece gave its approval for the reinstitution of this order and the ordination of women as deacons in certain limited circumstances (i.e., abbesses serving in remote monasteries). Whether the ordination of women deacons might one day be approved in this country by the Holy Eparchial Synod of America remains an open question. 

Additional Links:

Hellenic College/Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology 
Minutes of the Decision of the Church of Greece Regarding Female Deacons (In Greek)