Laicization''', also ''' defrocking''', is an action within the Orthodox Church whereby the rights are removed of members of the [[ clergy]] to exercise the functions of their offices. In the process of laicization, or defrocking, the status of [[ ordination]] is completely removed. All sacred actions, beginning from the time of laicization, of a former cleric are normally considered invalid.
Laicization may come as a result of a personal request for removal from the [[ Holy Orders]] , or as an ecclesiastical punishment. In the first case, very often, the cleric may ask to be laicized in order to enter a second marriage after the divorce or the death of the spouse. In this case, the man remains in good standing with the Church as a layman but is no longer a member of the clergy.
According to canonical procedure, a member of the clergy, who is found guilty of violation of ecclesiastical discipline, can be suspended by the ruling [[ bishop]] from exercising all clerical functions. If he disregards his [[suspension]] and continues to serve or does not repent of his actions, he may be permanently [[ deposition| deposed]] from the Holy Orders. Such a forced laicization or removal from Holy Orders (defrocking) is a form of ecclesiastical punishment imposed in accordance with canonical procedures of those clergy who has been found guilty of an infringement of a sacred vow, unrepentant [[ heresy]], breaking of [[canon law]] , or violating ecclesiastical discipline. Strictly speaking, deposition can be appealed to the [[ ecclesiastical court]], but, in modern practice, the bishop's decision is usually final. Laicization proceedings of hierarchs is normally conducted by an ecclesiastical court of hierarchs.
Laicization as an ecclesiastical punishment may carry with it [[ excommunication]], that is placing the former cleric ' out of communion' from the church for a certain period, or indefinitely, but still a member of the church, or with the [[ anathema]], that is expulsion from the church. Such actions are usually imposed by the decision of a [[ synod]] of bishops or a ecclesiastical court. In such cases, this not only defrocks the former cleric but also banishes him from entering an Orthodox church, receiving the [[ Eucharist]] and other sacraments, or being blessed by a [[ priest]].
*[http://www.oca.org/DOCstatute.asp?SID=12&ID=11 OCA: Article XI - Church Courts and Canonical Procedures ]