Acolyte

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A young man in sticharion performing the duties of an altar server
In some Christian churches, an acolyte is one who aspires to priesthood. More generally, the term can refer to anyone who performs liturgical duties such as lighting altar candles, preparing charcoal for incense, and assisting the major orders with the liturgy.

The acolyte in the Byzantine tradition

The Orthodox Church no longer possesses an exact equivalent for this office. The order of acolyte has fallen into disuse with other minor orders, such as doorkeepers and exorcists. At one time there was a rank of minor clergy called the taper-bearer, responsible for bearing lights during processions and liturgical entrances. However, this rank has long ago been subsumed by that of the reader and the service for the ordination of a reader mentions both functions. The functions of an acolyte or taper-bearer are therefore carried out by readers, subdeacons, or by unordained men or boys. Subdeacons wear their normal vestments consisting of the sticharion and crossed orarion; readers and unordained servers generally wear the sticharion alone.

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This article forms part of the series
Clergy
Antiochian Local Synod
Major orders Bishop | Priest | Deacon
Minor orders Subdeacon | Reader | Cantor | Acolyte
Other orders Chorepiscopos | Exorcist | Doorkeeper | Deaconess - Presbityde
Episcopal titles Patriarch | Catholicos | Archbishop | Metropolitan | Auxiliary | Titular
Priestly titles Protopresbyter | Archpriest | Protosyngellos | Economos
Diaconal titles Archdeacon | Protodeacon
Minor titles Protopsaltes - Lampadarios
Monastic titles Archimandrite | Abbot - Hegumen
Related Ordination | Vestments | Presbeia | Honorifics | Clergy awards | Exarch | Proistamenos | Vicar
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