Deacon

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The '''Deacon''' is the third and lowest degree of the [[major orders]] of [[clergy]] in the [[Orthodox Church]], following the [[bishop]] and the [[presbyter]].  The word ''deacon'' means ''server'' and originally it referred to a person who waited on tables.   
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{{Template:Clergy}}
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The '''Deacon''' is the third and lowest degree of the [[major orders]] of [[clergy]] in the [[Orthodox Church]], following the [[bishop]] and the [[presbyter]].  The word ''deacon'' (in Greek διάκονος) means ''server'' and originally it referred to a person who waited on tables.   
  
== Diaconal Ministry ==
+
==Ordination==
The deacon ministers to the [[priest]] and [[bishop]] in the divine services and assists in the celebration of the [[mysteries]] of the Church.  A deacon may not, however, celebrate the mysteries by himself.
+
=== Deacon's vestments ===
 +
The vestments of the deacon are the [[sticharion]], the [[orarion]], and the [[epimanikia]].
  
With the blessing of the presiding priest or bishop, the deacon leads the people in the collective prayers and reads from the Holy Scriptures during the divine servicesHe is also responsible for the decorum of the public worship and calls the people to attention at appropriate times.
+
All degrees of clergy wear the sticharion.  The sticharion is a long-sleeved tunic that reaches all the way to the groundIt reminds the wearer that the [[grace]] of the Holy Spirit covers him as with a garment of salvation and joy. For deacons, the sticharion has wide sleeves and is made of a heavier fabric than that of the priest and bishop, who wear their sticharia under other vestments.
+
In addition, the deacon may perform other tasks related to Church life from time to time with the blessing and at the direction of his priest or bishop.
+
  
A deacon may be blessed by his bishop and parish priest to distribute the [[Eucharist]] to the faithful, either from a second [[chalice]] at a regular [[liturgy]] where a priest is serving or in connection with a [[typika]] service that is celebrated when the priest is absentIn neither case, however, does the deacon consecrate the [[Holy Gifts]].  The deacon has no ability or authority to consecrate the Holy Gifts on his own.
+
The second part of a deacon's vestments is the orarion.  The orarion is a narrow band of material that the deacon wears wrapped around his body and draped over his left shoulder.  It represents the grace of the Holy Spirit that in ordination anoints the deacon like oil.  It is the principal vestment of the deacon and without it he cannot serveWhen the deacon leads the people in prayers or invites them to attention he holds one end of his orarion in his right hand and raises it.  The priest's [[epitrachelion]] and the bishop's [[omophorion]] are specialized types of the orarion.
  
== Rankings of Deacons ==
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The final parts of a deacon's vestments are the epimanikia.  The epimanikia are cuffs that are worn around the wrists, tied by a long cord.  These are also worn by the bishop and priest.  They serve the practical purpose of keeping the inner garments out of the way during the services.  They also remind the wearer that he serves not by his own strength but with the help of God.
  
Sacramentally, all deacons are equal.  However, they are ranked and serve by seniority according to the date of their ordination.  
+
== Duties ==
 +
The deacon ministers to the [[priest]] and [[bishop]] in the divine services. This includes:
  
Just as with bishops and presbyters, there are distinctions of administrative rank among deacons.  A senior deacon of a cathedral or principal church may be awarded the title '''''protodeacon''''' and claim precedence when serving with other deacons.  The chief deacon who is attached to the person of a bishop is called an '''''archdeacon'''''.  A deacon who is also a monastic is called a '''''hierodeacon'''''.
+
*Assisting in the celebration of the [[mysteries]] of the Church
 +
*Leading the people in the collective prayers (with the blessing of the presiding priest or bishop)
 +
*Reading from the Scriptures during the divine services (with the blessing of the presiding priest or bishop)
 +
*Keeping the decorum of the public worship, including calling people to attention at appropriate times
 +
*Any tasks of the [[subdeacon]] or [[reader]]
 +
*Other tasks related to Church life, with the blessing and direction of his priest or bishop.
  
== Etiquette ==
+
In some jurisdictions, a deacon may be blessed by his bishop and parish priest to distribute the [[Eucharist]] to the faithful, either from a second [[chalice]] at a regular [[liturgy]] where a priest is serving or in connection with a [[typika]] service that is celebrated when the priest is absent.
For formal occasions (for example, in the heading of a letter or when introducing a speaker), one would politely address or refer to a deacon as "The Rev. Deacon [John Smith]."  ''Deacon'' is often [[Abbreviations|abbreviated]] ''Dcn.'' or ''Dn.''
+
  
In informal settings, for example, in normal conversation, it is appropriate to simply refer to a deacon as "Deacon [John]."  Note that in some traditions, however, it is common to refer to deacons as "Father"—for instance, "Father Deacon [John]" or even "Father [John]" and not "Rev Deacon [John Smith]".
+
What a deacon does may depend on jurisdiction - some consider the diaconate as a short interval before the priesthood - but, where permanency or longevity in the diaconate is prized, deacons will often head educational programs and youth groups, perform hospital visitation, missionary work, and conduct social welfare projects.
  
Deacons cannot bless, so it is '''inappropriate''' to ask a deacon for his blessing or to kiss his hand.  Blessings are given by bishops and priests, so these expressions of honor are reserved for them alone.
+
===Allowances===
 +
Deacons are permitted to wear a cassock; this is done as a sign of his suppression of his own tastes, will and desires, and his canonical obedience to God, his bishop and the liturgical and canonical norms of the Church. Deacons are also permitted to wear the exoraso (or ryassa).  In jurisdictions that utilise clergy shirts, deacons generally wear a clergy shirt with collar.
  
== Deacon's Vestments ==
+
During services, the deacon is usually vested in a sticharion with an orarion that hangs over the left shoulder; with the exception of around the consecration of Communion, when the deacon will, for practicality, arrange his sticharion like a subdeacon.
The vestments of the deacon are the [[sticharion]], the [[orarion]], and the [[epimanikia]].
+
  
All three degrees of major clergy wear the sticharion.  The sticharion is a long-sleeved tunic that reaches all the way to the ground.  It reminds the wearer that the [[grace]] of the Holy Spirit covers him as with a garment of salvation and joy.  For deacons, the sticharion has wide sleeves and is made of a heavier fabric than that of the priest and bishop, who wear their sticharia under other vestments.
+
In addition, to complete his duties, the deacon is permitted to touch the Table of Oblation, the Altar, and to move through the Royal Doors.
  
The second part of a deacon’s vestments is the orarion.  The orarion is a narrow band of material that the deacon wears wrapped around his body and draped over his left shoulderIt represents the grace of the Holy Spirit that in ordination anoints the deacon like oil.  It is the principal vestment of the deacon and without it he cannot serve.  When the deacon leads the people in prayers or invites them to attention he holds one end of his orarion in his right hand and raises it.  The priest’s [[epitrachelion]] and the bishop’s [[omophorion]] are specialized types of the orarion.
+
===Restrictions===
 +
The place of a deacon is to serve the community and to lead prayersHe must have the blessing of the presiding priest or bishop to put on his vestments and serve.  A deacon may not celebrate the sacraments by himself; he may not give blessings; he may not consecrate the [[Holy Gifts]].
  
The final parts of a deacon’s vestments are the epimanikia.  The epimanikia are cuffs that are worn around the wrists, tied by a long cord. These are also worn by the bishop and priest.  They serve the practical purpose of keeping the inner garments out of the way during the services.  They also remind the wearer that he serves not by his own strength but with the help of God.
+
==Contemporary Practice==
 +
===Permanent office===
 +
In the Orthodox Church, the diaconate is not just a step to priesthood, many deacons have no intention of ever becoming priests. They see it as a permanent office, as a position for full or part time service to the work of the Church.
  
Before the deacon can don any of his vestments, he must first receive the blessing of the bishop or priest with whom he is serving.
+
Originally deacons of the Church assisted the bishops in good deeds and works of charity.  But at some time in recent centuries the diaconate became an almost exclusive liturgical function where the deacons only assist at the celebration of the Church services, helping in other areas like any other knowledgeable member of the laity.
  
==See Also==
+
=== Rankings of deacons ===
 +
Sacramentally, all deacons are equal.  However, they are ranked and serve by seniority according to the date of their ordination.
 +
 
 +
Just as with bishops and presbyters, there are distinctions of administrative rank among deacons.  A senior deacon of a cathedral or principal church may be awarded the title ''protodeacon'' and claim precedence when serving with other deacons.  The chief deacon who is attached to the person of a bishop is called an ''archdeacon''.  A deacon who is also a monastic is called a ''hierodeacon''.
 +
 
 +
=== Etiquette ===
 +
For formal occasions (for example, in the heading of a letter or when introducing a speaker), one would politely address or refer to a deacon as "The Rev. Deacon [John Smith]."  ''Deacon'' is often [[Abbreviations|abbreviated]] ''Dcn.'' or ''Dn.'' (though the second is used as an abbreviation for [[dean]]).
 +
 
 +
In informal settings, for example, in normal conversation, it is appropriate to simply refer to a deacon as "Deacon [John]", "Father [John]", or "Father Deacon [John]", depending on the tradition.
 +
 
 +
Deacons cannot bless, so it is inappropriate to ask a deacon for his blessing; blessings are given only by bishops and priests. In some traditions, however, such as in Greece, the deacon's hand (as well as the hand of an abbess of a monastery or, occasionally, an unordained monastic) is sometimes kissed as a sign of respect for the Holy Spirit which operates through that person's office. Neither kissing a deacon's hand nor not kissing it is strictly "right" or "wrong."
 +
 
 +
==See also==
 
* [[Deaconess]]
 
* [[Deaconess]]
 
* [[Diakonissa]]
 
* [[Diakonissa]]
  
== External Links ==
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== External links ==
 
*[http://www.deacon.ru/ The Ministry of Deacon] (in Russian)
 
*[http://www.deacon.ru/ The Ministry of Deacon] (in Russian)
 
*[http://www.orthodox.net/ustav/bulgakov-deacon.html The Deacon] (from the Bulgakov handbook)
 
*[http://www.orthodox.net/ustav/bulgakov-deacon.html The Deacon] (from the Bulgakov handbook)
 +
*[http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/praxis/clergy_etiquette.aspx Clergy Etiquette]
  
 
[[Category:Clergy]]
 
[[Category:Clergy]]
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 +
[[bg:Дякон]]
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[[fr:Diacre]]
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[[mk:Ѓакон]]
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[[ro:Diacon]]

Latest revision as of 23:23, March 28, 2011

This article forms part of the series
Clergy
Antiochian local synod.jpg
Major orders
Bishop - Priest - Deacon
Minor orders
Subdeacon - Reader
Cantor - Acolyte
Other orders
Chorepiscopos - Exorcist
Doorkeeper - Deaconess - Presbytide
Episcopal titles
Patriarch - Catholicos
Archbishop - Metropolitan
Auxiliary - Titular
Priestly titles
Archimandrite - Protopresbyter
Archpriest - Protosyngellos
Economos
Diaconal titles
Archdeacon - Protodeacon
Minor titles
Protopsaltes - Lampadarios
Monastic titles
Abbot - Igumen
Related
Ordination - Vestments
Presbeia - Honorifics
Clergy awards - Exarch
Proistamenos - Vicar
Edit this box


The Deacon is the third and lowest degree of the major orders of clergy in the Orthodox Church, following the bishop and the presbyter. The word deacon (in Greek διάκονος) means server and originally it referred to a person who waited on tables.

Contents

[edit] Ordination

[edit] Deacon's vestments

The vestments of the deacon are the sticharion, the orarion, and the epimanikia.

All degrees of clergy wear the sticharion. The sticharion is a long-sleeved tunic that reaches all the way to the ground. It reminds the wearer that the grace of the Holy Spirit covers him as with a garment of salvation and joy. For deacons, the sticharion has wide sleeves and is made of a heavier fabric than that of the priest and bishop, who wear their sticharia under other vestments.

The second part of a deacon's vestments is the orarion. The orarion is a narrow band of material that the deacon wears wrapped around his body and draped over his left shoulder. It represents the grace of the Holy Spirit that in ordination anoints the deacon like oil. It is the principal vestment of the deacon and without it he cannot serve. When the deacon leads the people in prayers or invites them to attention he holds one end of his orarion in his right hand and raises it. The priest's epitrachelion and the bishop's omophorion are specialized types of the orarion.

The final parts of a deacon's vestments are the epimanikia. The epimanikia are cuffs that are worn around the wrists, tied by a long cord. These are also worn by the bishop and priest. They serve the practical purpose of keeping the inner garments out of the way during the services. They also remind the wearer that he serves not by his own strength but with the help of God.

[edit] Duties

The deacon ministers to the priest and bishop in the divine services. This includes:

  • Assisting in the celebration of the mysteries of the Church
  • Leading the people in the collective prayers (with the blessing of the presiding priest or bishop)
  • Reading from the Scriptures during the divine services (with the blessing of the presiding priest or bishop)
  • Keeping the decorum of the public worship, including calling people to attention at appropriate times
  • Any tasks of the subdeacon or reader
  • Other tasks related to Church life, with the blessing and direction of his priest or bishop.

In some jurisdictions, a deacon may be blessed by his bishop and parish priest to distribute the Eucharist to the faithful, either from a second chalice at a regular liturgy where a priest is serving or in connection with a typika service that is celebrated when the priest is absent.

What a deacon does may depend on jurisdiction - some consider the diaconate as a short interval before the priesthood - but, where permanency or longevity in the diaconate is prized, deacons will often head educational programs and youth groups, perform hospital visitation, missionary work, and conduct social welfare projects.

[edit] Allowances

Deacons are permitted to wear a cassock; this is done as a sign of his suppression of his own tastes, will and desires, and his canonical obedience to God, his bishop and the liturgical and canonical norms of the Church. Deacons are also permitted to wear the exoraso (or ryassa). In jurisdictions that utilise clergy shirts, deacons generally wear a clergy shirt with collar.

During services, the deacon is usually vested in a sticharion with an orarion that hangs over the left shoulder; with the exception of around the consecration of Communion, when the deacon will, for practicality, arrange his sticharion like a subdeacon.

In addition, to complete his duties, the deacon is permitted to touch the Table of Oblation, the Altar, and to move through the Royal Doors.

[edit] Restrictions

The place of a deacon is to serve the community and to lead prayers. He must have the blessing of the presiding priest or bishop to put on his vestments and serve. A deacon may not celebrate the sacraments by himself; he may not give blessings; he may not consecrate the Holy Gifts.

[edit] Contemporary Practice

[edit] Permanent office

In the Orthodox Church, the diaconate is not just a step to priesthood, many deacons have no intention of ever becoming priests. They see it as a permanent office, as a position for full or part time service to the work of the Church.

Originally deacons of the Church assisted the bishops in good deeds and works of charity. But at some time in recent centuries the diaconate became an almost exclusive liturgical function where the deacons only assist at the celebration of the Church services, helping in other areas like any other knowledgeable member of the laity.

[edit] Rankings of deacons

Sacramentally, all deacons are equal. However, they are ranked and serve by seniority according to the date of their ordination.

Just as with bishops and presbyters, there are distinctions of administrative rank among deacons. A senior deacon of a cathedral or principal church may be awarded the title protodeacon and claim precedence when serving with other deacons. The chief deacon who is attached to the person of a bishop is called an archdeacon. A deacon who is also a monastic is called a hierodeacon.

[edit] Etiquette

For formal occasions (for example, in the heading of a letter or when introducing a speaker), one would politely address or refer to a deacon as "The Rev. Deacon [John Smith]." Deacon is often abbreviated Dcn. or Dn. (though the second is used as an abbreviation for dean).

In informal settings, for example, in normal conversation, it is appropriate to simply refer to a deacon as "Deacon [John]", "Father [John]", or "Father Deacon [John]", depending on the tradition.

Deacons cannot bless, so it is inappropriate to ask a deacon for his blessing; blessings are given only by bishops and priests. In some traditions, however, such as in Greece, the deacon's hand (as well as the hand of an abbess of a monastery or, occasionally, an unordained monastic) is sometimes kissed as a sign of respect for the Holy Spirit which operates through that person's office. Neither kissing a deacon's hand nor not kissing it is strictly "right" or "wrong."

[edit] See also

[edit] External links

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