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A '''subdeacon''' (or sub-deacon) is the highest of the [[minor orders]] of [[clergy]] in the Church. This order is higher than the [[reader]] and lower than the [[deacon]].
The subdeacon's essential role is to assist the [[bishop]] during a hierarchical [[Divine Liturgy]] (a Divine Liturgy at which a bishop is present and presiding) by [[vestments|vesting]] him, holding his service book, carrying his staff, presenting him with the [[dikiri]] and [[trikiri]], etc. There is a special service for the [[ordination]] of a subdeacon, although in contemporary practice an [[acolyte]] or a reader may receive the bishop's blessing to vest and act as a subdeacon, either for a particular occasion or permanently. The main reason for this practice lies in the fact that the canons, e.g., Apostolic canon 26., prohibit subdeacons from marrying after their ordinations (just like deacons and [[priest]]s). This latter stipulation has sometimes led to the reservation of the formal ordination service to candidates for the priesthood, although this is not universal.
Although the [[canons]] stipulate the subdeacons may not [[marriage|marry]] after their ordination to the subdiaconate, in modern practice, some churches allow them to marry. (As with many canons, the way this one is applied varies.)
The subdeacon is vested in a [[sticharion]] with an [[orarion]] tied around his waist, up over his shoulders (forming an X-shaped cross in back), and with the ends hanging down in front, tucked under the section around the waist. Like readers, subdeacons are permitted to wear a [[cassock]], although many only do so when attending services.
When there is no bishop present, a subdeacon will take the role of acolyte, assisting the priest during religious services in the [[altar]].
*[http://www.saintelias.com/ca/etiquette/frwho.php Who's Who? in Church Services]
*[http://images.google.com/images?q=orthodox+subdeacon orthodox subdeacon - Google Image Search]
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