Changed "it's" to "its"
A '''subdeacon''' (or sub-deacon) is the highest of the [[minor orders]] of [[clergy]] in the Church
. This is a sub-clerical order which is higher than the [[reader]] and lower than the [[deacon]]. It is an order that is at it's fullest when serving with a [[bishop]] during hierarchical services. In common practise, an [[acolyte]] or [[reader]] can be blessed to act as a subdeacon during services.
The bishop blesses the ordinand three times with the sign of the Cross upon his head, then lays his right hand upon the ordinand's head and prays the prayer of ordination. The new subdeacon kisses the bishop's right hand and makes a prostration before the bishop, after which the more senior subdeacons drape a towel over his shoulders and present him with a ewer and basin, with which he washes the bishop's hands after the usual manner. The bishop dries his hands and the three subdeacons receive the bishop's blessing and kiss his hands.
The senior subdeacons return to the altar while the new subdeacon, still holding the ewer and basin, stands on the [[
soleas|solea]], facing the icon of the Mother of God and saying particular prayers quietly. The Sixth Hour is completed and the Divine Liturgy continues as usual. The subdeacon remains on the solea until the [[Cherubikon]], when he and two senior subdeacons wash the bishop's hands as usual.
At the Great Entrance, the new subdeacon joins on the very end of the procession, carrying the ewer and basin and, after the commemorations, takes the blessed water to the people so that they may bless themselves with it. He returns to his place on the solea until the end of the [[Anaphora]], when he re-enters the altar, lays the ewer and basin aside, and joins the other subdeacons.
occasions when there is a shortage of altar servers, the newly-ordained subdeacon may be required to serve at the Liturgy, in which case the taking of the blessed water to the people may be omitted, and he may be asked not to stay on the solea but rather to assist with serving duties in the altar and at the entrances. This will depend on jurisdictional preferences .
:*Carrying the bishop's staff
:*Presenting the bishop with the [[dikiri]] and [[trikiri]]
:*Placing [[eagle rugs]] on the floor
:*Operating the veil and the curtain of the Royal Doors
:*Other duties that the bishop may assign
* Other duties that the priest may assign
As a member of minor clergy, a
reader - according to his abilities - might be entrusted with the duties of:
Subdeacons, like readers, are permitted to wear a [[cassock]], although many do so only when attending services; 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. In jurisdictions that utilise clergy shirts, subdeacons may wear a clergy shirt without a collar.
In some jurisdictions, a seminarian who has discerned that he does not have a calling to pastoral service can be ordained to the subdiaconate.
Subdeacons are mentioned in canons with age restrictions (of 20 years of age) and prohibitions on marriage after ordinations (like deacons and priests) - e.g., Apostolic canon 26
- resulting in subdeacons who are generally mature men. A variety of methods of 'getting around' the canons have been employed, from blessing acolytes or readers to vest and act as a subdeacon (for a particular service or permanently ), or for reserving the formal ordination service to candidates to the priesthood, or for simply ignoring the canons and permitting subdeacons to marry. However, it should be noted that a 'blessed' subdeacon may not touch the altar or assume other perogatives of ordained subdeacons outside services.
*[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]
*[http://goarch.org/chapel/liturgical_texts/ordination-subdiaconate-en Ordination text]
tweaked for the Byzantine tradition.