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; 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.
While in other Christian entities the term Acolyte is used for someone preparing for the major orders of clergy, this is not implied in Orthodox usage.
The acolyte in the Western Orthodox tradition
The Acolyte inside the Church Orders in the Orthodox West in 8th century
The service of the Church servants is clearly seen on these pictures: Ostiar (guardian of the reliquaries), Lector (Reader), Acolitis (Acolyte), Exorcis (Exorcist), Subdiacon (Subdeacon), Deacon, Priest and Bishop
Sacramentaire de Marmoutier à l'usage d'Autun - ms.19 bis, f. 5 - Autun - BM - © IRHT (CNRS) / Bibliothèque municipale d'Autun / MC
| This article forms part of the series