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This room is for discussion for anyone who adheres to the Extraordinary form of the mass and any issues related to the practices of Eastern Rite Catholicism.

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Of the deacons

Jan 3rd 2014 new
The role of the deacons in the Byzantine Catholic (and Eastern Orthodox, as well) tradition:

www.saintelias.com

From a Latin Catholic perspective, I think it is easy for us to forget about the deacons and sometimes go along the lines that they are just "mini-priests" or things of the sort. As someone who is considering the diaconate even if I don't get married, I thought I might post something on the diaconate here.
Jan 16th 2014 new
(quote) Paul-1022284 said: The role of the deacons in the Byzantine Catholic (and Eastern Orthodox, as well) tradition:

http://www.saintelias.com/ca/servers/diaconecc.php

From a Latin Catholic perspective, I think it is easy for us to forget about the deacons and sometimes go along the lines that they are just "mini-priests" or things of the sort. As someone who is considering the diaconate even if I don't get married, I thought I might post something on the diaconate here.
evIt is an interesting article.

Since you are more familiar with the Eastern rites than I am and the Eastern and Orthodox rites are similar, maybe you can clarify something for me.

I have these Coptic Orthodox friends. When they refer to deacons in their Church they are. referring to what we usually think of as Alter boys. i.e. At church this last Sunday I served as Deacon.

Is the term used both for the ordained deacon on the way to ordination as a priest and for Alter Boys?

I say Alter Boys since they would never allow female alter servers.
Jan 19th 2014 new

If I remember correctly from reading Eusebius' History of the Church (c324 AD), Deacons were the ones who dealt with the money and practical issues of a church community, or parish as we would say nowadays. They controlled the funds and administered the practical charity that was bought with those funds. They were responsible for standing at the door of the church to call out those known to be guilty of public sin and making sure they were either barred from Mass or were seated in the special section designed for public sinners. (This was before private Confession had been invented. Public Confession was held at Easter Vigil once a year.) They were like the administrators of the parish, whereas the Presbyter, what we now call the priest, was responsible for preaching and administering the sacraments. The Priest didn't dirty his hands with money...that was the Deacon's job.

I think that the order of Deacon was suppressed in the Renaissance because the bishops felt that the deacons had too much power in parishes and were bullying the priests.

It is interesting to me that Vatican II restored the order of Deacons, and that they are the ones supposed to be reading the Gospels, occasionally preaching, saying the Prayers of the Faithful, helping the priest distribute Holy Communion, and saying "The Mass is ended, go in peace." Rarely do I see this nowadays. Their role has been distributed among a plethora of unordained laymen. Yet one does see many good deacons administering the charity of the parish. This is a real benefit of Vatican II.

I suspect that, if our Church continues its ban on married clergy, we will see more and more parishes run by deacons in the future, with the occasional priest making the rounds to confect the Eucharist as time and distance allows. One sees this in the South Seas where there are more than a few islands with no priest available.

Jan 19th 2014 new
Just a slight quibble with words, Gerald: deacons are clerics (clergy). What the Latin Church does not have, except on a rare basis, are married priests, not married clergy in general. While this may seem like a minor point of terminology, it is important to highlight the sacred nature of the diaconate, lest laity think that deacons are over glorified laymen.
Jan 20th 2014 new
(quote) Paul-1022284 said: Just a slight quibble with words, Gerald: deacons are clerics (clergy). What the Latin Church does not have, except on a rare basis, are married priests, not married clergy in general. While this may seem like a minor point of terminology, it is important to highlight the sacred nature of the diaconate, lest laity think that deacons are over glorified laymen.

I agree, Paul. Deacons are ordained clergy, the third of the major orders. They have full authority to teach and preach, under the bishop.

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