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Author Topic: Do we kiss a deacons hand when one meets one????  (Read 4751 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: March 27, 2008, 11:21:20 PM »

I can't remember do we or don't we kiss a deacon's hand ,
when we meet a deacon,,,, stasko/stanislav
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« Reply #1 on: March 27, 2008, 11:36:59 PM »

No, we don't.  In some traditions, though, I believe one might kiss the hand of a monk whether or not he is a priest or a laymonk.  (Someone else might want to clarify this.)  But for sure, one never kisses the hand of a deacon who is not a monk.

You can address a deacon as "Deacon so-and-so" or "Father Deacon so-and-so" or "Father so-and-so."  I have even seen people refer to deacons just by name at times, with one of the above titles mixed in in their speech for good measure, if they know them well.  I'm sure that some posters will not appreciate this, but this is what I have seen on occassion.
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« Reply #2 on: March 27, 2008, 11:46:32 PM »

I am a bit confused because our deacon helps our priest serve Holy Communion at some of our Divine Liturgies.  And on those days, after the service while taking the antidoron we kiss his hand as well.  I was told this was because that is the hand with which he served the Eucharist.   Undecided

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« Reply #3 on: March 27, 2008, 11:47:35 PM »

No, we don't.  In some traditions, though, I believe one might kiss the hand of a monk whether or not he is a priest or a laymonk.  Someone else might what to clarify this.  But for sure, one never kisses the hand of a deacon who is not a monk.



Thank you ..the question just came in to my mind and i couldn't remember
if we do or don't kiss there hand....how do you tell a monk deacon from the ones that arn't monks do we ask them.....stasko/stanislav
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« Reply #4 on: March 27, 2008, 11:48:20 PM »

Greeks often kiss deacons' hands.
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« Reply #5 on: March 27, 2008, 11:49:49 PM »

Is it proper to kiss a nuns hand?
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« Reply #6 on: March 27, 2008, 11:50:59 PM »

Well...I am not Greek but I do attend a GO parish.
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« Reply #7 on: March 28, 2008, 12:01:17 AM »

Greeks often kiss deacons' hands.

I find that kind of odd.  Oh well.  Russians never do, as far as I have seen.
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« Reply #8 on: March 28, 2008, 12:01:58 AM »

Well...I am not Greek but I do attend a GO parish.

It is certainly not universal though.
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« Reply #9 on: March 28, 2008, 12:09:18 AM »

I think it depends on why you're doing it.  If you are doing it to get a blessing from them, that would be "wrong" because they cannot dispense the blessing like a priest can. 

However if you are kissing their hand because they just touched the Eucharist, then that is different. 

However, if you are going to follow the latter model, then at the liturgy of St. James you should be kissing everyone's hands, including your own.  SO that could get a little awkward. 

Just some thoughts. 
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« Reply #10 on: March 28, 2008, 12:19:47 AM »

Thank you ..the question just poped in to my mind and i couldn't remember
if we do or don't kiss there hand....how do you tell a monk deacon from the ones that arn't monks do we ask them.....stasko/stanislav

Monk-deacons (also known as hierodeacons) will generally wear some kind of head covering more often than married deacons.  Often it's very clear in that they are wearing the unmistakable head covering referred to as a klobuk that monks wear, which has a big veil covering  it.  But anyway, in my limited experience I don't think a monk who is not a priest will ever expect someone to kiss their hand, and if he is from the Eastern Slav tradition, for sure he will not want you to do so.  Someone else might have a different take on this, but that's how I see it. 
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« Reply #11 on: March 28, 2008, 12:32:37 AM »

Is it proper to kiss a nuns hand?


I think you can kiss the hand of the mother Abbott[igumanija] or [iguman]father abbott...i can't speak about the rest of the nuns or monks maybe or maybe not......stasko/stanislav
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« Reply #12 on: March 28, 2008, 12:36:22 AM »

This is one of those things that very among the different traditions. When one does kiss the deacon's hand it isn't taking a blessing from them but more of just kissing their hand as one would do with a member of the royal family.
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« Reply #13 on: March 28, 2008, 08:06:08 AM »

Is it appropriate to call a deacon "father"?

I'm guilty of being far too casual with the deacon at my parish, because he is young and very friendly.  I just call him by his name. 
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« Reply #14 on: March 28, 2008, 08:31:06 AM »

Is it appropriate to call a deacon "father"?

I'm guilty of being far too casual with the deacon at my parish, because he is young and very friendly.  I just call him by his name. 

Theoretically the title "Father" is part of the address of all clergy.  I don't have the book on me right now, but I've seen it in Greek as "Father Deacon," "Father Presbyter," and "Father Bishop."  So, yes, it is/can be appropriate to call a deacon Father, and for some bishops they prefer that you call their deacons "Father."
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« Reply #15 on: April 01, 2008, 05:52:58 PM »

Is it appropriate to call a deacon "father"?

I'm guilty of being far too casual with the deacon at my parish, because he is young and very friendly.  I just call him by his name. 


You can address a deacon as "Deacon so-and-so" or "Father Deacon so-and-so" or "Father so-and-so."  I have even seen people refer to deacons just by name at times, with one of the above titles mixed in in their speech for good measure, if they know them well.  I'm sure that some posters will not appreciate this, but this is what I have seen on occassion.

It seems to come up quite a bit that friendly deacons are just called by their name, among the none-too-numerous deacons that I have known.  I think there's a case to be made that this speaks well of the deacon.  I'm of the opinion that the deacon is kind of like an "ultimate layman".  In my view, during the liturgy he often represents the people of God.  Some might say that he's kind of like the glue that links the clergy to the people.  I think this is one reason why we need more deacons.   (There are many other reasons.)  Paradoxically, ordaining more good deacons who have an intutive understanding of their vocation as "first among laymen" would do much to enfranchise the laity and combat clericalism, as well as providing a more perfect image of the fullness of the Church during liturgical services.
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« Reply #16 on: April 02, 2008, 03:18:32 PM »

Is it proper to kiss a nuns hand?
I may be wrong, but I believe we only greet an abbess this way. The proper greeting is "Mother, bless."
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« Reply #17 on: April 02, 2008, 03:29:43 PM »

I know a monk who is a priest and when I tried to kiss his hand he smacked my hand, then gave me a big hug.
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« Reply #18 on: April 02, 2008, 04:37:21 PM »

This varies between traditions.

Also it seems that each person makes a personal choice.

Although not often I have had Ethiopian Church members kiss my hand knowing that this is not our tradition but elect to do it anyway as a means of veneration of the Holy Communion NOT to receive a blessing like that which only can come from a priest or bishop. When this happens I feel very confused. But I try to respect the persons fervor no matter how embarrassed I feel.

Traditionally when greeting a deacon in the Ethiopian Church the person provides a slight bow. If a deacon enters a room with a group of laymen inside the group will stand (or part stand) and bow slightly. If a deacon is sitting amongst the laity and then stands to leave then all present will stand as well. A deacon is always called "deacon" with his first name following. In America this has lost some currency with some people in smaller parishes since in such cases the deacons are usually the sons of the parishioners whom are all extended family and as such are a bit more casual.

Priest's and bishops receive the same as noted above from the laity when greeting and interacting with the laity but with the priest's and bishop's the laity also looks to kiss the Cross and or the hand of the priest or bishop in addition to receive a blessing of absolution.

One person noted on this thread that the deacon is like the 'ultimate' lay person. I think I follow the intent of this view. But a deacon is really not that.

A deacon is more a 'pre-priest' than a "high" lay person if we are going to use a metaphor.

Ecclesiastically deacons are deacons.


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« Reply #19 on: April 02, 2008, 05:18:10 PM »

I may be wrong, but I believe we only greet an abbess this way. The proper greeting is "Mother, bless."

If I understood your logical sequencing correctly, you are saying that asking a nun for a blessing is the only way we greet her? 

A nun is not a priest, nor any of the major orders.  So, she does not dispense the HS as a priest does, or even touch the gifts as the deacon does.  You can ask her to pray for you, or to ask for God's blessings, but they do not themselves give you a blessing. 
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« Reply #20 on: April 02, 2008, 10:09:12 PM »

In the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, and probably in Greek practice, deacon's hands are not kissed, because when we kiss a priest or bishops hand, it is due to the respect we show for a hand that blesses.  Deacons do not have authority to bless.
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« Reply #21 on: April 02, 2008, 11:24:41 PM »

I agree. 
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« Reply #22 on: April 05, 2008, 10:27:29 PM »

If I understood your logical sequencing correctly, you are saying that asking a nun for a blessing is the only way we greet her? 

A nun is not a priest, nor any of the major orders.  So, she does not dispense the HS as a priest does, or even touch the gifts as the deacon does.  You can ask her to pray for you, or to ask for God's blessings, but they do not themselves give you a blessing. 
This is just what I was taught when an abbess moved to our area to begin a new monastery. There may be other ways; forgive an ignorant convert if I'm not up on such protocols.
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« Reply #23 on: April 05, 2008, 11:43:21 PM »

I have seen this practice as well, and have even followed it for a while in my life.  However, recently I got to thinking about it.  Sometimes we don't think outside the box.  It is ok to follow traditions and etc.  but if they don't make theological sense...then maybe we should think twice.  Then again, most heresies were theologically based...so we need to be careful. 

Nothing having to do with being a convert my friend.  I'm cradle and I did it...it's just about perspective and personal piety (IMO). 

Thanks for your honesty though.   Smiley
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« Reply #24 on: April 06, 2008, 06:17:13 AM »

I kissed a readers hand once,,he wore a black robe and a cross,,i ...i thought he was a priest or a monk....hahaha...
Brother serb 1389.....how about a igumanija a mother abbess does one kiss her hand,i think i know about a iguman
Father abbott....there i believe ordained priest ОНЕ would kiss their hand ........stasko/stanislav
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« Reply #25 on: April 06, 2008, 04:10:29 PM »

For the igumanja, it's the same rule as an abbess.  they are the same position, just two different words in separate languages. 

If the iguman is not an ordained priest, then it's the same concept. (I would say).  It would be like me kissing your hand all the time.  Even if I did it out of respect, it can still send the wrong messages. 

IN Vojvodina, where i'm from, you kiss an older persons hand as a sign of respect and say "ljubim ruke" as a greeting.  So maybe in a cultural setting like that...otherwise it can make people think that the abbess or abbot can dispense the HS like a priest.  Maybe they CAN dispense the HS, but definitely not like a priest...because they are not priests.  It is a contradiction in itself. 

I hope I have made sense...
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« Reply #26 on: April 06, 2008, 04:35:05 PM »

For the igumanja, it's the same rule as an abbess.  they are the same position, just two different words in separate languages. 

If the iguman is not an ordained priest, then it's the same concept. (I would say).  It would be like me kissing your hand all the time.  Even if I did it out of respect, it can still send the wrong messages. 

IN Vojvodina, where i'm from, you kiss an older persons hand as a sign of respect and say "ljubim ruke" as a greeting.  So maybe in a cultural setting like that...otherwise it can make people think that the abbess or abbot can dispense the HS like a priest.  Maybe they CAN dispense the HS, but definitely not like a priest...because they are not priests.  It is a contradiction in itself. 

I hope I have made sense...


Брате,, хвала на твој одговор на моје питање.....when we were children our parents use to invite iguman savo after the Holy liturgy home for dinner every sunday,,i never knew iguman ment a abbott as kids we thought it was his first name,,i guess live and learn...stanislav   ps you made perfect sense........thank you again.......
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« Reply #27 on: April 06, 2008, 04:37:26 PM »

If I understood your logical sequencing correctly, you are saying that asking a nun for a blessing is the only way we greet her? 

A nun is not a priest, nor any of the major orders.  So, she does not dispense the HS as a priest does, or even touch the gifts as the deacon does.  You can ask her to pray for you, or to ask for God's blessings, but they do not themselves give you a blessing. 

It seems to me they do, just like a non ordained abbot can.  They can bless you, but not with the Christogram.  Look at the life of St Zosimas and St Mary of Egypt. He keeps trying to get her blessing.
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« Reply #28 on: April 06, 2008, 06:41:49 PM »

It seems to me they do, just like a non ordained abbot can.  They can bless you, but not with the Christogram.  Look at the life of St Zosimas and St Mary of Egypt. He keeps trying to get her blessing.

No offense, but that's one example,of a particular saint's pious life.  It has no "sacramental" or "theological" bearing in my mind.  Maybe you see something I don't. 
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« Reply #29 on: May 17, 2008, 12:05:56 AM »

No offense, but that's one example,of a particular saint's pious life.  It has no "sacramental" or "theological" bearing in my mind.  Maybe you see something I don't. 

I think it has theological bearing. Theology is what we pray and live. We pray and live that saint's life in a liturgical setting. It was added into the hagiography for a reason. Of course we can't form a system from one event but that event does go into the data for our consideration. We learn great theology from the lives of the saints.
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« Reply #30 on: May 17, 2008, 12:17:40 AM »

It seems to come up quite a bit that friendly deacons are just called by their name, among the none-too-numerous deacons that I have known.  I think there's a case to be made that this speaks well of the deacon.  I'm of the opinion that the deacon is kind of like an "ultimate layman".  In my view, during the liturgy he often represents the people of God.  Some might say that he's kind of like the glue that links the clergy to the people.  I think this is one reason why we need more deacons.   (There are many other reasons.)  Paradoxically, ordaining more good deacons who have an intutive understanding of their vocation as "first among laymen" would do much to enfranchise the laity and combat clericalism, as well as providing a more perfect image of the fullness of the Church during liturgical services.

I am trying to understand what you are saying. Are you saying

1) Deacons are not ordained to the first degree of priesthood
2) Deacons are not clergy?

If so, how did you arrive at that conclusion?
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« Reply #31 on: May 17, 2008, 03:40:03 PM »

I think it has theological bearing. Theology is what we pray and live. We pray and live that saint's life in a liturgical setting. It was added into the hagiography for a reason. Of course we can't form a system from one event but that event does go into the data for our consideration. We learn great theology from the lives of the saints.

Sure.  All i'm saying is that you gave me one example, from a hagiography, of someone who kissed a deacons hand, who happens to be a saint. 

I think it is a good example to show that is has been done, in this and that context, etc. and to put it INTO the entire the context.  This is why I commented on it = because left alone, people tend to form opinions from one story.  I think there should be ongoing discussion about everything, including hagiographies (especially).  we work together to make the big picture. 

Sorry i'm just rambling...not in the zone today....
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« Reply #32 on: May 17, 2008, 04:10:21 PM »

For what it's worth, I would like to put in a good word here for our deacon. He is super friendly and loved by all. I've never seen anyone receiving a blessing from him or kissing his hand, but everyone always respectfully addresses and refers to him as "Fr. (name)". His kind, unassuming ways have always been one of the most delightful aspects of our parish. His behaviour alone is an encouragement to be Orthodox.
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« Reply #33 on: May 17, 2008, 11:12:50 PM »

Sure.  All i'm saying is that you gave me one example, from a hagiography, of someone who kissed a deacons hand, who happens to be a saint. 

I think it is a good example to show that is has been done, in this and that context, etc. and to put it INTO the entire the context.  This is why I commented on it = because left alone, people tend to form opinions from one story.  I think there should be ongoing discussion about everything, including hagiographies (especially).  we work together to make the big picture. 

Sorry i'm just rambling...not in the zone today....

I agree, I am a big proponent of taking things in context. One story is not proof of any practice but it is part of the data and can provide clues to what was perhaps a known practice (or if not, it could be evidence of the uniqueness of the event), that was what I was trying to say.
« Last Edit: May 17, 2008, 11:13:43 PM by Deacon Anastasios » Logged

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« Reply #34 on: May 18, 2008, 12:34:21 AM »

Let's not go overboard with the "no one but priests and bishops bless" stuff - there are longstanding (biblical) practices of receiving blessings from parents (especially to "make firm the foundations of homes" and on their deathbeds), blessings from great teachers, etc.

Personally, I don't kiss deacons' hands, simply because I grew up with the rule of kissing the (liturgical) blessing hand on a clergyman - priest's right, and either one of the bishop's.
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« Reply #35 on: May 19, 2008, 09:11:22 PM »

I am trying to understand what you are saying. Are you saying

1) Deacons are not ordained to the first degree of priesthood
2) Deacons are not clergy?

If so, how did you arrive at that conclusion?

I assume when you speak of "the first degree of priesthood" you are referring to the pseudo-Dionysius inspired idea that each clerical order is a progression on a kind of ladder leading to a more "enlightened" position that is attained each time someone is ordained to a "higher" order.  By this way of thinking, it is not the diaconate that is the "first degree of priesthood", but rather the position of reader.  In fact, this kind of thinking strongly influenced an exhortation which is given  by the bishop to the freshly minted reader immediately after his tonsuring and is present today in the texts:

"My son, the first degree in the Priesthood is that of Reader.  It behooves thee, therefore, to peruse the divine Scriptures daily, to the end that the hearers, regarding thee may receive edification; that thou in nowise shaming thine election, mayest prepare thyself for a higher degree.  For by a chaste, holy and upright life thou shalt gain the favour of the God of loving-kindness, and shalt render thyself worthy of a greater ministry, through Jesus Christ our Lord; to whom be glory unto ages of ages.  Amen."

I really don't agree with this idea at all.  It is by no means the only view present in the Orthodox Church regarding the nature of the various clerical orders, nor is it even the dominant one, IMHO.  Each order has a role to play, its own specific function.  I think it's quite wrong to attribute sacerdotal or other "priestly" qualities to the role that the reader plays, and also to subdeacons and deacons.  I think that they have quite different roles, each one needed to build up the body of Christ and to manifest the presence of Christ within his Church. 

The Apostolic Tradition of Hippolytus is one fairly early document that, according to Florovsky, makes a sharp distinction between the role of service fulfilled by the deacon and the sacerdotal role fulfilled by bishops and priests.  According to the Tradition, deacons are not clergy at all.  However, I think this really has to do more with how one defines "clergy."  I think it's quite fine to refer to deacons as clergy, as they are chosen from the laos and set apart from them (while, however,  never leaving their ranks) in the same way that bishops and priests are set apart while still remaining part of the people of God.  It's just that deacons have a quite specific ministry of service that has nothing to do with being a priest. 

In a sense, the confusion around the whole distinction between "clergy" and "laity" is at the heart of my assertion that the deacon is like an "ultimate layman" in his specific role of and why I think an invigoration of the diaconate is necessary to help the laity feel more enfranchised, and to contribute to the health of the Church. 

James Barnett opens his book The Diaconate with this paragraph:

"The principle of the diaconate as an office and function of the Church is rooted in the nature of the Church itself as it was originally founded and lived in the pre-Nicene world.  The first principle of that Church as it come into being was that it was laos, the people of God.  The Church was called into being by God and made 'a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's own people'.  All were laos.  There was no word to distinguish, in the sense of today, between clergy and laity.  The clergy were laity along with the others who belonged to the people of God."
« Last Edit: May 19, 2008, 10:35:16 PM by Pravoslavbob » Logged

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