Author Topic: What do Orthodox deacons do?  (Read 6285 times)

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Offline NewOrtho

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What do Orthodox deacons do?
« on: August 18, 2009, 01:36:03 AM »
I am somewhat familiar with the diaconate in the Roman Catholic Church, and only vaguely familiar with deacons in Eastern Christianity (both Catholic and Orthodox).  What is the role of the deacon in the Orthodox Church?  How does one study to become a deacon (for example, in Catholicism, I've noticed that the NY archdiocese has a diaconate formation program)?  How long does it take?  What does a deacon "do"?  For example, Roman Catholic deacons can perform solemn baptism, distribute communion, proclaim the Gospel, give the homily, witness matrimony, preside at funerals (without Mass), celebrate Adoration and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, give various blessings (though not ones specific to priests), and of course assist at Mass.  So I'm interested in what the diaconate involves in Orthodoxy.

Thanks!

Offline SakranMM

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Re: What do Orthodox deacons do?
« Reply #1 on: August 18, 2009, 12:55:28 PM »
Short answer:  An Orthodox deacon (liturgically speaking) can do anything a priest can do EXCEPT consecrate the gifts and bless people/things.

In reality, it is more complicated than that.  On a typical Sunday, a deacon will assist the priest at the proskomedi (preparation of the gifts) before liturgy.  During Liturgy, the deacon will intone the litanies, while the priest gives the final doxology at the end of the litanies.  The deacon will also assist the priest during the anaphora (he will, for example, pour the water in the chalice).  The deacon will also do most, if not all, of the censing.  Deacons can read the Gospel, and preach as well.  Finally, the deacon can also distribute communion to the faithful once it has been consecrated by the priest.

There are several routes to becoming a deacon.  Sometimes, if a deacon is needed, they will just take someone who has experience serving in the church (as an acolyte, for example), and have him ordained.  Other times, more formal education  is required - such as the St. Stephen's Course in Orthodox Theology (put out by the Antiochian Archdiocese) or even a seminary degree.  This all depends on the person petitioning for ordination and his bishop. 

Some of the dioceses have formal diaconal formation programs, as you noted.  It varies from diocese to diocese, and jurisdiction to jurisdiction.

Hope this helps.
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Offline pensateomnia

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Re: What do Orthodox deacons do?
« Reply #2 on: August 18, 2009, 01:34:23 PM »
SakranMM told you most everything. Just to amplify:

In Orthodoxy, the diaconate is one of the three orders of the sacramental priesthood, and those ordained as deacons are considered to be full members of the clergy, and, thus, they only serve with the blessing and under obedience to a Bishop.

Furthermore, in parish life, deacons serve with the blessing and under the direction of the parish pastor, who is a priest (never a deacon). Deacons, as their name suggests, are called to serve, i.e. assist in the liturgical and catechetical life of the parish. However, they never truly lead it. Thus, pretty much every Orthodox service -- even something as "minor" as Vespers -- cannot be fully and completely served without the priest. Certain parts would have to be omitted.

So, within Orthodoxy, the deacon would only do a baptism in extremis, could not celebrate the Sacrament of Marriage, etc. However, the deacon has a major role to play in ALL Orthodox services and sacraments. As SakranMM indicated, that usually entails intoning the petitions, censing, reading the Gospel, participating in processions, etc.
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Offline Fr. George

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Re: What do Orthodox deacons do?
« Reply #3 on: August 18, 2009, 08:39:03 PM »
The deacon's roles seemingly all fall into the category of communicating with & helping the people: the petitions are mostly directed to the people (except the fervent litany), versus the exclamations and prayers which are directed to the Lord; the offering of the communion is in the direction from the people to God, but the distribution (which the deacons should do) is from God to the people; the proclamation of the Gospel is from the Lord to the people.  The only traditional role not in this category is the preparation & entry of the Gifts into the Church, which is now mostly handled by the priests anyway.  In this way, the parallel between the deacons and the angels (as an order, not a type) is further strengthened - yes, both orders are tasked with service of God, but both orders do so through ministry and communication with the people.

Since it doesn't seem to have been covered previously: there is also the notion that the Deacons are the only order (amongst Bishop, Priest, Deacon, and Layman) that cannot bless; the ability of the first two to bless is obvious and manifest, and there are occasions when the layman blesses (meals, the blessing of parents to their children, etc.), albeit in a different fashion (holding their fingers as they would to cross themselves, rather than how the priest or bishop blesses).  I've only heard this from a few clergyman (including a bishop) and have not read it, but it "jives" with my personal experience and exposure to seasoned, professional deacons (versus people who are deacons for a month or less as a stepping stone to the priesthood).

And, finally, pensateomnia pointed out that the deacon can only perform on his own a baptism in extremis, and certainly only in the same circumstances that any other baptized and chrismated layman could; but it should be pointed out that in historical practice, while the deacon was not the chief celebrant of the baptism, he did the lion's share of the work during the service, including the immersion of the one to be baptized.
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Offline Anastasios

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Re: What do Orthodox deacons do?
« Reply #4 on: August 18, 2009, 08:51:36 PM »
What do deacons do?

....if they are lucky, they do double censings.
« Last Edit: August 18, 2009, 08:59:18 PM by Fr. Anastasios »
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Offline Carl Kraeff (Second Chance)

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Re: What do Orthodox deacons do?
« Reply #5 on: August 18, 2009, 08:55:14 PM »
I would only add that a few deacons have the talent, experience and wherewithal to contribute to the Body beyond the Divine Services.

Offline serb1389

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Re: What do Orthodox deacons do?
« Reply #6 on: August 18, 2009, 10:49:02 PM »
in terms of requirements and the etc.  all levels of ordination have the same requirements.  Usually that includes a degree from an accredited seminary or ecclesiastical training school.  But that can very from jurisdiction to jurisdiction
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Offline Pravoslavbob

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Re: What do Orthodox deacons do?
« Reply #7 on: August 18, 2009, 10:51:34 PM »
In Orthodoxy, the diaconate is one of the three orders of the sacramental priesthood, and those ordained as deacons are considered to be full members of the clergy, and, thus, they only serve with the blessing and under obedience to a Bishop.

I disagree quite strongly with the idea that deacons are "one of the three orders of the sacramental priesthood."

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."
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Offline Basil 320

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Re: What do Orthodox deacons do?
« Reply #8 on: August 19, 2009, 02:44:15 AM »
Supplementing Reply Nos. 1 thru 6,

A Deacon "serves," assists, from the Greek "Diakos," "Diakonia." 
From the petition, "For our Bishop________, the venerable priests and the deacons in the service of Christ..."

Generally and typically, a Deacon cannot start a service on his own.  He can only assist a priest or bishop.  A Deacon cannot intone, "Blessed is our God," or "Blessed be the Kingdom..."
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Offline pensateomnia

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Re: What do Orthodox deacons do?
« Reply #9 on: August 19, 2009, 09:15:20 AM »
I disagree quite strongly with the idea that deacons are "one of the three orders of the sacramental priesthood."

Yes, yes. Barnett and other Western, English-language scholars have done good work in the late antique sources. Similar work has been done by Fondoulis and his students in Greece. At this point, though, objecting to the standard understanding of deacons is like objecting to clergy communing people with a spoon, or objecting to the fact that when one goes to Vespers, it isn't done according to the Asmatic Office. Still, I feel your pain.
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Offline Carl Kraeff (Second Chance)

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Re: What do Orthodox deacons do?
« Reply #10 on: August 19, 2009, 12:00:25 PM »
I disagree quite strongly with the idea that deacons are "one of the three orders of the sacramental priesthood."

Yes, yes. Barnett and other Western, English-language scholars have done good work in the late antique sources. Similar work has been done by Fondoulis and his students in Greece. At this point, though, objecting to the standard understanding of deacons is like objecting to clergy communing people with a spoon, or objecting to the fact that when one goes to Vespers, it isn't done according to the Asmatic Office. Still, I feel your pain.

I would think that the current "standard" understanding is grounded on the reality that for the vast majority of deacons it is but a step to priesthood. I respectfully submit that it would be a good thing to recognize another, more ancient and equally Orthodox track: that of permanent deacons, in the New Testament sense.

Offline pensateomnia

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Re: What do Orthodox deacons do?
« Reply #11 on: August 19, 2009, 12:59:12 PM »
I would think that the current "standard" understanding is grounded on the reality that for the vast majority of deacons it is but a step to priesthood.

I respectfully submit that it would be a good thing to recognize another, more ancient and equally Orthodox track: that of permanent deacons, in the New Testament sense.

Would be nice, as would a college of presbyters and a Bishop in every city.
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Offline katherineofdixie

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Re: What do Orthodox deacons do?
« Reply #12 on: August 19, 2009, 01:43:54 PM »
I disagree quite strongly with the idea that deacons are "one of the three orders of the sacramental priesthood."

Yes, yes. Barnett and other Western, English-language scholars have done good work in the late antique sources. Similar work has been done by Fondoulis and his students in Greece. At this point, though, objecting to the standard understanding of deacons is like objecting to clergy communing people with a spoon, or objecting to the fact that when one goes to Vespers, it isn't done according to the Asmatic Office. Still, I feel your pain.

I would think that the current "standard" understanding is grounded on the reality that for the vast majority of deacons it is but a step to priesthood. I respectfully submit that it would be a good thing to recognize another, more ancient and equally Orthodox track: that of permanent deacons, in the New Testament sense.

Isn't GOA doing just that? I know several permanent deacons in GOA. I think they have a course of study at HC.
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Offline mike

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Re: What do Orthodox deacons do?
« Reply #13 on: August 19, 2009, 01:55:57 PM »
In Slavic tradition Diacon's can't distrubute Eucharist on their own. On the other hand thay can become a Parish Pastor as it's only a office function without any religious context. Each bigger Parish in Poland has at least one permament diacon.

I've heard only that Romanians can't have a DL served without a diacon.
« Last Edit: August 19, 2009, 01:56:37 PM by mike »

Offline Pravoslavbob

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Re: What do Orthodox deacons do?
« Reply #14 on: August 19, 2009, 02:47:28 PM »
Yes, yes. Barnett and other Western, English-language scholars have done good work in the late antique sources. Similar work has been done by Fondoulis and his students in Greece. At this point, though, objecting to the standard understanding of deacons is like objecting to clergy communing people with a spoon, or objecting to the fact that when one goes to Vespers, it isn't done according to the Asmatic Office. Still, I feel your pain.

Your inappropriately dismissive and condescending tone does nothing to advance your argument or your reputation on this forum.

I suggested in my post that the idea of a deacon having a sacerdotal role is far from "standard", in fact it is quite possibly not even the majority opinion on the matter.   The place of the deacon in the Church is of far greater concern than whether or not the people commune from a spoon, and I think you are fully aware of this.
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Offline rwprof

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Re: What do Orthodox deacons do?
« Reply #15 on: August 19, 2009, 03:00:09 PM »
I am somewhat familiar with the diaconate in the Roman Catholic Church, and only vaguely familiar with deacons in Eastern Christianity (both Catholic and Orthodox).  What is the role of the deacon in the Orthodox Church?  How does one study to become a deacon (for example, in Catholicism, I've noticed that the NY archdiocese has a diaconate formation program)?  How long does it take?  What does a deacon "do"?  For example, Roman Catholic deacons can perform solemn baptism, distribute communion, proclaim the Gospel, give the homily, witness matrimony, preside at funerals (without Mass), celebrate Adoration and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, give various blessings (though not ones specific to priests), and of course assist at Mass.  So I'm interested in what the diaconate involves in Orthodoxy.

Thanks!

The short answer: A LOT more than Roman Catholic deacons (although the Roman Catholics are looking to the East, since the diaconate there was only reinstated at Vatican 2).

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Offline NewOrtho

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Re: What do Orthodox deacons do?
« Reply #16 on: August 19, 2009, 03:55:58 PM »
I am somewhat familiar with the diaconate in the Roman Catholic Church, and only vaguely familiar with deacons in Eastern Christianity (both Catholic and Orthodox).  What is the role of the deacon in the Orthodox Church?  How does one study to become a deacon (for example, in Catholicism, I've noticed that the NY archdiocese has a diaconate formation program)?  How long does it take?  What does a deacon "do"?  For example, Roman Catholic deacons can perform solemn baptism, distribute communion, proclaim the Gospel, give the homily, witness matrimony, preside at funerals (without Mass), celebrate Adoration and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, give various blessings (though not ones specific to priests), and of course assist at Mass.  So I'm interested in what the diaconate involves in Orthodoxy.

Thanks!

The short answer: A LOT more than Roman Catholic deacons (although the Roman Catholics are looking to the East, since the diaconate there was only reinstated at Vatican 2).



Could you elaborate on "A LOT more than Roman Catholic deacons"?  From my understanding, deacons in the Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches seem to do the same things liturgically (which is the area that I'm interested in), with the addition for RC deacons of solemn baptism, witnessing matrimony, Adoration and Benediction (which of course there isn't an Eastern equivalent), and they can give various blessings, including over people and objects (though not all blessings that priests can). 

And it is my understanding that the diaconate has existed since the beginnings of the Roman Catholic Church.  Maybe what you are referring to is the permanent diaconate.

Offline Basil 320

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Re: What do Orthodox deacons do?
« Reply #17 on: August 19, 2009, 08:35:21 PM »
REPLY TO REPLY #13

I've seen in the GOAA that a bishop may authorize a deacon to serve Communion.
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Offline Carl Kraeff (Second Chance)

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Re: What do Orthodox deacons do?
« Reply #18 on: August 19, 2009, 11:17:28 PM »
I would think that the current "standard" understanding is grounded on the reality that for the vast majority of deacons it is but a step to priesthood.

I respectfully submit that it would be a good thing to recognize another, more ancient and equally Orthodox track: that of permanent deacons, in the New Testament sense.

Would be nice, as would a college of presbyters and a Bishop in every city.

Certainly! It would be such a blessing to all if that happens in our grand-children's lives. But, as long as we keep our vision alive, little-by-little works for me. May the Lord provide.
« Last Edit: August 19, 2009, 11:18:39 PM by Second Chance »

Offline pensateomnia

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Re: What do Orthodox deacons do?
« Reply #19 on: August 20, 2009, 11:16:17 AM »
Your inappropriately dismissive and condescending tone does nothing to advance your argument or your reputation on this forum.

It's unfortunate you feel that way, especially since I was agreeing with you.

I suggested in my post that the idea of a deacon having a sacerdotal role is far from "standard", in fact it is quite possibly not even the majority opinion on the matter. 

I guess it depends on what you mean by sacredotal "role", but every Orthodox theologian that I am aware of, including those who call for a permanent diaconate, have written that the diaconate is a priestly (read: sacredotal) order. In fact, they specifically say that it is one of the three major priestly orders, whose ordination is fully sacramental. Even Florovsky, although one of the first scholars translated into English to carefully parse all of the sources and unafraid to advance strong suggestions to the contrary, admits that the diaconate has been a distinctly clerical and liturgical order for many hundreds of years. He doesn't think that makes a lot of theological sense, but he doesn't deny it's the case. Other theologians, especially from SVS, have written about the need for a return to an ancient understanding of the diaconate (in specialized articles not intended for introduction to the Orthodox diaconate, as this thread was supposed to be before this excursus)  -- but the very fact that they are arguing that we need to return to an ancient understanding assumes that we are, in fact, not currently so professing or practicing. It would have made little little sense for me to suggest otherwise to a Roman Catholic asking an introductory question.

The place of the deacon in the Church is of far greater concern than whether or not the people commune from a spoon, and I think you are fully aware of this.

It wasn't meant to be a one-to-one comparison, but, rather, to highlight that raising specialized matters of theology and liturgy in this thread doesn't make a lot of sense to me, even though I happen to sympathize with your cause.
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Offline pensateomnia

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Re: What do Orthodox deacons do?
« Reply #20 on: August 20, 2009, 12:17:01 PM »
 How does one study to become a deacon (for example, in Catholicism, I've noticed that the NY archdiocese has a diaconate formation program)?  How long does it take? 

As others have mentioned, it depends on your Bishop and your jurisdiction. Aside from earning one's M.Div. from an accredited Orthodox seminary, one of the most popular means of preparation for ordination to the holy diaconate in the United States is the St. Stephen's Course in Orthodox Theology: http://www.antiochian.org/studies. It's a three-year-long, distance education course, which includes several, week-long periods of instruction at the Antiochian House of Studies, as well as on-going supervision from local clergy. However, one need not be preparing for the diaconate to take the St. Stephen's course. It's just an established means to receive directed instruction in many relevant subjects.

A similar program, overseen by the faculty of Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology, and specifically designed to train men for ordination to the permanent diaconate, just started this year. You can read about it here: http://www.hchc.edu/holycross/academics/PDP.html
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Offline Carl Kraeff (Second Chance)

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Re: What do Orthodox deacons do?
« Reply #21 on: August 20, 2009, 01:08:18 PM »
 How does one study to become a deacon (for example, in Catholicism, I've noticed that the NY archdiocese has a diaconate formation program)?  How long does it take? 

As others have mentioned, it depends on your Bishop and your jurisdiction. Aside from earning one's M.Div. from an accredited Orthodox seminary, one of the most popular means of preparation for ordination to the holy diaconate in the United States is the St. Stephen's Course in Orthodox Theology: http://www.antiochian.org/studies. It's a three-year-long, distance education course, which includes several, week-long periods of instruction at the Antiochian House of Studies, as well as on-going supervision from local clergy. However, one need not be preparing for the diaconate to take the St. Stephen's course. It's just an established means to receive directed instruction in many relevant subjects.

A similar program, overseen by the faculty of Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology, and specifically designed to train men for ordination to the permanent diaconate, just started this year. You can read about it here: http://www.hchc.edu/holycross/academics/PDP.html

This is indeed great news (at least to me). I perused the Summer curriculum of the Holy Cross program and looks like it is a very good beginning. Bravi to all!

Offline PeterTheAleut

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Re: What do Orthodox deacons do?
« Reply #22 on: August 20, 2009, 06:17:57 PM »
I know that many OCA parishes offer what they call a Late Vocations Program for those seeking ordination to the diaconate.
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Re: What do Orthodox deacons do?
« Reply #23 on: August 20, 2009, 08:08:19 PM »
I know that many OCA parishes offer what they call a Late Vocations Program for those seeking ordination to the diaconate.

In my area it is their diocese that provides the late vocation/deacon programme not individual OCA parishes.

Offline PeterTheAleut

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Re: What do Orthodox deacons do?
« Reply #24 on: August 20, 2009, 10:49:22 PM »
I know that many OCA parishes offer what they call a Late Vocations Program for those seeking ordination to the diaconate.

In my area it is their diocese that provides the late vocation/deacon programme not individual OCA parishes.
I don't know whether it's my parish or my diocese that provides the program out here.  All I know is that my pastor is the one OCA priest in town who teaches it locally.
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Offline rwprof

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Re: What do Orthodox deacons do?
« Reply #25 on: August 29, 2009, 03:43:32 PM »
And it is my understanding that the diaconate has existed since the beginnings of the Roman Catholic Church.  Maybe what you are referring to is the permanent diaconate.

The RC diaconate had fallen into disuse and was revived at V2. From talking with the RC deacons I know, the church is still adjusting to having deacons. But an Orthodox deacon is a very busy man, indeed, and is more present (in front of the iconostasis) than the priest.





Mark (rwprof) passed into eternal life on Jan 7, 2010.  May his memory be eternal!

Offline NewOrtho

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Re: What do Orthodox deacons do?
« Reply #26 on: August 30, 2009, 12:45:51 AM »
And it is my understanding that the diaconate has existed since the beginnings of the Roman Catholic Church.  Maybe what you are referring to is the permanent diaconate.

The RC diaconate had fallen into disuse and was revived at V2. From talking with the RC deacons I know, the church is still adjusting to having deacons. But an Orthodox deacon is a very busy man, indeed, and is more present (in front of the iconostasis) than the priest.







Thanks.  I wasn't alive pre-Vatican II  ;D So i'm not sure how the Catholic Church functioned then, at least from personal experience.  From what I've read, it seems like the permanent diaconate is what was revived post Vatican II, and that the diaconate (a transitional diaconate) has always existed.  This makes sense, since the Tridentine Mass is written to include a deacon and subdeacon (from my understanding).  So, there have always been transitional deacons in the Catholic Church, it's just that the permanent diaconate was revived more recently.  So am I correct in saying that the Orthodox Church has always had a permanent diaconate?

Offline rwprof

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Re: What do Orthodox deacons do?
« Reply #27 on: August 30, 2009, 01:42:40 PM »
Thanks.  I wasn't alive pre-Vatican II  ;D So i'm not sure how the Catholic Church functioned then, at least from personal experience.  From what I've read, it seems like the permanent diaconate is what was revived post Vatican II, and that the diaconate (a transitional diaconate) has always existed.  This makes sense, since the Tridentine Mass is written to include a deacon and subdeacon (from my understanding).  So, there have always been transitional deacons in the Catholic Church, it's just that the permanent diaconate was revived more recently.  So am I correct in saying that the Orthodox Church has always had a permanent diaconate?

Actually, I think that the issue isn't the permanent diaconate, but the use of deacons in parishes. Yes, the permanent diaconate has always existed in the East (although many would say that there aren't enough permanent deacons), but the distinction is that in the East, deacons were always common clergy with specific liturgical functions, whereas in the Roman church, deacons had disappeared for the most part from liturgics until V2.

Mark (rwprof) passed into eternal life on Jan 7, 2010.  May his memory be eternal!

Offline Hopeful Faithful

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Re: What do Orthodox deacons do?
« Reply #28 on: September 10, 2009, 02:26:35 PM »
From the book, Early Fathers from the Philokalia (first published in 1954), on page 302 section 21, St. Maximus the Confessor says,

“He performs the office of a deacon, who anoints the mind for holy endeavors and drives out passionate thoughts; he performs the office of a priest, who enlightens the mind by knowledge of what is and destroys false knowledge; he performs the office of a bishop, who completes the mind’s perfection by the sacred unction of knowledge of the worshipful Holy Trinity.”

St. Maximus, who was merely a monk (he was not a priest and was never even ordained), shows to us in this personal and clear way what such priestly activity really means.

Forgive, brother John
HIS Judgment Cometh, And That Right Soon! Mark 13:35

If any man be ignorant, let him alone be ignorant (at his own peril). 1 Cor. 14:38

Let us all hope to be found a faithful, loving bond-slave of Christ on the soon approaching Last Day.