Author Topic: Are there different types of deacons? Do they have the same roles each week?  (Read 2672 times)

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Offline Blissfully Unaware

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I have been to the Syriac Orthodox divine liturgy four times now and I have noticed something. Each of the five deacons wears the white robe but the sashes are different colors and the crosses on the back of the robes are different. Are they different types of deacons? Or are their robes indicating their roles in the liturgy (ie: the same one walks around with the insense each week, etc.)?

Offline dhinuus

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Are they different types of deacons?

Yes. In the Syriac Orthodox Church there are various orders of the deaconate. The order of the deacon can be recognized from the way they wear their stole (uroro).  The orders of the deaconate are:

1) Singers (mzamrono) wear the kutino without the uroro.
2) Readers (qoruyo) wear the uroro in the form of a Cross.
3) Subdeacons (apodyaqno) wear the uroro folded around the neck.
4) Deacons (shamosho) wear the uroro over the left shoulder, on either side like wings.

Only the full deacons (shamosho) are allowed to read the Gospel during the Divine Liturgy and server communion. Now days, even full deacons don't read the Gospel during the Divine Liturgy during regular Sunday's. The priest himself will read the Gospel. The feast day of St. Stephen (the first among the deacons) is the day when the full deacon if present during the liturgy will read the Gospel.

There is a fifth order namely: Archdeacons (archedyaqno).  Archdeacons are usually priests.  It is a title given to the head of the priest who helps assists the Bishop in the running of the diocese.  In the present day, there are not many Archdeacons in the church. If my understanding is right, in the Catholicose faction of the Syriac Church in India there is an Archdeacon.  I will let Suraj confirm this.
At the very end of the following link, you can see photos of how each order within the deaconate wears his stole.
http://sor.cua.edu/Vestments/index.html
Mathew G M
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Offline Blissfully Unaware

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Thank you so much Dhinuus, your post and the link were very helpful!

Offline surajiype

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Unlike in the East Syrian Church and traditionally in the Church in Malabar where the Arkdeacon was counted among the priests, in the West Syrian Rite the Archdeacon is always a deacon who has the same function (assisting the Bishop). 

In Malankara , till a native Episcopal hierarchy was instituted the Archdeacon acted as a temporal head of the Church and formed the primary interface between the East Syrian Bishops and the rest of the clergy.

As far as I know the Catholicosal party does not have an Archdeacon either.

Offline Subdeacon Michael

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Are they different types of deacons?

Yes. In the Syriac Orthodox Church there are various orders of the deaconate. The order of the deacon can be recognized from the way they wear their stole (uroro).  The orders of the deaconate are:

1) Singers (mzamrono) wear the kutino without the uroro.
2) Readers (qoruyo) wear the uroro in the form of a Cross.
3) Subdeacons (apodyaqno) wear the uroro folded around the neck.
4) Deacons (shamosho) wear the uroro over the left shoulder, on either side like wings.

In the Eastern Orthodox Church, these are all different clerical orders but only the deacons are referred to or thought of as such.  Do you refer to all order below priesthood as the diaconate?
'There is nothing upon earth holier, higher, grander, more solemn, more life-giving than the Liturgy. The church, at this particular time, becomes an earthly heaven; those who officiate represent Christ Himself, the angels, the cherubim, seraphim and apostles.' - St John of Kronstadt

Offline dhinuus

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are all different clerical orders but only the deacons are referred to or thought of as such.  Do you refer to all order below priesthood as the diaconate?

I think the issue here is language differences. Most Syriac Church members be it in India of the Middle East does not use English for common communication. In the Syriac Church in the middle east only a full deacon is referred to as Shamosho. In India Shamosho is pronounced more commmonly as Shemashen or Chemmachen. And it is very common to see people referring to all these clerical orders as Shemashen.
« Last Edit: May 22, 2010, 12:20:33 PM by dhinuus »
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Offline surajiype

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In India the practice is to have a candidate for the priesthood marry before being ordained to the full deaconate.

Also , we do not have very many permanent Readers or Subdeacons or Full Deacons in each parish, there are some but still very few.  So for the average layman everyone who is a Reader or a Sub-deacon is usually one who is at Seminary or on the way to the priesthood.

This leads to a situation where everyone in minor orders is called Fr Deacon.

Offline Subdeacon Michael

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Thank you, both, for those clarifications.

In India the practice is to have a candidate for the priesthood marry before being ordained to the full deaconate.

That is in keeping with the Apostolic canons, which I think are early enough for us to have in common, and which prohibit any clergy apart from chanters and readers from marrying.  Therefore, in the Eastern Orthodox Church, subdeacons and above may not marry, (although I have heard that exceptions are occasionally made on a case by case basis, where there is deemed to be pastoral reason for it).

In Christ,
Michael
'There is nothing upon earth holier, higher, grander, more solemn, more life-giving than the Liturgy. The church, at this particular time, becomes an earthly heaven; those who officiate represent Christ Himself, the angels, the cherubim, seraphim and apostles.' - St John of Kronstadt

Offline LBK

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Thank you, both, for those clarifications.

In India the practice is to have a candidate for the priesthood marry before being ordained to the full deaconate.

That is in keeping with the Apostolic canons, which I think are early enough for us to have in common, and which prohibit any clergy apart from chanters and readers from marrying.  Therefore, in the Eastern Orthodox Church, subdeacons and above may not marry, (although I have heard that exceptions are occasionally made on a case by case basis, where there is deemed to be pastoral reason for it).

In Christ,
Michael

A clarification:

If a man on the way to ordination is unmarried and intends to remain celibate, then he enters monastic life first, then, all being well, can then be ordained.
Am I posting? Or is it Schroedinger's Cat?