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Author Topic: Ordination To The Sub-Deaconate  (Read 1343 times) Average Rating: 0
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Tigran
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« on: November 03, 2010, 05:06:14 PM »

I'm a new member of this website. So I was told that I will be ordained by Abp. Hovnan Derderian, the Primate of the Western Diocese of the Armenian Church, to become a Sub-Deacon on early weeks of this December.

I'm Deaf and an Acolyte of the Armenian Church. I do know about the minors and majors in the Holy Order; however, I don't know much about Sub-Deacon because there is lack of information or details about the Sub-Deaconate. If any of you know much about the Sub-Deaconate and informations/details about this, I would appreciate your help!

What the Sub-Deaconate has roles/duties/responisblilies of the Armenian Church? I'm confused because Sub-Deaconate is between Minor Orders and Major Orders so which should Sub-Deaconate be in Minor Orders or Major Orders?

in Christ,
Acolyte Tigran
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Salpy
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« Reply #1 on: November 03, 2010, 09:36:26 PM »

Welcome!

I don't know much about the subject, but there is a deacon's page on the website of a person who used to post here:

http://www.looys.net/stepanos.html

There seems to be a lot of information there.

Perhaps if there are other sub-deacons here, they can share their experiences. 
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Tigran
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« Reply #2 on: November 03, 2010, 09:44:00 PM »

Welcome!

I don't know much about the subject, but there is a deacon's page on the website of a person who used to post here:

http://www.looys.net/stepanos.html

There seems to be a lot of information there.

Perhaps if there are other sub-deacons here, they can share their experiences. 

Thank you for the help! I appreciate this!

in Christ,
Tigran dpir
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« Reply #3 on: June 28, 2011, 02:29:43 PM »

Congratulations, Tigran!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VD-CeX_cw8A
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"I don't think I've ever eaten anything Armenian I didn't like.  I even drink my non-Armenian coffee out of a St Nersess Seminary coffee mug because it is better that way." --Mor Ephrem
Aram
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« Reply #4 on: July 01, 2011, 12:48:37 AM »

Tigran, I am a subdeacon in the Armenian Church, and would be glad to help you in any way I can as you prepare for your ordination. Although from watching your YouTube videos, I think you're going to be just fine.  What wonderful work you've done already!

To answer your questions:

Subdeacon in the Armenian Church is kind of a no-man's land in between the 4 Minor Orders and the Major Order of the Diaconate.  Technically, it is a Minor Order, but in practice and title, it's far more.  Its role has expanded a bit in America, and is becoming more frequently bestowed upon advanced altar servers.  I'm in the Eastern Diocese, so I'm not sure exactly how my experience here is different from how Hovnan Srpazan does things out west.  But I'm sure there are similarities.

Ordinarily, the role of a subdeacon vs. an ordinary tbir (clerk/acolyte) is as follows:

-Subdeacons are allowed to chant the Gospel reading for the day, and in some places, may chant the Old Testament and Epistle readings as well.  It depends on your local custom. 
-You may already have learned censing, as it seems that's becoming more commonly taught to acolytes.  You're going to need to know the censing patterns and practices for the Badarak, morning service, and Hokehankist. 
-In the Eastern Diocese, and it may be more strict in the Western Diocese where more people are Armenian-speaking, subdeacon is the first level of altar service in which at least being able to read Armenian characters is required.  Believe me, you will get absolutely nowhere in your service if you can't read Armenian.  It severely limits your ability to utilize all of the service books, and makes it impossible to chant the Gospel.  I know a few subdeacons who have gotten around this with transliteration, but it's less than ideal.  You will not be able, in any circumstance, to move beyond being a subdeacon without being able to read Armenian.
-A subdeacon may carry an empty chalice, but not once the Eucharist has been placed in it.
-Subdeacons are expected to have more knowledge of the non-Eucharistic services, so you'll need to build confidence with the Evening and Morning services.  You will also need to be comfortable with the Baptism, Wedding, and Funeral services.  I was never asked or expected to participate in those until I was a subdeacon.  Weddings are easy if you know the Badarak (Liturgy), baptisms and funerals are a little more tricky, but once you do one or two, it's really, really straightforward. 
-You will be expected to take more of a mentorship role with younger altar servers.  I'm sure you're already doing this, but it helps to be reminded that your increased rank means more of a responsibility in this regard.

I'm sure you already have a great relationship with your pastor.  Meet with him one-on-one as frequently as you can between now and December, and even after that, and just practice and much as you can.  I'm preparing for ordination to the diaconate right now, and meet weekly with my priest to go over things, ask questions, even just talk about things, and it's incredibly helpful. 

Most of all, just remember that this is just another step in your service.  Don't be pressured or intimidated by the extra knowledge and responsibilities, and if you make a mistake here and there, no worries.  That's how you get better next time.  If I can do anything to help you, feel free to send me a PM with your email and we can get in touch. 

-Sdn. Aram
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Salpy
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« Reply #5 on: July 01, 2011, 12:53:45 AM »

Welcome to the forum!

Բարի եկաք։
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« Reply #6 on: July 01, 2011, 12:57:46 AM »

Welcome!

I don't know much about the subject, but there is a deacon's page on the website of a person who used to post here:

http://www.looys.net/stepanos.html

There seems to be a lot of information there. 
As a point of reference, please be advised that the individual who runs this website is no longer a part of the Armenian Church, and has much on his website that is from the point of view of the Armenian Catholic Church.  Its content is not always theologically or practically in line with the teachings and practices of the Armenian Orthodox Church.  There is much content there you cannot find anywhere else, but do use it with caution.

I would recommend far more the website of St. Nersess Armenian Seminary in New Rochelle, New York.  In particular, their Liturgical Resources page is incredibly helpful:

http://stnersess.edu/classroom/resources/index.php

Additionally, it's no help for you this year, Tigran, as the session is going on as we speak, but each year, St. Nersess offers a Deacon's Training Program.  Ask Hovnan Srpazan or your priest if they can assist you in attending next year.  It's usually the last week of June, and is a great time to learn and meet other young men who are learning the same things you are learning.  

http://stnersess.edu/youth/deaconstraining/index.php

St. Nersess is a great resource, and I'm sure Fr. Daniel Findikyan, the seminary dean, would be more than glad to help you in any way he can if you were to send him an email.
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« Reply #7 on: July 01, 2011, 12:58:45 AM »

Welcome to the forum!

Բարի եկաք։
Thanks, Salpy! 
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« Reply #8 on: July 02, 2011, 02:07:39 AM »

All I know is just make sure they take out the old part that says "if he is not married, he must remain celibate", otherwise they'll hold you to it.  laugh
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« Reply #9 on: July 02, 2011, 02:23:00 AM »

By the way to all whom were wondering, no I am not a sub-deacon as my name implies. I just put it as my username because I couldn't think of anything more original. :\

I have, however, served on the altar and do know a little bit about the various duties of the tbirs, gisasargavaks, sargavaks, etc. I know that you do need to know how to serve at Badarak and the Morning and Night services as one of the posters indicated above in and out. I have never heard that it was required that you know how to read Armenian - like they give you a test or something? - but maybe it is assumed since being a sub-deacon you would have to be able to recite the Jamerkutyun "tsayn" that is proper to that Sunday and there is no transliteration for that.

I know many people who are invested in the Church and can't read Armenian for the life of them. It's really a shame because it's very easy and all phonetic. Someone that is that deeply committed to serving the Church can surely take 30 minutes out of their day for the next 2 weeks to learn the alphabet...

Other than that, I would say consult your priest as he would know best as he's been there. Smiley Also, much of what you need to know you will have already learned practically beforehand on the altar doing the pourvar etc. I think one thing you should realize is the gravity of being ordained to subdeacon; you are called to increase your prayer life, knowledge of the Bible, Fathers, Church Services, to be of more service to Christ and the Church as well as increasing your ministry. I would encourage you to meditate on its meaning deeply and realize that it is a blessing of God to be ordained - not a badge of honor, a right, or something that you are only on Sunday. I am not saying that you personally think that way, only that that is what I have seen from some.

Also, if you already know how to speak modern Armenian, maybe you can invest some time into learning the basics of Classical Armenian. I've just started myself and it was like learning Eastern Armenian as a Western Armenian speaker. This would help you be active in prayer imho. There are a few basic differences that seem great at first, but then you find out later they're not really as "scary" as you thought they were. Smiley

I hope everything turns out well for you. I am sure that if it is God's will, you will be prepared in everything.

God bless.
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« Reply #10 on: July 02, 2011, 11:19:36 AM »

Here is a picture of the ordination from the Western Diocese website:

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« Reply #11 on: July 02, 2011, 11:22:12 PM »

All I know is just make sure they take out the old part that says "if he is not married, he must remain celibate", otherwise they'll hold you to it.  laugh
This is not an issue, and it is not enforced.  This is also true for the diaconate in the United States. 
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Aram
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« Reply #12 on: July 02, 2011, 11:37:52 PM »

I have never heard that it was required that you know how to read Armenian - like they give you a test or something? - but maybe it is assumed since being a sub-deacon you would have to be able to recite the Jamerkutyun "tsayn" that is proper to that Sunday and there is no transliteration for that.
In the guidelines recently published by the Eastern Diocese, it is now required one knows how to at least sound out Armenian characters in order to be able to chant the Gospels and use the various liturgical books.  Is it tested?  I'm not sure.  I was not tested, but I was also known to be able to do so, and had been given rigid requirements that before my ordination I was to solidify my knowledge.  You cannot be a completely functional subdeacon without it.  There is a point at which your abilities hit a ceiling based on the availability of transliterated service books.  Which are not always readily available or in print.  And getting up with the Gospel with transliteration hidden inside is just a crutch, and frankly, lazy.   Long story short, there's no reason not to learn.  It's not an unreasonable requirement.  And it's not that difficult.  Just do it.

Quote
I know many people who are invested in the Church and can't read Armenian for the life of them. It's really a shame because it's very easy and all phonetic. Someone that is that deeply committed to serving the Church can surely take 30 minutes out of their day for the next 2 weeks to learn the alphabet...
Exactly.

Quote
Other than that, I would say consult your priest as he would know best as he's been there. Smiley Also, much of what you need to know you will have already learned practically beforehand on the altar doing the pourvar etc. I think one thing you should realize is the gravity of being ordained to subdeacon; you are called to increase your prayer life, knowledge of the Bible, Fathers, Church Services, to be of more service to Christ and the Church as well as increasing your ministry. I would encourage you to meditate on its meaning deeply and realize that it is a blessing of God to be ordained - not a badge of honor, a right, or something that you are only on Sunday. I am not saying that you personally think that way, only that that is what I have seen from some.
Great advice.
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Tigran
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« Reply #13 on: April 19, 2012, 11:33:08 AM »

Christ is Risen!

I didn't expect to have more answers from this thread! I'm grateful and thankful that you have answered my questions which I already know, obviously. But still, I learn more from you guys. 

From above, those are what I'm doing and once again, thanks for the advice!

Love in Christ,
Sdn. Tigran
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« Reply #14 on: April 19, 2012, 07:40:04 PM »

Well, I'm learning from you.  I love your video series.  The last one on Providence was very edifying:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r9KbDWkY26c&feature=relmfu
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« Reply #15 on: April 19, 2012, 07:49:36 PM »

Well, I'm learning from you.  I love your video series.  The last one on Providence was very edifying:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r9KbDWkY26c&feature=relmfu

 Smiley
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