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Author Topic: Subdiaconate- In the Greek Orthodox Church  (Read 3787 times) Average Rating: 0
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emmanuelmelo
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« on: September 24, 2005, 02:44:13 AM »

Greetings in the Lord Jesus Christ,

I am a tonsured reader in the Greek Orthodox Church.  I have served the Orthodox Church for a number of years, in the Russian, Serbian, and Greek traditions (I am 21 years old).  I had a question about the subdiaconate

1.)  I know the antiochians and the OCA tonsure subdeacons as kind of "Super altar boys."  Does the Greek Orthodox Church do that in this country?

2.)  Must subdeacons be celibate?

3.)  Is anyone here a subdeacon?

4.)  What is required of the tonsured readers/subdeacons?  Must they perform special services ie Reading of the Psalms/ Paraklesis/ Akathists??

-Emmanuel
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Thomas
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« Reply #1 on: September 24, 2005, 09:25:39 AM »

Dear Brother in Christ, Emmanuel,

I am a subdeacon now serving in the Antiochian Archdiocese.  I was originally tonsured a Reader and then a subdeacon in ROCOR and transferred to a local parish in the Antiochian Archdiocese several years ago when There was no local parish to serve in---family needs for more pastoral care.  Subdeacons may marry in both the Antiochian and ROCOR traditions.  I was told that in ROCOR if your wife dies then you may not remarry but in the Antiochian  tradition that does not occur until you are ordained in the diaconate. The current official Role of the Subdiaconate is to serve the Bishop when he is present. We carry the candles ticks, assist in the vesting of the Bishop, at various times may be blessed to hold  some of his symbols of authority, and in the case of elderly bishops may even be of standby assistance as he climbsstairs steps up to the amvon, etc.  When a Bishop is not present we often are seen as "super altar servers" who may  be in charge of the young boys serving at the altars. Other assignments may be determined by the priest---some of mine include the teaching of classes to Catechumen and newly illumined. In the Antiochian  jurisdiction subdeacons may read the initial  ektanias before the little entrance in the absence of a Deacon serving at the service. The pastor may also assign certain  non-liturgical pastoral assignments to help him with the pastoral care of parishioners. As a subdeacon who has been tonsured as a Reader first, you may also continue in the ministry assigned to the Readers of the Church, your additional tonsuring does not abrogate the previous tonsure---you just have taken on further callings and duties.

I hope this is helpful information.

In Christ,
Thomas
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« Reply #2 on: September 24, 2005, 10:21:55 AM »

1.)ÂÂ  I know the antiochians and the OCA tonsure subdeacons as kind of "Super altar boys."ÂÂ  Does the Greek Orthodox Church do that in this country?

Well, every clergyman in the GOA was ordained a Sub-Deakon before his ordination to the Deakonate, usually, however, he's only a Sub-Deakon for a few hours...as long as it takes to get from the start of Orthros to the point in the Liturgy where he is ordained a Deakon. As far as Sub-Deakons on a longer term basis, they are rare throughout the entire Oecumenical Patriarchate and almost non-existant in the GOA.

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2.)ÂÂ  Must subdeacons be celibate?

While a subdeakon may be either married or celibate, they are forbidden to marry after ordination by Canon 26 of the Holy Apostles and Canon 6 of the Sixth Oecumenical Synod, both canons are rather strictly upheld by the Oecumenical Patriarchate.

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4.)ÂÂ  What is required of the tonsured readers/subdeacons?ÂÂ  Must they perform special services ie Reading of the Psalms/ Paraklesis/ Akathists??

Readers, well, read. As for the subdeakons, they are technically ordained as servants to the Deakons, who are, of course, ordained as servants to the Bishop (as opposed to the Priest and Bishop who are both ordained as servants to the ecclesiastical community as a whole).
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« Reply #3 on: September 24, 2005, 01:02:10 PM »

A.C.R.O.D. does have sub-deacons. Our parish's psalti is one and he is a very good friend of mine who is probably wondering right now why I'm not working a local festival with him.  Shocked
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« Reply #4 on: October 08, 2005, 12:12:53 PM »

1.) I know the antiochians and the OCA tonsure subdeacons as kind of "Super altar boys." Does the Greek Orthodox Church do that in this country?

2.) Must subdeacons be celibate? 

I defer to GiC's textbook answers to the first two question.

4.) What is required of the tonsured readers/subdeacons? Must they perform special services ie Reading of the Psalms/ Paraklesis/ Akathists?? 

What is required of the reader and the subdeacon is that they perform their ministerial duties!  The Reader is responsible for, well, reading... and the subdeacon is responsible for assisting the deacons with the service, especially when the bishop is present.  The readers and subdeacons are able to lead modified services in the absence of the other clergy (often referred to as "readers (insert name here)" like "readers vespers" or whatnot) - with the exception of the sacraments (which must have at least a priest, ideally a bishop present).
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« Reply #5 on: May 31, 2010, 08:24:41 AM »

Greetings in the Lord Jesus Christ,

I am a tonsured reader in the Greek Orthodox Church.  I have served the Orthodox Church for a number of years, in the Russian, Serbian, and Greek traditions (I am 21 years old).  I had a question about the subdiaconate

1.)  I know the antiochians and the OCA tonsure subdeacons as kind of "Super altar boys."  Does the Greek Orthodox Church do that in this country?

I know that this thread is very but I think that it is worth resuscuitation to clear up a thing or two.

Nobody is tonsured a subdeacon.  The Orthodox Church has three types of tonsure, which occur at certain points in a Christian's life as part of offering of himself to God.  The first is the baptismal tonsure, when a person enters the Church; another is the monastic tonsure, when a person enters the angelic life; and another is the clerical tonsure, when a man enters the ranks of the clergy.  The clerical tonsure is only performed once, as part of the ordination (cheirothesia) of a reader, shortly before the ordination prayer.  Once a man has been tonsured and admitted to the ranks of the clergy, this is not repeated for any subsequent ordinations to other orders because he is already clergy.

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2.)  Must subdeacons be celibate?

If they are unmarried, yes, they must be celibate.  If they are married, then they and their wives are like any other Orthodox husband and wife.  Both married and unmarried men may be ordained as subdeacons - just like any other order (except the episcopate) - but an unmarried man may not marry after his subdiaconal ordination.  Canon 26 of the Holy Apostles says that, of the clergy, only Readers and Chanters may marry.  One problem dealt with by the 6th Ecumenical Council was that, through ignorance, there was widespread disobedience among the clergy where marriage was concerned. The fathers of the council in canon 3 decided to deal leniently with all who had unwittingly flouted the canons up until a certain date because they acted out of genuine ignorance and did not wilfully disobey.  However, in canon 6, they made it clear that any cleric in the rank of subdeacon or above who transgressed from that point forward is to be deposed.  That is still the rule as observed today.

Some bishops extend economia in certain circumstances but this should be done only when pastoral necessity absolutely dictates and it must be done circumspectly.  A bishop may think that he is helping his subdeacon by allowing him to marry, but if work, health, or family circumstances mean that this subdeacon ever has to move away and transfer to another bishop, he may potentially find that his initial bishop's "leniency" means that other bishops may not accept him in orders.

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3.)  Is anyone here a subdeacon?

I am.  Smiley

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4.)  What is required of the tonsured readers/subdeacons?  Must they perform special services ie Reading of the Psalms/ Paraklesis/ Akathists?

A Reader reads.  He is responsible for reading the Hours and those portions of other services designated to be done by a reader.  With the choir, (or alone if there is  no choir), he is to sing the various hymns in the various tones clearly and competently for the glory of God and the edification of the people.  He should know the composition and structure of the services and be able to put them together according to the rules to order the services.  In places (most parishes) which do not have two choirs to be able to do the parts of the services antiphonally in the traditional way, the reader is often the one who alternates with the choir, such as at the verses and refrains of the festal antiphons, the troparia at the Beatitudes, and so forth.  He also reads the verses of the prokimena and alleluias in alternation with the choir, and may be responsible for the Apostle readings, in which case he should know the appropriate Apostle chant method used in his church, (there are many, some beautiful and some not), and be able to execute it properly so as to proclaim the scripture reading to the people as clearly as possible.

In the absence of any more senior clergy, a reader may perform services in their "reader" form, that is, without the portions which require a priest or the blesing of a priest.  The exception is that the Gospel may be given but in a spoken manner (such as when a layman reads an English translation at a Slavonic Liturgy) and not the liturgical proclamation which is chanted.

A subdeacon is the servant to the bishop and his duties are described here.

In Christ,
Michael
« Last Edit: May 31, 2010, 08:26:04 AM by Subdeacon Michael » Logged

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