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#388440 - 11/24/12 07:41 PM Subdeacon versus Acolyte:
myndyngmybyzness Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/23/12
Posts: 1
Loc: Arizona
Please, I would like someone to explain to me specifically what the office of a Permanent Subdeacon is as far as his function in the Liturgy and in the Church in general. Specifically, I would like information that compares a Permanent Subdeacon's role to that of an Acolyte's role - what things are the same, and what are different. (There does not seem to be much online info regarding Permanent Subdeacons).

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#388445 - 11/24/12 10:11 PM Re: Subdeacon versus Acolyte: [Re: myndyngmybyzness]
Paul B Offline
Member

Registered: 11/11/01
Posts: 1732
Loc: PA
Glory to Jesus Christ!

You won't see very many "permanent" subdeacons because generally their goal is to be ordained deacon or priest. Ordained lector/reader/acolyte/candlebearer is more common. There may be exceptions, but generally a subdeacon cannot marry after ordination.

Generally the subdeacon's distinct responsibility is to serve the bishop during the liturgy for the washing of hands, holding the liturgy book, the staff, and dikiri and trikiri candles.

On an everyday basis he would serve as the head server.

He may serve as an acolyte, cantor or lector. His liturgical wear would be a sticharion and crossed orarion. The orarion makes him distinct from a server, although I have seen pictures of altar servers wearing sticharion.

Awaiting the birth of the King,
Fr Deacon Paul

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#388448 - 11/25/12 01:41 PM Re: Subdeacon versus Acolyte: [Re: myndyngmybyzness]
Ot'ets Nastoiatel' Offline
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Registered: 07/03/06
Posts: 467
Loc: 266 Mulberry St. NY, NY 10012
In the Melkite tradition subdeacons can and do marry after ordination.

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#388450 - 11/25/12 02:26 PM Re: Subdeacon versus Acolyte: [Re: myndyngmybyzness]
StuartK Offline
Member

Registered: 11/09/01
Posts: 7394
Loc: Falls Church, VA
This is permitted under the canons of the Quinisextunct Council. Being ordained by Cheirothesia, rather than Cheirotoneia, subdeacons are not covered by the injunction against marriage after ordination. This applies only to the "major orders" of deacon, presbyter and bishop, who receive the "greater ordination" by Cheirotoneia.

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#388451 - 11/25/12 02:28 PM Re: Subdeacon versus Acolyte: [Re: myndyngmybyzness]
StuartK Offline
Member

Registered: 11/09/01
Posts: 7394
Loc: Falls Church, VA
On the other hand, according to the canons imposed in the Latin Church from the 11th century down to the Second Vatican Council, all subdeacons, deacons, presbyters and bishops had to be celibate. So the married diaconate is something of an innovation (or a deep restoration) for the Latin Church, while allowing deacons to remarry after widowhood is a definite innovation.

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#388452 - 11/25/12 02:41 PM Re: Subdeacon versus Acolyte: [Re: StuartK]
8IronBob Offline
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Registered: 08/15/12
Posts: 847
Loc: Parma, Ohio, USA
Originally Posted By: StuartK
On the other hand, according to the canons imposed in the Latin Church from the 11th century down to the Second Vatican Council, all subdeacons, deacons, presbyters and bishops had to be celibate. So the married diaconate is something of an innovation (or a deep restoration) for the Latin Church, while allowing deacons to remarry after widowhood is a definite innovation.


This is true, over at St. Charles Borromeo, we have a married deacon. Although anyone ordained to priesthood has to be celibate in the Latin Rite, still.

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#388458 - 11/25/12 07:09 PM Re: Subdeacon versus Acolyte: [Re: myndyngmybyzness]
StuartK Offline
Member

Registered: 11/09/01
Posts: 7394
Loc: Falls Church, VA
Actually, one can be dispensed from the requirement of celibacy. Such was typically done for Anglican (and some Lutheran) ministers entering the Catholic Church, and it now routine for ministers entering through the Anglican Ordinariate. In fact, there are probably more married Latin priests in the U.S. than there are married Eastern Catholic priests--which makes the Latin bishops' refusal to state point-blank that they are not opposed to the Eastern Catholic Churches ordaining married men in the U.S. (as the Australian bishops conference did for the Eastern Catholic Churches in Australia) more than a tad disingenuous.

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#388541 - 11/29/12 12:34 AM Re: Subdeacon versus Acolyte: [Re: StuartK]
Yuhannon Offline
Member

Registered: 08/08/02
Posts: 1321
Loc: Las Vegas, NV
Shlomo Stuart,
The real problem is not the Latin Bishops refusing to state that they are for married Eastern Catholic men being allowed to be ordained, it is the Eastern Catholic Eparchs that are the most opposed and therefore, the Latins not wishing to overstep their place have not made such a statement. Until we have the Eastern Catholic hierarchs of the U.S. and Canada stating they want to ordain married men, you are not going to get the Latin hierarchs saying they are for it.

Fush BaShlomo,
Yuhannon

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#388563 - 11/29/12 09:23 PM Re: Subdeacon versus Acolyte: [Re: myndyngmybyzness]
Protodeacon David Kennedy Offline
Member

Registered: 01/24/02
Posts: 173
Loc: St. Elias Ukrainian Catholic C...
I am answering from the perspective of the Ukrainian Catholic Church.

Following Vatican II, the Latin rite of the Catholic Church suppressed the minor orders and reconstituted two of them under the designation of ministries, viz. those of reader and acolyte (Ministeria quaedam, 15 August 1972: AAS 64 (1972). However, this these minor orders were not suppressed in the Eastern Catholic Churches. It is the intention of the Catholic Church, that each of the Eastern Catholic Church sui iuris maintains its own traditions. (Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches can.327). Those who receive a cheirothesia to a minor order are governed by the particular law of their own Church sui iuris. Cheirothesia is the term used in the Byzantine rite to designate an ordination to the ranks of taper-bearer, reader/cantor, or subdeacon. It is from the Greek for ‘imposition of hands’. Cheirotonia, meaning voting by raising the hand is used to refer to ordinations to the diaconate, presbyterate, and episcopate. Whoever has received a minor order is enrolled in the ecclesiastical hierarchy and through such an ordination becomes a cleric either in an eparchy or a monastery. It is a life-long commitment directed to the good of the Church in order to fulfill a function necessary for the Church’s life. The functions fulfilled by these orders are necessary for the full life of the particular Church.

The Eastern Catholic Church are exhorted to maintain the minor orders and “to restore them to greater significance and vitality” (Instruction for Applying the Liturgical Prescriptions of the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches, §74, 6 January, 1996: Congregation for the Eastern Churches). The Eastern Catholic Churches are not to introduce a different usage in these matters than what is found among the Orthodox. (Instruction…,§74.) These orders along with the diaconate “are not mere formalities in preparation for presbyteral ordination. They provide a specific service in the Church… Thus, the ministers necessary for a dignified and fitting celebration of the liturgy are obtained, avoiding the practice, different also in this case from the Latin Church in which it is no longer in use, of having ministers of a higher range perform the liturgical functions that should be reserved to those of lower range (the most frequent case is that of presbyters functioning as deacons), or of permanently appointing to the laity liturgical tasks expected of a minister: practices to be eliminated.”(Instruction…,§75.) It should be noted that many of those clergy who speak of themselves as “traditional” Roman Catholics when celebrating according to the extraordinary form of the Roman rite (Missale Romanum, 1962) have presbyters function as deacons and subdeacons. The practice seems to contradict both Roman and Eastern Catholic legislation along with presenting a confusion in regards to the various orders in the Church. Apparently, some people in the Catholic Church lack the will to put an end to a practiced that is to be eliminated. We find that the reason for the minor orders is rooted in liturgical practice. Quite clearly these minor orders fulfill very necessary functions. These functions are so important to “a dignified and fitting celebration of the liturgy” that they cannot be left to chance. Those who are to fulfill the offices of reader/cantor or subdeacon are to be permanently committed to the fulfillment of their liturgical duties. They are to be properly formed, trained and educated so that what they do in the liturgy and outside of it will lead to the building up of the Body of Christ to whom they have committed their service.

It is difficult to imagine a liturgical service in the Byzantine rite without a well-trained cantor. I am not speaking of someone who can chant the ordinary and propers of the Divine Liturgy alone. Rather the well-trained cantor can function at all of the Church’s services and can lead the assembly into ‘a full, active and conscience participation in the liturgy’. This type of training even for those who are musically adept will often take years. It seems only fitting that such cantors be ordained, for by ordination the Church clearly says that this person is set apart to fulfill a particular and necessary liturgical function. These remarks are also applicable to the function of the subdeacon whose office is usually fulfilled by children who act as altar servers. While, we should be grateful for the service of these children at the altar, the duties of the subdeacon really does require the attention, dedication and commitment of an adult. A subdeacon that is properly formed, trained and educated can offer a valuable service to the deacon in his liturgical and extra-liturgical functions, as well as to the priest and bishop. Subdeacons ought to be trained in the order or paradigm of the services. Like deacons, they must be able to anticipate what will come next in the service so that all things can be done in a dignified and fitting manner. When the minor orders of reader/cantor and subdeacon are executed as they should be, the bishop or priest can lead the assembly in prayer without distraction, and in a fuller manner can the whole assembly enter in the Mysteries of Christ.

While it is necessary that those who function in the order of deacon can sing the synaptes or etkenias on pitch, and the Gospel according to the tradition of their own Church, it is not necessary that they be trained cantors. However, a candidate for the diaconate or the presbyterate needs to know and be able to demonstrate his knowledge of the liturgical books and the order of services before ordination. Candidates also need to know and be able to demonstrate their knowledge of the rubrics not only for the order that they aspire to but also for all the orders, including the role of the assembly. This knowledge should be firmly grounded in liturgical theology in order that the rubrics do not acquire a ‘life of their own’. It seems the purpose of requiring all candidates for the diaconate to receive minor orders is to have an appreciation of how the different orders interrelate to one another, (the minor orders especially the subdiaconate are very closely connected to the diaconate), to acquire an understanding of the importance of the different orders for the well being of the Church, and to acquire and to practice the minor orders in order to train for the diaconal function. Minor orders will mean very little except to fulfill a legal requirement if the candidate is not given ample formation, training and education before the cheirothesia to the orders of reader/cantor and subdeacon. Following ordination, one should actually fulfill the duties in a full and active manner.

In Divine Services celebrated by a priest with the assistance of a deacon:
• Light the lamps and candles.
• Extinguish the lamps and candles.
• Prepare and tend the censer. They may place incense on the coal.
• Hand the censer to the deacon or priest when needed.
• Carry candles or torches in the processions (Little Entrance, Gospel, Great Entrance).
• Carry ripdia in the processions.
• Open and close the deacons’ doors.
• Open and close the altar curtain.
• Open and close the holy/royal doors but only if there are two subdeacons doing this together so that neither stands between the holy doors and the holy table. If this cannot be done without standing between the holy doors and the holy table, the deacon opens and closes the holy doors.
• Prepare and set out the vestments for the priest and deacon.
• After the service return the vestments to their place of storage.
• Cut up the bread to be used for antidoron and hold this bread on the tray when the priest distributes it.
• Bring up the prosophora offerings and assist the priest with the booklets or chits of paper that have the names of the living and the dead.
• Return the prosphora offerings following the Divine Liturgy.
• Light the standing candle and place it before the holy doors on the solea during the communion of the priest and deacon.
• Prepare and bring the boiling water (zeon/teplota) to the deacon.
• They may touch the holy table if directed by the deacon or priest. For example if the altar coverings need to be changed, they would assist the deacon or priest.
• They may prepare the table of oblation: chalice, diskos, etc.
• If necessary hold the service book for the priest. Usually at Divine Liturgy, the service book rests on an anologion to the left of the priest at the north-west corner of the holy table. At baptisms, crownings/marriage, funerals, or other services when the priest is standing in the narthex or in the centre of the nave and has no anologion, the subdeacon holds and pages the service book (usually the Trebnyk).
• Hold the communion cloth (lention) under the chin of the communicant.
• Hold the holy water vessel and brush.
• Hold the blessed bread for distribution at the Vigil.
• Hold the blessed oil and brush for anointing at the Vigil.


Blessed altar servers and readers/cantors may do the above but they may not:
• Open and close the holy/royal doors.
• Prepare the table of oblation.
• Touch the holy table.

At Pontifical Services:
• Act as staff-bearer.
• Act as train-bearer when the bishop wears the episcopal mandyas.
• Bear and tend to the trikerion and dikerion.
• Place the orletsi or eagle rugs in the proper places when needed. Note the subdeacon is not to stand before the holy table when doing this but to place the eagle rug in place while standing to the north or south side of the holy table.
• Vest and divest the bishop.
• Wash the bishop’s hands.

(The subdeacon on the right is holding a ripidion over the gospel book. Photo M.L. Turi)

Instruction for Applying the Liturgical Prescriptions of the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches. Congregation for the Eastern Churches. 6 January 1996.

The above instruction which is canonically binding makes a number of important points in regards to the subdiaconate:
• Whoever is enrolled in a minor Order is no longer a lay person but a member of the clergy. § 73
• Subdeacons are enrolled in the eparchy for whose serve they are ordained unless previously enrolled, e.g as a reader. § 73
• The ancient practice of minor Orders is to be maintained. § 74
• The reforms of the particular laws of the different Churches should rather restore them [minor orders] to greater significance and vitality. This is also recommended for reasons of ecumenical nature: if the Eastern Catholic Churches have a special duty of fostering unity among all the Eastern Churches, among other ways, through religious fidelity to the ancient traditions, it would not seem helpful to introduce a differentiation of usage with respect to the Orthodox Churches, all participating in the same common origin. § 74
• The minor Orders and the diaconate are not mere formalities in preparation for presbyterial ordination. They provide a specific service in the Church, and as such are to be effectively exercised in a definitive way by those who do not intend to enter the presbyterate, and in a sufficiently ample way by those who are to be ordained presbyters. This is especially valid for the diaconate. In this sense, misgivings should not be had toward conferring minor Orders and even the diaconate on those who comport themselves well, are suitable and appropriately prepared for the responsibility they assume, and declare themselves available for the service of the Church, even if they must continue to live with their families and practice their own trades. Thus, the ministers necessary for a dignified and fitting celebration of the liturgy are obtained, avoiding the practice, different also in this case from the Latin Church in which it is no longer in use, of having ministers of a higher range perform the liturgical functions that should be reserved to those of a lower range (the most frequent case is that of presbyters functioning as deacons), or of permanently appointing to the laity liturgical tasks expected of a minister: practices to be eliminated. §75
• [It should be noted that the liturgical functions of the subdeacon are so necessary that when subdeacons are not available their functions for the most part are assumed by lay altar servers. Section 75 clearly prioritizes the subdeacon before the lay altar server.]


Who should distribute the Eucharist? §58

• Can. 709 § 1 of the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches establishes that it is the responsibility of the priest to distribute the Eucharist, or also the deacon if the particular law of the Church sui iuris so disposes. The subsequent paragraph grants the right to the Synod of Bishops of the patriarchal Church, or to the Council of Hierarch, to establish norms by which other Christians faithful can also distribute the Eucharist. § 58
• Therefore, assigning to the deacon or even to other faithful the task of distributing the Divine Eucharist depends on the instructions of the particular law. § 58
• Therefore, it is appropriate that the faculty of distributing the Eucharist by those other than the Bishop or the presbyter, or the deacon if so disposed by the particular law of each Church sui iuris, be exercised only in the case of true emergency. § 58
• The Canons of the Particular Law of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church states in Can. 91 (CCEO) c. 709 § 1 The Divine Eucharist is distributed by the priest, and if necessary, also by the deacon.
• [Only the Synod of Bishops in the UGCC has the authority to grant a faculty to subdeacons, readers, or the laity to distribute the Divine Eucharist. (This is unlike the Latin Church where the local ordinary and in certain circumstances the priest celebrant has the authority to grant such a faculty.) The Synod of Bishops in the UGCC has not granted such a faculty to subdeacons and therefore, it is illicit and a liturgical abuse for subdeacons to distribute the Divine Eucharist in the UGCC.]

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#388565 - 11/29/12 10:29 PM Re: Subdeacon versus Acolyte: [Re: myndyngmybyzness]
StuartK Offline
Member

Registered: 11/09/01
Posts: 7394
Loc: Falls Church, VA
Quote:
Until we have the Eastern Catholic hierarchs of the U.S. and Canada stating they want to ordain married men, you are not going to get the Latin hierarchs saying they are for it.


We have at least one. And most of the others are not averse to using married priests, provided they come from elsewhere (or simply went elsewhere to be ordained and then returned here). So I don't think that argument flies. It's more a chicken and egg thing, perhaps. An old jingle from the Napoleonic Wars sums it up:

The Earl of Chatham, with sword half-drawn,
Stood waiting for Sir Richard Strachan.
Sir Richard, raring to be at 'em,
Stood waiting for the Earl of Chatham.

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#388567 - 11/29/12 10:51 PM Re: Subdeacon versus Acolyte: [Re: myndyngmybyzness]
8IronBob Offline
Member

Registered: 08/15/12
Posts: 847
Loc: Parma, Ohio, USA
I know that the UGCC is loaded with married clergy from the old country, and that seems to be the only Church in the Eastern Rite that you really hear about having married priests that come to this country. Ukrainian culture just seems to be this way, they marry, then decide to dedicate their vocations to the Divine Lord shortly after, then move to America, Canada, Latin America, Australia, England, whatever.

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#388569 - 11/30/12 12:05 AM Re: Subdeacon versus Acolyte: [Re: StuartK]
Yuhannon Offline
Member

Registered: 08/08/02
Posts: 1321
Loc: Las Vegas, NV
Shlomo Stuart,

both of the Maronite Eparchs have stated that they are opposed to married clergy here in North America and will not permit it in their Churches, the same goes for the Syro-Malabar and Syro-Malankara.

For me it is very upsetting that my heirarchs are saying this in that in the passed we had married men as priests here.

Fush BaShlomo,
Yuhannon

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#388589 - 11/30/12 11:47 AM Re: Subdeacon versus Acolyte: [Re: myndyngmybyzness]
StuartK Offline
Member

Registered: 11/09/01
Posts: 7394
Loc: Falls Church, VA
The Melkites and Romanians also have married priests in the U.S. Yuhannon, with no disrespect to the Maronites and the Indian Churches in this country, they are dwarfed by the combined numbers of the Greek Catholic Churches.

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#388590 - 11/30/12 11:53 AM Re: Subdeacon versus Acolyte: [Re: StuartK]
Pavel Ivanovich Offline
Member

Registered: 07/03/03
Posts: 2846
Loc: Western Australia
Syro-Malabar and Syro-Malankara churches dont have married clergy as their normal practice, except for convert clergymen. That why the Malabar church has sent many of it's clergy out to fill vacancies in many of India's RC diocese and in more recent years across the world in RC diocese.


cool

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#388598 - 11/30/12 04:10 PM Re: Subdeacon versus Acolyte: [Re: myndyngmybyzness]
JBenedict Offline
Member

Registered: 01/27/08
Posts: 297
Loc: New York, NY
Quote:
It should be noted that many of those clergy who speak of themselves as “traditional” Roman Catholics when celebrating according to the extraordinary form of the Roman rite (Missale Romanum, 1962) have presbyters function as deacons and subdeacons. The practice seems to contradict both Roman and Eastern Catholic legislation along with presenting a confusion in regards to the various orders in the Church. Apparently, some people in the Catholic Church lack the will to put an end to a practiced that is to be eliminated.


The way this whole "different traditions, but one Church" thing works is that, unless something is clearly contrary to the Gospel, we don't criticize people for having different traditions than we do. I tell the less educated traditionalist Roman Catholics that no, it's not inherent in the priesthood that priests must be celibate, it's the Latin rite tradition (and even then dispensations are allowed). Those belonging to Eastern Churches, on the other hand, don't criticize us for following our traditions or accuse us of violating our liturgical law about priests serving as deacons and subdeacons when that happens to be permitted in our tradition under certain conditions. The Roman Rite has two forms at the present moment with different rules about this practice.

Here's a photo from the beginning of the month of Cardinal Cañizares, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship celebrating in St. Peter's Basillica the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite earlier this month:



The Deacon of the Mass was the Rev. William Barker, FSSP, Vicar of the Parish of Santissima Trinita de Pellegrini in Rome and the Subdeacon of the Mass was Fr. Réginald-Marie Rivoire, FSVF.

I'm pretty confident in following the example of the leaders of our Church, including the official in charge of regulating worship and the one formerly in charge of policing doctrine and now elevated to a higher office (Cardinal Ratzinger gives the Kiss of Peace to Fr. John Emerson, FSSP, acting as Deacon of the Mass, at Easter Mass in Wigratzbad in 1990.)

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