On another forum, a discussion was ongoing regarding the Armenian praxis of deacons wearing mitres on certain occasions and a link was posted to an 18th century Armenian icon of St Stephen, Protodeacon and Protomartyr. St Stephen is depicted with a zion in his left hand and censer in his right. I thought it might be of interest here as well.St Stephen [historyarmenia.org]
The censer and Zion are of similar design, reinforcing the point made upstream that prayer and service to the poor are the pricipal aspects of the ministry of a Deacon.
As for the mitre, I can understand that best through my Western eyes as I consider that the cloven Western-type mitre is understood to represent the tongues of fire manifesting the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost. The Acts of the Apostles repeatedly describes +Stephen as being "full of the Holy Spirit" so a mitre (of any design) strikes me as most appropriate.
Bless, Pastor Thomas,
Actually, Amenian deacons wear the mitre on his feast, to honor him in his dual role as having been both Protodeacon and Protomartyr (here, of course, there also enters into consideration the symbolism of the 'crown of martyrdom').
However, within the Armenian Apostolic Patriarchate of Jerusalem, the deacon does so while performing certain functions - the specifics as to why the praxis differs there is unclear.
As a side note, however, it has been pointed out that the meaning of Stephanos itself is 'crown'.
Neil: Do you really want to call that a 'discussion' on the other forum? That's giving it too much credit, IMHO!
Just trying to stay above the fray
- after all, if one puts aside the commentary of one participant
, it could pass for discussion.