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Originally Posted by Thomas the Seeker
Originally Posted by Irish Melkite
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]

Many years,

Neil

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'.

Originally Posted by DMD
Neil: Do you really want to call that a 'discussion' on the other forum? That's giving it too much credit, IMHO!

David,

Just trying to stay above the fray biggrin - after all, if one puts aside the commentary of one participant crazy , it could pass for discussion.

Many years,

Neil


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Given that they are: only used at Hierarchal Liturgies during the Great Entrance, with aers on shoulder, the name zion is used for tabernacles I think it is fair to conclude they were orginially artophorians used for transporting the prosphora.

Now remember the Prothesis used to be in a seperate chapel, the proskomedia was once much simpler (none of the long prayer and ritual we now associate with it), and at at a Hierarchal Liturgy the proskomedia was performed by the Hierarch at the Great Entrance.


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I would also say the iconographic evidence supports the artophorian conclusion. The zion is held with a veil. The only other item potrayed held this way is the Book of the Gospels. It seems unthinkable an incence/money box would be portrayed this way. The icons are probably making the connection with the deacon being the bringer of the Holy Gifts to sick and imprisoned.


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Originally Posted by Irish Melkite
David,

Just trying to stay above the fray biggrin - after all, if one puts aside the commentary of one participant crazy , it could pass for discussion.

Many years,

Neil

Well, that's true, I did put him in his place though - something I usually ignore.

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the tabernacles? the similar names might explain why some seem to think the Holy Gifts are being carried forth to add solemnity to the censing...

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so now there are THREE possible explanations of what zions originally were ?

-incense boxes
-collection boxes
-Arks used to house the Holy Gifts

?

Herb
fascinated if a little confused (but in a good way)

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waaait. artophoria for unconsecrated prosphora yes, but why on earth would they be for the Holt Gifts? why would deacons carry the Holy Gifts as a mere ornament?

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Greetings to all - especially to Anhelyna and Edward who I remember, with the late Fr Serge in my prayers.

Having been given a hand-me-down laptop by a neighbour I thought I'd head back to the forum after a long time away.

I know that this topic is now old, but will add a few thoughts.

What I would refer to as a 'Sion' is most definitely a tabernacle, used to reserve the Holy Gifts. The Great Sion of the Dormition Cathedral in the Moscow Kremlin illustrates this. It's basically a domed silver rotunda, with figures of saints in relief around the base.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Zion_history_museum_moscow.jpg

Similar temple shaped Sions were used in other Orthodox lands -

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_UicgYwyB2Bw/SPVXmINxvDI/AAAAAAAABYw/FGzJ4ONks8E/s1600-h/kivom.jpg

http://www.pemptousiaonline.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/522-468.jpg

http://www.learn.columbia.edu/treasuresofheaven/relics/Reliquary-of-St-Anastasios-the-Persian.php

(though the last ended up being used as a reliquary for the skull of St Anastasios the Persian)

I have never thought of the church shaped incense boxes as Sions... just as decorative incense boxes!

The 'aers' used with the boxes are a red herring. In earlier centuries a towel/napkin was used to keep the powder from the incense getting onto the deacons vestments. Typically for Byzantium, they evolved into fancy embroidered cloths or even shoulder capes used (on Sinai I think) when deacons cense with the boxes in their left hands.

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The only time I've seen one being used, was on Mt Athos at the Esphigmenou Monastery during solemn Matins. It took place specifically during the singing of the Polyeleos. However, it was done by an ordinary schema-monk (not a deacon), who censed everyone individually by shaking it for a few second in front of them. I thought it was pretty cool, indeed. ;)

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Here is a video of a Church shaped Zion being carried by a deacon on his shoulder while incensing at a Church on Mt. Athos:



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Cool!
thanks.

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I must admit that the Zion (or Jerusalem) carried by the Athonite monk in the video I posted seems awfully big for an incense box, but who knows.

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If they are boxes for Prosphora
maybe they are bringing bread in from the diakonikon for the Litiya?
(just speculating)

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The author of the book at the link below says that the casket held by deacons contains the Holy Gifts.

Icons and Saints of the Eastern Orthodox Church [books.google.com]

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