What is the difference between a priest and a deacon ?

Discussion in 'Sacraments and Holy Orders' started by Andy Cothran, Aug 2, 2012.

  1. Andy Cothran

    Andy Cothran Active Member

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    Its my understanding that they serve the same functions but if so why are two classes ?
     
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  2. Scottish Knight

    Scottish Knight Well-Known Member

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    I don't know how it works in the anglican church, but I was told the difference is the elders serve by leading and the deacons lead by serving
     
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  3. Toma

    Toma Well-Known Member Anglican

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    In the early Church and in the Anglican, Roman Catholic, and Orthodox churches, the three major orders are Bishop, Priest, and Deacon. To understand the priest and deacon, one must understand the bishop. To understand the bishop, one must understand parishes and dioceses.

    A parish is an individual 'neighbourhood' of believers, a specific area bounded in borders drawn-up by the Church. Each parish is overseen by a priest, and usually has at least one parish church where the faithful gather to worship God. A diocese is a collection of parishes, each priest of each parish under the authority of one Bishop.

    Bishops are the spiritual successors of the Apostles. Each bishop has the humbling power to consecrate the Eucharist, to preach the Word of God, to baptise, to ordain people to the presbyterate, to consecrate new bishops, to give the Holy Spirit of God to individuals via Confirmation, and to remit sins by leading sinners back into the Church. Each bishop has jurisdiction (authority) over a diocese. Since each bishop derives his very character from one of the Apostles, the Church of England maintains that each new bishop should be made a bishop by at least three other validly-consecrated bishops. This ensures a continuing spiritual lineage back to our Lord & Saviour.

    "Episcopacy" is the status of being a bishop, and "The Episcopate" refers to the college of all bishops. It comes from the greek word episkopos, meaning over-seer.

    Priests/presbyters/ministers were originally identical with bishops in the early church, so far as we can tell. As house churches grew in the larger cities, one bishop could not oversee all believers. Bishops began praying over and ordaining assistants, whose duty was to look over the day-to-day administration and regular services. These are priests, whose duty is to lead the sacrifice of praise which is the Eucharist, to preach the Word of God, and to baptise, as well as to marry couples. Think of them almost like mini-bishops. :D

    Presbyteros is the Greek word for an Elder. This became Presbyter then Prester in Latin, and Preost in Old English. We call them Ministers because of the Latin word ministrare - to serve.

    Deacons were originally a separate order (as Stephen the first deacon shows us). The deacon dealt explicitly with the poor, gathering alms from his parish and distributing them to the poor. Deacons clearly had a duty to live the Christian life fully without excuse, and to baptise people (as Philip did the Ethiopian eunuch). They had nothing to do with the Eucharist in the early church, except that they aided in collecting alms and placing them on or near the altar. They aided those who were being baptised when it was an official ceremony - deaconesses aided females in the delicate personal process of preparing for baptism.

    Diakonos is the Greek word for a Servant, or One Who Serves. It became Diaconus, then Diacon and Deacon.

    Only deacons have changed a little in the long history of the Church: today in Anglicanism they assist with the Eucharist, preparing various things on the Holy Table/Altar. They also traditionally read the Gospel when time came in the Liturgy. :)
     
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  4. Andy Cothran

    Andy Cothran Active Member

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    Adam i have a question ..Are deacons sometimes vicars ? i had read that sometimes pastors in an Anglican church are deacons ?
     
  5. Symphorian

    Symphorian Well-Known Member

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    Andy

    In the Church of England, as a general rule, clergy are first ordained as Deacons and then about one year later they are ordained as Priests. Deacons and newly ordained Priests will spend about three years in a parish under a Vicar/Rector as an 'assistant curate', developing their skills, firstly in preparation for ordination to the Priesthood and then in preparation for being given charge of their own parish. Deacons may wear a dog collar and are titled as Reverend. They may wear a variety of liturgical vestments, their 'badge of office' perhaps being the Stole which is worn over the left shoulder.

    Deacons in the CofE can routinely Baptize and they are permitted to solemnize matrimony. They cannot preside at Holy Communion, pronounce the absolution or blessing. They do have a specific role in the Holy Communion liturgy however.

    In the CofE we have a non ordained ministry known as a Lay Reader or simply Reader. This is a throw over from the time when there were minor holy orders. CofE Readers train on a part time basis for 2 to 3 years and can carry out many of the tasks of an ordained Deacon. Readers cannot routinely Baptize, (although anyone may in an emergency), solemnize matrimony, preside at Holy Communion or pronounce the absolution or blessing. Readers like Deacons may officiate at funerals, read the Gospel at Holy Communion, distribute Holy Communion, preside and preach at Morning/Evening Prayer or similar services and carry out pastoral work in the parish. Readers are licensed by the Bishop but not ordained.
     
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  6. Adam Warlock

    Adam Warlock Well-Known Member

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    Good point about deacons and the blessing. I knew I was forgetting something earlier. :D
     
  7. Gordon

    Gordon Well-Known Member

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    :) the way they wear their stoll..... :)

    and they cannot consecrate the Eucharist...
     
  8. Andy Cothran

    Andy Cothran Active Member

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    There what ? Is that a priestly garment ?
     
  9. Andy Cothran

    Andy Cothran Active Member

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    thank you .
     
  10. Gordon

    Gordon Well-Known Member

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    Sorry Andy my spelling was incorrect I meant stole...

    Yes the stole is a vestment worn by the clergy, the Deacon wears it across the left shoulder and the priest wears it around the neck.

    This link shows you what I mean - just scroll down to the Anglican Deacon Priest pictures.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stole_(vestment)
     
  11. Andy Cothran

    Andy Cothran Active Member

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    no thats quite alright lol you might notice i have quite a few misspellings ..on here i am using a new computer and for some reason its wacky with the keys ...
    ill check back in a moment but i dont see the link ..
     
  12. Andy Cothran

    Andy Cothran Active Member

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  13. Joan Lucia-Treese

    Joan Lucia-Treese Member

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    In TEC, deacons serve as the eyes and ears of the diocese and brings the concerns on the people to their bishop.Bishops assign deacons to parishes and while the deacon works with the rector, they are directly responsible to the bishop of the diocese. Transitional deacons are for a 6 month period of time prior to ordination to the priesthood. There are also permanent deacons. Deacons are called to service and it is a servant ministry. Yes, they read the Gospel, can preach, set the Eucharistic table and other roles in the liturgy. Primarly they are called to be servants of the Gospel to all the people. There are many excellent books about the deacon's ministry. Here's one of them: http://www.amazon.com/Many-Servants..._B000AQ8QSM_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1344372848&sr=1-1
     
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  14. Andy Cothran

    Andy Cothran Active Member

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    Thank you Joan Tis appreciated
     

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