Why do priests have to be deacons first?

Discussion in 'Sacraments and Holy Orders' started by Facet, Jan 16, 2019.

  1. Facet

    Facet New Member

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    Question I've had for a while but can't seem to find the answer. I get the difference between a deacon and s priest (I think!) But I'm not sure why priests have tonget get ordained as a deacon before being ordsiord as a priest?
    Anyone shed some light?
    Yhsnks
     
  2. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    That is a good question. Each of the orders of Sacred Ministry has its own integrity and purpose. Some people are indeed called to be Deacons, and the diaconate has served the Church well through the ages, and there are many Deacons whose lives we celebrate as saints and heroes of the faith. A Deacon is not an Apprentice Priest. The iconic mark of the diaconate is service (not slavery).

    Everyone who is called to be a priest, needs to have that mark of service in their ministry as well. The wisdom of the Church from the Post Apostolic period at least has been to recognise that the priests will come from among the Deacons. When people talk about the permanent Diaconate it concerns me, because each person in priests orders is also concurrently a Deacon.

    The Christ born ministry remembers the towel and the basin, not simply for the ministry of Maundy Thursday, but in every action of our lives and we are all called to remember that this is a mark of the Churches ministry, for all of us for all the time.

    The inverse order of the Kingdom of God reminds us the Diaconate is more important than the Priesthood, and the Episcopate. Indeed some of the significance of both the priesthood and the Episcopate is how well the diaconate is exercised.
     
  3. Peteprint

    Peteprint Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Very interesting question. I will do some research for my own information, but honestly, I can't think of a good reason, theologically, why someone couldn't be ordained to the priesthood without first being a deacon. I know that historically there have been cases of someone being ordained deacon, then priest, then bishop, simply because he was wanted as a bishop, and the other ordinations involved just going through the motions/process. I don't think that in the Scriptures we see any example of a presbyter first having to be a deacon. The deacon to priest to bishop seems like a later innovation, however that doesn't mean it is wrong. As the Articles inform us, the Church has the right to make such changes.

    I am not sure why the permanent diaconate would concern you, Botolph. That was always the norm in the past, and in the Orthodox Church in particular, there are liturgical duties that can only be properly performed by a deacon. The deacons and the Scriptures were not being groomed for the presbyterate as far as I can tell.

    Shortly before I left Orthodoxy, my priest strongly impied that he was interested in me pursuing the subdiaconate (the Orthodox still have subdeacons). I was not interested, since if I had been ordained before getting married, I would not have been allowed to marry later.
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2019
  4. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    You misread me. My problem with the term is that it suggests that there is any other kind of diaconate.

    The most notable example of someone cascading ordinations is Ambrose of Milan, who was not even in orders, but the mind of the Synod was that they needed unity, and although in Milan the Arians had the upper hand, they saw in Ambrose a Nicene Christian who could bring peace without persecuting the Arian group. I think the ordinations happened on sequential days.

    It certainly suggests that in the Fourth Century the Church felt that to be ordained a Priest you needed first to be a Bishop.

    We need Bishops to be both Priests and Deacons, lest they simply become CEO's.
     
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  5. Peteprint

    Peteprint Well-Known Member Anglican

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    I apologize for the misunderstanding, Botolph.
     
  6. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    The primary reason is that the three holy orders are not three different realities, but one single reality, one single 'holy order' as it were, where the person is set aside for the purpose of ministration in the Church. The holy orders have been designed by God, ever since the Old Testament, to set aside people who minister God's mysteries (sacraments), who preach, who baptize, who circumcise, who chastise, who confess and absolve, who discipline, who create successive ministers in the Church, etc. All these various functions have one unifying entity, that of being functions of the Church, and when a person gets ordained, he gets ordained into the role of performing some of these functions of the Church.

    Secondarily, the way the Church has been revealed to, a correct ordination of ministers is based in successive accumulation. The levites, the priests, and the high priests were not three different types of ministry in the Church, but rather successively additions -- the priests have everything the levites had, and the high priests have everything the priests had. Similarly after the coming of the Messiah, the Church has been remade but remained the same; you needed people that served some functions, others who served those plus others, and yet others who served the latter two. The functions were directly related to the OT holy orders, yet with the new reality of the Coming now in the picture, and came to be called deacons, priests, and bishops.
     
  7. Facet

    Facet New Member

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    Interesting thoughts. Thanks
     

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