Archdeacon

Last updated

An archdeacon is a senior clergy position in the Syriac Orthodox Church, Church of the East, Chaldean Catholic Church, Anglican Communion, St Thomas Christians, Eastern Orthodox churches and some other Christian denominations, above that of most clergy and below a bishop. In the High Middle Ages it was the most senior diocesan position below a bishop in the Catholic Church. An archdeacon is often responsible for administration within an archdeaconry, which is the principal subdivision of the diocese. The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church has defined an archdeacon as "A cleric having a defined administrative authority delegated to him by the bishop in the whole or part of the diocese." [1] The office has often been described metaphorically as that of oculus episcopi, the "bishop's eye". [2]

Syriac Orthodox Church The Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch, or Syriac Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East, is an Oriental Orthodox Church tracing its origin‎ to Antioch by Saint Peter and Saint Paul in the 1st century.

The Syriac Orthodox Church, or Syriac Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East, is an autocephalous Oriental Orthodox Church. It was established by Severus of Antioch in Antioch in 518 A.D., influenced by Jacob Baradaeus, while tracing its history to Antioch through Saint Peter and Saint Paul in the 1st century, according to its tradition. The Church uses the Divine Liturgy of Saint James, associated with Saint James, the "brother" of Jesus and Patriarch among the Jewish Christians at Jerusalem. Syriac is the official and liturgical language of the Church based on Syriac Christianity. The primate of the Church is the Syriac Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch - currently Ignatius Aphrem II, since 2014 - seated in the Cathedral of Saint George, Bab Tuma, Damascus, Syria.

Church of the East an Eastern Christian Church that in 410 organised itself within the Sasanid Empire and in 424 declared its leader independent of other Christian leaders; from the Persian Empire it spread to other parts of Asia in late antiquity and the Middle Ages

The Church of the East, also called the Persian Church or Nestorian Church, was a Christian church of the East Syriac rite established c. 410. It was one of three major branches of Eastern Christianity that arose from the Christological controversies of the 5th and 6th centuries, alongside the Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox Churches. Since the Schism of 1552, there have been several different churches claiming the heritage of the Church of the East.

Chaldean Catholic Church Eastern Syriac particular church of the Catholic Church

The Chaldean Catholic Church is an Eastern Catholic particular church in full communion with the Holy See and the rest of the Catholic Church, with the Chaldean Patriarchate having been originally formed out of the Church of the East in 1552. Employing the East Syriac Rite in Syriac language in its liturgy, it is part of Syriac Christianity by heritage. Headquartered in the Cathedral of Mary Mother of Sorrows, Baghdad, Iraq, since 1950, it is headed by the Catholicos-Patriarch Louis Raphaël I Sako. It comprises 640,828 members, mostly Chaldean Christians living in northern Iraq, with smaller numbers in adjacent areas in northeastern Syria, southeastern Turkey and northwestern Iran, a region roughly corresponding to ancient Assyria. There are also many Chaldeans in diaspora in the Western world.

Contents

Catholic Church

In the Latin Catholic Church, the post of archdeacon, originally an ordained deacon (rather than a priest), was once one of great importance as a senior official of a diocese. The duties are now performed by officials such as auxiliary or coadjutor bishops, the vicar general, and the episcopal vicars. The title remains.

Catholic Church Largest Christian church, led by the Bishop of Rome

The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with approximately 1.3 billion baptised Catholics worldwide as of 2017. As the world's oldest and largest continuously functioning international institution, it has played a prominent role in the history and development of Western civilisation. The church is headed by the Bishop of Rome, known as the pope. Its central administration, the Holy See, is in the Vatican City, an enclave within the city of Rome in Italy.

A vicar general is the principal deputy of the bishop of a diocese for the exercise of administrative authority and possesses the title of local ordinary. As vicar of the bishop, the vicar general exercises the bishop's ordinary executive power over the entire diocese and, thus, is the highest official in a diocese or other particular church after the diocesan bishop or his equivalent in canon law. The title normally occurs only in Western Christian churches, such as the Latin Church of the Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion. Among the Eastern churches, the Mar Thoma Syrian Church of Kerala uses this title and remains an exception. The title for the equivalent officer in the Eastern churches is syncellus and protosyncellus.

History

The term "archdeacon" appears for the first time in Optatus of Mileve's history of Donatism of about 370, in which he applies it to someone who lived at the beginning of that century. From the office of the diaconus episcopi, a deacon whom the bishop selected to administer the church's finances under the bishop's personal direction, the office of archdeacon gradually developed, as certain functions were reserved to him by law. These functions included not only financial administration but also the discipline of the clergy, and examination of candidates for priesthood. From the 8th century, there was in the West a further development of the authority of the archdeacon, who now enjoyed a jurisdiction independent of the bishop.

Donatism was a heresy leading to schism in the Church of Carthage from the fourth to the sixth centuries AD. Donatists argued that Christian clergy must be faultless for their ministry to be effective and their prayers and sacraments to be valid. Donatism had its roots in the long-established Christian community of the Roman Africa province in the persecutions of Christians under Diocletian. Named after the Berber Christian bishop Donatus Magnus, Donatism flourished during the fourth and fifth centuries.

Large dioceses had several archdeaconries, in each of which the archdeacon (usually by now a priest), had an authority comparable to that of the bishop. He was often appointed not by the bishop but by the cathedral chapter or the king. However, from the 13th century, efforts were made to limit their authority. This was effected in part by the institution of the new office of vicar general. In 1553, the Council of Trent removed entirely the independent powers of archdeacons. Those who had been in charge of different parts of the diocese gradually ceased to be appointed. Only the archdeacon associated with the cathedral chapter continued to exist as an empty title, with duties almost entirely limited to liturgical functions. [3] [4]

According to both Anglican and Catholic canon law, a cathedral chapter is a college of clerics (chapter) formed to advise a bishop and, in the case of a vacancy of the episcopal see in some countries, to govern the diocese during the vacancy. These chapters are made up of canons and other officers, while in the Church of England chapters now includes a number of lay appointees; in the Roman Catholic Church their creation is the purview of the pope. They can be "numbered", in which case they are provided with a fixed "prebend", or "unnumbered", in which case the bishop indicates the number of canons according to the rents. In some Church of England cathedrals there are two such bodies, the lesser and greater chapters, which have different functions. The smaller body usually consists of the residentiary members and is included in the larger one.

Council of Trent Synod

The Council of Trent, held between 1545 and 1563 in Trent, was the 19th ecumenical council of the Catholic Church. Prompted by the Protestant Reformation, it has been described as the embodiment of the Counter-Reformation.

The title of archdeacon is still conferred on a canon of various cathedral chapters, [5] and the word "archdeacon" has been defined in relation to the Latin Catholic Church as "a title of honour conferred only on a member of a cathedral chapter". [6]

Canon (priest) Ecclesiastical position

A canon is a member of certain bodies subject to an ecclesiastical rule.

However, Eastern Catholic Churches still utilize archdeacons.

Anglican Communion

Archdeacons serve the church within a diocese by taking particular responsibility for buildings, including church buildings, the welfare of clergy and their families and the implementation of diocesan policy for the sake of the Gospel within an archdeaconry. [7] An archdeaconry is a territorial division of a diocese; these vary in number according to the size of the diocese and in a few cases an assistant bishop in a diocese will also fulfil the duties of an archdeacon in part of it, as in the Archdeaconry of Bodmin 1953–62 (the Archdeaconry of Bodmin is one of two archdeaconries in the Diocese of Truro). Recently, this type of dual role has only existed in the Bishop suffragan(-Archdeacon) of Ludlow.

An archdeacon is usually styled The Venerable instead of the usual clerical style of The Reverend . In the Church of England the position of an archdeacon can only be held by a priest who has been ordained for at least six years. (This rule was introduced in 1840; the requirement that an archdeacon be in priest's orders was enacted in 1662.) [1] In the Church of England, the legal act by which a priest becomes an archdeacon is called a collation . If that archdeaconry is annexed to a canonry of the cathedral, the archdeacon will also be installed (placed in a stall) at that cathedral.

In some other Anglican churches archdeacons can be deacons instead of priests; such archdeacons often work with the bishop to help with deacons' assignments to congregations and assist the bishop at ordinations and other diocesan liturgies. The Anglican ordinal presupposes that the functions of archdeacons include those of examining candidates for ordination and then presenting them to the ordaining bishop. [1] In some parts of the Anglican Communion where women cannot be consecrated as bishops, the position of archdeacon is effectively the most senior office a female cleric can hold: this being the current situation, for example, in the Anglican Diocese of Sydney. [8]

Very rarely, "lay archdeacons" have been appointed, most notably in the case of the former Anglican Communion Observer to the United Nations, Archdeacon Taimalelagi Fagamalama Tuatagoloa-Leota, who retained her title after having served as Archdeacon of Samoa.[ citation needed ]

Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Catholic churches

Archdeacon. Painting by Ilya Repin (1877) Archdeacon by Repin.jpg
Archdeacon. Painting by Ilya Repin (1877)

In the Eastern Christian churches (Eastern Orthodox Church and Eastern Catholic Churches), an archdeacon is the senior deacon within a diocese and has responsibility for serving at hierarchical services (those at which the bishop is present and presiding). He has responsibility for ensuring the smooth running of the service by directing the clergy and servers as appropriate. As such, he usually travels with the ruling bishop to various parts of the diocese, and will sometimes act as his secretary and cell attendant, ensuring that he is able to balance his monastic life with his hierarchical duties. The archdeacon wears the double orarion, which is twice the length of the usual orarion, and wraps under the right arm as well as hanging from the left shoulder. An archdeacon may come from either the monastic or married clergy.

A protodeacon also wears the double orarion, although he is distinguished from the archdeacon in that he is the senior deacon at a cathedral or other principal church within a diocese and serves as the principal deacon when a number of deacons serve together.

Saint Thomas Christians

According to the canons of the Eastern churches, an archdeacon is of the highest priestly rank: he is the head of all the clerics belonging to a bishopric; he is responsible for the whole worship of the cathedral church and represents the will of the bishop in his absence. However, from the local point of view, the rank of an archdeacon was more important than this; not only was he the most important priest of the community, but he also fulfilled the role of an ethnarch. An archdeacon was the "prince and head of the Christians of Saint Thomas" and had such titles as "Archdeacon and Gate of All India, Governor of India". The origin and the meaning of the term "gate" is mysterious. While the Catholicos Patriarch of Seleucia-Ctesiphon reserved for himself the right to send his own prelates originating from Iraq to the Indian diocese, the continuous governance of his Indian flock was secured by the indigenous Archdeacon serving as the head of all the priests in Malabar and representing the bishop's will.

According to the traditional structure, the Indian Church of the East was governed by a metropolitan sent by the Catholicos Patriarch. At the same time, at the local level, in India, church affairs were governed by the Malabar Assembly or Malankara Yogam. There was also an indigenous head of the Church of Malabar, the "head of the caste", that is the head of the St Thomas Christians called Jathikku Karthavyan or Malankara Mooppen. Patriarch Timothy (780–826) of Persia called him the head of the faithful in India.

While originally an archdeacon in the Church of the East was elected by the bishop according to merit, the office of the Archdeacon of India seems to have been dynastic. It was the privilege of the Pakalomattam family, at least from the sixteenth century onwards. Indeed, we know about a number of Pakalomattam archdeacons, beginning with 1502, when Metropolitan John of India appointed George Pakalomattam. The name of the family varies, and the family seems to be identical with the Parambil family, translated into Portuguese as 'de Campo'.

An archdeacon had all the attributes of a secular leader and was normally escorted by a number, sometimes several thousands, of soldiers. It is important to note that while there could be several bishops appointed for the Malabar Church, there was always only one archdeacon, a custom contrary to the canons of the Church of the East. This situation is best explained by the fact that from the point of view of the East Syriac Church structure the archdeacon had an ecclesiastical function, but from that of the St Thomas Christian community he had also a socio-political, princely function, representing the unity of the Christian nation, or caste(s), of Hindoo (India). Portuguese colonists stopped this practice among the Syro-Malabar Catholic and Pulikkottil Mar Dionysious stopped this amongst the Malankara Syrian Church later in 1816.

Coptic Christians

In the Coptic Orthodox and Coptic Catholic churches, an archdeacon is the highest rank in the order of deacons. [9] The lower ranks of the diaconate are deacon, subdeacon, lector and cantor, the holders of which ranks the Coptic people generically refer to as "deacons". However, the rank of archdeacon is lower than the rank of a priest. [10] Thus it is possible for a deaconess to be appointed to the rank of an archdeaconess within the Coptic Orthodox tradition.

See also

Related Research Articles

A bishop is an ordained, consecrated, or appointed member of the Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight.

Holy orders sacraments of the Catholic Church

In the Christian churches, holy orders are ordained ministries such as bishop, priest, or deacon, and the sacrament or rite by which candidates are ordained to those orders. Churches recognizing these orders include the Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Anglican, Assyrian, Old Catholic, Independent Catholic and some Lutheran churches. Except for Lutherans and some Anglicans, these churches regard ordination as a sacrament. The Anglo-Catholic tradition within Anglicanism identifies more with the Roman Catholic position about the sacramental nature of ordination.

Clergy formal leaders within established religions

Clergy are formal leaders within established religions. Their roles and functions vary in different religious traditions, but usually involve presiding over specific rituals and teaching their religion's doctrines and practices. Some of the terms used for individual clergy are clergyman, clergywoman, and churchman. Less common terms are churchwoman and clergyperson, while cleric and clerk in holy orders both have a long history but are rarely used.

Deacon ministry in the Christian Church

A deacon is a member of the diaconate, an office in Christian churches that is generally associated with service of some kind, but which varies among theological and denominational traditions. Major Christian churches, such as the Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Anglican church, view the diaconate as part of the clerical state.

Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church Orthodox Church in Kerala, India

The Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church, also known as the Indian Orthodox Church, is an autocephalous church centered in the Indian state of Kerala. It is one of the churches of India's Saint Thomas Christian community, which has its origin in the evangelical activity of Thomas the Apostle in the 1st century. The church is headed by the autocephalous Catholicos of the East and the Malankara Metropolitan, presently Baselios Mar Thoma Paulose II.

Vestment clothing prescribed for Christian clergy performing specific roles

Vestments are liturgical garments and articles associated primarily with the Christian religion, especially among the Eastern Orthodox, Catholics, Anglicans, and Lutherans. Many other groups also make use of liturgical garments; this was a point of controversy in the Protestant Reformation and sometimes since, in particular during the Ritualist controversies in England in the 19th century.

Stole (vestment) long narrow cloth band worn around the neck and falling from the shoulders as part of ecclesiastical dress

The stole is a liturgical vestment of various Christian denominations. It consists of a band of colored cloth, formerly usually of silk, about seven and a half to nine feet long and three to four inches wide, whose ends may be straight or may broaden out. The center of the stole is worn around the back of the neck and the two ends hang down parallel to each other in front, either attached to each other or hanging loose. The stole is almost always decorated in some way, usually with a cross or some other significant religious design. It is often decorated with contrasting galloons and fringe is usually applied to the ends of the stole following Numbers 15:38-39. A piece of white linen or lace may be stitched onto the back of the collar as a sweat guard, which can be replaced more cheaply than the stole itself.

Syro-Malankara Catholic Church

The Syro-Malankara Catholic Church also known as the Malankara Syrian Catholic Church is an Eastern Catholic sui iuris particular church in full communion with the Pope and the worldwide Catholic Church, with self-governance under the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches. It is part of the Major Archiepiscopal Churches of the Catholic Church that are not distinguished with a patriarchal title. It is headed by Major Archbishop Cardinal Cleemis Maphrian of the Major Archdiocese of Trivandrum based in Kerala, India. The Church follows the West Syriac Rite liturgy of Saint James, which is also used in the Maronite Church, the Syriac Catholic Church, the Syriac Orthodox Church, and the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church. The Church traces its origins to the evangelistic activity of Thomas the Apostle in the 1st century. It is one of the two Eastern Catholic Churches from India, the other one being the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church which uses the East Syriac Rite liturgy.

Minister (Christianity) religious occupation in Christianity

In Christianity, a minister is a person authorized by a church, or other religious organization, to perform functions such as teaching of beliefs; leading services such as weddings, baptisms or funerals; or otherwise providing spiritual guidance to the community. The term is taken from Latin minister, which itself was derived from minus ("less").

Mar Thoma Syrian Church Church based in the Indian state of Kerala.

The Mar Thoma Church, often shortened from Malankara Mar Thoma Syrian Church, is a Reformed Oriental Orthodox Church church, based in Kerala, India. It uses a variant of the West Syriac Rite Divine Liturgy of Saint James. The Mar Thoma Church believes that they are the successors of the Saint Thomas Christian community of Malabar (Malankara), which originated from the missionary activity of Thomas the Apostle in Malankara. The church in Malankara flourished under various ecclesiastical faith streams from time to time.

A dean, in a church context, is a cleric holding certain positions of authority within a religious hierarchy. The title is used mainly in the Anglican Communion, the Roman Catholic Church, and many Lutheran denominations. A dean's assistant is called a subdean.

Coonan Cross Oath

The Coonan Cross Oath, taken on 3 January 1653, was a public avowal by members of the Syrian Christians community of Kerala, India that they would not submit to Latin Catholic dominance in ecclesiastical and secular life. The swearing of the oath at Mattancherry was a major event in the history of the Saint Thomas Christian community and marked a major turning point in its relations with the Latin Catholics. The oath resulted in the breaking up of 54 years of Latin Catholic Padroado (Patronage) Jurisdiction over the Syrian Christians, started with the synod of Diamper in the year 1599 A.D. convoked by the Latin Catholic Archbishop Dom Alexio De Menezes.

A deanery is an ecclesiastical entity in the Roman Catholic Church, the Anglican Communion, the Evangelical Church in Germany, and the Church of Norway. A deanery is either the jurisdiction or residence of a dean.

Chorbishop position

A chorbishop is a rank of Christian clergy below bishop. The name chorepiscope or chorepiscopus is taken from the Greek Χωρεπίσκοπος and means "rural bishop". In fact, a chorbishop is an honorary prelate, or archpriest, in several of the Eastern Christian Churches, and it should not be confused with the sacramental Order of Bishop.

Anglican ministry

The Anglican ministry is both the leadership and agency of Christian service in the Anglican Communion. "Ministry" commonly refers to the office of ordained clergy: the threefold order of bishops, priests and deacons. More accurately, Anglican ministry includes many laypeople who devote themselves to the ministry of the church, either individually or in lower/assisting offices such as lector, acolyte, sub-deacon, Eucharistic minister, cantor, musicians, parish secretary or assistant, warden, vestry member, etc. Ultimately, all baptized members of the church are considered to partake in the ministry of the Body of Christ. "...[I]t might be useful if Anglicans dropped the word minister when referring to the clergy...In our tradition, ordained persons are either bishops, priests, or deacons, and should be referred to as such."

Jacobite Syrian Christian Church Oriental Orthodox Church based in Kerala

The Jacobite Syrian Christian Church also known as the Malankara Jacobite Syrian Christian Church, the Malankara Jacobite Syrian Orthodox Church, or the Syriac Orthodox Church of India, is an autonomous Oriental Orthodox Church based in the Indian state of Kerala, and is an integral branch of the Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch. It recognizes the Syriac Orthodox Patriarch Of Antioch and all the East, Ignatius Aphrem II seated in the Cathedral of Saint George, Bab Tuma, Damascus, Syria, as its Supreme Head. It functions as a largely autonomous unit within the church, under the authority of the Catholicos of India, Baselios Thomas I. Currently, this is the only church in Malankara which has a direct relationship with the Syriac Christians of Antioch, which has continued from after the schism and they continue to use the West Syriac Rite Liturgy of Saint James.

Malankara Church church

The Malankara Church was an Oriental Orthodox church of the Saint Thomas Christians of modern-day Kerala, India, with particular emphasis on the part of the community that joined Archdeacon Mar Thoma I in swearing to resist the authority of the Latin Catholic Portuguese Padroado in 1653. This faction soon entered into a relationship with the Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch.

Order of precedence in the Catholic Church

Precedence signifies the right to enjoy a prerogative of honor before other persons; for example, to have the most distinguished place in a procession, a ceremony, or an assembly, to have the right to express an opinion, cast a vote, or append a signature before others, to perform the most honorable offices.

Palliveettil Mar Chandy bishop

Palliveettil Chandy is the first known person to be appointed in India as a Metropolitan from among the native Saint Thomas Christians of Kerala by the Roman Catholic Church. He was appointed as a rebel bishop against the Mar Thoma I, who was the then head of Malankara Nasranis..

Saint Thomas Christian denominations

The Saint Thomas Christian denominations are traditional Christian denominations from Kerala, India, who trace their origins to the evangelistic activity of Thomas the Apostle in the 1st century. They are also known as "Nasranis" as well. The Syriac term "Nasrani" is still used by St. Thomas Christians in Kerala.

References

  1. 1 2 3 Cross, FL, ed. (1957), The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, London: Oxford University Press, p. 79.
  2. "VI. Church", Medieval History, I, Third millennium library, archived from the original on February 10, 2011
  3. Johann Peter Kirsch, "Archdeacon" in Catholic Encyclopedia (New York 1907)
  4. "Archdeacon" in Encyclopædia Britannica 1911
  5. Diocese of Limerick: Chapter of Limerick
  6. Dictionary.com, based on Random House Dictionary
  7. "The chapter". Gloucester cathedral. Retrieved 2012-03-30.
  8. "Archdeacon Narelle Jarrett" (profile). Anglican Diocese of Sydney. Retrieved 8 June 2012.
  9. "The Ranks of the Deaconate". St. Mary & St. Shenouda's Coptic Orthodox Church, South London. Retrieved 25 February 2017.
  10. "THE SACRAMENT OF PRIESTHOOD". St. Mark Coptic Church, Jersey City, NJ. Retrieved 25 February 2017.