Subdeacons in traditional societies

they exist but are quite rare. I think the other parish in town has a longterm subdeacon, and I want to say there’s one in Tucson.

I mean in terms of a single man being ordained a subdeacon and being able to marry, or a married man who loses his wife being able to marry again.

This is possible in a small number or Eastern churches, although I forget which.

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Orthodoxwiki provides this information:

Subdeacons are mentioned in canons with age restrictions (of 20 years of age) and prohibitions on marriage after ordinations (like deacons and priests) - e.g., Apostolic canon 26. A variety of methods of dealing with these canons have been employed, including:

  • Blessing acolytes or readers to vest and act as a subdeacon temporarily or permanently

  • This causes a new distinction between a ‘blessed subdeacon’ and an ‘ordained subdeacon’. It should be noted that a ‘blessed subdeacon’ may not touch the altar or assume other perogatives of ordained subdeacons outside services.

  • Reserving the formal ordination service to candidates for the diaconate

  • Simply ignoring the canons and permitting subdeacons to marry.

How do your Churches handle this?

We just ordain married men - they’re usually not hard to find :+1:

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I see. Would they be allowed to remarry in event that marriage ends?

Usually a man would only be ordained if he feels that his marriage is very stable / intends to be in it until death / already has several children, etc. All 3 subdeacons I know have been married for decades. If the marriage ends, they may not want to remarry; they may live single or become monks.

If they do want to remarry they could, but they would stop being a subdeacon (they can be released from the role -and returned to the lay state)


while that tends to be a good source, just keep in mind that on a variety of issues, orthodox jurisdictions disagree on, well, whatever . . .

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Thank you, I will. This provided canon and various answers by jurisdictions to implementing it so this felt like pretty good information even across multiple jurisdictions though. Is there something it missed out on?

I haven’t really checked it out, but there are jurisdictions that simply don’t have celibacy for subdeacons. I’m not sure whether these are all Oriental rather than Eastern, but I recall that they exist.

I think some of these ordain subdeacons very young, at 10 or so.

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