What is a permanent deacon in the catholic church?


#1

i'm doing a slide show on core beliefs, and my topic is the permanent diaconate in the church.
can anyone tell me:
the roll of a deacon:
when and where did the permanent diaconate begin?
the very first permanent deacon?

thanks for your help!
blessings

godlovesscots :)


#2

role: service
when: in the very early years of the Church (likely before 35 AD but dates are somewhat speculative)
where: Jerusalem
first permanent deacon: there were 7, actually. They were: Stephen, Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicholas of Antioch.

Source:[BIBLEDRB]Acts 6:1-5[/BIBLEDRB]


#3

thanks john, just what i need

william aka godlovesscots


#4

You should probably also mention something about how the permanent diaconate fell into disuse in the Latin Rite and was reinstated following the second Vatican council (the Eastern Rites never lost their permanent diaconate).


#5

[quote="SonCatcher, post:2, topic:305799"]
role: service
when: in the very early years of the Church (likely before 35 AD but dates are somewhat speculative)
where: Jerusalem
first permanent deacon: there were 7, actually. They were: Stephen, Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicholas of Antioch.

Source:[BIBLEDRB]Acts 6:1-5[/BIBLEDRB]

[/quote]

Well, they were deacons. There really is no such thing as a "permanent" deacon. A deacon is a deacon. There are 3 orders of ordained clergy in the Church, the Episcopate (Bishop), the Presbyteriate (Priest), and the Diaconate (Deacon).

Deacons were originally comissioned to perform the services of the Church, acts of charity. In Acts, they were running the "soup kitchen" of the Jerusalem Church (they were tending to widows who back then were poor because they can't work and earn money by themselves, especially if they don't have children to support them). As the centuries rolled by, their function became more Liturgical. Initially they were attached to the Bishop, assisting the Bishop during Liturgy (vesting the bishop, bringing the gifts of bread and wine to the altar table, assisting with baptism which is why we had deaconesses early in the Church, etc.).

The word "permanent" is inserted today to connote that there would be men who are ordained to be deacons, and not merely those who are ordained to be a deacon because they are in formation to become a priest. The intention is that they remain deacons their entire lives, although there is really nothing preventing a bishop from elevating them to become priests.


#6

Well, ConstantineTG, is was apparently very, very soon after the first seven Deacons were ordained by the laying on of hands by the Apostles that they engaged in active Ministry aside from assisting at the "soup kitchen!" As we know, both Stephen and Philip soon thereafter engaged in preaching and teaching. Acts 6:8 - 7:53 and Acts 8:4-8 and 26-40. ;-)


#7

[quote="Deacon_Tom_Lang, post:6, topic:305799"]
Well, ConstantineTG, is was apparently very, very soon after the first seven Deacons were ordained by the laying on of hands by the Apostles that they engaged in active Ministry aside from assisting at the "soup kitchen!" As we know, both Stephen and Philip soon thereafter engaged in preaching and teaching. Acts 6:8 - 7:53 and Acts 8:4-8 and 26-40. ;-)

[/quote]

Well, they were disciples already then and even at the time of Jesus he has sent out disciples to preach (the 70).


#8

Of course, but they now did so with the graces received by being selected by the Apostles for this special role and by the laying on of hands. I taught Religious Education prior to ordination. I now continue to do so through RCIA, sacramental prep classes, preaching, etc., but with the grace of ordination. It truly is much different. They too were changed at the very core of their being for all eternity with that indelible mark of what we now call the Sacrament of Holy Orders.


#9

[quote="Deacon_Tom_Lang, post:6, topic:305799"]
Well, ConstantineTG, is was apparently very, very soon after the first seven Deacons were ordained by the laying on of hands by the Apostles that they engaged in active Ministry aside from assisting at the "soup kitchen!" As we know, both Stephen and Philip soon thereafter engaged in preaching and teaching. Acts 6:8 - 7:53 and Acts 8:4-8 and 26-40. ;-)

[/quote]

Welcome to CAF Dcn. Tom!!! Great to see you here.

And you’re correct; deacons in the early Church were not merely "soup kitchen" hands. That is a generalized statement, very general. Many places in Acts you see the deacons being sent to preach the word, and baptize; then the bishops come in and confer confirmation to the converts.

As far as the deaconesses TG mentions, there are no records of them having hands layed on them, most scholars from what I have been taught agreed these women were not ordained, ministers in the laity not clergy.

Deacons are clergy, lowest rank in the hierarchy. We serve in person of Christ the servant. Diakonia means service.


closed #10

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