Rules for Deacons

The diocese would like to begin enforcing some of the rules kept in our Coptic tradition, for deacons.

Below you will find the full list of rules given by the diocese.

Deacons General Instructions and Serving in the Altar

1. Tunics:

1.1. Should only have crosses.

1.2. No pictures are allowed.

1.3. Should always be clean and ironed.

1.4. Kept it in good condition.

2. Padrashal:

2.1. Should always be clean.

2.2. Archdeacons and full deacons wear it on their left shoulder.

2.3. Readers & sub-deacons should wear the Padrashal crosswise but with different colors?

2.4. Singers do not wear the Padrashal.

3. Blessing of the Tunics:

3.1. The "Tunic" should be blessed before Matins.

3.2. In case some deacons come late, the "Tunic" may be blessed after Matins, and before the “Agpya" prayers.

3.3. A third time to bless will be after the “Agpya” prayers.

3.4. A fourth time may be at the "Absolution of the Servants” prayer.

3.5. A fifth and final time will be after the "Absolution of the Servants” prayer, but only if the deacons were present in church for the “Absolution” prayers.

3.6. Deacons should not cross themselves during the blessing.

3.7. After crossing the tunic, the deacon should say, “absolve me I have sinned”, make a prostration on weekdays, then kiss the cross and the hand of the priest. Should it also be the same on Saturdays/Sundays?

4. Candles:

4.1. Candles should not be lit while kneeling, because the light should be held up high. Candles should be put out before kneeling.

4.2. Candles are used as a sign not to sign with. Therefore, deacons shouldn’t point with the candles to the paten or the chalice while the priest is praying over the paten or chalice.

4.3. Light candles during the choosing of lamb till the priest pours water in the cup during the offering of the lamb.

4.3.1. Only deacons who carry the wine & water flasks light candles.

4.3.2. Only deacon with the wine crosses his hands.

4.4. Light candles during the reading of the gospel (2 candles on each side of the Gospel).

4.5. Light candles at the beginning of the “Sanctification Prayers”, until the deacon responds, "Worship God in fear and trembling”. Then put out the candles and bow down.

4.6. Light candles at the beginning of the "Fraction" prayer, until the end of the fraction. Candles should not be lit before the fraction because we are kneeling down immediately before.

4.7. Light candles when the priest prays, "The Holies for the holy" until the beginning of the Confession “Amen, Amen, Amen. I believe...”.

4.8. During the Confession all candles are extinguished, and all deacons should kneel down except for the deacon who prays the "Confession".

4.9. The deacon who is praying the confession:

4.9.1. Lights a candle.

4.9.2. Stands across the altar facing the priest.

4.9.3. Holds the cross in his right hand, the candle in his left hand, and a corporal (lefafa) in between

4.9.4. The corporal should be in the shape of a triangle.

4.10. After the deacon’s confession prayer, a second deacon lights a candle to guard the Holy Blood.

4.11. If the priest goes outside the altar to give communion to someone who is unable to enter the altar, a deacon who carries a candle must escort the priest.

5. Deacons Serving in the Altar:

5.1. Must be ordained in this diocese. If ordained in another Diocese (not automatic to serve), must obtain permission from the Metropolitan to serve.

5.2. In order to give everyone a chance, deacons should alternate the responses. Each deacon will know when his turn is coming, and there will be no need to coordinate who says which response.

5.3. Don't use emphatic hand gestures to get the attention of other deacons.

5.4. Don’t talk in the altar.

5.5. Do not extinguish the candles by blowing them out (especially after receiving Holy Communion).

5.6. Don’t give instructions during the divine liturgy. Conversations may be had after the liturgy.

5.7. Do not lean on the altar at anytime.

5.8. Should not participate in the congregational responses, but only say the altar responses.

5.9. Should focus on the Holy Sacrifice the entire liturgy.

5.10. The altar is the East. Those who are serving in the altar should face the altar at all times, and not look at the congregation.

5.11. Closest deacon to the censer (on the right) should bring the censer.

5.12. During the incense circuits, the deacon carries only the cross (not the Gospel), while saying (inaudibly) responses for the three litanies.

6. Deacons Praying the Confession:

6.1. Should take communion immediately after the priests.

6.2. Stand at the main entrance of the altar when the priest is ready to distribute communion to the rest of the deacons.

6.3. Stand facing the Altar while the priest is distributing the Holy Communion.

6.4. After all deacons receive communion, the deacon walks backwards in front of the priest to face the “Holy Body” at all times.

6.5. The deacon is the guardian of the Body and should always stay next to the Body.

6.6. In case the priest will administer Holy Communion to someone outside the sanctuary, the deacon remains guarding the "Holy Body" at the altar while carrying the cross, the candle, and the corporal in between.

6.7. Should not say, “Amen” in response to the priest announcing, “The Body of Emmanuel our God” to those who are receiving the Holy Communion.

7. General Instructions:

7.1. Everyone should face the altar, and not look at the congregation.

7.2. There should be no motions or talking inside or outside of the sanctuary.

7.3. Deacons should not enter the sanctuary using the royal door. The deacons should enter through the side doors to receive the Holy Communion (from the right side) except for:

7.3.1. The deacons who are serving inside the sanctuary.

7.3.2. The deacons who are carrying the flask of wine & water.

7.3.3. After the offering of the lamb.

7.3.4. After the litany of the gospel.

7.4. Chanting the distribution hymns outside should not cause those deacons to delay receiving the Holy Communion.

7.5. Outside deacons should not say responses for inside the altar responses.

7.6. No one should cross himself while receiving the Body or Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ.

7.7. It is preferable to gather all those who will receive communion outside, in the first row of the church pews. This will ensure a smooth process of administering Holy Communion with full respect.

7.8. All deacons must use the Diocesan Liturgy Book. (Arabic, English, and Coptic).

Issue Bin:

(1) Add instruction to altar deacons not to start putting away the ser-

vice covering, altar set until after the priest has released the angel.

(2) Question regarding allowing deacons to dress, if they have an open

case with the Clerical Council. Do we stop all? or only those who

initiated the process?

(3) No prostration on Saturday & Sunday after crossing the tunic?

Only weekdays?