ORDINATION OF DEACON AND ARCHDEACON
The ordination of a deacon or archdeacon usually takes place after the Prayer of Reconciliation. The candidate is presented to the bishop (or metropolitan or patriarch) who is celebrating the Divine Liturgy and kneels before the steps of the sanctuary.
When the bishop has ascertained from the clergy that the candidate is worthy of the diaconate, he offers incense and says the Prayer of Thanksgiving and the Prayer of Incense. He then turns toward the east and says this prayer:
Lord, God of hosts, who hast brought us unto the lot of this ministry, Who searchest the hearts and veins, do hearken unto us according to the multitude of Thy tender mercies, and purify us from all the stains of body and of spirit. . . . Fill us with Thy Divine Power, the Grace of Thy only-begotten Son and the Gift of Thy Holy Spirit . . . , and accept the diaconate of Thy servant who is kneeling here in expectation of Thy heavenly gifts.
The deacons respond with the KYRIE ELEISON thrice and the archdeacon says:
May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, which fills up our shortcomings, by the goodwill of God the Father and the Holy Spirit, descend upon [name], who approaches the holy altar in fear and trembling, lifting up the eyes of his heart unto Thee who dwellest in heaven, awaiting Thy heavenly gifts, in order that he may pass from the rank of subdiaconate to the order of the diaconate in the holy church of [name]. Pray that the gift of the Holy Spirit may come upon him.
The deacons respond with the Kyrie eleison. The bishop turns to the west, lays his right hand upon the candidate’s head, and says the following prayer:
Master, Lord God Almighty, who art truthful in Thy promises and generous to those who call upon Thee, hear us as we entreat Thee, show Thy countenance upon Thy servant [name], who hath been recommended for the diaconate through the judgment of those who have presented him. Fill him with the Holy Spirit, with wisdom and power as Thou filled Stephen, the first deacon and martyr. . . . Establish him as a servant for Thy holy altar so that by pleasing Thee in the service entrusted to him, without blame or sin, he may attain to a higher grade. It is not through the imposition of our hands that grace can be obtained, but through the visitation of Thy rich compassion to those who deserve it.
Facing the east, the bishop says:
Yes, Lord, make him worthy of the call of the diaconate, that through Thy loving-kindness to man, he may become worthy of Thy holy name, to worship Thee, to serve Thy altar and find mercy before Thee, for mercy and tenderness are from Thee. . . . Look upon us, Lord, and upon our service, purify us of all uncleanness, and send down from heaven Thy grace upon Thy servant [name] that he may complete his diaconate without reproof.
The bishop turns to the west and crosses the candidate’s forehead with his thumb, saying, “We consecrate thee, [name], deacon in the Holy Church of God.” The archdeacon announces, “[name] is consecrated deacon in the Holy Catholic Apostolic Church of God.” Here again the bishop makes the sign of the cross on his forehead, saying, “We ordain thee, [name], a deacon for the holy altar of the Orthodox Church of [name] in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.” He makes three signs of the cross over the candidate’s forehead in the name of the Holy Trinity, and turning to the east, he says:
We give thanks to Thee, Master, Lord God Almighty, for everything and in every condition. We praise and glorify Thy Holy Name. . . . Take pleasure in the imposition of hands which hath taken place upon Thy servant [name] through the descent upon him of Thy Holy Spirit.
The bishop then turns to the candidate and places the orarion on his left shoulder and passes it underneath his right arm, saying, “Glory and honor to the Consubstantial Trinity, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Peace and edification unto the Church of God, the One Only, Universal, Apostolic, Holy Church, Amen.”
The bishop then delivers this instruction to the new deacon:
My son, thou hast been entrusted with a great service of ministration, which thou shouldst accomplish to the full, as thou art counted among the children of Stephen, the first deacon. It is thy duty to visit the people of the Lord, the widows and orphans, and all those who are in affliction, to help them as much as thou canst. Be a good example to them so that they see thy good deeds and glorify God. Be an assistant to thy bishop and thy priest, and take them to visit those who are afflicted. Honor the presbyters, who are senior to you in rank, and treat each of them as a father, that you may be worthy of the blessing of Christ who said, “If any man serve me, him will my Father honor,” and also according to the apostle Paul, “For they that have used the office of a deacon well, purchase to themselves a good degree, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.” Be appreciative of the honor accorded to thee, as you hold [the chalice of] the Real Blood, which gives salvation to the world. Glory be to Christ Jesus, our God. Amen.
Here the new deacon kneels before the sanctuary, kisses the cross in the bishop’s hand, and kisses the altar. After communion, the bishop insufflates on his face, saying, “Receive ye the Holy Spirit,” and lays his hand upon him saying axios [worthy] three times.
When a deacon of proven aptitude has been recommended for the order of archdeacon, the bishop says this prayer:
Master, Lord God, great in mercy and righteousness, who, through Thy only-begotten Son Jesus Christ, hast established the heavenly Jerusalem and given all the orders and canons of the Church, do Thou now, our King who lovest mankind, accept our supplications, and send the grace of Thy Holy Spirit upon Thy servant [name], who hath been called to the archdeaconate by the recommendation of those who have given account of him. Make him worthy to be archdeacon in Thy Holy Church, in the likeness of one of the seven ministrants set up by the pure apostles, namely Stephen, the first deacon and first martyr. Fill him with power and understanding like Stephen, the first archdeacon, in Thy Holy Church [to assist the priest] at the service of the bloodless sacrifices and hold the chalice of the Precious Blood of the Lamb without blemish, which is Thine only-begotten Son, that he may minister unto the orphans, help the widows, attend to worshipers, teach the unenlightened, censure the ill-bred, chide the insubordinate and bring back the stray. . . . May he become a good example to all ministrants and attain an elevated degree. It is not through the imposition of our hands that this grace is given, but by the visitation of Thy rich compassion, O Lord. Now also, our Master, we pray and beseech Thee, Thou Good One and Lover of Man, on behalf of Thy servant [name], to make him worthy of the calling of the archdeaconate through the descent upon him of Thy Holy Spirit. Do Thou purify me, as well, of all sin and release me from my transgressions, through Thy only-begotten Son, our Lord and God and Savior, Jesus Christ. . . .
Here the newly ordained archdeacon kneels before the sanctuary, kisses the cross in the bishop’s hand, and kisses the altar. After communion, the bishop gives him the blessing, as in the consecration of the deacon.