ORDINATION OF DEACON, ARCHDEACON
The ordination of the deacon in the Coptic Church is performed after the Prayer of Reconciliation and before the Kiss of Peace, that is, immediately before the beginning of the anaphora, and is based on the ordination prayer from the Apostolic Constitutions. It provides an explicit description of the ministry as being related to the altar, as well as some further elements from the Syrian rite.
The earliest manuscript is Ms 253 Liturgica of the Coptic Museum, dated 1364 a.d. The first edition was edited by R. Tukhi (Catholic) in 1761 with an Arabic translation. However, the accuracy of this edition is suspect. Its content is sometimes artificial, and it is not a reliable source for the liturgist. The first Orthodox edition was edited by Athanasius, Metropolitan of Beni Suef in 1959, and reprinted with minor changes by his successor bearing the same name in 1992.
The deacon is the first rank of the Coptic priesthood. Originally deacons were in charge of administrative and charitable affairs (Acts 6:1-6). However, in early history, they also played an important role in the field of evangelism. In the Book of Acts, the mission of Philip in Samaria (Acts 8:4-8) is referred to. In the Epistle of St. Paul to Timothy (1 Tim. 3:8-13), the first mention of the deacons as a clerical rank is found.
The ecumenical councils issued several decrees concerning deacons. Thus, the First Council of Nicaea forbade their transfer from city to city (Canon 15, which confirmed Apostolic Canons 14-15). They are not allowed to practice usury (Apostolic Canon 44) and they should not administer the Eucharist to presbyters or be seated above them (Canon 18). In the Middle Ages, Ibn al-‘Assal, in his nomocanon, collected all the relevant synodical decrees and collated them in a compendium for deacons. From the extant papyrological documents, it can be seen that deacons played an important role in the activity of the Coptic Church, especially before the Arab conquest.