Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Priestly Orders in Syrian Orthodox Church

The supreme head of the Syriac Orthodox Church is the Patriarch of Antioch and all the East. He also presides over the Holy Synod, the assembly of all bishops.

The local head of the church in Malankara (India) is the Catholicos of the East. The Catholicos is under the jurisdiction of the Patriarch of Antioch and is accountable to the Holy Synod and the local Malankara Synod. He is consecrated by the Patriarch and presides over the local Holy Synod.

The local head of every archdiocese is an archbishop. He is under the jurisdiction of the Patriarch and is accountable to the Holy Synod. The archbishop is ordained by the Patriarch and at least two bishops. Some archdioceses are ‘patriarchal vicarates’; the patriarchal vicar, regardless of ecclesiastical office, is accountable directly to the Patriarch.

Each parish is assigned a vicar. He is under the direct jurisdiction of his archbishop and is directly accountable to him. The parish is run by a board of trustees (or a committee) which is elected by the parishioners and approved by the archbishop.

Deacons assist the priest in the administration of the liturgy. Each archdiocese may have one archdeacon who is called “the right hand of the bishop.” Only qualified and learned deacons are elevated to this office.

There are three ranks of priesthood in the Syriac Orthodox Church:

  • Episcopate: Within it there are the ranks of Patriarch, Catholicos, archbishop, and bishop.

  • Vicarate: Within it there are the ranks of chor-episcopos and priest or qasheesho.

  • Deaconate: Within it there are the ranks of archdeacon, evangelical-deacon, subdeacon, lector or qoruyo and singer or mzamrono.

Source: http://sor.cua.edu

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