Friday, May 22, 2009


What is a deacon? The word deacon is derived from the Greek word diakonos (διάκονος), which means "servant" and in the Christian Church, a deacon is believed to be a "servant of the church". In what way a deacon serves the church varies among different denominations. In the Malankara Orthodox Syrian faith, deacons assist the priests when they administer the Holy Sacraments. Moreover, deacons sermonize to the congregation based on their education from the seminary they attended to. The qualities required of a deacon can be found in 1 Timothy 3:8-13. The origination of this office can be traced back to the early church in the Book of Acts when seven men were selected to help serve the early church. One of the most prominent deacons is Saint Stephen who was chief of the deacons and also the first Christian martyr.

Deacons wear a phiro, white kutino and of rank Kooroyo and higher, an uroro 'stole' in various shapes according to their rank. A phiro is a cylindrical black cap used by deacons in liturgical as well as secular settings. It consists of seven holes which indicate a deacon's role in assisting a priest or a bishop in their duties to administer the Holy Sacraments. A kutino (alb) is a white surplice used by priests and deacons of all ranks. It points to the spiritual purity which should adorn their souls. An uroro is a vestment which distinguishes different orders of priesthood. It symbolizes the wings of the Seraphim. The normal size of a uroro is 9 feet in length and 2.5 - 3.5 inches in width which widens to about 5 inches at the ends.

Singers (Msambrono) wear the kutino without the uroro.

Rev Dn. Binu Mathews

Readers (Kooroyo) wear the uroro in the form of a Cross.

Rev. Dn. Vijay Abraham Thomas

Subdeacons (Yaupadiakono) wear the uroro folded around the neck.

Rev Dn. Abi Chacko

Full Deacons (Mshamsono) wear the uroro over the left shoulder, on either side like wings.
On the feast day of St. Stephen, chief of the deacons, a mshamsono is permitted to read the gospel to the congregation. Also a mshamsono can administer the Holy Qurbana to the congregation if needed. Ideally a full deacon or Mshamsono should only take the thiruble (censer) during the Holy Qurbana to assist the priest. However, because of the lack of deacons in each church, lower rank deacons, if available, or acolytes who do not have any rank of deacon hood are allowed to censer.


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