Orientalium Ecclesiarum 17

And Orientalium Ecclesiarum 17 gives us some guidance on holy orders, including the restoration of the permanent diaconate, as earlier directed in Sacrosanctum Concilium.

In order that the ancient established practice of the Sacrament of Orders in the Eastern Churches may flourish again, this Sacred Council ardently desires that the office of the permanent diaconate should, where it has fallen into disuse, be restored.(Cfr. Syn. Nicaena I, can. 18; Syn. Neocaesarien., an. 314/ 325, can. 12; Syn. Sardicen., an. 343, can. 8; S. Leo M., Litt. Omnium quidem, 13 ian. 444; Syn. Chalcedonen., can. 6; Syn. Constantinopolitana IV, can. 23, 26; etc.) The legislative authorities of each individual church should decide about the subdiaconate and the minor orders and the rights and obligations that attach to them.(Subdiaconatus consideratur apud Ecclesias Orientales plures Ordo minor, sed Motu proprio Pii XII, Cleri sanctitati, ei praescribuntur obligationes Ordinum maiorum. Canon proponit ut redeatur ad disciplinam antiquam singularum Ecclesiarum quoad obligationes subdiaconorum, in derogationem iuris communis Cleri sanctitati.)

You may remember that the Roman Church indeed did away with minor orders a few years after Vatican II.

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Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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2 Responses to Orientalium Ecclesiarum 17

  1. charles R. Williams says:

    The deacon has a distinctive and important role in the Byzantine liturgy. Restoring the permanent diaconate is important in the restoration of traditional liturgical practices.

    The Byzantine deacon does not marry or in general substitute for the priest. OTOH in the absence of a deacon the priest must assume the deacon’s role in the liturgy. This is not ideal.

  2. When the priest assumes a diaconal functions in the Eastern Catholic Churches, he may not do so in diaconal vestments but rather he must present himself as a presbyter for that is what is really and truly is in the Church, every day and all of the time. Liturgical functions and roles are not to be put on and taken off as if they were parts in a play. This practice which unfortunately entered the Eastern Catholic Churches via the Roman Catholic reflects a distorted ecclesiology not known in the Eastern Church fathers or Tradition.

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