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Priesthood, book by H. H. Pope Shenouda III

50- Deacons

 

[21] Deacons Were First Mentioned In The Book Of Acts

Their selection, was based on the following three conditions

(1) Men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom. (2) To be appointed by the apostles.

(3) To be assigned specific duties.

[22] Social Service Was Their Principal Duty.

However we also hear about Saint Stephen worked in the mission and teaching.

(Acts 6:1-3) Now in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplying, there arose a complaint against the Hebrews by the Hellenists, because their widows were neglected in the daily distribution. {2} Then the twelve summoned the multitude of the disciples and said, "It is not desirable that we should leave the word of God and serve tables. {3} "Therefore, brethren, seek out from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business;

(Acts 6:9-10) Then there arose some from what is called the Synagogue of the Freedmen (Cyrenians, Alexandrians, and those from Cilicia and Asia), disputing with Stephen. {10} And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the Spirit by which he spoke.

[23] The Grades Of Bishop And Deacons Attracted Special Mention In The Epistle To The Philippians

St-Takla.org Image: The Seven Deacons: And they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit, and Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas, a proselyte from Antioch صورة في موقع الأنبا تكلا: الشمامسة السبعة: فاختاروا استفانوس رجلا مملوا من الايمان والروح القدس وفيلبس وبروخورس ونيكانور وتيمون وبرميناس ونيقولاوس دخيلا انطاكيا

St-Takla.org Image: The Seven Deacons: And they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit, and Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas, a proselyte from Antioch

صورة في موقع الأنبا تكلا: الشمامسة السبعة: فاختاروا استفانوس رجلا مملوا من الايمان والروح القدس - فيلبس - بروخورس - نيكانور - تيمون - برميناس - نيقولاوس دخيلا انطاكيا

(Phil 1:1) Paul and Timothy, bondservants of Jesus Christ, To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, with the bishops and deacons:

Here we observe the special mention of the bishops and the deacons, as a special group separate from the laity.

Again we ask: If all were equal and all were priests, why differentiate?

Yes, all may be saints, but not all have the same priestly office nor the same responsibilities.

[24] Here We Observe Specific Qualifications For The Deacons

(1 Tim 3:8-13) Likewise deacons must be reverent, not doubletongued, not given to much wine, not greedy for money, {9} holding the mystery of the faith with a pure conscience. {10} But let these also first be tested; then let them serve as deacons, being found blameless. {11} Likewise their wives must be reverent, not slanderers, temperate, faithful in all things.

{12} Let deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well. {13} For those who have served well as deacons obtain for themselves a good standing and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.

Most of the above qualifications, especially having one wife, are shared with the bishops, as we have discussed this issue before here on st-takla.org in other sections. This is an indication of the importance and greatness of this rank.

(1 Tim 3:2) A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded, of good behavior, hospitable, able to teach;

(1 Tim 3:4) one who rules his own house well, having his children in submission with all reverence

Also the apostle emphasises the greatness of this rank when he said:

(1 Tim 3:13) For those who have served well as deacons obtain for themselves a good standing and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.

This standing, sets them apart from the laity. This is why the stipulation of examining them before ordination.

(1 Tim 3:10) But let these also first be tested; then let them serve as deacons, being found blameless.

[25] Here We See Common Qualifications Between The Bishop And The Deacon

This includes not having more than one wife, being able to rule his household and many other spiritual qualifications.

This is an obvious indication of the importance of the office of deacon and its separate standing compared with the laity.


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