Ομιλία του π.Ανδρέα Κονάνου.
Saturday, 8 November 2014
Painting of a Russian Orthodox deacon leading an ektenia (litany)
Imagine going into a fancy restaurant for a special meal. The dining room is beautifully decorated, only the best linens are used, and the glow of candlelight creates a warm ambience. Through the kitchen doors, you see the chef hard at work preparing a delectable dish. He then shouts from the kitchen, never moving from his cutting board, to sit yourself down and asks you what you want to order. You think this is odd, but then you notice there isn’t a single waiter or waitress in the entire establishment. What is wrong with this scene is analogous to what is presently amiss within the Orthodox Church – namely the significant lack of deacons within our parishes.
A Model Of Service
“Deacon” literally means server. Deacons are the waiters (servants, slaves) at the table of the Lord (e.g., Luke 14:16-24; John 2:1-11). Therefore they are usually found during Liturgy around the altar helping the priest. Deacons are also the earthly equivalent of the angels who are intermediaries between God and man (Hebrews 1:14). So, they are often mediators uniting the laity with priests and bishops, or deacons sometimes represent the Church’s interests to the populous. Additionally, deacons are the third rank of the ecclesiastical hierarchy appointed to relieve bishops and priests from work they are too busy to fully attend to (see Acts 6:1-6). Therefore, deacons often minister to widows, orphans, shut-ins, the poor, the sick, the disabled, the imprisoned, the undereducated, and others with special needs.
However, more important than what they do, deacons represent something of tremendous value within the Body of Christ: they are our models of service – no matter what form that service takes. Throughout the Gospels, Jesus places particular emphasis on being a servant as a defining characteristic of His followers. For example, our Lord stated, “Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will my servant be also. Whoever serves me, the Father will honor” (John 12:26). To be a servant is to emulate Christ Himself: “. . . whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be slave of all. For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many” (Mark 10:43-45, cf Luke 22:27). In these verses, “servant” in Greek is “diakonos” [διάκονος]. Therefore, all Christians are called to be “deacons” in whatever their circumstance in life. The role of the ordained deacon is a “sermon without words,” a living icon, of this calling to all believers. If you consider we will be judged based on our service to others (Matthew 25:31-46), then it is obvious how vital it is that we are continually reminded to serve.
A Reflection of The Trinity