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Location of Deacon's Gospel proclamation

deacon reading gospel amvon

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#1 Anthony Cornett

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Posted 01 December 2014 - 08:09 AM

Coming from the Greek Archdiocese in America, the only time I witness a Deacon at a Divine Liturgy is when the Bishop is present. There are a handful of parishes in the Metropolis which have a Deacon, but I don't find myself to be in their presence outside of a Hierarchal Liturgy.

 

The reason I prefaced this message as such is because I am curious to know from where a Deacon proclaims the Holy Gospel if a Bishop is not present. In my experience in the Hierarchal Liturgies, the Deacon proclaims the Gospel from the step of the Bishop's chair outside the Sanctuary/Vema.

 

For non-Hierarchal Liturgies, I understand that a Deacon proclaims the Gospel from the Amvon. Most churches, particularly small ones such as the one I attend, do not have an Amvon of any type. In that instance, at a standard, non-Hierarchal Divine Liturgy, would a Deacon still proclaim the Holy Gospel from the step of the Bishop's seat? I am unsure of a proper title for this seat, as it isn't technically the Bishop's seat/throne, as that is what properly resides in the High Place behind the Altar. It is my understanding that this seat is truly reserved for dignitaries (originally the Emperor), of which the Bishop serves firstly. 

 

Thanks for shedding any light,

Anthony


Edited by Anthony Cornett, 01 December 2014 - 08:11 AM.


#2 Olga

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Posted 01 December 2014 - 08:20 AM

The Russian tradition is for the deacon to read the Gospel while standing on the ambon, and facing the altar (the reverse of when a priest is serving without a deacon). My long experience of Greek tradition does not include any deacons serving with a priest (though this is very slowly changing), so I can't shed any light of what would be done. :(



#3 Phoebe K.

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Posted 01 December 2014 - 08:43 AM

from my memory of my early days as an Orthodox in the local Greek church (when my now Priest was a deacon) he would read the gospel from the Pulpit.  The Church was in a converted Anglican Church so still had a few of the original feachers which were literally built in to the building.

 

My memory of the once or twice I have seen the Gospel Proclaimed by a Deacon in the Monestery in Essex is that it was done from the middle of the Nave facing the enternce of the Church in the same place as the reader dose the Epistle facing the alter. Though I may have remembered this wrongly it was a while ago I was there when they had a deacon present.

 

From my understanding to some extent where the Deacon Proclames the Gospel From varies according to local practive, and the exact lay out of the Church which can vary if the Church has been ether borrowed or bort from one of the other Christian Churches.  I have seen noting on the matter in the rubrics which have been translated into English but their might be some somewhere.



#4 Anthony Cornett

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Posted 01 December 2014 - 04:12 PM

The Russian tradition is for the deacon to read the Gospel while standing on the ambon, and facing the altar (the reverse of when a priest is serving without a deacon). My long experience of Greek tradition does not include any deacons serving with a priest (though this is very slowly changing), so I can't shed any light of what would be done. :(

 

Is it safe to assume that you are referring to the front step of the Vema when you say the ambon? The Amvon in the churches of the old country are elevated on a pillar (to the left when facing the altar, in my experience), and in larger modern churches, there is usually an elevated pulpit of sorts on the Solea. Our parish does not have a dedicated amvon/pulpit.


Edited by Anthony Cornett, 01 December 2014 - 04:13 PM.


#5 Ben Johnson

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Posted 01 December 2014 - 06:40 PM

I do not know the reasoning behind this, but when a deacon visits our small parish he reads from stage left.  When we are facing the altar, he would be on our right.



#6 Anthony Cornett

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Posted 01 December 2014 - 06:47 PM

I do not know the reasoning behind this, but when a deacon visits our small parish he reads from stage left.  When we are facing the altar, he would be on our right.

 

Thanks for the replies everyone. What jurisdiction is your parish under, Ben? Where on the Solea exactly is he standing to the right? Do you have a seat for the dignitary/bishop? Or perhaps a chanter's stand/stasidi?



#7 Rdr Daniel (R.)

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Posted 01 December 2014 - 07:30 PM

In our parish (Archdiocese of Thyateira and Great Britain) the deacon reads either from the centre of the church or from the bishop's throne, on the left of the church. 


Edited by Daniel R., 01 December 2014 - 07:31 PM.


#8 Anthony Cornett

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Posted 01 December 2014 - 07:33 PM

In our parish (Archdiocese of Thyateira and Great Britain) the deacon reads either from the centre of the church or from the bishop's throne, on the left of the church. 

 

Is the center of the Church also where the reader proclaims the Epistle? Is there a stand provided for the reading? Thanks!



#9 Ben Johnson

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Posted 01 December 2014 - 08:40 PM

Thanks for the replies everyone. What jurisdiction is your parish under, Ben? Where on the Solea exactly is he standing to the right? Do you have a seat for the dignitary/bishop? Or perhaps a chanter's stand/stasidi?

I am with the Greek Orthodox.  We rent a Catholic chapel, so we do not have a seat, but I think the Catholics have a makeshift one.  The deacon stands about 45 degrees from the corner of the altar.



#10 Dcn Alexander Haig

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Posted 01 December 2014 - 08:49 PM

Current practice in the Byzantine tradition seems to be for the deacon to read from the pulpit but if the Church does not have one then from the Bishop's throne.  When the Gospel is read in two languages (I've seen this when a bishop serves with one deacon and a priest) the first is read from the pulpit and the second from the throne.  In any case, current practice is for the reading to be done facing the people.

 

Slavs have preserved the more ancient (I believe) practice of the deacon reading while facing the altar.  While this preserves the idea of the Gospel being proclaimed from the people (and not to the people) this is somewhat undermined by the deacon remaining at the front of the nave with his back to (virtually) all the people: it would seem, to me at least, better that he stand fully among the people.  Further, it seems odd to preserve this practice while when a priest reads the Gospel he does it from the beautiful gates facing the people.

 

In Xp

Alexander



#11 Rdr Daniel (R.)

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Posted 01 December 2014 - 08:56 PM

Is the center of the Church also where the reader proclaims the Epistle? Is there a stand provided for the reading? Thanks!

Yep, it's read from the same place (and direction, facing the altar), we do have a cloth stand ( I forget the name) but this is only is used at the Liturgy of Saint James, the 12 Gospels during Holy Week, and Old Testament readings during Holy Week, Christmas and Theophany.  

 

In Christ.

Daniel,


Edited by Daniel R., 01 December 2014 - 08:56 PM.


#12 Anthony Cornett

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Posted 01 December 2014 - 09:10 PM

Current practice in the Byzantine tradition seems to be for the deacon to read from the pulpit but if the Church does not have one then from the Bishop's throne.  When the Gospel is read in two languages (I've seen this when a bishop serves with one deacon and a priest) the first is read from the pulpit and the second from the throne.  In any case, current practice is for the reading to be done facing the people.

 

Slavs have preserved the more ancient (I believe) practice of the deacon reading while facing the altar.  While this preserves the idea of the Gospel being proclaimed from the people (and not to the people) this is somewhat undermined by the deacon remaining at the front of the nave with his back to (virtually) all the people: it would seem, to me at least, better that he stand fully among the people.  Further, it seems odd to preserve this practice while when a priest reads the Gospel he does it from the beautiful gates facing the people.

 

In Xp

Alexander

 

My initial thought of having the person reading being in the midst of the people makes most sense when facing the altar. This is how it is at the monasteries that I am familiar with. I am not well versed in Slavic practice, but what is the elevated platform called that resides for the Bishop in the center of the Church? It seems like this would be a sensible place for reading the Gospel, but I am probably entirely off about its purpose, forgive me. In modern Jewish Synagogue practice, isn't their Amvon a similarly elevated platform with side rails in the center of the room with people surrounded on all sides? 



#13 Olga

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Posted 01 December 2014 - 10:13 PM

Is it safe to assume that you are referring to the front step of the Vema when you say the ambon? The Amvon in the churches of the old country are elevated on a pillar (to the left when facing the altar, in my experience), and in larger modern churches, there is usually an elevated pulpit of sorts on the Solea. Our parish does not have a dedicated amvon/pulpit.

 

The ambon is the (usually) rounded central step which projects from the solea. Only one or two of the couple of dozen Orthodox churches where I live have pulpits as you describe.

 

Moreover, the "Prayer before the Ambon" in the Divine Liturgy is recited by the priest standing in the nave facing the altar, just short of the ambon steps, while the deacon stands in supplicatory stance on the solea before the icon of Christ on the iconostasis; in Greek tradition, the priest stands on the solea as described if serving alone.



#14 Anthony Cornett

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Posted 01 December 2014 - 10:18 PM

The ambon is the (usually) rounded central step which projects from the solea. Only one or two of the couple of dozen Orthodox churches where I live have pulpits as you describe.

 

Moreover, the "Prayer before the Ambon" in the Divine Liturgy is recited by the priest standing in the nave facing the altar, just short of the ambon steps, while the deacon stands in supplicatory stance on the solea before the icon of Christ on the iconostasis; in Greek tradition, the priest stands on the solea as described if serving alone.

 

I was under the impression that this step is simply the Vema's extended step. A deacon recites the Gospel from the Amvon, but never the Vema, no? Our priest proclaims the Gospel from the Vema step, flanked by candlebearers, and often with a faithful Egyptian man resting the gospel upon his head. 



#15 Olga

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Posted 01 December 2014 - 10:33 PM

but what is the elevated platform called that resides for the Bishop in the center of the Church?

 

Russians call it кафедра (kafedra). The word means seat.



#16 Anthony Cornett

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Posted 01 December 2014 - 10:36 PM

Russians call it кафедра (kafedra). The word means seat.

 

Equivalent to Cathedra/Kathedra/Kathisma, etc. What do they call the Bishop's seat in the 'high place' behind the Altar? I would imagine this would rightly be the Kafedra in the Synthronon, no?



#17 Michał

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Posted 01 December 2014 - 11:36 PM

 

The Russian tradition is for the deacon to read the Gospel while standing on the ambon, and facing the altar (the reverse of when a priest is serving without a deacon). 

 

This.

 

Equivalent to Cathedra/Kathedra/Kathisma, etc. What do they call the Bishop's seat in the 'high place' behind the Altar? I would imagine this would rightly be the Kafedra in the Synthronon, no?

 

"High place" - "gornoye mesto".



#18 Brian Patrick Mitchell

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Posted 02 December 2014 - 10:46 PM

Slavs have preserved the more ancient (I believe) practice of the deacon reading while facing the altar.  While this preserves the idea of the Gospel being proclaimed from the people (and not to the people) this is somewhat undermined by the deacon remaining at the front of the nave with his back to (virtually) all the people: it would seem, to me at least, better that he stand fully among the people.  Further, it seems odd to preserve this practice while when a priest reads the Gospel he does it from the beautiful gates facing the people.

It is common in the OCA for the deacon to always read the Gospel from the center of the nave, though a cathedra is only used for hierarchical services.

 

The priest presides over the assembly in the place of the bishop, and so he reads the Gospel facing the people; the deacon does not preside and reads the Gospel as one of the people, so he faces the altar. But this is only for DIvine Liturgies, in preparation for the presentation of the Holy Gifts by the presiding bishop or priest. Whenever a bishop or priest reads the Gospel in any other service, he also faces east.






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