Sacramentum Mundi Online

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The diaconate is the lowest degree of the consecrated hierarchy in the Church’s visible structure; the term means doing a particular service. It is an office that figures in the earliest pages of Church history, and the fact that the NT uses the Greek word διάκονος in a strict sense to designate this ecclesiastical office shows us that service is its special characteristic. Everywhere in the NT the word διάκονος means a servant or an official minister.

It is possible to discern the character of the diaconal office in the Acts of the Apostles, the letters of St. Paul, and…

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Narciso Jubany, “Deacon”, in: Sacramentum Mundi Online, General Editor Karl Rahner, SJ. Consulted online on 29 February 2024 <>
First published online: 2016

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