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Deacon, deaconess

(827 words)

Author(s): Wendebourg, Dorothea
Over the course of late antiquity and the middle ages, the diaconate (Lat. diaconatus, “Service [in the Church],” office of the deacon; from Greek  diákonos, “servant [of the Church]”) -- an office restricted to men -- emerged as the lowest degree of clerical office and as an interim role on the road to priesthood. The modern Roman Catholic Church maintains this structure. On the other hand, the thinkers of the Reformation rejected it for two reasons: they dismissed the concept of a hierarchical order, with its implica…
Date: 2019-10-14


(2,112 words)

Author(s): Walter, Peter | Wendebourg, Dorothea
1. Catholicism 1.1. The Catholic episcopateThe word bishop (from Greek  epískopos, “overseer”) denotes (1) in the New Testament a member of a community’s governing body; (2) beginning in the 2nd century, the head of an urban Christian congregation, who governs it with the help of presbyters and deacons; (3) from late antiquity to the present, the head of a sizable district (Diocese), the diocesan bishop. Besides governance of their own dioceses, bishops in the third sense also have responsibilities withi…
Date: 2019-10-14