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See also: sub-deacon



Originated 1275–1325 from Middle English subdecon and -dekene, from Late Latin subdiāconus. See sub- + deacon.


subdeacon (plural subdeacons)

  1. (Catholicism, chiefly historical) A Catholic clerical rank in the major orders below that of a deacon.
  2. (Catholicism, chiefly historical) A Catholic cleric who assists the deacon at High Mass and normally reads the Epistle at the Eucharist.
  3. (Eastern Christianity) The highest of the minor orders below that of a deacon

Usage notes[edit]

In the first sense, subdeacons still exist in the context of the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX), the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter (FSSP), and similar groups, who exclusively celebrate the Extraordinary Form of the Mass according to the practices in place prior to the Second Vatican Council. In the second sense, subdeacons do not exist in the Ordinary Form of the Mass.