“Likewise deacons must be reverent, not double-tongued, not given to much wine, not greedy for money, holding the mystery of the faith with a pure conscience. But let these also first be tested; then let them serve as deacons, being found blameless.” (1 Tim 3:8-10)
The Responsibilities of a Deacon
I. Coming to the church
1. The deacon should have a quite time to look at his own deeds, thoughts and words. He should read the Bible daily, attend Vespers and midnight praises. Also, he should have no conflicts with anybody.
2. He should get up early on the day of the liturgy, and read Psalms 26, 46, and 121. He should listen to spiritual hymns or songs on the way to church.
3. He should review the hymns and attend available deacons’ classes.
4. The role of the deacon is a servant and not just a chanter, so he should be ready spiritually.
5. He should come to church early before the offering of the morning incense to prepare the church and altar for the liturgy: prepare the censer, fill the candles with oil, prepare the wine and the water, and turn on the computer.
6. He should be ready to meet the Lord by showering the night before the liturgy; clothes should be clean and ironed, wearing long pants and long sleeves. It is preferable to have special attire for the church.
7. The vestment (tonia) should be clean and ironed .
II. During the Service (Matins & Liturgy)
1. He should not move during the liturgy unless there is a compelling reason.
2. Deacon should stand in humbleness and quietly without talking to other deacons particularly in the altar.
3. Altar deacon should know the hymns well in either Arabic or English (preferably in both languages); and also he should learn the Coptic language.
4. No deacon should interrupt other deacon during singing of the hymns even if he is not singing it correctly.
5. One of the old deacons should take care of young deacons in the deacon’s room or Abouna’s office. He should teach them to stand quietly and in meekness and to show them the rituals and the hymns in the book of Kholagy.
6. Cell phones should be turned off.
III. After the Liturgy
1. The altar deacons need to clean up the censer, the altar and prepare the plate and the cup properly and put them in their place. The altar should be covered after the liturgy.
2. All deacons are responsible for putting the books back in their original place, and turning off candles, computer, sound system and lights.
3. The deacon should pray Psalm 46 while he is taking off his Tonia.
4. During the week, deacon should keep his bodily and spiritual purity, read the Bible daily, read his spiritual books and practice and recite Coptic Hymns