Could you please tell me about deaconship? How is it different in our church from the Protestant and the Catholic Church?
Deaconship in our Orthodox church has ranks. All Young boys and some men begin at the entry level of Psaltos or chanter which is similar to the "altar server" in the Catholic Church. Agnostos, or "Reader" is the first ordained rank, similar to the Catholic "Lecturer". This is followed by subdeacon, deacon, and archdeacon. Each rank has its own unique set of guidelines that are administered to the individual during his ordination. Deacon and archdeacon are the only ranks that can assist in dispensing the Blood of Christ during Holy Communion. In our church, the deacon as well as chanter ranks are for males. In the Catholic Church, only an ordained deacon is male. The altar servers, lecturers, Eucharistic Ministers (lay people who are approved to dispense the Holy Eucharist) may be men, women, or youth. As for the Protestant Churches, again, there are too many fluctuating and independent institutions to apply comparisons.