Monday, March 27, 2017

The role of the Reader

This article, entitled "The Reader in the Orthodox Church," is one of my favorite articles from my subscription to Orthodox Life. Do give it a read if you are a reader, want to be a reader, or are a priest who wants to give some solid instruction.

(Orthodox Life) - There is an unfortunate dearth of guidance available to the lower ranks of clergy in the Orthodox Church — namely, readers and subdeacons. Toward the aim of remedying this problem, we offer here the work of a seminary graduate and ordained reader summarizing the historical basis and canonical responsibilities of the office of Reader. This article first appeared in Russian in Православный Путь for 2005 and was subsequently featured in Orthodox Life Vol. 62.1.

By Reader Vitaly Efimenkov

As a Reader of the Orthodox Church, I have always been interested in how to fulfill my service to the Holy Church better and more correctly. From the moment I was appointed to this degree of the priesthood I have not often found literature dedicated to this aspect of service to the Church. Every time I encountered an article or note about this theme I made a photocopy for myself and kept it. In this way I began to collect a certain amount of information, and the thought was born to write an essay on this theme, which I present here. In this work the following aspects connected with the rank of Reader in the Orthodox Church are presented...
Complete article here.


  1. It is my understanding that the current Greek ordination prayers for psalti and taper-bearer ("Reader") do not include reference to "the first degree of the priesthood". There was a dust-up a few years ago when the Greeks were going to ordain a number of girls with this prayer because it would have ostensibly been ordaining them to "the first degree of the priesthood" when that concept is not part of the (current?) Greek tradition.

  2. One translation of the Greek-use prayer: "O Lord, God Almighty, elect this Your servant and sanctify him; grant unto him the ability to study and read Your divine words with all wisdom and understanding, while protecting him in a blameless life. Through the mercy and compassion and love for mankind of Your Only-begotten Son, with Whom You are blessed, together with your All-Holy, good, and life-giving Spirit, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen."

  3. By the way, this prayer is in the Slav practice as well, used at the laying on of the hand, but it is prefaced by other prayers as well. Nevertheless, the only mention of the priesthood is in the exhortation, which is sometimes used in Greek practice as well. I assume it is not used, or is modified for women. We almost never here the exhortation in the middle of the service for marriage, so I don't think it is understood to be essential to the service, but I could be speaking from ignorance/arrogance in saying this.