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American Dictionary of the English Language

Webster's Dictionary 1828

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Deacon


DE'ACON, noun [Gr., a minister or servant.]

1. A person in the lowest degree of holy orders. The office of deacon was instituted by the apostles, Acts 6:1, and seven persons were chosen at first, to serve at the feasts of christians and distribute bread and wine to the communicants, and to minister to the wants of the poor.

In the Romish Church, the office of the deacons is to incense the officiating priest; to lay the corporal on the altar; to receive the cup from the subdeacon and present it to the person officiating; to incense the choir; to receive the pax from the officiating prelate, and carry it to the subdeacon; and at the pontifical mass, to put the miter on the bishop's head.

In the church of England, the office of deacons is declared to be to assist the priest in administering the holy communion; and their office in presbyterian and independent churches is to distribute the bread and wine to the communicants. In the latter, they are elected by the members of the church.

2. In Scotland, an overseer of the poor, and the master of an incorporated company.