Monday, April 07, 2008

Washing Hands

Sunday I was ordained to the sub-diaconate of the Orthodox Church by Bp. Benjamin. It wasn't an aspiration, but I was called to serve so I obeyed the call. The first thing a subdeacon does after the ordination is hold the pitcher of water, bowl and cloth to wash the Bishop's hands before he enters the altar to begin serving the Divine Liturgy. Then it is traditional for the newly ordained to stand before the icon of Christ at the iconostasis holding the pitcher, bowl and draped with the cloth until called to wash the Bishop's hands a second time at the beginning of the Cherubic Hymn before he begins to offer the Gifts on the altar (for the uninitiated, about 45 minutes). It is then that the new sub-deacon enters the altar to finish serving with the rest of the clergy and altar servers.

To be called a "sub" deacon is fitting. It is not a grandiose title. It is not "clerical". It is actually somewhat demeaning... a sub-servant. It is one who washes things, puts things away on the altar, arranges the table of preparation, lights the candles, pours water and carries away the remnants. In short, a clerical bus-boy, the low man on the totem pole in food service. And yet, when I stand in front of the icon of Christ with the pitcher, bowl and draped in the towel I see the Creator of my hands, my feet and see the one who on His last day of earthly life, took up a pitcher of water, draped a towel around Himself and knelt and washed the filthy feet of those who would shortly run from Him on those same feet He had cleansed in humility and love. And He told Peter, "A servant is not above his Master... if I do not wash your feet, you have no part of Me. "

Sub-deacon. It is truly the title of God, the washer of my feet that have run to sin, the One whose blood cleanses my hands that have reached out to iniquity. My feet will now walk within the Altar, my hands will touch the holy things of God. To be deemed worthy to be the lowest servant in the Holy of Holies in order that the people of God may receive Christ's flesh and blood is to be called to imitate Christ. May I be found faithful in the small things.

15 comments:

Elizabeth said...

God grant you Many Years to serve Him faithfully, s-p !

Anonymous said...

AXIOS!

Anonymous said...

God grant you Many Many years my precious Godfather. Joanna

Cameron Lawrence said...

Blessings to you in your new role. And as it's already been said, many years!

Mimi said...

Congratulations and Many Years!

Benedict Seraphim said...

What Mimi said.

Philippa said...

Axios!

Pray for me brother!

Kirk said...

Many years!

Sophocles said...

s-p,

Many years! Axios!

JTKlopcic said...

AXIOS! Many Years!

Anastasia Theodoridis said...

Axios! Many years!

Grace said...

Wonderful! Many years!

And I don't think the sub-diaconate is anything to sneeze at. Every bishop has one, and they know more about what's going on than most of the other clergy, as near as I can tell.

Congratulations!

James the Thickheaded said...

Axios! Axios!
So good... now you can quit the day job and do something where you won't get hurt.

Knowing our subdeacon and his relationship to our priest... this is a very high honor.

All the best!

DvntWriter said...

Congratulations and may God grant you many years!

I'm sorry I've been absent for so long online - blog reconstruction takes time. :p

David Bryan said...

Been away for a while. Congratulations.