A deacon is a member of the diaconate, an office in Christian churches, associated with service of some kind, but which varies among theological and denominational traditions. Some Christian churches, such as the Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Anglican church, view the diaconate as part of the clerical state; the word deacon is derived from the Greek word diákonos, a standard ancient Greek word meaning "servant", "waiting-man", "minister", or "messenger". One promulgated speculation as to its etymology is that it means "through the dust", referring to the dust raised by the busy servant or messenger, it is assumed that the office of deacon originated in the selection of seven men by the apostles, among them Stephen, to assist with the charitable work of the early church as recorded in Acts 6. The title deaconess is not found in the Bible. However, one woman, Phoebe, is mentioned at Romans 16:1–2 as a deacon of the church in Cenchreae. Nothing more specific is said about her duties or authority, although it is assumed she carried Paul's Letter to the Romans.
The exact relationship between male and female deacons varies. In some traditions a female deacon is a member of the order of deacons, while in others, deaconesses constitute a separate order. In some traditions, the title "deaconess" was sometimes given to the wife of a deacon. Female deacons are mentioned by Pliny the Younger in a letter to the emperor Trajan dated c. 112. “I believed it was necessary to find out from two female slaves who were called deacons, what was true—and to find out through torture ”This is the earliest Latin text that appears to refer to female deacons as a distinct category of Christian minister. A biblical description of the qualities required of a deacon, of his household, can be found in 1 Timothy 3:1–13. Among the more prominent deacons in history are Stephen, the first Christian martyr. Prominent historical figures who played major roles as deacons and went on to higher office include Athanasius of Alexandria, Thomas Becket, Reginald Pole. On June 8, 536, a serving Roman deacon was raised to Silverius.
The title is used for the president, chairperson, or head of a trades guild in Scotland. The diaconate is one of the major orders in the Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox churches; the other major orders are those of bishop and presbyter and sub-deacon. While the diaconate as a vocation was maintained from earliest Apostolic times to the present in the Eastern churches, it disappeared in the Western church during the first millennium, with Western churches retaining deacons attached to diocesan cathedrals; the diaconate continued in a vestigial form as a temporary, final step along the course toward ordination to priesthood. In the 20th century, the diaconate was restored as a vocational order in many Western churches, most notably in the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church, the Anglican Communion, the United Methodist Church. In Catholic and Anglican churches, deacons assist priests in their pastoral and administrative duties, but report directly to the bishops of their diocese, they have a distinctive role in the liturgy of the Western Churches.
In the Eastern Church, deacons have a profound liturgical presence in the Divine Liturgy. In the Western Church, Pope St. Gregory the Great reduced the liturgical role of the deacon in the Roman Rite, limiting them to serving the bishop, the proclamation of the Gospel, assisting the celebrant at the altar aside from the deacon's calling of charity. Today, deacons are granted permission to preach. Beginning around the fifth century, there was a gradual decline in the permanent diaconate in the Latin church, it has however remained a vital part of the Eastern Catholic Churches. From that time until the years just prior to the Second Vatican Council, the only men ordained as deacons were seminarians who were completing the last year or so of graduate theological training, so-called "transitional deacons", who received the order after they complete their third year at the theological seminary, several months before priestly ordination. Following the recommendations of the council, in 1967 Pope Paul VI issued the motu proprio Sacrum Diaconatus Ordinem, restoring the ancient practice of ordaining to the diaconate men who were not candidates for priestly ordination.
These men are known as permanent deacons in contrast to those continuing their formation, who were called transitional deacons. There is no sacramental or canonical difference between the two, however, as there is only one order of deacons; the permanent diaconate formation period in the Roman Catholic Church varies from diocese to diocese as it is determined by the local ordinary. But it entails a year of prayerful preparation, a four- or five-year training period that resembles a collegiate course of study, a year of post-ordination formation as well as the need for lifelong continuing education credits. Diaconal candidates receive instruction in philosophy, study of the Holy Scriptures (
A bishop is an ordained, consecrated, or appointed member of the Christian clergy, entrusted with a position of authority and oversight. Within the Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Anglican, Old Catholic and Independent Catholic churches and in the Assyrian Church of the East, bishops claim apostolic succession, a direct historical lineage dating back to the original Twelve Apostles. Within these churches, bishops are seen as those who possess the full priesthood and can ordain clergy – including another bishop; some Protestant churches including the Lutheran and Methodist churches have bishops serving similar functions as well, though not always understood to be within apostolic succession in the same way. One, ordained deacon and bishop is understood to hold the fullness of the priesthood, given responsibility by Christ to govern and sanctify the Body of Christ, members of the Faithful. Priests and lay ministers cooperate and assist their bishops in shepherding a flock.
The term epískopos, meaning "overseer" in Greek, the early language of the Christian Church, was not from the earliest times distinguished from the term presbýteros, but the term was clearly used in the sense of the order or office of bishop, distinct from that of presbyter in the writings attributed to Ignatius of Antioch.. The earliest organization of the Church in Jerusalem was, according to most scholars, similar to that of Jewish synagogues, but it had a council or college of ordained presbyters. In Acts 11:30 and Acts 15:22, we see a collegiate system of government in Jerusalem chaired by James the Just, according to tradition the first bishop of the city. In Acts 14:23, the Apostle Paul ordains presbyters in churches in Anatolia; the word presbyter was not yet distinguished from overseer, as in Acts 20:17, Titus 1:5–7 and 1 Peter 5:1. The earliest writings of the Apostolic Fathers, the Didache and the First Epistle of Clement, for example, show the church used two terms for local church offices—presbyters and deacon.
In Timothy and Titus in the New Testament a more defined episcopate can be seen. We are told that Paul had left Timothy in Titus in Crete to oversee the local church. Paul commands Titus to exercise general oversight. Early sources are unclear but various groups of Christian communities may have had the bishop surrounded by a group or college functioning as leaders of the local churches; the head or "monarchic" bishop came to rule more and all local churches would follow the example of the other churches and structure themselves after the model of the others with the one bishop in clearer charge, though the role of the body of presbyters remained important. As Christendom grew, bishops no longer directly served individual congregations. Instead, the Metropolitan bishop appointed priests to minister each congregation, acting as the bishop's delegate. Around the end of the 1st century, the church's organization became clearer in historical documents. In the works of the Apostolic Fathers, Ignatius of Antioch in particular, the role of the episkopos, or bishop, became more important or, rather was important and being defined.
While Ignatius of Antioch offers the earliest clear description of monarchial bishops he is an advocate of monepiscopal structure rather than describing an accepted reality. To the bishops and house churches to which he writes, he offers strategies on how to pressure house churches who don't recognize the bishop into compliance. Other contemporary Christian writers do not describe monarchial bishops, either continuing to equate them with the presbyters or speaking of episkopoi in a city. "Blessed be God, who has granted unto you, who are yourselves so excellent, to obtain such an excellent bishop." — Epistle of Ignatius to the Ephesians 1:1 "and that, being subject to the bishop and the presbytery, ye may in all respects be sanctified." — Epistle of Ignatius to the Ephesians 2:1 "For your justly renowned presbytery, worthy of God, is fitted as to the bishop as the strings are to the harp." — Epistle of Ignatius to the Ephesians 4:1 "Do ye, beloved, be careful to be subject to the bishop, the presbyters and the deacons."
— Epistle of Ignatius to the Ephesians 5:1 "Plainly therefore we ought to regard the bishop as the Lord Himself" — Epistle of Ignatius to the Ephesians 6:1. "your godly bishop" — Epistle of Ignatius to the Magnesians 2:1. "the bishop presiding after the likeness of God and the presbyters after the likeness of the council of the Apostles, with the deacons who are most dear to me, having been entrusted with the diaconate of Jesus Christ" — Epistle of Ignatius to the Magnesians 6:1. "Therefore as the Lord did nothing without the Father, either by Himself or by the Apostles, so neither do ye anything without the bishop and the presbyters." — Epistle of Ignatius to the Magnesians 7:1. "Be obedient to the bishop and to one another, as Jesus Christ was to the Father, as the Apostles were to Christ and to the Father, that there may be union both of flesh and of spirit." — Epistle of Ignatius to the Magnesians 13:2. "In like manner let all men respe
Church of England
The Church of England is the established church of England. The Archbishop of Canterbury is the most senior cleric, although the monarch is the supreme governor; the Church of England is the mother church of the international Anglican Communion. It traces its history to the Christian church recorded as existing in the Roman province of Britain by the third century, to the 6th-century Gregorian mission to Kent led by Augustine of Canterbury; the English church renounced papal authority when Henry VIII failed to secure an annulment of his marriage to Catherine of Aragon in 1534. The English Reformation accelerated under Edward VI's regents, before a brief restoration of papal authority under Queen Mary I and King Philip; the Act of Supremacy 1558 renewed the breach, the Elizabethan Settlement charted a course enabling the English church to describe itself as both catholic and reformed: catholic in that it views itself as a part of the universal church of Jesus Christ in unbroken continuity with the early apostolic church.
This is expressed in its emphasis on the teachings of the early Church Fathers, as formalised in the Apostles', Athanasian creeds. Reformed in that it has been shaped by some of the doctrinal principles of the 16th-century Protestant Reformation, in particular in the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion and the Book of Common Prayer. In the earlier phase of the English Reformation there were both Catholic martyrs and radical Protestant martyrs; the phases saw the Penal Laws punish Roman Catholic and nonconforming Protestants. In the 17th century, the Puritan and Presbyterian factions continued to challenge the leadership of the Church which under the Stuarts veered towards a more catholic interpretation of the Elizabethan Settlement under Archbishop Laud and the rise of the concept of Anglicanism as the via media. After the victory of the Parliamentarians the Prayer Book was abolished and the Presbyterian and Independent factions dominated; the Episcopacy was abolished. The Restoration restored the Church of England and the Prayer Book.
Papal recognition of George III in 1766 led to greater religious tolerance. Since the English Reformation, the Church of England has used a liturgy in English; the church contains several doctrinal strands, the main three known as Anglo-Catholic and Broad Church. Tensions between theological conservatives and progressives find expression in debates over the ordination of women and homosexuality; the church includes both liberal and conservative members. The governing structure of the church is based on dioceses, each presided over by a bishop. Within each diocese are local parishes; the General Synod of the Church of England is the legislative body for the church and comprises bishops, other clergy and laity. Its measures must be approved by both Houses of Parliament. According to tradition, Christianity arrived in Britain in the 1st or 2nd century, during which time southern Britain became part of the Roman Empire; the earliest historical evidence of Christianity among the native Britons is found in the writings of such early Christian Fathers as Tertullian and Origen in the first years of the 3rd century.
Three Romano-British bishops, including Restitutus, are known to have been present at the Council of Arles in 314. Others attended the Council of Serdica in 347 and that of Ariminum in 360, a number of references to the church in Roman Britain are found in the writings of 4th century Christian fathers. Britain was the home of Pelagius. While Christianity was long established as the religion of the Britons at the time of the Anglo-Saxon invasion, Christian Britons made little progress in converting the newcomers from their native paganism. In 597, Pope Gregory I sent the prior of the Abbey of St Andrew's from Rome to evangelise the Angles; this event is known as the Gregorian mission and is the date the Church of England marks as the beginning of its formal history. With the help of Christians residing in Kent, Augustine established his church at Canterbury, the capital of the Kingdom of Kent, became the first in the series of Archbishops of Canterbury in 598. A archbishop, the Greek Theodore of Tarsus contributed to the organisation of Christianity in England.
The Church of England has been in continuous existence since the days of St Augustine, with the Archbishop of Canterbury as its episcopal head. Despite the various disruptions of the Reformation and the English Civil War, the Church of England considers itself to be the same church, more formally organised by Augustine. While some Celtic Christian practices were changed at the Synod of Whitby, the Christian in the British Isles was under papal authority from earliest times. Queen Bertha of Kent was among the Christians in England who recognised papal authority before Augustine arrived, Celtic Christians were carrying out missionary work with papal approval long before the Synod of Whitby; the Synod of Whitby established the Roman date for Easter and the Roman style of monastic tonsure in England. This meeting of the ecclesiastics with Roman customs with local bishops was summoned in 664 at Saint Hilda's double monastery of Streonshalh called Whitby Abbey, it was presided over by King Oswiu, who made the final ruling.
The final ruling was decided in favor of Roman tradition because St. Peter holds the keys to the gate of Heaven. In 1534, King Henry VIII separated the English Church from Rome. A theological separation had been foreshadowed by various movements within the English Church, such as Lollardy, but the English Reformation gained political support when Henry VIII wanted an a
A priest or priestess is a religious leader authorized to perform the sacred rituals of a religion as a mediatory agent between humans and one or more deities. They have the authority or power to administer religious rites, their office or position is the priesthood, a term which may apply to such persons collectively. According to the trifunctional hypothesis of prehistoric Proto-Indo-European society, priests have existed since the earliest of times and in the simplest societies, most as a result of agricultural surplus and consequent social stratification; the necessity to read sacred texts and keep temple or church records helped foster literacy in many early societies. Priests exist in many religions today, such as all or some branches of Judaism, Buddhism and Hinduism, they are regarded as having privileged contact with the deity or deities of the religion to which they subscribe interpreting the meaning of events and performing the rituals of the religion. There is no common definition of the duties of priesthood between faiths.
These include blessing worshipers with prayers of joy at marriages, after a birth, at consecrations, teaching the wisdom and dogma of the faith at any regular worship service, mediating and easing the experience of grief and death at funerals – maintaining a spiritual connection to the afterlife in faiths where such a concept exists. Administering religious building grounds and office affairs and papers, including any religious library or collection of sacred texts, is commonly a responsibility – for example, the modern term for clerical duties in a secular office refers to the duties of a cleric; the question of which religions have a "priest" depends on how the titles of leaders are used or translated into English. In some cases, leaders are more like those that other believers will turn to for advice on spiritual matters, less of a "person authorized to perform the sacred rituals." For example, clergy in Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy are priests, but in Protestant Christianity they are minister and pastor.
The terms priest and priestess are sufficiently generic that they may be used in an anthropological sense to describe the religious mediators of an unknown or otherwise unspecified religion. In many religions, being a priest or priestess is a full-time position, ruling out any other career. Many Christian priests and pastors choose or are mandated to dedicate themselves to their churches and receive their living directly from their churches. In other cases it is a part-time role. For example, in the early history of Iceland the chieftains were titled goði, a word meaning "priest"; as seen in the saga of Hrafnkell Freysgoði, being a priest consisted of offering periodic sacrifices to the Norse gods and goddesses. In some religions, being a priest or priestess is by human election or human choice. In Judaism the priesthood is inherited in familial lines. In a theocracy, a society is governed by its priesthood; the word "priest", is derived from Greek via Latin presbyter, the term for "elder" elders of Jewish or Christian communities in late antiquity.
The Latin presbyter represents Greek πρεσβύτερος presbúteros, the regular Latin word for "priest" being sacerdos, corresponding to ἱερεύς hiereús. It is possible that the Latin word was loaned into Old English, only from Old English reached other Germanic languages via the Anglo-Saxon mission to the continent, giving Old Icelandic prestr, Old Swedish präster, Old High German priast. Old High German has the disyllabic priester, priestar derived from Latin independently via Old French presbtre. Αn alternative theory makes priest cognate with Old High German priast, from Vulgar Latin *prevost "one put over others", from Latin praepositus "person placed in charge". That English should have only the single term priest to translate presbyter and sacerdos came to be seen as a problem in English Bible translations; the presbyter is the minister who both presides and instructs a Christian congregation, while the sacerdos, offerer of sacrifices, or in a Christian context the eucharist, performs "mediatorial offices between God and man".
The feminine English noun, was coined in the 17th century, to refer to female priests of the pre-Christian religions of classical antiquity. In the 20th century, the word was used in controversies surrounding the women ordained in the Anglican communion, who are referred to as "priests", irrespective of gender, the term priestess is considered archaic in Christianity. In historical polytheism, a priest administers the sacrifice to a deity in elaborate ritual. In the Ancient Near East, the priesthood acted on behalf of the deities in managing their property. Priestesses in antiquity performed sacred prostitution, in Ancient Greece, some priestesses such as Pythia, priestess at Delphi, acted as oracles. Sumerian en were top-ranking priestesses who were distinguished with special ceremonial attire and held equal status to high priests, they owned property, transacted business, initiated the hieros gamos with priests and kings. Enheduanna was the first known holder of the title en. Nadītu served as priestesses in the temples of Inanna in the city of Uruk.
They were recruited from the highest families in the land and were supposed to remain childless, own
Church of Sweden
The Church of Sweden is an Evangelical Lutheran national church in Sweden. A former state church, headquartered in Uppsala, with 6.0 million baptised members at year end 2017 it is the largest Christian denomination in Sweden. It is the largest Lutheran denomination in Europe and the third-largest in the world after the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania. A member of the Porvoo Communion, the Church professes the Lutheran branch of Christianity, it is composed of thirteen dioceses, divided into parishes. It is an open national church which, working with a democratic organisation and through the ministry of the church, covers the whole nation; the Primate of the Church of Sweden is the Archbishop of Uppsala — Antje Jackelén, Sweden's first female archbishop. Today, the Church of Sweden is an Evangelical Lutheran church, it is liturgically and theologically "high church", having retained priests and the Mass during the Swedish Reformation. In common with other Evangelical Lutheran churches, the Church of Sweden maintains the historical episcopate.
Some Lutheran churches have congregational polity or modified episcopal polity without Apostolic succession, but the historic episcopate is maintained in Sweden and the other Lutheran nations of the Porvoo Communion. The Church of Sweden is known for its liberal position in theological issues the question of homosexuality; when Eva Brunne was consecrated as Bishop of Stockholm in 2009, she became the first lesbian bishop in the world. Despite a significant yearly loss of members, its membership of 5,993,368 people accounts for 59.3% of the Swedish population. Until 2000 it held the position of state church; the high membership numbers are because until 1996 all newborn children were made members, unless their parents had cancelled their membership. 2% of the church's members attend Sunday services. According to a Gallup poll conducted in 2009, 17% of the Swedish population considered religion as an important part of their daily life. King Gustav I Vasa instigated the Church of Sweden in 1536 during his reign as King of Sweden.
This act separated the church from its canon law. In 1571, the Swedish Church Ordinance became the first Swedish church order following the Reformation; the Church of Sweden became Lutheran at the Uppsala Synod in 1593 when it adopted the Augsburg Confession to which most Lutherans adhere. At this synod, it was decided that the church would retain the three original Christian creeds: the Apostles', the Athanasian, the Nicene. In 1686, the Riksdag of the Estates adopted the Book of Concord, although only certain parts, labelled Confessio fidei, were considered binding, the other texts explanatory. Confessio dei included the three aforementioned Creeds, the Augsburg Confession and two Uppsala Synod decisions from 1572 and 1593. During the 19th and 20th centuries, a variety of teachings were approved directed towards ecumenism: 1878 development of the Catechism the Uppsala Creed of 1909, preparing for Eucharistic communion with the Church of England the constitutions of World Council of Churches the constitutions of Lutheran World Federation Church of Sweden's official response to the "Lima document" a Council of the Bishops Letter in Important Theological Questions the 1995 Treaty of Communion with the Philippine Independent ChurchIn practice, the Lutheran creed texts play a minor role, instead the parishes rely on Lutheran tradition in coexistence with influences from other Christian denominations and diverse ecclesial movements such as Low Church, High Church and Laestadianism, which locally might be established, but which have little nationwide influence.
During the 20th century the Church of Sweden oriented itself towards liberal Christianity and human rights. In 1957, the church assembly rejected a proposal for ordination of women, but the Riksdag changed the law in spring 1958 and forced the church assembly to accept the new law in autumn 1958. Since 1960, women have been ordained as priests, since 1994, men who oppose collaboration with women priests have not been allowed ordination. A proposal to perform same-sex weddings was approved on October 22, 2009 by 176 of 249 voting members of the Church of Sweden Synod. In 2000 the Church of Sweden ceased to be a state church, but there remains a strong tradition of community connection with churches in relation to rites of passage, with many infants baptized and teenagers confirmed for families without formal church membership. While some Swedish areas had Christian minorities in the 9th century, Sweden was, because of its geographical location in northernmost Europe, not Christianized until around AD 1000, around the same time as the other Nordic countries, when the Swedish King Olof was baptized.
This left only a modest gap between the Christianization of Scandinavia and the Great Schism, however there are some Scandinavian/Swedish saints who are venerated eagerly by many Orthodox Christians, such as St. Olaf. However, Norse paganism and other pre-Christian religious systems survived in the territory of what is now Sweden than that; the Christian church in Scandinavia was governed by the archdiocese of Bremen. In 1104 an archbishop for all Scandinavia was installed in Lund. Uppsala was
An acolyte is an assistant or follower assisting the celebrant in a religious service or procession. In many Christian denominations, an acolyte is anyone who performs ceremonial duties such as lighting altar candles. In others, the term is used for one, inducted into a particular liturgical ministry when not performing those duties; the word acolyte is derived from the Greek word ἀκόλουθος, meaning an attendant, via Late Latin acolythus. In the Eastern Catholic Churches and the Eastern Orthodox Churches, the nearest equivalent of acolyte is the altar server. At one time there was a rank of minor clergy called the taper-bearer responsible for bearing lights during processions and liturgical entrances. However, this rank has long ago been subsumed by that of the reader and the service for the tonsure of a reader begins with the setting-aside of a taper-bearer; the functions of an acolyte or taper-bearer are therefore carried out by readers, subdeacons, or by non-tonsured men or boys who are sometimes called "acolytes" informally.
The term "altar-boys" is used to refer to young altar servers. Subdeacons crossed orarion. In recent times, however, in many of the North American Greek Orthodox Churches, for the sake of uniformity, readers have been permitted to wear the orarion. Readers do not cross the orarion while wearing it, the uncrossed orarion being intended to distinguish a reader from a subdeacon. In the Russian tradition, readers wear only the sticharion, do not wear the orarion unless they have been specially blessed to by their bishop. If a server has not been tonsured, he must remove the sticharion before he can receive Holy Communion; until 1972, the highest of the four minor orders in the Latin Church was that of acolyte. By his motu proprio Ministeria quaedam of 15 August 1972, Pope Paul VI replaced the term "minor orders" by that of "ministries" and the term "ordination" by "institution", he kept throughout the Latin Church two instituted ministries, those of reader and acolyte. A prescribed interval, as decided by the Holy See and the national episcopal conference, is to be observed between receiving the two.
Candidates for diaconate and for priesthood must receive both ministries and exercise them for some time before receiving holy orders. The two instituted ministries are not reserved for candidates for holy orders, but can be conferred only on men. Ministries are conferred by the ordinary: either a bishop or the head of a similar territory or, in the case of clerical religious institutes, a major superior. Institutions of acolytes not preparing for holy orders are in fact sometimes carried out; the motu proprio assigned to the instituted acolyte the functions reserved for the subdeacon, declared national episcopal conferences free to use the term "subdeacon" in place of that of "acolyte". The functions of the instituted acolyte are specified in the motu proprio, have been indicated in the General Instruction of the Roman Missal, no. 98, which under the heading, "The Ministry of the Instituted Acolyte and Lector", says: "The acolyte is instituted to serve at the altar and to assist the priest and deacon.
In particular, it is his responsibility to prepare the altar and the sacred vessels and, if it is necessary, as an extraordinary minister, to distribute the Eucharist to the faithful. In the ministry of the altar, the acolyte has his own functions, which he must perform personally."The General Instruction of the Roman Missal adds: "In the absence of an instituted acolyte, lay ministers may be deputed to serve at the altar and assist the priest and the deacon. However, some functions, in particular that of cleansing the Eucharistic vessels, are reserved for an instituted acolyte and are not entrusted to those deputed to assist in that way; as in other churches, in the Latin Church the term "acolyte" is used of altar servers on whom no ordination or institution has been conferred. Pope Benedict XVI spoke of Saint Tarcisius as "presumably an acolyte, that is, an altar server". In Anglican churches – such as the Church of England, the Episcopal Church of the United States, the Church in Wales, the Scottish Episcopal Church – altar servers are called acolytes and can be of either sex and any age.
An acolyte can assist in worship by carrying a processional cross, lighting candles, holding the Gospel book, holding candles or "torches", assisting a deacon or priest set up and clean up at the altar, swinging a censer or thurible or carrying the incense boat, handing the offering plates to ushers, many other tasks as seen fit by the priest or acolyte warden. In Anglo-Catholic churches acolytes wear cassock and cotta, in less Anglo-Catholic churches cassock-alb with girdle or cincture. Both cincture and girdle can be a twisted rope with knots on the ends, secured round the waist. A cincture may be a band of cloth worn across the waist. Wearing crosses or other special pins or symbols is the prerogative of the individual church. In some more'traditional' parishes, the acolytes are ranked as they develop their abilities to serve: Trainees, Junior Acolytes, Senior Acolytes, Acolytes of Merit. In others, the functions of acolytes