Difference Between Deacon and Priest

In Christianity, within churches, there are several dignified posts for people for example priest, Bishop, Pope, etc.. As the categories are divided into Christianity some of the churches have Holy orders within the church.


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The Roman Catholic,  independent Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran churches, eastern and oriental orthodox, etc., have the three Holy orders which referred to the ordination of an individual for a ministry. These searches consider ordination sacrament and can be bestowed by a priest who is considered as a teacher of the faith.

Among the three Holy orders, Bishop is the highest Holy order he is even considered as the modern-day apostle. The Pope and archbishops are types of bishops who can celebrate all sacraments.

Although, all these positions are referred to as intermediates between humans and God.  

Key Takeaways

  1. Deacons are ordained members of Christian churches who assist priests or ministers in religious services and perform various pastoral duties; priests are ordained clergy members who lead worship, administer sacraments, and provide spiritual guidance to their congregations.
  2. Deacons can be either permanent or transitional, with transitional deacons eventually becoming priests; priests remain in their role for the duration of their ministry.
  3. Deacons are not authorized to perform certain sacraments, such as consecrating the Eucharist or hearing confessions; priests have the authority to administer all sacraments, except for Holy Orders and, in most cases, Confirmation.

Deacon vs Priest

The difference between deacon and priest is that the priest is a higher position within the three Holy orders of Christianity. Deacon is the third position and the priest is the second position in the holy orders of Christianity.

Deacon vs Priest

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Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonDeaconPriest
Position in the holy orderThirdSecond
Basic requirementsAbility to handle charitable funds and property of the church.Celibacy, purity of soul, ability to lead the flock etc..
DutiesTo handle the charitable funds and property of the church.To act as an intermediary between human and God. 
Performing sacraments Not allowedAllowed 

What is Deacon?

Deacon is an official who is a member of the office in Christianity which is also known as diaconate. The deacon is the third position within the holy orders of Christianity. 

There are few duties of deacon which are even mentioned in the holy books of Christianity, some of the duties are; deacon is supposed to serve food to widows,  to manage charitable funds of the church and to distribute it among the needy with the help of the committee.

The term itself means to serve or servant but it does not refer that the position is something of a lower standard, rather they need high qualifications to get the position of deacon. Deacon is supposed to be spiritually mature, doctrinally strong, morally pure and should be able to handle the funds and money responsibility within the church.

There is no fixed number of deacons mentioned in any holy book of Christianity because every Church is of different size and does it needs a different number of deacons. Although, their roles remain the same in every type of church across the world. 

In some regions deacons are supposed to be members of ministries in finances and property of the church, they are even members of educational institutions and programs.

The only thing they are restricted by the scriptures is to hold the authority of the church, that is even being a manager of charitable funds they do not hold the authority of the church. 

It is believed that the authority of the Church comes from the Lord to the congregation, and deacons may be authorised by congregations to serve the church in several ways. Most of the time deacons are supposed to help the pastors in the church.


What is a Priest?

The priest is a religious leader authorised to perform sacred activities in Christianity. The priest is the second position in the three Holy orders of Christianity in the church.

It is also believed that the Catholic priesthood is carried out by Christ at his last supper, he called a man to take the authority after him and carry on his ministry in the world, through his church. According to the religious leaders of Christianity, a priest is a man who Offers his whole humanity to God So that God uses him as an instrument to attain salvation.

The activities of priests are often connected to the activities of Jesus Christ for example when the priest offers the holy sacrifice of the mass, it is believed that Christ offers sacrifice, or when Priest absolves since in sacrament of reconciliation it is believed that Christ has forgiven the sin.

Priests assist the Bishop who is the first position in the three  Holy Orders. The priest can celebrate the mass and the eucharist, the sacraments of penance, anointing of the sick, baptism and Matrimony. 

The primary requirement to follow the priesthood, one should be celibate, some of the eastern and orthodox churches accept married men, however, after ordination they are not allowed to get married if they get widow.

Deacon is the final step in the ordination to become a priest. The priest is also an alter Christus which in Latin means another Christ. He is supposed to lead the flock in such a way that they reach the kingdom of heaven.


 Main Differences Between Deacon and Priest

  1. The priest is the second position on the other hand deacon is the third position in the three  Holy orders of Christianity within the church.
  2. The priest serves the Bishop whereas the deacon serves priests and pastors.
  3. Priests lead the flock on the other hand deacons are supposed to serve the church in the form of clerk and to perform several activities like handling finances and charitable fund of the church.
  4. Priests can celebrate mass and all the sacraments except for Holy orders on the other hand deacon cannot perform or celebrate sacraments.  
  5. The basic requirement for the priest is to be celibate on the other hand deacon are supposed to have knowledge and skills to handle the charitable funds and property of the church.  
Difference Between Deacon and Priest
  1. https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=N-jbEE7l6fkC&oi=fnd&pg=PR7&dq=what+is+deacon+in+church&ots=TBnXtMgjRn&sig=83pOIzfo3R8_QSV2EU1wF0INUg4
  2. https://muse.jhu.edu/article/754194/summary
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