Sub-Diaconal Ordination of Dennis Mifsud

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On Sunday, December 18th 2016, the Personal Parish of Our Lady of Damascus in Valletta witnessed the Clerical Tonsuring, the institution of Lector and the Ordination to the Sub-Diaconate of Dennis Mifsud, a member of our parish. His Grace Mgr. Manuel Nin O.S.B., Apostolic Exarch of Greece and Titular Bishop of Carcabia imposed his hands and invoked the Holy Spirit on the ordinand. The Ordination Mass was concelebrated by Mgr. George Mifsud Montanaro, Fr. Anton Farrugia OFM and a delegation from the Collegiate Basilica of Nadur. Family members, parishioners and friends were also present for this great event.

In the Byzantine Rite, the Sub-deacon’s liturgical role is primarily that of servant to the bishop. He assists the bishop during hierarchical services, (services at which a hierarch/bishop is present and presiding) by vesting him and handing the bishop and relieving him of all that he needs so as to enable him to perform his officiating role of prayer undistracted. Outside of hierarchical services, the sub-deacon serves in the altar as any other server but, as highest-ranking of the minor clergy, is responsible for co-ordinating and leading the serving team. In addition to the above duties, the sub-deacon may read or chant the Epistle from the Apostles during the Divine Liturgy. The sub-deacon also has practical responsibilities in the care of the altar, by cleaning it, looking after the clerical vestments and the cloths of the Holy Table, cleaning and mending them, and changing them according to the feasts, fasts, and seasons. For this reason, he has a general blessing to touch the Holy Table and the Table of Oblation, which Readers and other servers may not do. He is also responsible for the training of new servers.

The ordination to the sub-diaconate is performed outside of the sanctuary. The reader who is to be tonsured sub-deacon is presented to the bishop by two other sub-deacons or by the parish priest, who first lead him to the nave. There he faces east and makes a prostration before turning to make three prostrations towards the bishop, moving further west after each one. He is then led to stand immediately before the bishop. The deacon presents the orar to the bishop, who blesses it. The ordinand then kisses the orar and the bishop’s hand, and the deacons vest the ordinand in the orar. The bishop blesses the ordinand three times with the sign of the Cross upon his head, then lays his right hand upon the ordinand’s head and prays the prayer of ordination. The new sub-deacon then kisses the bishop’s right hand and makes a prostration before the bishop, after which a towel is placed over his shoulders and present him with a ewer and basin, with which he washes the bishop’s hands after the usual manner. The bishop then dries his hands and Divine Liturgy commences as usual.

To commemorate this event, a Divine Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom was celebrated in the Collegiate Basilica of Nadur, Gozo on Saturday 14th January, 2017. Our Parish Priest Mgr. George Mifsud Montanaro officiated the Liturgy assisted by Deacon Profs. Martin Zammit and Sub-Deacon Dennis Mifsud. The Rev. Archpriest and Chapter of the Collegiate of Nadur concelebrated. Family members, colleagues and parishioners attended this Liturgy. Afterwards, a reception was held in the Nadur Parish hall.