Deacon vs Priest: Exploring the Differences

In various religions, there are different orders within the clergy, or the individuals chosen to perform religious service. In the Anglican Church, there is a clear division of the clergy with distinct roles and responsibilities for each order. However, there are several denominations within the church, and variations in the responsibilities of a specific order or ministry may exist. This can lead to confusion, particularly when attempting to differentiate between a priest and a deacon, even though both are clerics serving in the church. This article will explore the differences between these two holy orders.

Key Takeaways

  • Priests and deacons are two of the three holy orders in the Christian clergy that are ordained.
  • Priests must observe celibacy, while deacons can be married.
  • Deacons assist priests in many services of the church but cannot perform certain tasks, such as hearing confessions or consecrating bread and wine.


The term “priest” is commonly found in most religions worldwide, referring to religious men who perform rituals. These individuals are considered to be the connection between humans and God and are therefore highly respected. In the Anglican Church, the highest order of ordained clergy is that of priests. The ordination process qualifies them to perform sacred rituals. The term “priest” is derived from the Greek word “Presbuteros.” In Christian denominations, a priest is a religious individual who is expected to govern, teach, and perform rituals in the church. Additionally, priests can perform sacraments.


A deacon is a significant position within the church’s ministry, subordinate to a priest. The term “deacon” is derived from an ancient Greek word meaning “servant.” This order is believed to have evolved with Stephen, who was among the seven individuals chosen to perform the church’s charitable work during the early period.

Deacons serve under bishops, and their primary responsibility within the ministry of charity is to serve food in the church. They are also required to teach and explain biblical texts. Deacons are ranked third in the holy orders, following bishops and priests. Under the ministry of word, they explain gospels during Mass, and under the ministry of liturgy, they perform the duties of a minister of the Holy Communion.

Dmitri Ivanov
Dmitri Ivanov
Dmitri Ivanov, a writer and managing editor, was educated in Canada and holds a BS in Science. Dmitri loves doing research, writing, and teaching various courses.


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