Deacon vs Priest

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Deacon vs Priest

The Apostolic Episcopal, Roman Catholic, Eastern Catholic, Eastern and Oriental Orthodox, Assyrian, Old- and Independent Catholic; the Anglican and more Protestant churches have three Holy Orders which refer to the ordination of certain individuals for a ministry.

These churches consider ordination as a sacrament and can be bestowed only by a bishop which is considered the teacher of the faith and the carrier of tradition from which the Holy Spirit flows through to the rest of the congregation.

The bishop is the highest of the Holy Orders, and he is considered as a modern day apostle. Partiarchs, popes and archbishops are types of bishop who can celebrate all of the sacraments. A bishop leads a diocese which is composed of parishes headed by a priest.

The priest is the second highest of the Holy Orders. He assists the bishop and can perform the sacraments excluding the Holy Orders. The priest can celebrate Mass and the Eucharist, the Sacraments of Penance, Anointing (the Sick), Baptism, and Matrimony.
Priests have been around since ancient times, and while today becoming a priest is a personal choice, before it was inherited and passed down in families. They perform all sacred rites of religion and serve as mediator between humans and God.

A deacon, on the other hand, is the third of the Holy Orders. Deacons can serve as clerks or laymen in the church. It can be a final step towards ordination to become a priest (transitional deacon) or ordination as a permanent deacon.

Today, even those who are not studying to become priests can be ordained as deacons of the church. They assist the priest and are under their supervision. Their duties include proclaiming the Gospel during Mass, ministering the Holy Communion, and being of service to the parishioners.

Unlike priests, they cannot perform the Holy Sacraments, but they assist the priest in their duties. In church services that do not involve the celebration of the Mass, deacons can preside.


1. A priest is the second highest of the Holy Orders, while a deacon is the third of the Holy Orders.
2. A priest can celebrate the Mass and all Sacraments except the Holy Orders while a deacon cannot perform any of the sacraments, but they can preside over services that do not involve the celebration of the Mass.
3. Priests are assistants to the bishop while deacons are servants of the church and the bishops (or his substitute).